This prequel to the modern Battlestar Galactica TV series (50 years before the events in the mini-series) follows attorney Joseph Adama (Esai Morales), father of Admiral William Adama, and Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz), the head of a large corporation on the verge of a cybernetic breakthough. They share a tragedy that sets a series of events into motion that will effect all of mankind.
Fans of the action-packed soap opera that is the Ron Moore Battlestar Galactica might be disappointed that the two-hour Caprica pilot is a little heavy on the soap. However, a slow opening builds to a riveting second half that shows a lot of promise for the coming series.
Like Galactica, Caprica delves into a number of social, political, and moral issues, with a large dose of familial relationships thrown in. The formula worked well against the backdrop of war in Galactica, but whether it can sustain itself week after week in the much calmer setting of Caprica remains to be seen.
Caprica struggles to get going because it has to develop some rather unsympathetic characters, mainly Daniel Graystone's rebellious daughter Zoe (Alessandra Toreson) and her band of angst-ridden friends. In case you hated the "rave" scene in Matrix Reloaded, be aware that you get it again in Caprica. Watching these kids hanging out in a "virtual reality" rave seems dated and kills the story progression, but after a terrorist bombing brings death to the Adama and Graystone families, the focus thankfully shifts from the WB rejects to the grown ups.
Once Morales and Stoltz take over, the story picks up. Neither actor has quite the presence Edward James Olmos has nor can chew up scenery like James Callis, but their understated, tortured performances elevate the entire presentation. Watching these two march toward fate, battling a number of social issues along the way, should make for an interesting, if not riveting, series.
Knowing this is merely the first act of a much larger story should make you more forgiving of some of the pilot's shortcomings, but a strong cast and some superb visual effects make this an enjoyable drama. The final scene will have BSG fans cheering.
The "I'm Not Zooey Deschanel" Award goes to Alessandra Toreson.
The very rare "Sci-Fi Boobies" Award goes to a random actress, who provides the first fully visible topless scene in Galactica history. She'll be edited out of the TV version, but I'm sure her parents are proud.
The "Where Have I Seen Her Before" Award goes to Polly Walker, who plays the head of the boarding school (try Rome and Patriot Games).
The "Best Line" award goes to a certain toaster: "By Your Command." Hell, yeah. (Review by Vic Medina of Collectorama)