Return of the Cylons: An Early Review of the Caprica Season 1.5 Premiere
Being the lucky, little Cylon that I am, I managed to nab a seat at the Return of the Cylons: Caprica Season 1.5 Premiere Fan Event at the Globe Theater in Universal Studios – Hollywood last weekend. It was quite the event, what with the red carpet rolled out and a number of the cast and crew attending, including actors Esai Morales (“Joseph Adama”), Sasha Roiz (“Sam Adama”), and Alessandra Torresani (“Zoe Graystone”). Executive producers David Eick, Ronald D. Moore, Jane Espenson, and Kevin Murphy were also in attendance and brought an extra dose of excitement to the event.
It’s not often that fans can so easily mingle with cast and crew, especially given the “geek celebrity” status that Ronald D. Moore and David Eick acquired with the Battlestar Galactica series. Everyone was approachable at the event, and, when we entered the screening room, a bar was set up allowing a more relaxed place to converse with each other. Once the ice was broken, it was a geek’s paradise! Actor Esai Morales was especially friendly, excited, and passionate about the event and the series, encouraging everyone to implore their friends to watch the show and make a second season possible. Morales’ dedication to the project was also very clear when he stopped to show us pictures on his cell phone of his newborn baby girl. His first child having been born just days ago, Morales was understandably eager to be with wife and child; yet, he spent the next few hours fully committed to creating a fun and exciting environment for the fans of Caprica. He’s truly a stand up guy in addition to being an excellent actor! Sasha Roiz soon joined Morales in schmoozing with the fans and turned out to be a delight.
During the social hour, the official Caprica profile on Twitter was broadcast in real time over the large TV screens that littered the walls, and we were all encouraged to tweet with the hashtag #capricaisback. This went on for a bit with some colorful geek banter, especially when Alessandra Torresani joined the fun, tweeting that she was considering coming on stage with just her Carpica t-shirt and a pair of high heels. While it was all in good fun, the responses quickly became racy, and then risqué. After a few tweets that were just above the gutter, and the Universal event crew scrambled to remove certain tweets from the screen. While I’m sure that it was a frantic moment for the crew, it was quite humorous to most of the fans present. Torresani soon joined the crowd, wearing a hot, little, black dress that was short enough to raise a few eyebrows. While some may have questioned this sort of presence, I felt both the behavior and the dress were a perfectly played provocation worthy of “Zoe Graystone” which added further buzz to the night.
Soon after, we took our seats, and the cast and crew assembled on stage to introduce a humor-filled re-cap of the previous season (available to view at HYPERLINK "http://www.syfy.com/caprica/" http://www.syfy.com/caprica/), followed by the Season 1.5 premiere episode. I don’t want to spoil the episode with any revelations, especially given the fact that Caprica needs as many people watching as possible, but I will say that the show delivers on many levels and continues to push all of its characters in interesting and morally-questionable directions. We see new worlds and plenty of shocking moments, and you do get an answer as to whether “Amanda Graystone” survived her suicide attempt. (James Marsters also makes an appearance in the episode, which is always something I enjoy. Unfortunately, he didn’t show for the event itself, much to the disappointment of my female companion.)
That being said, and while I appreciate that there may be Caprica fans out there that hunger for more info, I want to focus less on the latest episode and more on how we can make sure that these episode continue. Caprica needs viewers, plain and simple. Events like this one are held for that exact reason. Honestly, if you’re not watching Caprica, then you are truly missing some of the best acting, writing, and human drama on television today, not to mention some of the best science fiction. Much like Battlestar Galactica before it, this show presents an alternate world which reflects many “real world” issues that our society is concerned with today. I even dare to say that Caprica offers a certain tragic grace not present in BSG. While BSG thrived off the military elements of the story, they also added a chaos and abrasiveness that helped ratchet up the tension, but that is not present in Caprica. Given that Caprica is a prequel to BSG, we know that the eventual end is a dismal one, involving a Cylon rebellion and surely a fall f
rom grace for anyone involved. The man at the center of the storm is “Daniel Graystone” (played by the amazing Eric Stoltz), a wealthy technologist and the future creator of the much dreaded Cylons, who lives a life similar to any titan of industry present in our current day. He owns the best of everything, including his own sports team, and is willing to do nearly anything to keep his position at the top of the hill. Even more so, he’s convinced himself that he deserves it all. That arrogance, hubris even, is at the center of the entire show, and, even through we know the eventual outcome, it’s enthralling and heart breaking to watch the characters struggle against their own tragic flaws toward the inevitable end.
It’s nearly impossible not to ask ourselves how likely it would be that we would take the same actions, both on a personal and national level. Tales of robot rebellion have been around since the idea of robots. These stories are just tales of slave revolt wrapped in a science-fiction package. Caprica takes that a step further by staging the Cylon revolt at a time when the twelve colonies are at the height of their rule; the general population is overconfident in excess of its continued welfare and advancement, especially in the realm of technology. While the current condition of the United States has inspired comparisons to ancient Rome and its fall, in Caprica the metaphor is unmistakable, even going as far as to have the citizens taking part in pseudo-orgies and -massacres through a combination of virtual reality, avatars, and the internet. This is a culture at its peak, wallowing in its own decadence and painfully unaware of the catastrophe just around the corner. This is mirrored in the plights of “Daniel Graystone” and “Joesph Adama,” which are brought together in an attempt to heal the pain of losing loved ones after a terrorist attack claims both of their daughters and “Adama’s” wife. Understandably distraught, the two men believe that they can triumph over their grief with “Graystone’s” technology and brilliant mind and “Adama’s” connections in the Tauron “mob.” Discovering a digital version of “Zoey Greystone” that has survived her death, the two men set out to bring their loved ones back from the dead while delivering a show that explores the depths and ethics of the advancement of technology and artificial life like no other since Dollhouse. Frak, it’s probably better!
And, did I mention that Jane Espenson and James Marsters are part of the package? Does any good Whedon fan really need more of a reason than that?! Seriously, take a chance with this one. Here is a possibility to make sure that another Firefly doesn’t happen. Take the time to check out Caprica now and help us get a season two along with an opportunity to tell the story the way it needs to be told. (One that doesn’t end on a stagnant cliff hanger like so many other great shows.)
The Season 1.5 premiere will air on Tuesday, October 5th, on the Syfy channel at 10pm. Just make sure that you set all of the TVs in your house to the Syfy channel or the Cylons will know!!!