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

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 Tor.com 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.


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