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October 8, 2015

BSG prequel series Caprica is officially a go at Sci Fi

by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 2nd 2008 12:06PM
New Caprica (Battlestar Galactica)
I know we've been hearing about Caprica for the last nineteen years or so (exaggeration, save your comments), but it's been one of those TBD projects, where network execs would say, "Someday we'll get to it depending on how the ratings go for Battlestar Galactica's final season, and if we need to make more room for wrestling or gimmicky game shows like Estate of Panic and Cha$e. See, those shows cost us about twenty-six bucks apiece to make and this show could be costly."

It makes sense to be cautious. Despite high critical praise, the parent series has slipping ratings and continues to be snubbed by major awards. But it looks like the powers that be at Sci Fi have finally decided to greenlight the Caprica series. Considering BSG isn't on the air at all right now, I'm not sure what helped them commit to this decision today. Maybe they looked and they just realized that their latest two major projects were Cha$e and Estate of Panic and it put them in ... well ... a state of panic. "This is Sci Fi," they may have declared. "How about we try that kind of programming?"

The new series won't be airing until early 2010 to give the parent time to wrap its run and hopefully settle nicely in our stomachs. The most important part of the article was that part of the reason for this lag was so the producers could regroup the core of BSG's writing staff, who apparently blew to the four corners of the world when their series commitments wrapped. This, my friends, is good news indeed.

Even though Caprica is being billed as a family drama set 50 years prior to the events of BSG, the fact is that this is an amazingly talented crew of writers. If anyone can handle a sci fi family drama and make it compelling and amazing, it's these folks. That's reason enough to believe that Caprica is going to be good. They didn't crap out and say, "Eh, we'll just get the writing staff from Knight Rider to do it. They should all be out of work by then."

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Caprica launched in 10, dumped by 13 if not 12. This is SciFi we're dealing with.

December 03 2008 at 12:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with Ron, I don't see where this is going, but you can bet I'll be willing to tune in. As for Sci-Fi, it looks like they are headed into a huge downturn, much like HBO has gone into after the end of The Sopranos and Sex and the City. They (SciFi) milked everything they possibly can out of the Stargate series (or have they?). But beyond that--what are they doing? This new show Sanctuary is a snooze. Did anyone watch Flash Gordon? Don't bother--it was horrible. And these movies of the week that bounce around between extremely overdone storylines (natural disaster, ancient mythos, mythical monster--repeat). God that's awful. And so what are they going to do next? Take the best show that's never on TV, and turn it into a soap opera. God help them. I certainly wouldn't be buying stock in SciFi Channel right now. Come to think of it, isn't NBC their parent company? That explains a whle hell of a lot--have you seen the crap NBC tried to pump out as television this past year? Without Steve Carell and Tina Fey, this network would have already imploded!

Why is good SciFi so hard to come by? Is it really too expensive to pull off? Is there not a wealth of material upon which to draw? And why doesn't SciFi channel stick to what it does best--continue to air existing top quality science fiction and find a way to get more of what's out there on the air. Here is a list of show's that I think would have new life and are natural fits with SciFi: Smallville, Space: 1999 (certanly not in primetime, but I'd Tivo it at any hour), Space: Above and Beyond, Babylon 5 (bring it back!), Crusade, etc. I know many shows have suffered because great science fiction opportunities have been flushed down the toilet by the big networks (Threshold, Firefly). And some attempts at SciFi should be left in the past where they belong (Surface, Seaquest, maybe Space:1999).

But come on SciFi. You can do better. Bablon 5 is the perfect example of how with creative vision, fresh new science fiction can still be pulled of on television without it being Star Trek or Star Wars. (Why exactly is The Clone Wars on Cartoon Network anyway?)

December 02 2008 at 4:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I guess I'm the only one who smells desperation in this move. SciFi hasn't launched a single series of any critical or commercial note other than BSG and now they are trying to stretch the long tail of the mother series to keep the stock up. I seriously doubt a lawyer based series is going to hold people who are used to gritty, space combat. No explosions? No relentlessly depressing Cylon occupations? No atmo jumps?

I bet the best from Caprica will be the worst bits from LA Law and Boston Legal... and without Steven Bochco or David E. Kelley to make it interesting.

December 02 2008 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This can be really good if it's well written. And the fact they're getting the original writers is fantastic, but now we need a showrunner. Someone commited to the project.
The pitch is really good, let's hope the series follows.

December 02 2008 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Paul McCall

"This is Sci Fi," they may have declared. "How about we try that kind of programming?"
Oh, I doubt that!

December 02 2008 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Battlestar Galactica was, by far, the best show on television.... but it was next to impossible to view it as it seemed to hardly ever be ON... I caught it in reruns... and loved it... but I wish they would run a regular season time slot.
(I am a 53 year old white woman... kind of techy... but I think more people would like the show if they could have seen it from the beginning... I loved to compare the show with current events...)

December 02 2008 at 12:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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