(Or, Why did SyFy drop Caprica?)
I’ve always found history fascinating, particularly military history, not just because there’s tanks and other cool, manly gadgets, but because history is really about people acting and reacting in the face of enormous social currents and events. I don’t mean to be cavalier in the face of war’s brutality and devastation, but it’s a crucible that brings out the best and worst in human nature.
I enjoy speculative fiction – mostly sci fi – for the same reason. There is immense creativity and detailed imagination that goes into “world building”. I can’t help but respect that. But good spec fiction does the same thing: it projects those huge currents forward, creates new cataclysmic events, then drops people in the middle. Take Gibson’s Mirrorshade Trilogy, the re-imagined BSG, Fringe, the current miniseries “The Walking Dead” or the fascinating BSG prequel “Caprica”… regardless of whether it’s emergent AIs and virtual reality, a robot rebellion, alternate dimensions, a zombie uprising, or social and religious tension, they were/are about people. The science, the tidal forces of nature and society, the events, are the backdrop, the catalyst, that brings out primal elements of their nature, and these characters either grow or shrivel according to their decisions.
SyFy dropped Caprica because of poor ratings. Come again? I found the show extremely well written and acted, very insightful, and thoroughly engaging. Characters struggling with family tensions, death, grief, religion, advanced technologies, terrorism, corporate intrigue, organized crime… what’s not to draw you in? Being a Christian, the monotheist/polytheist tension certainly got my attention, but I found it’s one of the few shows that actually stimulates cerebral activity. Supposedly there wasn’t enough space ships and explosions, (and sexy blonds) for the “young adult male demographic”. What a shame.
Thankfully, a Canadian network, SPACE, will be carrying the rest of the season.