Caprica : 3 of 5

I think it was a great idea for the modern Battlestar Galactica series to come to a natural conclusion (even with its bizarre ending, which I enjoyed), but it doesn't surprise me that the creators immediately jumped on the prequel bandwagon to grab some more cash! I haven't been totally excited to see Caprica (I rented the pilot on DVD, but the actual TV series begins next year), but now that I've finally watched it, I think it paints a pretty interesting picture of the twelve colonies (before they are under a single government) and especially the creation of the original Cylon. The story is set 58 years before "the Fall" (when the Cylons nuke the colonies at the start of Battlestar Galactica), against a backdrop of a really cool, semi-futuristic (but quite believable) civilization with awesome architecture, beautiful sets, simple servant robots, and personal computers that can be folded up like a sheet of paper. Eric Stoltz plays a scientist working on a prototype Cylon for the military, whose daughter Zoe gets involved in a radical group called Soldiers of the One, dedicated to a monotheistic religion. The religious ideas that were so prominent in the original series are even more obvious in Caprica, since there's lots of talk and debate about polytheism versus monotheism (and actually, the story provides fantastically clever clues into why the Cylon race is so militantly monotheistic!). There's far too much plot to get into here, but it involves the death of Zoe and her avatar's survival in a virtual world, as well as the Tauron mafia (with a shady lawyer who's son turns out to be a certain Battlestar commander) who steals a Meta-Cognitive Processor so the prototype Cylon can "think". I really enjoyed the nods to the classic Battlestar Galactica, from the glimpse of a professional Pyramid game to the traditional Cylon red eye (with appropriate sound) and even the awesome voice (that actually says, "By your command")! This DVD version of the pilot has a surprising amount of nudity (that will probably get cut for TV), but overall I really enjoyed the tone, the acting, and the plot of Caprica (though I still harbor a twinge of skepticism), so of course I'm ready for the series in 2010.