In Caprica, People Are The Biggest Monsters Of All

Caprica, the Battlestar Galactica prequel launching Friday, doesn't feature an army of robots bent on wiping out the human race, because Cylons are just a few prototypes. So the biggest conflict is between groups of humans, says producer Jane Espenson.

We were lucky enough to talk to Espenson and producer David Eick last summer, about the themes of Caprica. Chances are you've already seen the pilot, which came out on DVD a couple months ago, but the version being transmitted on Friday has newly added scenes. And we're finally going to see how that set-up plays out over 20 episodes of the first season.

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According to Espenson, the "other" in Caprica is other groups of humans, instead of the Cylons which barely exist at this point. You have twelve colonies, with diverse ethnic groups, all in conflict with each other. And that doesn't even include the monotheists, who are a minority in all the different colonies. The show's being very careful to make clear that not all monotheists are evil terrorists, adds Espenson. The whole stew of conflict, with each group believing it has the right answer to all of society's woes, brings a society that's at peace closer to the brink of war and disaster. And those elements — a peacetime society where different groups of humans are fighting over cultural and religious differences — allow Caprica to tell very different stories than Battlestar Galactica. It's still just as allegorical as BSG, however, and it still has something to say about the times we're living in.

Eick told us that Caprica started out as Remi Aubuchon's pitch for a totally unrelated show about robots, and then Syfy suggested turning it into a BSG prequel. And that opened up all sorts of ways to explore the same questions as BSG, only from the opposite side — instead of a show about machines who are becoming human, you have a show about a human girl who becomes a machine. Either way, you're getting to ask some questions about what humanity really is, says Eick.

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Caprica starts this Friday on Syfy at 9 PM

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DISCUSSION

I've grown to utterly loath Jane Espenson. Ever since she joined the show in season 3, the quality went down. Maybe this wasn't all atributable to her, but it isn't "hi I'm Jane Espenson, BSG Writer!"....no, "BSG that won a Peabody" was seasons 1 and 2, and she wasn't there for that.

I DO NOT CARE if the science of "there are 13 colonies all around one star, or orbiting other 'points'" (she couldn't even remember they're called Lagrangian points).....I care about plot mechanics; i.e. even Fantasy stories have to maintain internal plot logic.

And while BSG's early run discussion of religion and politics seemed really cool, Caprica increasingly seems like its chasing the shadow of BSG.

Love it or hate it, you are have to admit that SyFy is FORCING it into being a BSG prequel; I'd have loved it if it were Aubuchon's original idea.

No, we can't just "set aside the fact that its being presented as a BSG prequel"....any more than we could be annoyed at "Star Trek: Enterprise" for tiredly rehashing concepts and plots for earlier series.

I'ved moved on. There was a dream once that was BSG, and its gone.

I loved Toni Graphia's work; she wrote in seasons 1 and 2, then — surprise surprised - she left when season 3 started to work on Terminator...and then I loved Terminator.

Then I loved Dollhouse, but not its gone too.