So, in one fell swoop, "Caprica" is done, ending on some awesome, surprising, mysterious notes that maybe we should've seen coming and some that seemed as if they were pulled out of a hat. Regardless of the genesis of the ideas, and whether or not they were planned or fell into place late, there were some very cool parting gifts.
Syfy aired all of the episodes in one block, which was fine for those of us that could sit and watch that many hours back-to-back. The final five (ironic and full circle, BSGers!) episodes — which included "Blowback," "The Dirteaters," "The Heavens Will Rise," "Here Be Dragons" and "Apotheosis" — helped our favorite characters develop in ways we knew they would and some that might not have been expected. If you missed it, there's spoilers here and you should go watch them!
Clarice Willow (Polly Walker): She'd become a definite focal point as the spiritual timebomb and also the one moving the action forward most. In the final episodes, we see her plan to blow up a pyramid stadium full of people begin to take shape under the guidance of her husbands Olaf (Panou) and Nestor (Scott Porter). But things turn dark after she realizes that Amanda Graystone (Paula Malcomson) has been spying on her, having already killed her new-mom wife Mar-Beth (Anita Torrance) due to some misinformation thrown at her by Agent Duram. In the end, despite losing husbands and friends, her faith seems as strong as ever, though it takes a different path: fighting for the rights of robots to be recognized as sentient beings. We're not sure of her ultimate fate after she meets up with ...
The spectre of "Caprica" continues to hover after its cancellation, as word came Friday that the final episodes of the series will air in a five-hour block Jan. 4, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Syfy.
So we'll get to see "Blowback, "The Dirteaters," "The Heavens Will Rise," "Here Be Dragons" and "Apotheosis" -- episode titles according to IMDB -- and we'll hope that it brings some measure of closure to the show.
Fans didn't receive much closure from the network, though. Through a Save Caprica campaign, $2,350 was raised and 2,880 apples were sent to NBC Universal head honcho Steve Burke in an effort to keep the show on the air. Sometimes fan protest works; this time it didn't. The network went ahead and allowed the produce to be donated to City Harvest in the name of Syfy and NBC Universal.
Feeding stomachs, but no longer our imagination. Oh well, onward to "Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome."
-- Jevon Phillips
Photo: Zoe Graystone (Alessandra Torresani) and her apple. Credit: Syfy
As a prequel spinoff, "Caprica" has tried in vain to capture the imagination of both new viewers and "Battlestar Galactica" stalwarts -- but its journey toward the first Cylon war has been cut short.
Syfy has decided not to renew the series for a second season, cutting short the possibility of seeing how cylons get to fully develop (at least in this series). The recently announced "Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome" will have to carry on the storyline. Here's the release that the network's publicity group sent out:
The remaining first run episodes of "Caprica" -- airing Tuesdays at 10/9c -- will be removed from the schedule as of next Tuesday, November 2. These final five episodes of the season will be re-scheduled to air at a to-be-announced time in the first quarter of 2011, and will conclude the run of the series.
"We appreciate all the support that fans have shown for ‘Caprica’ and are very proud of the producers, cast, writers and the rest of the amazing team that has been committed to this fine series," said Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Original Programming, Syfy and Co-Head of Content for Universal Cable Productions. "Unfortunately, despite its obvious quality, ‘Caprica’ has not been able to build the audience necessary to justify a second season."
A detailed schedule change with complete and updated listings information will be issued tomorrow morning (Thursday, October 28).
At least we do get to see the remainder of the current season. The collection of actors -- Eric Stolz, Esai Morales, Paula Malcomson, Polly Walker, Alessandra Torresani, Magda Apowicz, Sasha Roiz and more -- were solid, but apparently could never capture the Starbuck/Apollo/Adama magic of the original.
-- Jevon Phillips
Photo: Esai Morales, left, and Eric Stoltz in "Caprica." Credit: Syfy
The women often drive "Caprica," but this "False Labor" episode brought the men to the forefront while giving us another small glimpse into the home life of polygamous Clarice Willow through the eyes of Amanda Graystone. And a cylon fulfills its purpose.
No sooner is the new "Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome" series announced than we get another quick look at lil William Adama and the man who is seemingly the most influential in his life. Not daddy Joseph, but good (or bad) ol' uncle Sam. We knew of Sam's love for Tauron, but did we ever figure him for a rebel sympathizer and a gun runner? The latter of those got him in a bit of trouble with a rival and got his comrade killed. Of course, you know that Sam won't take this lying down and was ordered by the Guatrau to do something about it.
The Guatrau also makes his presence and power known this episode, exerting control over Graystone Industries with the Ha'la'tha out in the open in the boardroom. He even overrules Daniel Graystone, CEO of the company, on the simple matter of using his likeness to sell the company's new holoband grief relievers.
Daniel, working with a holoband/V-World version of Amanda, has begun to make a breakthrough in terms of making them as lifelike as possible, while Cyrus begins to see discrepancies in the company's books. We have to wonder how long the Daniel/Ha'la'tha union will go on before there's a blowup.
On Friday, we told you about Syfy’s plans to air “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome," a two-hour spinoff pilot that follows a young William Adama. Executive producer David Eick spoke with The Times’ resident BSG connoisseur Geoff Boucher over on our sister blog Hero Complex about the project. Fans can expect a connection to “Caprica” and “BSG” and loads of new new characters.” Check out the full Q&A session here.
Most viewers (OK, I) expected the showdown between Zoe 2.0 and Tamara to be a knock-down, drag-out fight that would be the center of this "Things We Lock Away" episode of "Caprica." Well, there was fighting aplenty, with chains and swords and pipes, but that bloodshed may not have been the defining, or even most violent, moment.
So, yeah, Zoe found Tamara. Of course she'd be in New Cap City, the place of virtual decadence and depravity. It was not exactly the meeting I expected, with two point-blank shotgun blasts to the chest instead of sisterly bonding.
From the moment Zoe 2.0 walked in the arena, we knew there would be a spectacular ... wait. She was shot, stabbed, kicked and beaten with chains -- and she didn't fight back? The Zoe I know would have sliced up those digital thugs. But, as this episode tried to prove a few times, Zoe 2.0 is not who we met in the first episode. Philosophical moment: Why is Zoe 2.0 not original Zoe, taking into account that they are physically the same and have the same memories (on V-World)? Zoe had a plan, and Zoe 2.0 was just part of it. Experiences and our reactions to them shape us as people just as much as genetics (real or fake). Seeing Zoe 2.0's "birth," and Zoe's statement ("You're a person with restricted movement, but you're still real."), shed a bit of light on both of them.
And although we learned a bit about Zoe 2.0, we didn't find out much at all about Zoe's friend Lacey. Pushed around and thrown into a dingy cellar by Clarice Willow's minions, Lacey was a bundle of nerves and defiance the entire episode. She smartly realized that she was being drugged by Clarice's clan and rebelled against eating and drinking. In the end, though, she cooperated with Clarice, imparted some key information about the possible whereabouts (the always-seen infinity pin?) of Zoe 2.0's original programming, and was informed that she's getting to fulfill her original wish: a ticket to Gemenon. Without Zoe, though, I wonder what Lacey's ultimate goal is now?
The women (only the corporeal ones, sorry Zoe 2.0) drove the action in this "Retribution" episode of "Caprica," and -- I may as well say it again -- it's the most movement that the show has seen in its entire run.
Even among a talented ensemble, Polly Walker stood out as Clarice Willow, and though this could change, "Caprica's" center has shifted over the last couple of episodes. Clarice is now the driving force, though surely Zoe and maybe Daniel will step back in at some point. Last week, she was introducing Apotheosis and consolidating power, while this week she showed us what this power meant. It's always good when storylines converge, too, as hers and Lacey's do at the end.
But I just skipped ahead ... First, there was the botched bombing by Lacey and the Barnabus lackeys. It was no one's fault really, just poor planning. It just gave us the chance to meet the victims and targets of Clarice's retribution. A television in the bathtub and a fatal meeting in a rain-soaked alley later, and half of those who tried to kill Clarice are dead. Clarice's line, "I forgive you, but it's God you have to worry about," as she pushed the TV in the water was ruthless and awesome.
Meanwhile, Clarice's friend Dr. Amanda Graystone is waking up -- in so many ways. She's still a bit off to me -- she was smoking in her hospital bed when Daniel went to see her! -- but it seems that of all of the characters, she's the one that's actually figuring things out for herself.
"Caprica" has returned, almost six months after we watched Robo Zoe driving her way toward a fiery explosion, Lacy going full on into the Soldiers of The One, Joseph dealing with losing his daughter again, Clarice avoiding death, Amanda stepping off a ledge, and Daniel losing it all to a rival business tycoon.
In "Unvanquished," they don't waste any time updating us, and they make it clear that everyone has become more active in the events that will lead to the Cylon war/rebellion and to "Battlestar Galactica." It's like they all got a raise and a title change in the "Caprica" corporation, and it begins with Clarice Willow.
Her presentation of Apotheosis, her digital Heaven, as Polly Walker called it, to the monotheistic leaders on Gemenon was pretty effective as she demonstrated the ruthlessness of the STO by bombing a stadium full of people, and the possibilities of eternal life through the holobands.
"She certainly has a way with words," said her mentor, Obal, who was later killed after conspiring to have her murdered. The Mother (nice going, Meg Tilly) apparently flipped the deal with Obal, favoring Clarice, and even meeting with her. Clarice was given control over all of the STO on Caprica, a big step up for the school headmistress.
"Caprica" is back tonight with its Season 1.5 premiere episode, "Unvanquished," on Tuesday. We should all be used to the crazy Syfy programming schedules, but the show was rumored to not start until January 2011. Luckily we won't have to wait that long, and scenes like this New Cap City meeting featuring a samurai-like Zoe Graystone (Alessandra Toressani) should get fans back on board quickly.
The Syfy video has a couple of other promos for the upcoming season and recaps as well. In case you missed them at Comic-Con, we got video of Alessandra T. and Mr. James Marsters here and here.
Recently, we got to very briefly chat with a member of the cast that we weren't able to get to at the beginning of the season: Sister Clarice herself, Polly Walker.
Walker has infused Clarice with a sense of purpose, dedication to the point of being a zealot, and downright scariness that she told us expands and continues in this next half of the season. As for Ms. Walker, all the talk of holobands and cylons and V-World are not exactly exciting to her. She even went so far as to call them "horrible."
"I'm not a technical person ... I do well to send an e-mail. But it is interesting that I play a character who wants to create a digital heaven."
Walker, who does believe in God but is not a "particularly religious person," didn't do any specific research for the role.
"Like any actor, I just translated what was put in front of me," said the actress.
Walker also tells us that for this second half of the season, "fans are definitely going to see the action quotient go up. Characters are more active, and Clarice graduates beyond the school."
-- Jevon Phillips
Photo: Polly Walker as Sister Clarice Willow on "Caprica." Credit: Syfy
A wild Bruce Campbell at "Burn Notice," creators drinking shots at the "Caprica" panel and the epic dual delight of Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams gracing the stage. Over at Hero Complex, they're blowing out the Comic-Con coverage and have some television tidbits worth mentioning.
The "Caprica" panel, moderated by Hero Complex's very own Geoff Boucher, dealt with themes of religion, polygamous marriage and what it meant to be human — all of which were represented in some fashion on the series — with panelists including executive producer David Eick and executive producer and creator Ronald Moore and actors Alessandra Torresani, Sasha Roiz, James Marsters and Magda Apanowicz. Marsters, who received a huge ovation, stopped to chat.
Of course, the deep conversation might have been helped by the fact that Eick and Moore opted to do a couple of shots from what appeared to be a bottle of tequila to kick off the festivities. (Sure, it's early in San Diego, but it's got to be after 6 o'clock on Tauron.)
The first session, which was moderated by series co-creator Robert Cooper, included actors Robert Carlyle, Alaina Huffman, David Blue and Ming-Na. Blue fielded the most questions from the Comic-Con crowd — probably because he was so much like his character, Eli, who was a lot like attendees themselves: a gamer, a fan of genre movies and TV and prone to making ironic pop-culture references.
"There are probably 8 million Elis running around here," said Blue, who acknowledged that he, too, was a big gaming aficionado. "I wish I had more time to play, but I don't want to die," said Blue, a pleading statement directed at Cooper.
"Stargate Universe" will return in January, though it's unclear when new episodes of "Caprica" will make their way to Syfy. As David Eick said, "The network did pick up a third season. We're just still working on the second."
Joss and J.J. - Two great tastes that taste great together
There may not be two bigger heroes for many of the Comic-Con faithful than Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams.
The mood was set for most of the crowd as songs from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer's" musical episode and "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" played over the Hall H loudspeakers. The announcer rattled off a list of the duo's separate accomplishments, each cheered to varying degrees, but the loudest roar came when Whedon and Abrams walked out to a packed house as part of Entertainment Weekly's "Visionaries" series, answering a variety of questions from the audience and from moderator Jeff "Doc" Jensen.
The pair first met when Whedon was doing "Buffy" and Abrams was working on "Felicity" at the WB. A mutual admiration and respect was apparent, and as they answered questions, you could see their differing styles, their similarities and their defense and championing of the freedom to tell your own story.
"Burn Notice's" Bruce Campbell: I'm sexy? You're paid ... now where's my TV movie
When Bruce Campbell hands out money from the stage -- in return for compliments from the audience on his sexiness -- you know the Comic-Con "Burn Notice" panel is going well.
That was the case as the "Burn Notice" squad -- including Campbell, director-actor Tim Matheson, executive producer and writer Alfredo Barrios Jr. and series creator Matt Nix -- took the stage in Ballroom 20. Moderated by Chris Vance, who played the villain Gilroy in the show, the panel was lively, mostly spurred on by Campbell's antics.
Breaking news: A "Burn Notice" executive came out on stage to announce that Campbell would be starring in a TV movie that would explore the life of his character, Sam Axe, before he retired, including his time in the military. It was an exclusive because, Nix explained, "We didn't know if we'd even be announcing it an hour ago."
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Those of us who watch Syfy a lot are kind of used to the network's midseason shenanigans, but hopefully it's not 2011 when we next hear from the cast of "Caprica" -- because it has hooked many of us. We were worried about the "soap opera" pronouncements. Will it be "As the World(s) Turn"? Will it stay true to what we all know (which is to say not much) to be the historical accounts of "Battlestar Galactica"? And, put simply, will it be as good? Not as many slow, dramatic zoom-ins, but it has soap opera qualities. With "BSG's" creators driving it, history should be no problem. And as for the whole comparison thing ... it's a very different show, but a good one nonetheless.
In this "End of Line" episode, these are the midseason cliffhangers and tie-ups: Robo Zoe finally escapes the lab after killing Philomon accidentally (probably?) when they decide to erase her chip. Joseph Adama, abusing the Amp drug, finds Tamara, and she says for him to stop looking for her -- then kicks him out of V World permanently. Lacy pretty much joins the STO by pressing a button to kill Sister Clarice. Sister Clarice escapes death because she got out of the car to look at an over-the-edge Amanda Graystone, who's about to commit suicide on a bridge. She's been pushed to suicide because she confronted Daniel Graystone earlier about his theft of the MCP chip and the resultant deaths of two men. He doesn't say yes or no, and earlier in the day decided to sell his beloved C Bucs pyramid franchise to get money for his company. Intercut throughout all of this action, Robo Zoe is on the run in a truck, being pursued by airborne law enforcement. In the end, she crashes the car and it blows up.
The Associated Press had a little sit-down with "Caprica" Executive Producer David Eick and writer/co-creator Ron Moore to discuss the mid-season finale and the evolution of some of the show's characters.
It's interesting to note that Lacy Rand will be more active in the STO. I'm wondering if it's all just to make sure that she gets robo-Zoe to Gemenon: Will she be following a love interest or will there really be a shift in her core beliefs? And the tidbit on Sister Clarice becoming a more physical player over the metaphysical displays that she's shown so far is not surprising, but it is a welcome change. I think we need to see the ugly side of the STO (discounting the train bombing in the beginning).