DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Caprica - DVD Review

 



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</script></div>{/googleAds}With the first rumblings of a 'Battlestar Galactica' spin off being mentioned a few years back now it's been a long wait to see what form it might take. But as the highly successful sci fi re-imagining came to a close, 'Caprica' was finally announced for pilot. With its progenitor gaining more critical acclaim in its four seasons than any other science fiction series in history, this spin off was always going to have its work cut out for it: coming out from a very large shadow. So have they done it?

Yep. First let's get what might sound like a disclaimer out of the way (but isn't intended as such). If you are expecting the same kind of show as 'Battlestar', then purge that expectation. The presentation and subject matter of this series is completely different. If 'Battlestar' was a grand space adventure with flavours of 'Wagon Train' and a mythological journey its core milieu, then 'Caprica' is a drama series, steeped heavily in an unmistakable horror tradition with a poignant political allegory for good measure.

Following the patriarchs of two families 50 years before what we know, the Graystones and the Adamas, 'Caprica' gives birth to the beginning of the end for a planet we saw toasted all the way back in 2003. Daniel Graystone (Eric Stolz) and Joseph Adama (Esai Morales) are two fathers with one thing in common: they have just lost their daughters in a horrific attack. But that is where the similarities end. Graystone is a wealthy inventor, and after his daughter's death quickly begins to resemble some kind of Dr. Frankenstein; while Adama is a moral man, working in an immoral vocation as lawyer to a bunch of mobsters. Fate draws these men together, and through circumstances motivated by coping with their loss, the first Cylon is created.

The story sets up what is to come beautifully, has primal concepts driving its narrative that anyone can relate to, and presents two very faulted men at the beginning of a transformation. As with 'Battlestar', the allegorical elements are topical and relevant, but that's where the similarities end.

For those whose main attraction to 'Battlestar' was the militaristic/action driven elements, it's fair to say they might be missed in this new series. The core mission here seems to be the exploration of people, both individually and as a race, on a path to self destruction. It is very much a ground-based drama, no space battles (as yet) or man against machine yet just a lot of human angst. All very depressing sounding stuff, I'm sure. But although the character is not there yet, Joseph Adama looks to be the one to look for hope in; the man who will inspire others down the track. The series is definitively darker in tone: the violence is more graphic, as is the nudity and adult concepts presented. There are many subplots and underlying subjects that look set to make for some very compelling television come 2010.

The actors are, as their predecessors, class acts all the way. Especially impressive are the teenagers. It's nice to see some intelligent, non-clichéd young people with something real to play. Eric Stolz has a difficult challenge in his grieving father/mad scientist character, but manages to elicit sympathy nonetheless. It will be interesting to see if this is maintained (or even asked for) come the first season.

The music is worth a special mention, being truly evocative and a big part of the pilot's tone. The visuals are not so disparate to 'Battlestar' (despite the maker's insistence they are) you still feel the two shows are connected. The special effects are as understated as the new show, but no less effective.

In summation, this is a cracking good start and a promise of more quality episodic TV to come.

 


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
4 stars
4 stars
DVD Experience
4 stars

DVDDVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.78:1 (Alternate Wide Screen)
Subtitles: English SDH
Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; deleted scenes; audio commentary; video blogs; "Ghost Hunters" bonus episode.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Feature-length commentary track with Jeffrey Reiner executive producer/writer Ronald D. Moore and executive producer David Eick.

Featurettes

  • What the Frak is Caprica?
  • The Director's Process
  • The V Club
  • The Birth of a Cylon
  • Video Blogs

Deleted Scenes

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging

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