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Sci-Fi Television Entertainment

BSG Prequel Series Caprica Canceled 602

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the so-sick-of-emo dept.
Kethinov writes "The sci-fi TV series Caprica, a prequel spinoff from Battlestar Galactica, was just canceled by the Syfy channel. In response to the cancellation and the recent theme of many similar good sci-fi shows getting canceled over the last few years, I've written an editorial arguing that Caprica's cancellation reflects the decreasing sustainability of the cable TV business model. A better, more modern business model could have saved Caprica from cancellation. If this model is adopted in the future, it could save many other similar niche genre shows from the same fate down the road." Another perspective here might be that a boring, ponderous show got yoinked because nobody watched it. Just sayin'.
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BSG Prequel Series Caprica Canceled

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  • It could also... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NoxNoctis (936876) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:05AM (#34049160) Homepage
    It could also have to do with HUGE break between the first half of the season and the second... Just sayin'
    • There was a second season? I stopped watching after S01E08... again they appear to blow their budget on effects rather than story...

    • by Gotung (571984)
      Yea, they played half a season. Then left a huge break, then out of the blue they announce that two weeks later they will start playing the second half.

      Half of their audience lost interest with the huge break. The other half probably didn't even know the show had started up again.

      Good thing they canceled this. Now we can get more of those low budget mega-animal monster flicks (mega-pirana, mega-snake, mega-porpoise, oh my!!) and more wrestling on what used to be the Sci-Fi channel.

      NBC took a succes
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It doesn't help that Syfy is putting these shows on the worst night (Tuesday). They are trying to compete again "real" shows that people actually want to watch like Glee, CSI, and so on.

        Syfy should have kept the original Sci-Fi Friday they've had the last decade. They had built a recognizable brand, and people were willing to turn to Syfy on Friday because none of the other networks were showing anything worthwhile.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Surt (22457)

          Exactly, it was clearly THE thing to do for geeky nerds who couldn't get a date.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by prgrmr (568806)
        NBC will probably sell it off at a huge loss in a year or two.

        We can certainly hope so. And if the new owners turn it into nothing more than a home for reruns of all of the Star Treks, Space 1999, UFO. Firefly, Lexx, Andromeda, FarScape, Bablyon 5, etc., that would be awesome, and probably pay off better than the current mess that's happening now. But if they could keep Eureka and Warehouse 13, that would be even better.
  • by zerosomething (1353609) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:06AM (#34049164) Homepage
    Wish they would stop repeating these mistakes
    • by Richard_at_work (517087) <<richardprice> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:10AM (#34049242)
      I watched BSG religiously (and bitched like fuck after the final episode) but I never watched Caprica - I didn't want to have to watch another series just to have some small parts of the back story filled in, and Caprica didn't interest me as an independent series either.

      Plus the BSG writers pretty much blew it for me when they discussed in a podcast during season 2 or 3 that they had no idea that the 'final five' thing was going to become what it did, they just realised that viewers had latched on to it as a mystery and then decided to run with it - the final five were all chosen much later on as well, just before they were revealed, so again the concept that the writers 'had a plan' was blown for me early on.
      • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:19AM (#34049424)

        Same here. The writers lost my respect and interest with their handling of the latter portion of BSG and in particular the finale. As a result I never cared to watch Caprica and actively ignored it. If any sizable portion of the viewership felt the same way, that would account quite well for the lack of viewership.

        • by wonkavader (605434) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:36AM (#34050824)

          They lost mine on the pilot of BSG. Everything that was wrong with modern television was right there, encapsulated.

          I think it might have been an OK series if they'd had talented writers and a tenth the budget.

      • After the finale, I unequivocally stated that Ron Moore was DEAD TO ME. Caprica got 3 thumbs down on my Tivo and I never saw it. Good riddance.

      • by jgtg32a (1173373)
        Do you have a link to that pod cast? I'd love to know how much the writers had planed out. The first season is the greatest TV I've ever seen, first half of the second season continued that, the second half is where it started to change, and it was only ok. The Third season I dropped shortly after they escaped from the planet. I saw a few commercials for the Fourth season and those lead me to believe that I made the right decision to not pick it up again.
        • Hi, sorry no, can't remember which one it was now, but it was one of the Ron Moore ones that went with the episodes.
      •     My girlfriend likes Caprica, so I've been passively watching it (and more actively fucking around on my computer). It doesn't have anything resembling a story line I can get into, and there are some rather annoying bits, like modern props and somewhat contemporary (modern to 100 years ago) styling. It wasn't quite so prevalent in BSG, except for that who Gitmo-esque subplot.

            I told my girlfriend, the biggest reason I can't get into it is because I already know how it ends. It's a timeless classic. People build robots. Robots get big, mean and eventually out of control. They fight with the humans. The humans fight back. There's years of pouting where they live on different planets, and then the robots get their revenge. Big explosions, almost everyone dies. Subplots. Subplots. Subplots. The survivors go run off and find another planet, and start over yet again.

            Sorry if I wrapped up Caprica and BSG for any of you to easily.

            The fucked up the ending of BSG, so they have no room to continue it, so they had to do a prequel. Well, unless you consider millions of years of "they lived happily ever after" an adequate time to pick up a sequel. Obviously, the story had a finite beginning and end. It wasn't necessary to try to drag it on.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MtHuurne (602934)

          Actually, Caprica is about humans trying to achieve immortality by creating AI copies of themselves/others. So it's not robots becoming sentient but AIs who do not want to be confined to a virtual world.

          At least that's where I think the story is heading. Since the pace is rather slow, I doubt we'll even see any non-centurion robots before the final episode.

      • But that's how the sausage is made. It's not like a book or a movie, you read it when the author is done. I suppose some TV is all written so the creators know the end before you see the fist show but I doubt most do that. Shows evolve as they wright the episodes. I don't think this is a valid criticism of the show.
        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:02AM (#34050148) Journal

          It's much harder to make it work, in terms of continuity, without an overall plan. Try watching all of Babylon 5, and there are things foreshadowed in the first season that didn't get explained until years later. Apparently even the episode writers didn't always know what they meant - JMS had an overall plan for the series and would make the writers add little parts of it to each episode.

          That said, you also have to be adaptable. You can also see some things foreshadowed early on in B5 that never happen, typically because the relevant actor quit the show, but sometimes because the network messed them around and they had to delete bits from the overall arc to fit the major story in. With the final five in BSG, even if they had had an overall plan, they'd probably want to revise it based on feedback. If all of the fans are obsessed with the final five, and the series ends without mentioning them other than to say 'yup, they were rubbish, we boxed them, it's a bit embarrassing' then fans would have been disappointed.

          Unfortunately, BSG managed to get itself into a state around season 4 where any ending would be unsatisfactory. An overall plan can help avoid that kind of situation, but only if it's very carefully thought out.

          • by gorzek (647352) <gorzek@gmailREDHAT.com minus distro> on Thursday October 28, 2010 @12:51PM (#34052114) Homepage Journal

            While I enjoyed B5--and I expect to be crucified by the Slashdot crowd for saying this--the degree to which the show was planned out was very evident and it had a negative effect on my experience with the series. Too often, it felt like chess pieces being moved around a board. There was a startling lack of characterization. Londo and G'Kar stood out the most, performance-wise. Everyone else was just kind of "there." I had serious problems with Sheridan's portrayal and story arc, too. There were implications that left a very bad taste in my mouth. Getting into specifics: when Garibaldi opposed Sheridan's war against Clark's EarthGov, he was the lone "voice in the wilderness" calling into question the great Sheridan's actions. And then it turned out he'd been brainwashed by Bester. In other words, not a single credible person stood against Sheridan. We were never given anyone who had a rational, reasonable motive for opposing Sheridan's civil war. And so much of the series was like that, where we only got one side of the story and it was very black-and-white as to who was good and who was evil. The show told you who to root for and there was rarely any ambiguity.

            As a result, the show felt overly structured and inorganic. I never got the feeling the show was evolving.

            JMS did an excellent job planning the show--a daunting task, and it's also remarkable he wrote almost every episode. I don't mean to diminish that achievement. But I think the final product reveals the shortcomings in placing structure over flexibility, fencing yourself in as opposed to leaving yourself wiggle room. Yeah, he had his "escape hatches" but they were very obvious and some of them were extremely clumsy (such as the way Talia Winters was disposed of.)

            The vast majority of TV shows never make it to a second season, so by that token it makes sense that you wouldn't have the entire series planned out from day one. Even if you get more than one season, you're not likely to know how many seasons or episodes you will get in total. Instead, it seems best to give yourself lots of wiggle room. Have a basic outline of how you'd like the show to progress, mark various "stopping points" that could serve as a finale in the event of cancellation, but other than that it's unlikely to be fruitful to have some behemoth Master Plan.

            That said, BSG shows significant issues with their more ad hoc approach. They had a little bit of a plan but they never seemed to think far enough ahead. Various storylines were introduced then dropped (or left on the cutting room floor) or conspicuously jammed into an episode where they didn't belong because all the setup material had been lost in editing. Beyond the show's approach to writing, the editing process appears to have been very haphazard. Even so, at least BSG had a defined ending point (finding Earth) and they had goals to work toward. I thought the fourth season was much stronger than the third, probably because they had a finale deadline and knew they had only so many hours to tell the remaining story. Season three was the weakest by a good margin, in my opinion, dominated by standalone episodes that did little to advance the overall story or expand the series' canvas.

            Caprica, while sometimes a good show (especially "There Is Another Sky"), suffered all the worst excesses of BSG's writing process: slow, meandering storylines that go nowhere; fuzzy characterization; unfocused narrative; inconsistent plot turns. In fact, it played very much like a soap opera, only it took itself very seriously. There is a fine line between powerful drama and soap and Caprica spent way too much time on the wrong side of it. I enjoyed the show for what it was and I'll be sorry to see it go, but this was not at all unexpected.

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:12AM (#34050332) Journal

          That's why most TV is crap - the writers meander randomly, and then come-up with some half-cocked ending (or else bore the audience to tears with filler episodes in order to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the show). They'd all be better off to plot the overall story in advance, so they can see their destination and work towards it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189)

        I felt even worse about B5-- another series "with a plan". it's too bad it was canceled and they never made season 5, or even the last episode of season 4. It was a great series. I would have hate to have had it have a terribly cheesy ending.

        Some things, like the Matrix And Star Wars are better just to stop while you are ahead and not go on to ruin the concept with further movies. I've always thought the brothers were wise to stop the Matrix at the first episode and even tho I didn't like much of Return

        • by roystgnr (4015) <roystgnr&ticam,utexas,edu> on Thursday October 28, 2010 @12:42PM (#34051976) Homepage

          You're conflating two very different ways to screw up a series.

          A: If you extend it so far that you have to pad it out with boring subplots and unlikeable characters, then that's not so bad - just fast forward through the tedious stuff and enjoy the exceptions. Babylon 5 Season 5 was no worse than Season 1 in that regard; in both cases you can pretty much skip the non-Londo-and-G'Kar stuff and you're still good.

          B: If you extend the story in such a way that it changes the background or themes from the first story for the worse, then that's much more awful. Starting with a Neo who says "I'm going to hang up this phone, and then I'm going to show these people a world you don't want them to see." and inexplicably transitioning to "I'm mopey." doesn't just make a bad second movie, it makes the first movie worse. Following Newt's rescue in Aliens with her pointless death in the Alien3 backstory turns Ripley from a hero into a tragic farce. And following up "They Have A Plan" with "But The Writers Can't Think Of A Good One" was just sad. Here the best way to go really is to just pretend that the sequel/prequel stories didn't exist.

    • by Ark42 (522144) <slashdot@mo[ ]eu ... t ['rph' in gap]> on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:27AM (#34049572) Homepage

      Wish they would stop repeating these mistakes

      I bet it happens with SGU too.
      SG-1 and SGA would both still be watchable shows with likable and funny characters, but they cancel those to put up a boring, slow, drama instead.
      On that note, one of the few other shows I DVR, Storm Chasers, has turned into a drama as well. I'm sick of watching the chasers bitch about the other chasers and have little interviews like a reality show. Just show the tornadoes and talk about the cool science and vehicles!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Altus (1034)

        Ive been enjoying SGU myself. I find the arc much more engaging than the more episodic content. Episodes like the one I watched last night I find kind of disappointing because they don't advance the arc that much (though, in the end most episodes have something relevant happen in them).

        SG1 was pretty much dead. It did pretty well once the brought on the cast from Farscape but the writing was on the wall, it had a great run but it was time. I do think they canceled SGA a little early but its not like it

  • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:07AM (#34049176) Journal

    Seriously, most of the stuff the show is crap-and-drivel. Caprica seemed better than average there, which is probably why they canceled it, they only want to show garbage. If they get low enough ratings on their "science fiction", then they can switch it to the Wrestling Channel.

    • by anss123 (985305) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:15AM (#34049320)
      Knowing how Caprica is going to end killed all interest for me.
    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      Seriously, most of the stuff they show is crap-and-drivel.

      FTFM

    • by digitalhermit (113459) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:27AM (#34049560) Homepage

      I know that there are folks who enjoy wrestling as much as I enjoy sci-fi/fantasy but never made sense to me that they'd stick them both on the same channel. I don't know if they just needed *any* channel to air it and it was purely economical but I can imagine some exec thinking, "Well, the demographic for sci-fi/fantasy is mainly male. Therefore, they will like wrestling." I recently canceled all but the most basic cable and Internet after realizing that every time I wanted to watch something on sci-fi I found either some idiotic ghost busters reality show or wrestling.

      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:25AM (#34050606) Journal

        That's what TNT thought in 1998 when they acquired Babylon 5. "Well we have lots of wrestling fans, who are male, so they'll probably like a male-oreinted sci-fi show."

        What they forgot to take into account is IQ. While the demos are the same (males 35 or younger), the IQ is not. Wrestling fans tend to be less educated while Scifi fans are college educated, or college-destined. The two have some overlap but not much. Result: B5 fans did not watch the wrestling that immediately followed it, and Wrestling fans did not watch the scifi show that preceded.

        It appears NBC/Sci-Fi is making the same error.

    • So, we know wrestling is pretty much scripted, but how many times do I get home to the TiVo to find that the first 15 minutes of a show I recorded have been taken over by a wrestling "overrun". So I can't even watch the show I recorded anyway because the last 10-15 minutes haven't been recorded for me. Then I have to somehow track a rerun down, if they have one.

      Some of the shows I record are in the hope the show will get better eventually, I am looking at you Stargate Universe and Sanctuary, so my motivatio

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ByOhTek (1181381)

        Sanctuary is interesting, it's so hit or miss with good/bad. They can do good, just not consistently.

        I know what you mean about SGU. This is the Syfy channel, not the Soap Opera With Space Ships channel. I think that's 192 or something.

    • The show had some interesting themes. Its the only mainstream-ish media that I have seen address uploading and its implications even semi-intelligently. But those interesting themes were surrounded by the most boring writing I've ever endured. It was all so predictable and cliched that I had to force myself to watch for the bits of real sci-fi. Gladiatorial combat between virtual teenage girls? Really? And yet the monologue during the fight addressed how a copy of a person isn't the same person, start

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      Seriously, most of the stuff the show is crap-and-drivel. Caprica seemed better than average there, which is probably why they canceled it, they only want to show garbage.

      The qualitative assessment aside, that's probably about right. That is to say, the problem is quite likely that (as was the case with Firefly, the Babylon 5 spinoff crusade, and quite possibly Babylon 5 itself in its first home, among many, many other series) its not just the ratings of the show that matter, its how good the show is at br

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I'm not sure how wrestling fits into the "imagine greater" tagline. Also there's really not enough wrestling to fill 7 days a week, so I think Syfy will remain scifi but will gradually mutate into a fantasy/horror channel.

      Did anybody read the article?

      It says, "Episodes offered via online websites should display no interstitial advertising. Ads should only appear just prior to an

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Scrameustache (459504)

        Did anybody read the article?

        No, no I did not.

        It says, "Episodes offered via online websites should display no interstitial advertising. Ads should only appear just prior to and just after an episode plays. Interstitial advertising will only drive people to piracy, which shows no interstitial ads." How dumb can one person be? First off nobody ever watches the ads at the end of an episode.

        I watch the ads at the end of TED [youtube.com] talks. I even spent an evening reading about metallurgy after watching an "how it's made" ad about watches. Learned a lot about exotic steel alloys. Fascinating stuff. If I ever feel like dropping a few grand on a watch, I know what brand I'll shop for first.

  • Any chance of a scifi series that isn't dystopian? Its old, its boring and it shows no imagination. Time to cheer up.
  • by cblguy2 (1796986) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:09AM (#34049216)

    But like the summary says, it turned in to a boring show where they tried character development, but it just fell on its face. It was just about at the level of a plain drama with a little peppering of sci-fi.

    Now SyFy shows wrestling on Friday nights. I won't say that's better than Caprica, but it must be paying the bills...

    Instead of relaxing like I've done for the last 10+ years - watching SciFi channel on Friday nights (where did GvsE, Lexx, Brimstone, Dresden Files, Farscape, etc go?), I'm now doing other things with my Fridays... I'm not going to watch wrestling. Talk about fiction!

  • It's no wonder... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jaymz666 (34050)

    It didn't help that the show is slow and plodding, and not one of the characters is likable. Where's the lovable characters that just make bad decisions. Instead everyone is lying to everyone else, the story seems to be stuck in the mud and we know that in the end it doesn't matter, as Caprica gets nuked anyway!

    • by Voline (207517) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:44AM (#34049842)
      That's why I never watch movies set in the Roman Empire. I totally know how it's going to end.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RivenAleem (1590553)

        That's why J. J. Abrams should have directed/produced Caprica. He would totally have led us down one direction, letting us all think we knew Caprica gets nuked in the end, and then have something totally different happen.

        That is what I loved about the Star Trek movie.[SPOILER WARNING] All the way through it I as thinking "Gosh, he's going to have a hard time undoing the destruction of Vulcan". But when it ended I was somewhat stunned that he left it destroyed, and has chosen to go along some totally differe

  • by roothog (635998) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:11AM (#34049246)

    Subby's a moron. His blog starts out: "Suppose for a moment that I had been CEO of NBC Universal at the time Caprica was picked up in 2008. If I had been CEO at that time, then Caprica would not have been canceled during its first season two years later because it would have been one of the many thriving, profitable properties owned by NBC Universal."

    You personally would have managed NBC better than NBC itself? According to your blog, you're a web programmer at Paypal. Maybe you need to check that ego and realize that you don't have a clue what you're talking about. Why does Slashdot link to this crap?

    • by kcitren (72383) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:18AM (#34049386)
      His solution is to give the shows away for free, without any restrictions, with minimal advertising before and after the show, and all money being made my merchandizing? Sorry, but that just won't work. What advertiser is going to buy into this model? Plus, I'm a pretty big fan of a couple TV series, have a decent income, and I don't own any merchandise from any other those shows. Selling T-shirts will help a band stay on the road, but it won't help a million+ dollar a week enterprise.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by gstoddart (321705)

        His solution is to give the shows away for free, without any restrictions, with minimal advertising before and after the show, and all money being made my merchandizing? Sorry, but that just won't work.

        That's pretty much what I thought when I read TFA.

        It's pure drivel, and it would do nothing to create better shows and keep them on the air. Other than giving it away DRM free, I'm not sure of WTF it would accomplish.

        You want to know how to make better shows? Copy what HBO is doing -- make good programming,

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by delinear (991444)
        On the other hand, if you're going to test the model it might be worth testing it with a show that's dying anyway. I still don't think it would work - personally I don't like adverts, but if I like the show I'll suffer them, life's far too short to watch poor television just because there are few ads, though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        The model I'd use is quite simple:
        1. Give away the pilot for free (CC-NC license, tell everyone to share it with their friends).
        2. Work out how much it would cost (including your profit) to film a complete season.
        3. Accept donations towards this target, cancel the show and return the donations if the target is not met by the deadline.
        4. If the target is met, film season 1, release under CC-NC license, encourage everyone to share it, and jump to step 2.

        Basically, but out the middleman. You think a show is worth

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cdrguru (88047)

        Yes, but the fact of the matter is that young people aren't going to be consumers of anything else except free on the Internet. If it isn't free piracy will make it free. Period, end of story.

        Nobody is going to pay anymore.

        The cable TV model, or really any subscription model, assumes that the content isn't available anywhere else. Well, today it is - one person subscribes, records the shows and posts them for the planet to consume for free. Why would anyone put that much effort into this process? Becau

    • by dbIII (701233)
      A lack of cocaine and an ability to determine which shoe goes on which foot in the morning may be the edge required to be a better manager than the CEO of NBC. The "rock star" MBA CEO type may be entertaining but they are very rarely effective.
  • "Another perspective here might be that a boring, ponderous show got yoinked because nobody watched it. Just sayin'"

    I tend to agree. I gave "Caprica" a chance, but the story was not compelling enough to hold my interest. I gave up after the first part of the first season and never bothered with trying to watch any of the newer episodes. I keep thinking of the line from the 'reimagined' BSG "The Cylons Have a Plan" ... but the writers don't.

    • I keep thinking of the line from the 'reimagined' BSG "The Cylons Have a Plan" ... but the writers don't.

      Hahaha, pretty much. I never got over the fact that the Cylon master Plan was... "one of them is mean", so he's being hurful because he's mean. That's all there is to all of the cylon armada's cryptic behavior, just wanting to be hurtful. Pathetic 'writing', that.

    • by malakai (136531)

      I'm with this viewpoint. I tried, but I found myself wanting to fast-forward past the dialogue. I didn't like any of the characters and rather looked forward to all of Caprica getting nuked. Not a good premise for a show. I find the whole 'prequel' concept a non-starter. Unless you go back and start a new timeline or a new plot that won't end with the original series start point.

      Next show I expect to see canceled is Stargate Universe. I find myself fast-forwarding through about 50% of that show. It's predic

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:15AM (#34049308)
    My opinion is that spin-off storylines and crappy effects can hurt viewership more than the cable business model. Reality shows and sequel/prequels are no substitute for a good, original story with good writers and actors. (and certainly not wrestling on a sci-fi? channel)
    Look at 'The Sopranos' 'Mad Men' or 'Battlestar Galactica' if you need proof that cable shows can be huge if done right.
  • and when I originally head about a spinoff, I was thinking "Great, the Cylon war!". It seemed like it'd be a home-run, start with the launch of Galactica, and you've got potentially years worth of adventures, and plenty of opportunities for great combat scenes in a setting that already proved that people would like it. Then I heard about Caprica, and I was confused. Then I actually watched Caprica, and I was even more confused. Oh, not by the story, it was easy enough to follow, but by the fact that the

  • After the Battlestar Galactica finale proved that the writers had no plan except to pull a gigantic deus ex machina to resolve all their lose threads, I have lost interest in the franchise.

    And the retconning... the horrible retconning... They fooled me once, I'm not giving them another chance.

    • The bit that stuck in my craw was when Cavil went off on his monologue about how humanity needed to be punished for what they did to his ancestors (the chrome cylons created in the colonies) but only a few episodes previously he had taken great delight in subjugating the Raiders and the new Centurions - how did the original cylons like this? Plot hole?
  • by s-whs (959229)

    "The sci-fi TV series Caprica, a prequel spinoff from Battlestar Galactica, was just canceled by the Syfy channel. In response to the cancellation and the recent theme of many similar good sci-fi shows

    What do you mean 'good sci-fi shows'? Caprica's pilot was good although ended poorly, then it went downhill fast with mafia type rubbish, and just crap like some woman being married to someone 20 years younger or something like that and more rubbish, and this being some sort of lifestyle. Sci-fi? I vaguely

    • by pooh666 (624584)
      Couldn't agree more...
    • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Crayon Kid (700279) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:34AM (#34050764)

      What is wrong with drama being the meat of a SciFi TV show? I always thought that the best SciFi is that where the SciFi itself serves only as a backdrop, a support for the story and the characters, a background which would not otherwise be possible in contemporary or historical settings. I dislike shows that focus on the "cool factor" of SciFi. Most often than not they lack depth. SciFi is about making the spectator think.

      I remember a scene in "War of the Worlds" which has always stuck with me. It's the one where the hero is hiding in a demolished house while the Martians are combing the area in their great Machines. He likens the feeling to the one a rabbit must get waking up in its burrow one day to find the forrest being utterly wiped out by a construction site. All this destruction, these huge things you cannot understand and all you can do is to hide, tremble and hope they won't turn over a root or a piece of rock and find you.

      That scene would have not been possible without SciFi. There's nothing in human history that can replicate the horrible feeling of a human being literally looked down upon like vermin (figuratively, yes; literally, no). It's a very novel and unsettling feeling. The rabbit analogy was great, it was necessary, but it was not enough by itself. And the entire scene (as well as the book) is ultimately about human drama, not about the aliens from outer space.

    • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

      by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @01:00PM (#34052240) Journal

      I like SGU's first 5 or so episodes.
      Why?
      Because they are constantly on the verge of death, such as running out of air or water or shields.

      But then after that, they stabilized every on board and ran out of ideas. So the writers turned towards political crap with the Lucian Alliance, and it has been just as boring as the SG1 episodes about politics. Ick. I'd rather be watching Seasons 6 and 7 of Atlantis, because I liked the people better and the premise.

  • after like 10 episodes it disappeared, and when it came back I had forgotten about it. the did that with BSG, but BSG had a lot of hype going for it, Caprica didn't. The only thing in the show that promised to be interesting (Tamara Adama in crazy virtual gangster world) turned out to be a waste of time storyline, so who cares?

  • While the story line was arcing, the script was really garbage. The characters were so cliche and overdone it was cringe worthy. It was visually dull. Uneventful. Uninteresting. Meaningless. Meh.
  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:22AM (#34049468)

    Failed Sustainability of the Cable Model?

    How about the failed sustainability of a bad spin-off of a great series?

    • Failed Sustainability of the Cable Model?

      How about the failed sustainability of a bad spin-off of a great series?

      Eh. More like the failed sustainability of the spin-off of a series that pissed everyone off with its horrible ending. I followed Galactica religiously right up until the last episode. Then I regretted having wasted so much time on it, and sure as hell wasn't willing to give Caprica a chance.

      Building up the story to make ever more interesting episodes is only a good thing if you actually know how you're going to wrap it all up ahead of time. Leaving it up to the writers to come up with an explanation th

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I followed Galactica religiously

        Wait, was that irony? ;-)

        Am I the only one who saw the final episode, thought "well, that was unsatisfying" and walked away from it to other things? It's a new geek meme now to say you liked the series but despised (*DESPISED*, I tell you!) the ending. It joins the others such as "I liked the Matrix, but the sequels were crimes against humanity" and "Dug Babylon 5, except season 5 which was worse than all the Nazi atrocities combined."

        Any others? Oh, yeah, "Star Trek -TNG was great, but not seasons 1, 6 and

  • No great loss.. obviously there was some mileage in a backstory about the origin of the Cylons, but not a whole series. Incidentally, if you're in the UK then you've only seen the first 9 episodes of 13.. the remainder should be on in the New Year.
  • one whole season and they still had only one cylon
    the whole idea of making a human mind out of essentially a google search sounds extremely stupid
    no leading character. was it supposed to be adama or the kid from breakfast club?
    too much emphasis on the side story inside the computer

    story moved way too slow. with the big risk they took they didn't have time to build the story over a few seasons, they needed to get to the point fast and explore in future seasons

    art is business first

    • by jaymz666 (34050)

      > the whole idea of making a human mind out of essentially a google search sounds extremely stupid

      This!

      Also, he was in Some Kind of Wonderful, not Breakfast Club

  • by The Breeze (140484) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:27AM (#34049566) Homepage

    Caprica wasn't bad. Wasn't the best thing on TV, but wasn't bad. But, much like BSG, SyFY didn't know what to do with it and tried to milk it for all it was worth and killed it in the process.

    Stupid, stupid stunts like calling NINE SHOWS a "season" and postponing new shows for almost a YEAR. Who can follow a complicated story arc after that?

    And horrible, horrible publicity. In 1978, many people enjoyed the Cylon ride at Universal Studios. Although there were a few billboards and a window painting in Hollywood during BSG 2003's last season, and the Vanity Fair spread was a nice touch, often it seemed that BSG was the bastard child of Universal. Even though BSG was owned by Universal, there was NO promotion of BSG when I went to Universal Studios during season 4! A golden opportunity to promote a show in a venue that people from all over the country visit, and there was NOTHING for BSG except in a privately owned comic store on the Citywalk. Lousy, lousy promotion. Yet disposable crap like the "Mutant Shark of the Week" or whatever is everywhere.

    It is obvious that SyFy has no clue whatsoever what to do when it somehow stumbles on decent programming. Even as the critics were raving about BSG being "the best thing on TV" Universal/SciFi did not know how to pitch it, nor did they seem to want to try.

  • by frozentier (1542099) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:28AM (#34049590)
    Somehow this has to have something to do with Windows sucking, Steve Jobs being a vampire, or a Linux kernel update.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Black Parrot (19622)

      Well, "vampire" and "sucking" have a common theme, but I'm having trouble working in "kernel update". (I guess Linux should have been named "Vlad-The-Impalix".)

      Work out that little bug, and we'll get the screenwriters on it.

  • Well I liked it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aapold (753705) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:28AM (#34049594) Homepage Journal
    Yes, it was flawed. I liked it in spite of that, perhaps even for some of those flaws. Yes, it could frustrating, yes, much of the characters were not likeable or identifyable (no "everyman" character). But it was trying to do something, really, it was. The acting and production values were top-notch, and they really did delve into all manner of interesting topics for debate, from morality to philosophy to the nature of humanity. And we just got one payoff this week, a nice action sequence with a cylon followed by an iconic phrase ("by your command") at the end. I guess we can re-edit that scene to be syfy headquarters. I'll miss caprica. It was the last reason I had to tune into the pathetic shell that occupies what was once the Sci-fi channel.
  • by Guspaz (556486)

    A boring series that nobody watched got cancelled. Big deal.

    All his nonsense about the non-sustainability of the cable television model is bunk, too; SyFy's shows were available on iTunes before NBC pulled them; that didn't really change much. That's the point, anyhow, that the fact that a show was produced for cable doesn't preclude it from showing up on iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, etc.

  • I used to watch SciFi Channel nearly all the time, but when all the psychic and ghostbuster wannabe shows started popping up I spent less and less time watching the channel. I made it through the first 2 seasons of BSG but then lost interest and since changing providers almost 2 years ago I still couldnt even tell you what channel # its on. Anyone remember SciFi friday? All evening it was good sci fi programming what in the hell made them loose focus on something that at least based on those around me ha

  • by siglercm (6059) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:43AM (#34049830) Journal

    Caprica had a chance to develop as much thought-provoking depth as the new BSG, but for some reason the show's premise went in another direction. Maybe it was just so the whole show could revolve around a young, cute Zoe??? Ratings, ratings, ratings! How can such a great idea fail?!

    The potential for genius in these series was the dichotomy of the Cylons as monotheists who believe in an imminent and transcendent God versus the humans who believe in a worldly pantheon. Why would the once-mechanical Cylons believe in the concept of God? How could this happen with machines? This is the dilemma that needed to drive Caprica, but the creators/writers blew it big time. "I've got it! The avatar or 'spirit' of a monotheist Caprican will be transferred into the original Cylon. That's how they come to believe in God! Plus, that Caprican can be a cute, sexy young girl!!!" Lame!

    The question they should have explored is how the Cylons came to their faith. The dilemma they could have developed is, did the programming of their consciousness/AI evolve to develop transcendent spiritual dimensions, or were the Cylons touched by God and given an inextinguishable spirit by him? Mind you, this may be too religious a storyline to be popular, or for a major production company to sign off on....

  • by Garwulf (708651) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:06AM (#34050224) Homepage

    I find tech commentators very funny at times. There are quite a few who are writing good, incisive stories, but at the same time there are a large number who have either disconnected from reality, or just aren't giving credit where it is due. I think it's because some people get a sense of superiority by declaring that "X is a dinosaur business model, and I'm smart enough to see it!" The writer of the original article falls under one of the latter categories.

    Here's the thing - most of the suggestions he made were implemented in some at least a year ago. From the article:

    "All of NBC Universal's properties should immediately begin offering full episodes in high definition on the web. These episodes should be available online at the same time they air on cable TV. Delaying the posting of these episodes to the website will only drive people to piracy."

    This one has been happened for at least two years, by my count. It may not be high-definition, but most shows ARE put on the web the day after they air. Geographical boundaries are enforced, but that probably has more to do with broadcast rights than business models (if you've given your broadcast rights in Britain to the BBC, for example, you're not going to undercut them online).

    "Episodes offered via this medium should display no interstitial advertising. Ads should only appear just prior to and just after an episode plays. Interstitial advertising will only drive people to piracy, which shows no interstitial ads."

    Already the way it's done.

    "No DRM should be used to protect against consumer copying or saving of the episodes from the website to their computers. This will only drive people to piracy."

    Can't speak to the DRM side (I've never tried to copy a show, I've only just watched it). But I know that the BBC allows downloads of shows, and it wouldn't surprise me if other stations did too.

    "The online episodes should be the same high quality aired on cable TV. Reduced quality will only drive people to piracy. Bandwidth costs can be reduced by leveraging bit torrent."

    As far as I know most are offered in at least standard definition. I know that the BBC, for example, also offers downloads in HD, and it wouldn't surprise me if others do too.

    "A subscription service should be offered which completely eliminates all advertising for the subscriber and offers other benefits, such as discounted merchandise and other additional services above and beyond the basic TV content without ads."

    Well, this might help, and to be fair, as far as I know the television stations don't offer this. And, it's not a bad idea. So, point to the author on this one. But, at the same time, it should be pointed out that what the consumer is interested in is the show, and they're already getting that for free - so there wouldn't be much incentive to use this service in the first place.

    "Nothing behind the subscription paywall should be something that can be pirated. Services and physical merchandise cannot be pirated."

    Okay - this one needs a reality check. It's a television network - what services precisely is it going to offer? Anything audio-visual in nature can be pirated. And, as far as physical merchandise goes, there is an entire market out there of cheap knock-offs - which is a form of piracy.

    "But it's not just NBC Universal. It seems like every major TV company is playing with fire by ignoring the internet."

    Um...right. Which is why most networks have websites on which you can watch their programming, as well as launching on-demand services.

    So, to sum up - the author of this article is ignoring what television networks are actually doing so that he can prop up a straw man and declare them to be following a dinosaur business model. If he was writing back in 2006, he might have had a point. Unfortunately, he's writing in 2010, and the person who is behind the times in this case is him.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      >>>>>"Episodes offered via this medium should display no interstitial advertising. Ads should only appear just prior to and just after an episode plays."
      >>
      >>Already the way it's done.

      Not quite true. NBC.com, Syfy.com, and hulu.com insert either 1 or 2 ads at every standard commercial break. The writer is saying they should stop doing that, and just play the episode straight through w/o interruption.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kjella (173770)

      This one has been happened for at least two years, by my count. It may not be high-definition, but most shows ARE put on the web the day after they air. Geographical boundaries are enforced, but that probably has more to do with broadcast rights than business models (if you've given your broadcast rights in Britain to the BBC, for example, you're not going to undercut them online).

      If they made more money on a world wide online release than the reduction in broadcast right value, they'd do it. That would just be business. However, I suspect the TV networks intentionally price such a show unrealistically low to maintain their position. They absolutely don't want to teach people to go online and watch it, that would be shooting themselves in the foot. So as long as no one can do without broadcast income, they can effectively dictate the terms.

  • by Livius (318358) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @12:07PM (#34051380)

    In theory the idea behind Caprica was the corporate politics and foreign policy machinations behind the creation (and then abuse) of cybernetic life in the form of the Cylons, but there was effectively the first working Cylon by the end of the pilot, and she was created by a semi-supernatural deus ex machina. Also she just happened to be a copy of the personality of a religious fanatic with a pathological and completely unmotivated hatred of her parents. So before the series has even begun we already have the Cylons, and the mystery of why they turned out they way they did is just because they're spoiled, angry, borderline psychotic teenagers. (Actually, the virtual reality fantasy of a spoiled, angry, borderline psychotic teenager) Monotheism wasn't a great competing philosophical system, it was just a creepy cult with no point to it other than a pretext for adding lots of pretty teenage girls to the story.

    There was one nice touch with the early 20th century clothing. There was something creepy about seeing fashion your brain is telling you is old juxtaposed with futuristic technology. I found that more convincingly alien than any costume or prosthetic.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis

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