Last Night’s TV – Caprica

by Lynn Connolly

My husband loves Sci-Fi, and it’s one of the rare instances we don’t agree. I can’t stand it normally; people with purple heads or ridiculous clingy costumes romping around outer space in some non-specific point in the future has never appealed to me.

However – and loathe though I am to admit it, it feels like a dirty secret – I actually enjoyed last night’s series premiere of Caprica.

It’s in effect the prequel to Battlestar Galactica, which again, my husband is an avid fan of, but I’ve never given it head-space because it’s just too unbelievable for me to suspend my disbelief. But Caprica, though it’s of course futuristic, did contain elements that relate to our lives today, so I rather rapidly and reluctantly found myself getting interested.

One element in particular fascinated me – because I can imagine it could well happen – and that was the concept of avatars to which one can download ones own persona. And last night, we met the character Daniel Graystone, who’s perhaps akin to a Bill Gates character, working on his newest invention, the The Cylon (Cybernetic Life-Form Node).

The Cylon is a robotic version of a virtual avatar and you just know it’s all going to go wrong. There’s sure to be a man-vs-machine thing eventually, but for now, two bereaved fathers found solace in recreating their dead daughters using the technology, even though the outcome was a couple of exceptionally bratty and potentially sinister creations.

But with regard to the aforementioned relatable issues, we were introduced to the cultural complexities of life on Caprica, including an innate loathing for Taurans – spot the racism angle – and the terrorism that dogged the inhabitants’ lives. The dead daughters were as a result of a suicide bomber.

There was also a great deal of the programme devoted to introducing us to religion as it applies on Caprica and how, as always, fanaticism for any given religion will breed violence and hatred.

And on a technical note, the scenery and props weren’t skimped, and it made the show all the more believable. Little touches to costumes did likewise and it would seem that the days of dodgy stuck on ears and moving cardboard scenery have been abandoned in the world of sci-fi, thank goodness.

In addition, the acting was good too, which again, came as a surprise. Eric Stoltz, who used to star in Chicago Hope, played Graystone, a character that I took to immediately, primarily for his depth.

So will I become a regular Caprica watcher? Well, on balance, though I enjoyed it – and the whole virtual-becomes-real thing did fascinate me – I’ll probably end up watching it because my husband will, but I don’t know if I’d deliberately schedule it were it not for that fact.

What did you think of it?

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.