Excuse me while I ruminate nerdily for a moment…

So I am a couple of weeks behind the crowd on this one (reading every article I can find about THE GLORIOUS SUMMER OLYMPICS is distracting me from my entertainment news), but SciFi is showing the first official promo for Caprica:


I am excited for this, as I would be for anything Battlestar Galactica/Ron Moore-related (and hey! Paula Malcomson!), but isn’t there something about a prequel that just isn’t as anticipation-pumping as a sequel? I mean, wouldn’t you have preferred if George Lucas had made Star Wars episodes 7, 8 and 9 years ago instead of showing us the effing Clone Wars and emerging eeeevil of Darth Vader as if anyone really cares? The question of examining how something came to be, when we already know that the something in question is awesome in and of itself, with origin unknown, is risky business. You can get incredible results, like when Lost decided to expand the character of Benjamin Linus and explore a backstory for him that wasn’t originally meant to be such a big part of the series, or when Christopher Nolan decided we should all really get Bruce Wayne and gave us Batman Begins. Even Smallville has had several moments of true greatness in its presentation of a fairly chilling descent into crazy evilness for Lex Luthor, who in their story started off as not such a bad guy. But for all of these examples of the right way to present an after-the-fact origin story and make it seem truly relevant, we have a Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, or a Gaspard Ulliel as young Hannibal Lecter, feeling like dead weight.

Now, it seems Caprica goes back far enough in time that even the familiar characters will only be known because we’ve heard talk of them, not because we’ve actually seen them, on Battlestar. We’re going to explore the origin of the Cylons, and how humanity came to create them. And even though I am looking forward to Ron Moore’s attempt to do something really different within the sci fi genre, I have to ask myself whether I even want to know everything about how Cylons were born. The very concept of a Cylon is like a character in itself on Battlestar, and aren’t they sort of perfect how they are? Ambiguous about what they were doing out in space all that time, and how they accomplished their evolution? Offering little explanation of how they arrived at their “One True God” religion? Do I really want more than those creepy, haunting opening words: “The Cylons were created by man. They rebelled. They evolved.”? Seems like giving us any more info at all about how Cylons tick, or even just how humanity originally wanted them to tick, might undermine the lovely, disturbing enigma that has been such a pervasive theme of the series. Do we need this origin story? Or should the Cylons stay less like Nolan’s Bruce Wayne and more like Nolan’s Joker, with the focus on how things are, instead of how they came to be?


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Other projects:

Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

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