When I first heard that the Sci Fi Channel had ordered a two-hour TV movie spin-off of Battlestar Galactica, I felt a mixture of excitement and confusion. Though I think BSG is one of the best shows on television and an example of science fiction at its most intelligent, it’s also not a big ratings winner for the network. The show has struggled to find viewers since its first season, so what would compel the network to produce a spin-off?
Thanks to TV Guide I now have my answer. The spin-off, entitled Caprica, will be set in the Battlestar Galactica universe, but it’s going to have a completely different style that’s closer to AMC’s Mad Men than your typical space opera. Will BSG fans embrace a new show that focuses more on character drama than sci-fi action?
Caprica is set 50 years prior to the events seen in Battlestar Galactica, and will focus on the creation of the first Cylons. Executive producer/writer/co-creator Remi Aubuchon told TV Guide, “Caprica is a sweeping, highly emotional relationship drama — a Rich Man, Poor Man set in a science-fiction environment. The look is nostalgic, almost 1950s, with the men in hats, ties and stylish suits. It’s not about hardware and space battles.”
As Kristin at E!Online reported, the series stars Eric Stoltz as Daniel Graystone, a computer genius and inventor whose daughter Zoe is killed due to her boyfriend’s religious fanaticism. Before she dies, Zoe inputs her DNA and elements of her personality into a machine, which her father later transfers into a robotic body. The robot, known as Zoe-R, is the first Cylon ever created. In addition, Esai Morales plays Joseph Adama, grandfather to William Adama (Edward James Olmos). When Joseph’s family is killed in the same suicide bombing that took Zoe’s life, the two men bond together to replicate their children in cyborg form.
The plot of Caprica sounds like a spooky, timely setup for a science fiction story, and if it’s done as well as Battlestar Galactica the lack of space battles shouldn’t be a problem. The true strength of BSG has always been the human relationships at its core, not the action or the special effects. If the two-hour Caprica movie is a ratings success, the Sci Fi Channel will likely pick it up as an ongoing series.
In addition to the cast members mentioned above, Caprica also stars Paula Malcomson (Deadwood) as Graystone’s wife, and Polly Walker (Rome) as a religious zealot who secretly teaches monotheism. The TV movie still doesn’t have an air date, though it’ll likely hit the airwaves in 2009.
– Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Source: TV Guide, E!Online
(Image courtesy of the Sci Fi Channel)