Caprica may not get the adrenaline pumping like its predecessor Battlestar Galactica, but what it lack in thrills, it more than makes up for with a fascinating exploration and expansion of an already rich mythology, and a layered, multi-threaded story that sets the stage fantastically for the rest of the series.
With this extended pilot episode, the creators prove nothing if not the scope of their vision. Unlike some other extended episodes, this one never drags and crucially doesn’t feel like two episodes tacked together either. That it works both as a movie and a series set up is most impressive.
The cast is pitch perfect, with Esai Morales, Eric Stoltz and Alessandra Torresani being the ones allowed to shine at this stage of the story. Strong support is provided by all and it promises nothing but great things when their turn in the story comes around.
As with its predecessor, it also tackles some reasonably tough issues – religious violence, a technological singularity, the nature of artificial intelligence – and it does so with an intelligence that far outshines its predecessor. The only downside is that it is perhaps a tad inaccessible to newcomers, and it would be of use to have someone on hand to fill you in on some of the finer points of Battlestar Galactica history. This doesn’t, however, kill its appeal entirely, and for the most part it does a fairly good job of keeping everyone clued in and up to speed.
A success and an impressive one at that, Caprica still retains Battlestar’s hard sci-fi edge, whilst grounding it in a reality that is now almost uncomfortably familiar, and almost immediately accessible. Recommendable, but make sure you have a geek on hand to explain the weirder notions.
Released on DVD on 29th March 2010 by Universal Pictures UK.