Viewer’s guide to Caprica

Caprica, the prequel to Battlestar Galactica, premiered on the SyFy Channel.  It’s a rather conventional drama set in the science fiction universe of Battlestar Galactica.  I watched the pilot episode with my family, who were very confused.  They had watched the last three seasons of Galactica with me and, as any fan knows, Galactica was set aboard a starship in space.  It appeared futuristic because of the spacecraft and some of the technology involved.  However, it also looked rather pedestrian in that the Galactica’s technology looked no better than what we have now.  So, viewing Caprica makes it seem more advanced than Galactica, even thought the events in Caprica take place in Galactica’s past. In fact, the Galactica would not even exist during the time of Caprica.  The look of the new show is in stark contrast to the older show.  It is necessary, but, judging by the confusion from my family, it is not very clear.

Timeline

At the end of Battlestar Galactica, we are told that the remnants of humanity colonized our blue planet Earth 150,000 years ago.  So, both Battlestar Galactica and Caprica take place 150,000 years ago from OUR present time.  The events in Caprica take place 58 years prior to the events of Battlestar Galactica.  This means that aside from Commander Adama, most of the characters from Galactica won’t have been born, so it is improbable that we will see any of them in this show.  The older characters would be children and the younger characters should not exist. However, the ‘final five’ from Galactica SHOULD, at some point, make an appearance IF Caprica lasts more than a couple of seasons.

Adama’s Age

We learned in the Galactica mini-series that there was a first Cylon-Human war some forty years earlier, so that would place the first war some 18 years AFTER the start of the Caprica series.  Commander Adama is ten years old in the show, so he would be 28 years old when that war started.  However, during the Razor movie, we learn that Adama had just been assigned to the Galactica as a figher jock right at the end of the war, which we don’t know how long that war lasted.  Add 40 years to that and Adama is 68 years old. 

Caprica Technology

The technology we see in Caprica appears to be far more advanced than that seen in Galactica.  At first, this seems like an oversite.  Surely, in 58 years, technology would have surpassed what we saw in Caprica, yet it does not appear that way.  Well, this can be explained in several ways.  One, when humans were leaving the nuked colonies, they didn’t have much time to gather things like ‘computer paper’ or the stupid holographic glasses seen in Caprica.  They likely had little time to get anything, let alone pieces of their technology.  Certainly, some of it would be useless anyway since the vast computer networks that made it all possible would not exist in the human fleet.  Why bother with them?  Secondly, it is also very possible that the first war caused so much damage that, technologically, the civilizations were only just recovering to the point of Caprica prior to the war.  Look at how long it took Europe and Japan to recover from World War II.  And consider that in the second Cylon attack, they nuked everything.  Much of the technology would simply be destroyed.  There would be no capacity to manufacture it on board the ships in the fleet. They would have no raw materials, no way to make new parts, etc.  It makes perfect sense that what we saw in Galactica appears old.

I realized that, after explaining this to my family that:  it is best to watch the new show WITHOUT having seen much of Galactica OR to just not worry such matters and enjoy the show.  You can watch it without trying to tie it all together, like I did.  I also realized that I am thinking WAY too much about all of this.  I have become what I have derided others for becoming…a fanatic.  I absolutely LOVE Battlestar Galactica.  It is, perhaps, the best science-fiction/drama ever put on television. It is certainly better than Star Trek and Babylon 5, both of which I like a lot. Alas, though, I sound like of those Star Wars geeks who love to point out the problems with Jar-Jar Binks and why it does not belong in the Star Wars Universe.  Sad, yes.  I think I’m done here.  I have to rewatch both Razor and the mini-series now.  Till next time… 

PS…So, how was the show?  It was fine.  A bit on the light side, story wise.  It was mostly setup, which, I suppose, is necessary. We learn that Joseph Adama was not the righeous person that William Adama appeared to be.  We also learn that the Cylon-the ‘original’-was a mindless heap of metal until some industrial espionage occurs. The ending is a bit chilling and the show, overall, is interesting.  It is nowhere near as good as it’s parent but it is still better than the original Galactica of the 1970’s.  It is, essentially, a soap opera set in the Galactica universe. 

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