Caprica - One Pastor's Perspective

I've made no secret of the fact that I loved the recently-ended SyFy series Battlestar Galactica.  Actually, I think it might have been one of the best television dramas ever.   That may seem strange coming from my perspective, but I undertand that if people were placed in the situation that the 40-odd thousand remaining humans were placed in on that show, that the results would seldom be pretty.  

The producers of Battlestar are at it again, debuting another show set in the same universe.  It's called Caprica, and it debuted on SyFy last week.  (The pilot has been around a couple of months now on DVD and online.  The show hit TV this week.)  I thought it would be a good time to kick around some thoughts.

Caprica is not Battlestar Galactica.  Not by a long shot.  Doesn't try to be, doesn't want to be.  The show is set 58 years prior to the events in the Galactica pilot. There are no space ships.  There are no aliens. There is no intergalactic war. There are people - normal people doing somewhat normal things.  They live on another world, and they are more technologically advanced than we are, but not much.  They play tennis.  They send their kids to school.  They have lawyers, mobsters, corrupt judges and industrial tycoons. They are us.

Caprica describes a world where the "norm" is polytheism - worshipping a pantheon of gods, somewhat casually.  But there is a new movement afoot - the worship of the One True God.   This "monothesism" is greeted with hatred, fear and scorn.  It's practicioners have to hide themselves, and communicate with codes and secret signs.   Sound familar?

This is not a "messiah" story.  It's kind of more an "Abraham" story, I suppose, when the idea of worshipping one God is brand new.  But it does have some Christian overtones to it as well.  The persecution, the secret meetings, (the ichthus replaced by an infinity symbol) and evangelism.  Yes, good old-fashioned witnessing.  There was one really poignent scene where Zoe, one of the central characters (Alessandra Torresani) and another boy try to witness to Zoe's best friend, Lacy (Magda Apanowicz).  To me, it was very realistic and heartfelt. 

The big question, however, are asked by the adults: a wealthy industrialist, Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) and a lawyer with mob ties, Joseph Adama (Esai Morales).  Both characters are deep, multi-layered and absolutely fascinating.  Both men have lost daughters in a terrorist attack, and together, they have the ability to resurrect them, after a fashion, by capturing their electronic footprints and translating that into a software program that is an exact copy of the dead girls' minds.  These "copies" can then be uploaded into robotic bodies. The questions become "when do we have to let go", and "how far will we go to stay connected to the ones we love most?"  And more importantly, "how much of ourselves are we willing to sacrifice?"

While the TV version was toned down from the uncut DVD release of the pilot in terms of sex and language, this is still not a show for the kiddies.  It deals with adult themes in an adult manner.  When people are torn open and deeply wounded, the results are often not pretty. 

It will be interesting to see where this show goes.  Battlestar was ambitious, and took a full season to hit its pace. Like it's predecessor, Caprica has many, many threads.  How well this talented team of writers, producers and actors weave those threads into a tapestry remains to be seen.


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