A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this spin-off series will appeal mostly to fans of its parent show, Battlestar Galactica. The storyline traces the origin of the Cylons, robotic villains that nearly annihilated the human race. There’s some drinking and smoking by central characters, and a few scenes feature sexual themes that make the show most age-appropriate for teens and up ... but the bigger issue is that the complex plot might not appeal to viewers who aren't steeped in Battlestar Galactica lore.
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- Kids say
What's the story?
CAPRICA, the prequel to Battlestar Galactica, traces the origins of the Cylons, the self-aware robotic race that nearly annihilates humanity. Set 58 years before the massive Cylon sneak attack that kicked off Battlestar, the spin-off shows us an advanced civilization that's much like Earth yet filled with subtle clues that it’s a very different place. Distraught over the tragic death of his daughter Zoe (Alessandra Torresani) in a terrorist explosion, technology magnate Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) refuses to accept that she's gone forever. But Zoe had a secret life -- as a computer genius and a member of a violent religious cult -- and she may not be as gone as he thinks. Zoe had created a powerful computer program that stored her essence electronically as an avatar in a virtual world. Working through his grief, Graystone discovers the software version of his beloved daughter and tries to transplant her essence into one of his company’s most secret projects: a highly advanced robot designed to wage war.
Is it any good?
This is a very different series from Battlestar. One is a thoughtful action show, the other is a slow-moving tragedy. Caprica can only end with destruction, so the question is how to make the trip interesting to viewers. In addition to the Graystone narrative, the series follows the Adama family, led by Joseph (Esai Morales), a lawyer who lost his wife and daughter in the same explosion that claimed Zoe. His son William will grow up to play a critical role in the Colonial fleet.
These threads are interesting, but they don’t always mesh into a complete drama. The plot sometimes doesn’t seem to have enough story to sustain itself. In trying to appeal to a wider audience, the show might come off as too tedious for its core base of die-hard Battlestar fans.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about parallel worlds. How is the culture of Caprica similar to Earth? How does it differ? Why do you think the creators have tried to make a world that is almost, but not quite, like ours?
Do you think this series will appeal to people who aren't fans of Battlestar Galactica? Do you think it’s hard to create a spin-off series that includes enough of the flavor that made the original show popular yet can stand on its own? Do you think this show succeeds?
How does this show compare to Battlestar? Will it appeal to the same audiences?