(Universal) 2009, Not Rated

Maybe it’s because the fad hasn’t worn off, but prequels seem to be far less objectionable than sequels. It makes sense in that with a prequel you have to be somewhat loyal to an end point, whereas a sequel has to make up a bunch of new stuff that might or might not live up to the original. So is the situation the producers of Battlestar Galactica found themselves in when their series recently wrapped up. The notion of Carpica telling the back-story to BSG was formulated in the latter’s second season and came to fruition late last year. The pilot is released now as a DVD with the show set to debut in early 2010. So far so good for BSG mastermind Ronald D. Moore. Though it’s sometimes a bit hard to follow, Caprica really stands on its own merits. Along the way, Moore and his gang have sought to keep the basic elements that made BSG work so well and lose the less attractive aspects. In other words, less outer space, more intrigue. Indeed, the only reason this doesn’t take place on Earth right now, or in the near future, is fidelity to the beginning of BSG. Eric Stolz and Esai Morales are the patriarchs of the two families at the center of the drama. Both have lost family members to a terrorist attack. Those losses are the kernel that will grow into the mechanized Cylon menace. Using the old Star Trek playbook, there’s loads of cleverly disguised socio-political commentary, which is woven in almost seamlessly. It’s science fiction for people who don’t like the genre … and for those who love it. Grade: A

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