Oct 28 2010 12:11pm

R.I.P. Caprica: We Hardly Frakking Knew You

Caprica banner at NYCC

As I sat down to review the amazingness that was the Caprica episode, “False Labor,” I got the disappointing news. Caprica has officially been cancelled. False labor, indeed.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. SyFy has treated the show more like a stillbirth, actually. The network has been acting as if the show was cancelled since San Diego Comic Con, despite having several of the show’s stars—Alessandra Torresani, Sasha Roiz, Magda Apanowicz, and James Marsters—promoting the show along with executive producers Ronald Moore, David Eick, and Jane Espenson. The whole affair felt like a “last hurrah” rather than a rallying of the troops. It was as if they’d already given up and were simply trying to promote the DVD release. When they didn’t even bother to have a presence at New York Comic Con months later, I sort of knew. There was one, pitiful Caprica banner in the exhibition hall, and that was it.

To add insult to injury SyFy is, for some inexplicable reason, pulling the remaining episodes from their schedule immediately, choosing instead to air them in the beginning of 2011. Why? What purpose does that serve other than to piss off the people who were invested in your show? There are only 5 episodes left! Either release them, or release a DVD set for the second half of the season immediately! For frak’s sake!

Now you lovely readers know how much I’ve loved this show. It’s weird, because I don’t think I’ve been so wholly and unconditionally attached to a show since I was 12 and had to know if Brenda and Dylan would make it through that tumultuous summer at the beach club. I thought I’d explain why I got so attached.

Clarice Willow

Battlestar Galactica Had a Great Ending

Yes, I was one of those “crazies” who really liked the last episode of Battlestar Galactica. Spiritual exploration is something I value, and I like spirituality mixed into my sci-fi. I think it opens science fiction up in a way that just dealing with robots and outer space doesn’t. Battlestar Galactica always had a spiritual element to it, and in the end, the spiritual element “won.” That upset a lot of people, but I know that other people, myself included, appreciated that the show took a definite stance. Unlike so much science fiction that merely tolerates spirituality until you get down to it and then, “But really this can be explained by science!”, I respected that Battlestar was brave enough to say, “You know what? There really could be angels. We just don’t know.”

So Caprica’s focus on the Soldiers of the One, on monotheism, and on a deeper understanding of the polytheist gods was something that fascinated me. I loved the fact that this show was setting up a monotheist fanatic in Clarice and a polytheist fanatic in Agent Durham. I loved that Barnabas lived somewhere in the middle in that his belief was genuine, even if his methods were questionable. I loved that, even to the most agnostic characters, the gods were something that at the very least deserved consideration and respect. Again, this is a novelty in sci-fi, and it’s one that I greatly appreciate.

Sam and Joseph in Caprica

Tauron Culture

I wrote a post on my blog this past April where I attempted to explain how much the Tauron culture on the show meant to me in relation to my mother’s death. Sadly, there isn’t a lot in sci-fi for cultural minorities to latch onto. When I met Edward James Olmos at Wizard World Philly two years ago, I told him “Forgive my language, but it’s so f#@king cool that there’s a hispanic admiral on Galactica!” He leaned in, smiled, and said “It is pretty f#@king cool, isn’t it.” Yes, it was, and with Caprica we got to delve deeper into Tauron culture, which was one of the few outlets sci-fi fans got for a non-Anglo sensibility. Granted, it was a hodgepodge of Eastern European Jew, Hispanic, and Ancient Greek, but it spoke to all of us who struggle to straddle cultures. Watching Joseph, Sam, and Willie Adama grapple with loyalty to their culture and fitting in (or not) to Caprican society was wonderful for me. The fact that we were just starting to get into Tauran politics and civil war had me on the edge of my seat during “False Labor” this week. Now, I’ll have to wait until 2011 to see the episode I was looking forward to most, “The Dirteaters,” which is supposed to be going into the backstory of Joseph and Sam.

Zoe at computer

Zoe Graystone: Girl Genius

Despite my concerns about the female characters in a recent post, this is a show that had five female leads. Five. As opposed to three male leads. That’s HUGE. There were also female supporting roles enough to compete with male supporting roles. I never watched this show and thought “Hmm. Women are underrepresented.” Again, a novelty in sci-fi. That, and Zoe Graystone is one of the best female sci-fi characters to come around in a while. She was the genius whose cylon technology was ripped off by her scientist dad. That says SO MUCH about our world today, about how women in science often tell of not getting the credit they deserve in their male-dominated field. The fact that women existed on their own terms on this show, and to this extent, was hugely gratifying. I was able to place myself in this world.

And I think that’s really why I latched onto this show so fiercely. Yes, I loved its atompunk style. Yes, I think sci-fi is cool. But the real reason is that I am a Puerto Rican woman who values God, and I was able to see myself in this world. That’s a gift I don’t get often on television.

Thank you, Caprica. Thank you for making me feel like I deserve a place at the table.

Teresa Jusino was born the same day Skylab fell. Coincidence? She doesn’t think so. She is a freelance writer in New York City who is a regular contributor to websites like ChinaShop Magazine, Pink Raygun, and Newsarama. In addition to her geeky online scribblings, she also writes prose fiction and screenplays. Teresa is the author of a chapbook of short stories called On the Ground Floor, and she is working on a webseries called The Pack, coming in 2011. She is also the last member of WilPower: The Official Wil Wheaton Fan Club. Get Twitterpated with Teresa or visit her at The Teresa Jusino Experience.

Ruth X
1. RuthX
I went against my fears that it'd be canceled and let myself really get into Caprica. I'm tired of episodic tv, I loved seeing something which was one long and complex story. I suppose most people are still happy with catching a new killer every week/solving some new & small crisis...but I liked the size and worldbuilding of Caprica's plot. I'll miss it. And I'm pissed that Syfy can't even let us just finish it out now.
Laurie Mann
2. lauriemann
I had a like-strong dislike opinion of Caprica. I loved the first few episodes, the set-up and the array of strong women characters, but I hated the pervasive violence (especially the horribly long girlfight last week that made me give up on the series).

But, as usual, SyFy has shown again they are clueless about promoting most science fiction shows. They succeeded with Battlestar Galactica, and Stargate: Universe continues to hold my interest. But most of the network is a complete waste of time.
3. litg
I haven't seen False Labor yet, and it will be with a pang when I do watch it. I really loved this show, with all its murky complexity and tortured characters. I'm also one of the "crazies" who thought the end to BSG was perfect. It angers me that SyFy is pulling this and simultaneously developing a DIFFERENT prequel series. While a show focused on Bill Adama during the first Cylon War is cool in concept, you just know they will tool it to be all shoot-em-up and strip it of all BSG's and Caprica's intelligence. It also angers me that SyFy expresses bewilderment that the show couldn't find an audience when they forced an awkward mid-season hiatus then jerked loyal viewers around as to when it would pick back up. I only found out it was returning in October by accident less than a week in advance.

The reimagined BSG is my favorite show of all time. But Caprica will always have a place in my heart as a brilliant and smart show that leveraged BSG to blaze its own path, then didn't get a fair shot. My wife hates science fiction for the most part, but even she got into Caprica (I could never get her into BSG). Thanks for writing a proper eulogy to a show that was too smart for its own good in the end. Here's hoping the rest of Season Only will be as strong as its promise.
Jennifer B
4. JennB
I was always interested in this show, but the episodes always seemed to pile up on our DVR. It seemed a chore to watch. I don't think my husband really liked it either, which doesn't help since we always watch TV together. Guess I will delete all the unwatched episodes. I'm not sad to see it go.
Cori Hull
5. yarnandtea
I also really liked the ending of BSG. I honestly had no intention of watching Caprica until I found out that Jane Espensen had signed on, at which point I figured I'd give it a go. I was completely blown away by how much I enjoyed it. I wish I could say I am surprised at Syfy's decision to cancel the show, but their programming choices lately make it blatantly obvious they no longer care about their actual genre content, sigh. I am extremely vexed that they are pulling the remaining episodes until next year. As you said, it serves no purpose. How many people that would have kept watching are going to completely forget about it by the time the rest of the season airs? Or decide it's just not worth it and not bother? Grr. Caprica, you will be missed. You were a surprisingly entertaining show, and I wish Syfy could have let you stand on your own two feet instead of expecting you to be just like your parent show, BSG.
Susan Brownhill
6. SusanB
This frakking sucks. I love Caprica. Its one of the only good shows on tv! And the only good show on the syfy channel now. I'm watching Universe, but only b/c I keep hoping its going to get awesome. Syfy channel is losing all its intelligence. How many times can they air Ghost Hunters? Do they really get good ratings for that junk? I want the scifi channel back.
Thanks for a great review Teresa. And I too loved the BSG ending.
7. cranscape
So splitting up one season of a show into three years is a bad idea? Who knew? Not Syfy apparently. Got to get a few rocket scientists working for them to sort through those hard programming problems.

Caprica was a favorite of mine and just by existing was helping to change my bad opinion of Syfy even though it had been treated so poorly. Now I am down to watching one show there. Blah. I'm not sure why I bother with them anymore.

It would be easier on this scifi fan if they just ran more ghost hunters and wrestlings and changed their name to something else. Seems like scifi is what they are LEAST interested in on that channel. It's more like a burden they have to get through between their other programming.
8. cranscape
I am pretty sure they pulled it until next year because of November sweeps. That's when ratings lock in commercial prices. Also the reason most shows do special episodes or otherwise try to get more viewers. If Syfy feels like scifi content can't get them the revenue they feel they need then maybe they should admit what they are really peddling isn't scifi and go into business under a new name/mission statement.
Paul Weimer
9. PrinceJvstin
RIP, Caprica.

Well, Syfy will have more time for more wrestling now, I guess.
Jennifer B
10. JennB
This was the last Scifi Syfy show we were watching. We gave up on Warehouse 13 at the beginning of last season. It had good potential, but extremely poor execution. Caprica seemed decent, but was moving pretty slow. I kept hoping it would pick up a little and become a great show. That will never happen now.
Danny Kidd
11. just_jeepin
This sucks, I thought Caprica was pretty good. Next thing, they'll cancel Haven (another good show). I think them splitting show seasons really hurts the momentum of a show. Why do they shot themselves in the foot like that. And now we get wrestling on SyFy, this channel is going down the toilet!
Alex Brown
12. AlexBrown
Teresa, you know my (rather ambivalent) feelings toward Caprica, but I still think it was rather silly to cancel it like this, and to pull a Better Off Ted is even worse.

The show struggled (IMHO) in the first half, but, from what I've heard, it was really starting to fix a lot of the more dire problems. It's a shame that it was pulled like this. I honestly didn't think it'd make it into a second season, but I thought, I hoped SyFy would at least let it round out the season, especially given that they already finished filming it. Something that expensive you don't just chuck into the dumpster out back.

And, frankly, I rather liked the BSG ending. I suspect more people liked the ending than people think. I suspect more people liked it than the Lost ending.
13. DavidinChelseaMA
SYFY sucks. They made ridiculous programmng decisions with Caprica. Splitting the season up the way they did was completely foolish.

It also says alot about the average viewer in this country. Apparently it's only wrestling and other mindless crap that anyone is interested in.

I've read comments on various forums where people are saying that they hope the last five episodes will bring some sort of closure. Well, of course they won't. They will merely leave people hanging, since they've already been written. This is horrible. I hate you, SYFY.
14. Seamus1602
I only watched 2 eps of Caprica, having been disillusioned by the BSG finale.

I have no problem with the spiritual aspect of the BSG finale, but I didn't like that they didn't take a stance. BSG, to me, was best defined by the relationship between 'human' civilization and technology. The end of the show decided that that question was unanswerable and instead had all the characters give up both. If the major theme of the story is betrayed by the ending, I cannot enjoy said ending.

My reaction to the BSG finale definitely colored my perceptions of Caprica. Despite the presence of some clear quality to Caprica, I felt they would always be dealing with the cop-out of the BSG finale and would thus not be able to grow into its own stellar series. Thus, I was gone after 2 eps. Likewise, I haven't been able to bring myself to watch The Plan or anything else I might have missed.

I hate cancellations of series I love, and I do feel bad for those Caprica fans out there, but this writing was on the wall since the end of BSG. I don't blame SYFY, I blame the writers and producers that came up with the BSG finale.
15. Margaret L.
Amen and ditto to everything that you wrote.

I am very unhappy that this show is ending. Especially since I think season 2 is topping the amazing season 1.

Here's to more Capricas succeeding in the future.
Kelly Mayberry
16. Keslynn
So say we all!

I am so sad that it's cancelled. I really loved the on-screen exploration of a polytheistic culture where all sexualities were "normal."
James Goetsch
17. Jedikalos
It's strange how I react to shows now. I wouldn't let myself watch it after I few episodes because it seemed like I might like it, and waited to see if it would really continue (because if it did I could catch up with DVDs!). Now I'm glad I didn't really let myself get into it. Call it the Firefly Effect.
Sean Pratz
18. Galoot
@RuthX: Verily. My mantra is "if it's intriguing, don't watch it until it's wrapped." I may be a year behind everyone else in this thread, but at least I don't feel like I've read the first few chapters of a good book someone has torn in half.

Yes, I did wait until BSG wrapped before watching it. Can you imagine the horrible alternative?
Alex Brown
19. AlexBrown
All of you can complain all you want about the BSG ending, but I still maintain that the worst series finale of all time is the one for the US version of Life On Mars. After that ending I was glad that I didn't get the chance to devote years of my life to that show.
20. Lady Q
You can mark me down as one of those who thought the BSG home stretch and finale were, sadly, a mess. Spirituality versus science doesn't even get on the radar if you can't tell a coherent story to begin with.

That said, I watched every epsiode of Caprica. Ultimately, though, I don't feel like SyFy should be blamed for its failure. It was just a very undisciplined story without focus. I made a point of watching it, and found some interesting nuggets here and there, but the average viewer isn't going to do that. When you have as many different stroylines as Caprica was juggling, you have to be very disciplined if you expect to survive.
Teresa Jusino
21. TeresaJusino
Lady Q @20 - the average viewer watched "Lost", which went on for 6 seasons, and that had a story that was MUCH more unweildy and harder to follow, had way more characters, and had elements that made no sense. (and I was a fan!) The average viewer watches "Mad Men", and that's a show that is COMPLETELY character-driven, is on a cable network, and has a really slow storytelling pace (also with a similar aesthetic as Caprica, albeit in reality as opposed to a made-up world). "Average viewers" will do a lot of crazy things if it knows a show exists, it's a quality show, and they are given incentive to watch.

Bottom line is that I think Caprica suffered most because of SyFy's handling of the show. First, there were its scheduling problems. Putting it on Fridays at all, mistake #1. Waiting MONTHS after they aired the pilot before starting the show? Another mistake. (That worked for Glee only because FOX had better promo of that show surrounding that decision, and turned the 1st episode of Glee into an event) Taking a months-long hiatus between halves of a season? Well, that's just stupid. Then changing the night it's on? You can only move a show if enough people care about it and are willing to move with it. You can do that with a show like Lost 3 seasons in, because the fanbase already exists and will follow it.

Scheduling aside, if I weren't already a sci-fi fan, and a fan of BSG, I never would've known about it. Big ads everywhere featuring a naked girl holding an apple aren't enough, as that says nothing about what the show is. Marketing, advertising, and PR (and I've worked in that industry, so I can kind of see how they failed from that standpoint) require so much more than that, and if SyFy were really pushing Caprica as one of its main shows, there was so much more it could have done. I should've seen the cast (the WHOLE cast, primarily Eric Stoltz & Esai Morales, who did surprisingly little press for the show considering their greater name recognition) EVERYWHERE, not just at conventions. I should've seen interviews in non-genre publications, espectially since they were touting this as a show that is primarily a "family drama" with sci-fi elements. Which it WAS. I can count at least 10 people I got to watch Caprica who are not genre fans at all, and they all enjoyed it as a "gateway sci-fi show." :) Meanwhile, a lot of my geek friends were disappointed that they didn't get to cylon battles fast enough. If you want ratings and numbers, you can't only market to a niche group of people. It's just that simple. They're obviously your core group, and the people you go to first, but they shouldn't be your only source of viewership. And of all the shows SyFy had, Caprica would've been the PERFECT one to get out to a mainstream audience, and they didn't.

To show how important marketing is to a cable network show that is character and not plot-based: I've only seen season 1 of Mad Men, which is a great show. But I only watched season 1 last year. Yet from its first year out, I knew about the show. It was everywhere. I couldn't look at a magazine or watch TV without seeing someone from Mad Men on it its first season. I saw ads that captured the sensibility of the show, so I knew what the feel of the show would be even if I didn't know it was about advertising. (what does a naked girl with an apple say about the kind of show it is?) And all of this was from a network called American Movie Classics, a cable network that was supposed to only show old movies! Meanwhile, SyFy can't successfully market its sci-fi shows and relies on a small, already-existing fan base to do the work for them by spreading "word of mouth." Well, I did that, and got people to watch Caprica on my own, and more of those people loved it than didn't. But I'm one person, and I shouldn't be doing the work of a network.

Caprica wasn't a confusing show. I'm not some kind of super-genius for following it, I just paid attention. There were THREE storylines to follow: The Graystones, The Adamas, and the STO. Everything that happened on that show fell under one of those three. Yes, the storytelling was slow, but it was also telling the kind of story that demands slow, because telling the story any faster wouldn't have been emotionally true for the characters. This show failed, because no one outside geeky circles knew about it, and it was the kind of show that would've been perfect to garner a more mainstream audience to SyFy if they would've treated it as such.
22. Lady Q
Lost is conceptually a much simpler show--they're lost on an island. Same with Battlestar Galactica--the last surviviors of a holocaust are stuck on a ship fleeing their enemies. Now, both are actually a lot more complicated than that, for better of for worse, but they draw their audience in with something that both hooks and provides boundaries. One of Caprica's difficulties in doing that is that it has no clear boundaries. Just try to explain what is happening in 25 words or less that hook someone and you'll see the problem. That's not to say it's necessarily bad, but it's not laid out in a way that naturally draws a broader audience in. And Mad Men isn't a valid comparison as it is about the actual life and history of America; that naturally garners easy interest and tolerance for what is still a small audience by TV standards.

Caprica was always going to have a small audience as well. I think they made it smaller by not clearly envisioning how it was supposed to maximize whatever audience might be interested.
23. Lady Q
To clarify my point, think of a viewer as a computer. They only have so much online memory. Shows like Lost or Battlestar Galactica or Mad Men (facing the 60s in an ad agency) use up very little online memory with the concept. That leaves the viewer free and willing to follow all kind of loop-de-loops with the characters. But a show like Caprica? Well, it's on another planet sort of like ours, and there's a grieving father whose dead daughter was a super genius who created an artificial version of herself called an avatar that he needs to make robots for the military, and there's another grieving father who met the first grieving father but then fell out with him because he created an artificial version of his dead daughter, and that's all of interest to a powerful religion organization on another planet that runs a bunch of terrorist celle who killed both daugthers. Oh, and yeah, the father of the second daughter is the father of the hero of another show who is a kid in this one, and there's a VR World where...

I'm not saying that to mock the show, but simply to point out that, in the absence of a clear mental boundary of some kind for compartmentaliztion, it mentally just dissolves into its constituent parts for many viewers. That uses up a lot of online memory, which makes the processing even slower, and inevitably sheds viewers. When you make a show, you have to realize that occurs and build your show in a way so as to minimize it.
Tara Mitchell
24. Jaxicat
I remember the old sci fi channel, they published original fiction on their web site, Harlan Ellison had his own show. Someone needs to make a new science fiction network. Hey how about the Tor channel? ;)
25. Knute123
Love your analysis. First-time reader.

I feel the same way about Caprica. The plot on this show, and the characters, are fascinating to me. Not just how they would figure into the larger BSG story eventually, but how these are the characters that originated everything in BSG. A prequel I actually was in favor of...for once! I was all in on Caprica. It was not boring. I was on the edge of my seat for almost every episode just waiting for all those elements to tie together. I had no expectation that would happen before the end of the first season. How can I be disappointed that it was "slow" or "too cerebral"? It's unfinished! And how do those BSG ending detractors claim Caprica sucked? It had no angels. It was a much more concrete story of politics and science. Thus far it has lacked those spooky spiritual elements that "won" in BSG.

Unforunately, I had to be notified by a friend when it came back on the air a few weeks ago. How is it that a hardcore fan like myself had no idea it was going to be on that night Syfy?! J'accuse! I almost missed it!

As for BSG's ending I'm an atheist and even tho the show identified them as angels of God it was never specific to any religion or creed. I love how in the end no one was really "evil" or "good". "God isn't on any one's side." Even Cavil, who did some f&#@ed up things, had the presence of mind to back down and choose peace when offered.

The spiritual aspect of the show was awesome. It appealed to me, and not because I believe in God, but because I believe in forces of nature. That's how I interpreted the spiritual elements - nature, God, creation, whatever you call it. Things beyond our understanding and control as humans, most likely the otherworldly parts of ourselves. The collective unconscious. Those ideas fascinate me. Not the various religions which in BSG were merely message delivery systems so characters could achieve their destinies. I love the sci fi stuff too, but I got exactly what I wanted out of BSG. I've watched that series 6x now, all the way through. The haters would benefit greatly from watching with the commentary turned on.
Teresa Jusino
26. TeresaJusino
Lady Q @23 - I'm just really struggling to understand how you think a show like Lost takes up less "memory" than a show like Caprica. Sure, you could boil the concept down into simple terms. A plane crashes on a mysterious island and they have to survive. But you can do the same with Caprica - after a terrorist train bombing, two fathers struggle to keep their deceased daughters alive in differnt ways. But, to compare it to your convoluted description of Caprica (that seemed kind of intentionally convoluted to make your point), Lost can be described like this "OK, so there are these survivors, but then there are these other people - called The Others - that are already on the island, but they have nothing to do with the Dharma Initiative, who were the people on the Island before them. And then there's time travel, but really the island is electromagnetic. But REALLY the island's powers come from a spiritual leader named Jacob. And also the survivors have flashbacks in which we see that they've all met each other, but don't remember. But REALLY, this is all about Egyptian heiroglyphics." How you think Lost is "easier" for a person to grasp than Caprica is really a mystery to me! :) And again, I love both shows!

Knute123 @25 - Thanks! Though I think they were just starting to get to the angels thing on Caprica with the introduction of the new Head Zoe. :)
Michael Burke
27. Ludon
I wonder if Caprica "failed" because it was not a show which the American Right Wing could embrace as their own. Additionally, I think this is part of what led to the need to revise and restart the Star Trek brand.

Working at a hobby shop which focuses exclusively on plastic kits, the aftermarket items and reference books, (this means no R.C. items - the owner's statement is "Here, if it moves, we step on it.") I tend to encounter customers of a conservative nature. A number of them were fans of BSG and most of that number complained about episodes like Dirty Hands as "Liberal Hollywood's attempt to force their . . ." These customers also tended to be the ones I heard complaining that the ending of the series made no sense. (I addressed my feelings on the ending in another thread on this site so I'll not go into that now.)

Having a strong interest in aviation and its history, many sites I visit on line also have strong conservative leanings. Positive references to BSG can be found among theose sites. In various threads on The Secret Projects Forum I've encountered the same feelings that BSG was a great show as long as the liberals were kept away from it. I cannot remember any comment on that forum embracing the Caprica series. I try to keep a low profile there - letting them play in their sandbox while I gather the information I'm seeking.

While there were hints at alternate lifestyles in BSG, none of those hints were directed toward the leading characters. True, there was that thing with Cane, but she had already been established as evil. (Then there is also that conservative hetero double-standard which sees lesbians as 'Hot!') In my opinion, Caprica set itself up to find little favor among the American Right Wing. I think it was brave of the producers and writers to try what they did but I think that they - like the Enterprise series - were just too far out of sync with the average American TV viewer.

I still have not seen much of Caprica but of what I have seen, I loved it as good storytelling.
28. Dandylion
I can see the point about the Lost. It really is "they're just stuck on an island." That confines the story for easy digestion even as it goes on to take all kinds of twists and turns.

I liked Caprica, but it didn't have anything like that. It wasn't simply two fathers trying to keep alive the memory of their daughters. That was one element of a story that didn't really have any geographical or topical or conceptual boundary. The island grounds the viewer, just like Galactica did. I'm not really sure anything grounded the viewer in Caprica.

As much as I did like Caprica, I have to admit it's only the last few episodes where it seems like some grounding took hold. I especially liked the Daniel/Amanda avatar take, which seemed to be representing the central dilemma of the story more directly than anything before. But alas, it was too late.
29. e2c
Thanks so much for this post; agreed on most everything you've said.

I do think, though, that the depiction of Tauron culture in the show is overwhelmingly indebted to movies like "The Godfather" and to the many Little Italies that were once a staple of American cities, large and small. (Little Tauron, anyone?) Look at the use of red (interior design) in the movies; also black clothing (a reality for many older Italian immigrants and 1st-generation children) and then re-watch some of the Caprica segments that deal with the Tauron mob... I think you'll find a lot of direct correspondences, which is (imo) a weakness on the part of the show's design team and writers. (Have heard similar opinions from Italian Americans and other folks who, like me, are old enough to remember a lot of things about Italian American culture from the 1960s-80s or so.)

am curious as to which elements of Tauron culture you think come from Eastern European Jewish-American life and culture? I honestly don't see any of it in the show, but maybe I'm missing something?

Strong female leads: Maybe that's problematic for some would-be viewers (like the conservative BSG fans mentioned in another reply above). Grandma Adama gives me the cold chills!
Teresa Jusino
30. TeresaJusino
Ludon @27 - interesting point. I hadn't thought about it that way. I'm not sure I agree, only because there are plenty of "liberal" shows that do well. But I have been discovering that there are way more conservative geeks than I would've imagined for no reason other than I generally think that to wholly embrace sci-fi, there's a certain liberalness and tolerance and openness that comes with that. I write for another geek website, however, where the editor told me to remove an Obama reference so as not to alienate their conservative readership. I eliminated it, because the post wasn't political, and so I didn't want to cause trouble just for the sake of it, but I was surprised that a mere reference to our current president could've alienated anyone!

Dandylion @28 - I think that, had the show been allowed to continue, we would've seen that, like the Island on Lost, or the ship on BSG, Caprica itself would've been the thing to hold it all together - particularly Caprica City. The Graystones are both very Caprican in their ideals and lifestyles, and act accordingly. The Adamas struggle to be themselves on this foreign planet. And Clarice and her STO fight to control Caprica as the most important jewel in the STO crown. The show was called Caprica for a reason, and I think the planet itself would've become a character in its own right. Of course, that's all speculation now.

e2c @29 - The show DEFINITELY takes from mob movies and from history. The show's creators have said as much, and Sasha Roiz has said in interviews that he read books about not only the Italian mob, but the Russian mob and the Irish mob to prepare for Sam. However, what I meant is that that portrayal of a non-Anglo sensibility is rare in sci-fi television. It's all over the place in movies, but sci-fi still tends to be about anglicized white people with some exceptions.

As for the Eastern European Jewish culture, I was referring mostly to the Tauron memorial service, which was a bit like a shiva (complete with torn cloth attached to Joseph, Sam, and Willie's clothes), though I think the Eastern European Jewish sensibility shares a similar immigrant sensibility with other ethnic groups in this country. Also, there's the matter of casting - when you've got Esai Morales (Puerto Rican) and Sasha Roiz (Russian Jewish) playing those roles, they just naturally bring their cultures to the table, and I think that's a good thing.

And if strong female leads are such a huge problem for people that they won't watch a show because of it? Damn. We've got bigger problems than shows getting cancelled.
Ian Tregillis
31. ITregillis
Great analysis of Caprica, Teresa. I didn't necessarily like everything about it, but I thought it looked terrific and it was just starting to overcome some stumbles to turn in an interesting direction. Bummer. I enjoyed your episode recaps.

Alex @ 19:

I respectfully disagree. (I say that knowing I'm in the very very small minority of people who didn't loathe that finale. So, I'm a crazy person. Also, I haven't finished watching the original UK Life on Mars yet, so I can't compare it to the original ending. I've yet to see a US remake that surpasses the UK original. My opinion may change when I finally finish the UK series.)

I can see why so many people were enraged by that ending, and to each their own. I actually thought it worked far better than it had any right to. I've blogged about it here ( and here (
Ian Gazzotti
32. Atrus
I'm a believer and consider myself to be a spiritual person, and I still thought the BSG finale was one of the most "pulling crap out of the writers's ass because we have no idea where we're going" moments in TV history.
That did not really instill me with confidence about the future of Caprica and, after the excruciatingly slow pilot, I decided to wait at least the end of the first season before watching it. Ah well.

I strongly agree on the marketing point though. No one I know who was not already a fan of BSG even gave this series a try and, of those that did, most expected something more closely related to Galactica. In fact, I seem to remember that the original pitch for the series was on the lines of "Adamas vs. Graysons: how we got to the Cylon war", which is kinda different from "religious zealots and mobsters and virtual reality and around season 4 we'll actually get to put some armor on that centurion".

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