Friday, November 12, 2010

Airlocking Caprica. Finally. (Or, "All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.")

Never yield to remorse, but at once tell yourself: remorse would simply mean adding to the first act of stupidity a second.
[Friedrich Nietzsche, The Wanderer and his Shadow]

Battlestar Galactica will never die. But, as is inevitably the case with all Eternal Returnage, it will sometimes disappoint.

Caprica started off magnificently. The movie thrilled me beyond my wildest expectations, which, in all honesty, were not that wild. I dared not hope for too much.

In fact, and I hate to admit this, after the (DANGER SPOILER ALERT) return of Starbuck in the Season 3 finale, I thought that BSG Seasons 4 & 4.5 were unfocused and sometimes even incoherent, and, alas, not all that compelling. So much so that when Caprica (the movie) came out on DVD in April, 2009, I didn't bother watching it until August.

But then, like Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, I suddenly found myself knocked clean off my horse, lying on the ground, the taste of dust in my mouth, blinded by the light. The scales having been removed from mine eyes, I proceeded forthwith to re-watch nearly the entire series (I skipped some of Season 1 & 2, but I did once again worship at the shrine of the glorious Miniseries That Restarted It All). And this time the final season was revealed unto me as a Triumph of the Reimagination. Hallelujah. Thank the Gods.

And then I watched The Plan. And, lo: I did see appear before me a great Vision, and yea verily it was given me to understand that that which had been thought to be the future was the past, and that which had appeared to be the last was, in truth, Before The Beginning. So say we all. Or, well, something like that.

By late January I had finally worked my way through the whole story. It all made sense now. I was ready.

After the first episode I was seriously in denial. My wife pretty much hated it. "No," I insisted, "it was pretty good. It'll get better." Ha. Was the first hour of the miniseries "pretty good". Did it leave me hoping it would improve? No. At 3 minutes and 12 seconds into the miniseries, Number Six leans over the desk of a nameless Colonial officer and asks him, "Are you alive?" Three hours later you're not wondering if it will get better, you're begging for more. Please please please.

The really telling failure of Caprica was it's inability to create any compelling characters. Zoe and Lacy and Sister Clarice and Sam Adama are kind of interesting, but if you put them them all together they don't amount to one Romo Lampkin, or even a Tory Foster.

Appropriately so, BSG was a veritable pantheon of truly godlike Characters. Most TV shows don't have even one character that can match Starbuck, or Colonel Tigh, or Gaius Baltar. In fact, how many characters of the stature of Admiral Adama, or Galen Tyrol, or Number Eight, or Number Six do you ever encounter on the boob tube?

Even the minor characters shone incredibly brightly in the BSG constellation. The glorious bastard lawyer, Romo Lampkin, has already been mentioned, as well as the truly, madly, deeply evil Tory Foster. But there's also the charmingly urbane sociopath Number One, the angel-voiced Gaeta, the mysterious Ellen Tigh, and the beautifully cunning D'anna Biers. Hell it didn't even matter that two of the central characters (President Roslin and Apollo) were consistently as annoying as a two-headed Wesley Crusher.

Oh well.

It will probably take a while, but hopefully someone will come back to this again and do it right. The groundwork has been laid. This really could happen, especially considering the checkered prehistory that BSG already had going into the “reimagined” series.