Caprica thoughts

Kam and I have been watching and enjoying Caprica.

We watched the pilot months ago, back when it came out on DVD, and the TiVo has been faithfully recording new episodes as they've aired, but we haven't had time to sit down and watch them until recently.

Last weekend, we skimmed through the pilot again to refresh our memories, then watched the first regular episode. Tonight, we watched two more, so we've now watched up through "Gravedancing," and we're now five episodes behind. So if you comment on this entry, please don't include spoilers for those more recent episodes.

I'll avoid specific spoilers for these first four episodes in this entry, but I will say some general stuff that could be construed as spoilery for people who really don't want to know anything about the series before seeing it.

We're enjoying it a fair bit. For me, it doesn't have quite the amazingness level of BSG, but it does a lot of things really well. It's dark—a lot of focus on terrorism and grief and organized crime, as well as the moral decay/decadence of society, among other things—but it's also fairly often funny, and occasionally moving.

I like most of the characters, and most of the actors, quite a bit. I'm particularly pleased to see Eric Stoltz doing a good job as Daniel Graystone; I don't think I've seen anything he's been in since 2 Days in the Valley, even though I've liked him ever since Some Kind of Wonderful.

I especially like that there are a fair number of wordless or near-wordless scenes, in which characters' facial expressions and sometimes body language carry the scene. Though of course I also like the dialogue.

The computery stuff doesn't always make sense, unfortunately, but I try (mostly successfully) not to let that bother me. And to be fair, it's mostly better than the computery stuff in most other science fiction shows.

And I'm still intrigued by the premise and approach of the show, because I don't think anyone's ever done anything like it. Daily ordinary life on another planet. It could almost be set on near-future Earth, except that the mythology and worldbuilding of the reimagined BSG are deeply woven into the fabric of the show. But there hasn't yet been a single scene set in space (I don't think). We even have a hard time noticing when the show is back while fast-forwarding through commercials, because there aren't any space scenes or starships or people in military gear. It doesn't look or feel like what we've learned that science fiction shows are like.

For that matter, I can't think of very many books that do this kind of thing. There are certainly some, including some classics of the field; but most science fiction that I encounter is set on Earth, or somewhere with a direct connection to Earth, or in an interstellar far future with lots of traveling between worlds. I think science fiction set in the daily lives of people on another planet, with no mention of Earth, is pretty rare even in prose.

Anyway, all in all, I like the show quite a bit, and am looking forward to seeing more of it.

(Now that Leverage and Dr. Who are between seasons and I've given up on White Collar, this and FlashForward are the only shows I'm currently watching.)

I'm now gonna say some minor semi-spoilery stuff about two of the prominent characters.

First: I had to roll my eyes a bit at what appeared at first to be the evil lesbian who recruits kids. But now, a couple more episodes along, I see that I misunderstood: actually she's an evil bisexual monotheist polygamist who recruits kids (and there seem to me to be some hints that she has a little bit too much interest in those kids, if you know what I mean, nudge nudge).

On the other hand, most of the rest of her family appear to be perfectly ordinary well-adjusted non-evil polygamists, which pleases me greatly, especially the scene we just saw with four of them in bed together.

And here's the other thing that more than makes up for any problems I had with whatsername:

For three episodes, we've seen Sam be a tough-guy enforcer. He may have a bit of a heart of gold where his nephew is concerned, but he breaks windows, he steals stuff, he beats people up and probably kills them.

And then we had a casual scene in which Sam and his nephew (William) are sitting around chatting casually with another guy, and over the course of several casually spoken lines, we learn that Sam and this other guy are married to each other. And it's so casual that I actually missed it at first. It's not hidden at all, right out there in plain sight. I don't think I've ever seen a gay relationship on a science fiction show handled like this, and after the annoying near-total lack of explicitly gay characters on Galactica, it was a big relief, and really refreshing. We had to rewind and rewatch that scene. Very excellently done.

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