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Preview: ‘Caprica’ Moves Into Regular Episodes With Shocks, Thrills

Michael Hinman takes a non-spoiler look at the first episode after the pilot

It was real hard last week to write a “preview” of a pilot episode that, by Syfy’s count, had actually already been viewed by 1.5 million people. But I did it, and I was happy with it, and no one wrote and complained about it.

But tonight, we head into new territory, and this is where we’re going to get a make or break when it comes to the “Battlestar Galactica” spinoff series “Caprica.”

It’s been a short amount of time since the explosion that killed the daughter of Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) and the wife and daughter of Joseph Adama (Esai Morales), who until then went by the name of Joseph Adams. Life has become a little better, which is does once a tragedy like this isn’t so fresh in our minds. But time doesn’t heal all wounds.

Where Daniel seemed to carry the brunt of the grieving, he has been able to bury himself back into his work and his routine, and now it’s time for Amanda (Paula Malcomson) to pick up the mantle there as she tries to discover what really happened in that explosion, and if Zoe (Alessandra Torresani) had anything to do with it.

In the meantime, Zoe’s avatar, which has been trapped in the prototype Cylon, is trying to figure out what to do next, and reaches out to Zoe’s friend Lacy (Magda Apanowicz) for help.

This is a very important episode for “Caprica” because many fans have had weeks and even months to ponder what they saw in the pilot, and what should or should not come after first. When we talked to some of the people behind the scenes of “Caprica” way back when they were shooting the pilot, there was concern even then that showing the pilot outside of an immediate followup in a second episode could be tough on this show, and there were worries that if the two were separated, it might be hard to retain an audience for this heavily arced show.

But I hope viewers give “Caprica” a chance and tune in tonight and next week. Pilots are difficult because it’s a lot of expository and setup. But we really get a good feel of what “Caprica” is going to be like in this first episode, and I have to say, I love what I see. “Caprica” is a marvel not just for the eyes and ears (with spectacular visuals and amazing music from Bear McCreary), but will really have you thinking and contemplating for hours after this episode.

Plus, there’s a very cool twist that you don’t want to miss.

Don’t take my word for it. Tune in tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Syfy.

What Worked

After seeing the pilot, I was a little worried that we would waste the beauty and talent of Torresani by making her simply voice a big CGI Cylon. But the producers found a creative way around that using what I like to call the Quantum Leap approach.

Everyone on Caprica sees Zoe as a big metal (and male-looking) monster, but the audience sees her as Zoe. We were told about this during our set visit to “Caprica” in Vancouver late last year, and I wasn’t sure then how I felt about it. But after seeing it done, I like it, and I think it works very well.

This will work for you.

I also am falling in love with two of the secondary characters here: Clarice Willow (Polly Walker) and Sam Adama (Sasha Roiz). Both are in non-traditional relationships in their personal lives, and shady dealings in their non-personal lives. It seems that we’re going to get a slower development of Clarice than we will of Sam, but that’s OK. That’s why ensemble pieces tend to work well when done right.

What Didn’t Work

The arc is a little slow to take off, but if you were ever a fan of the storytelling of soap operas (or “Lost”), then you should appreciate it. My worries are that audiences as a whole might not appreciate it so much, and might like to have a little bit of a faster build.

I was watching the extras on the DVD Blu-ray set of the “Doctor Who” specials, and one thing Russell T. Davies kept talking about when explaining why some scenes were cut, is that they wanted to get to the monster faster.

While I don’t want things revealed too quickly, it might be wiser to pick up the pace just a little bit and get us to that monster a bit faster.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

“Caprica” stars Esai Morales, Eric Stoltz, Paula Malcomson, Polly Walker, Sasha Roiz and Alessandra Torresani.

“Rebirth” was written by Mark Verheiden and directed by Jonas Pate.

“Caprica” airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Syfy.

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Could they be a Rut-ro! Shaggy
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