Confession #1: I watched Caprica out of loyalty to Battlestar Galactica. BSG brought me back to the scifi genre. Somewhere between leaving college and rebuilding my life after my divorce I stopped watching science fiction. Somewhere between the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager television shows simultaneously airing I decided to focus on my career and my post graduate education. Somewhere between Shooter Jr being born and actually paying for cable television I lost track of shows like Andromeda, Farscape, and Babylon 5. But BSG brought me back and I owed BSG, Ronald D. Moore, and everyone else involved to watch Caprica.
Science fiction was not a new addiction for me by any means. I grew up on the original Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Star Trek original series reruns, Buck Rogers, Doctor Who, Starblazers, Robotech, Tron, 2010, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, The Last Starfighter, Ice Pirates, Back to the Future, Transformers, the original V, and Star Trek The Next Generation just to name a few. I never stopped liking science fiction, I just stopped making time for it. Battlestar Galactica changed all of that. It was the right show at the right time and I was in the right place to re-immerse myself into the goodness of scifi with shows like Eureka, Warehouse 13, Sanctuary, Stargate Universe, and Haven.
I loved BSG and watched it from soup to nuts. I bought the entire DVD collection including Razor and The Plan. I even liked the ending. I wanted to learn more about Ronald D Moore’s Galactica Universe, I wanted to say thank you to everyone involved in BSG, and no matter what Caprica turned out to be I was going to watch it.
Confession #2: I watched Caprica even though I didn’t like it. I know many fans enjoyed Caprica for what it was, and I respect the people that did. It wasn’t a bad show by any means. In fact, it had many of the things that made Battlestar Galactica great. Personally, I struggled with identifying with a protagonist, I struggled with the deep dark overtones of the show, I struggled with character relationships that didn’t mesh well or were outright strained, and I struggled with finding the true storyline of the show. Right now in my life, I just prefer more hopeful, light-hearted shows. I was optimistic that like Star Trek The Next Generation , Caprica would eventually catch my full and undivided attention and be well worth gutting it out. In the meantime, I was satisfied with occasional glimpses of Teryl Rothery who will always be in my mind as the warm friend in Stargate SG-1 that had prematurely and unfortunately departed our presence.
Confession #3: I watched Haven because I really liked that show! Recently I wrote a blog article for the newcomer SyFy show Haven. I wasn’t expecting to like that show from the promos and watched it out of shear accident. Haven instantly captivated me and drew me in to continue to watch it. I swear that show got better each episode right up until the half season finale, and I’m anxiously awaiting Haven’s return. Even though main characters do die and leave the story, there are still plenty of characters to identify with and route for. Several of the characters have relationships that are just flat out fun to watch, and the story has become riveting to me. I actually care about what happens to Haven and the people that live there.
Both Haven and Caprica premiered on SyFy in 2010. Caprica is now cancelled and Haven renewed for another thirteen episodes. I have listened to or read a plethora of reasons why Caprica was cancelled: poor ratings, inconsistent airings, poor promotion, back-to-back grim or dark shows with SGU and Caprica on Tuesdays, Caprica wasn’t given a chance to hit its stride, Caprica was too expensive to make, Caprica had no clear protagonist, Caprica didn’t have any space battles, more emphasis was needed with another BSG offshoot series called Blood and Chrome, and Caprica had a hard story to identify or follow.
Good shows have endured long times in between seasons before. BSG on SyFy, the Soprano’s on HBO, and Futurama on Comedy Central are a few successful examples. Good shows have weathered night changes too like Frazier or Big Bang Theory. If the show is good enough and the ratings are high enough it is difficult to completely kill a show.
Confession #4: I stuck with Heroes way too long. Sometimes mediocre shows have attempted to reinvent their format to try and save themselves. For example, recall the radical format changes the original V series , the TV show War of the Worlds (late 1980’s), or the new Knight Rider went through. A format change in a show can eek out a little more story, but is it worth it? Heroes seemed to reinvent itself each season with dwindling success. Heroes creator Tim Kring even attempted to complete the story. I think we are all thankful we weren’t forced to watch that. Some shows are better off going out earlier than later.
In this day and age of instant mass communication tools, I’m not sure that poor promotion matters. There is sufficient community word of mouth through blogs, tweets, podcasts, and old fashioned conversations that if a show warrants media coverage, there will be coverage. Look at upshoot web series like The Guild and Legend of Neal. If a show is good enough, word will get out.
There are a few things that do matter. The cost of producing a show always matters. Star Wars almost didn’t make it on the screen because of budget issues. I thank George Lucas for pulling off that miracle quite often. Having a good story always matters. Keeping your original fan base happy matters (i.e. space battles for Caprica). And having your viewers identify with a character matters.
Would SyFy have kept Caprica if it stayed on the same night with less than seven months in between episodes? It’s hard to say. Although I will admit following Haven would have been next to impossible if it was spread out the way Caprica was, especially since each episode had a new danger to focus on. Seeing how those dangers fit together would have been tough.
Most major companies have some sort of strategic planning and SyFy probably does too. SyFy is now faced with increasing competition from the likes of HBO with True Blood or AMC with the new series The Walking Dead. Perhaps SyFy had to cut its loses early to be competitive and reinvest the money it was throwing at Caprica into shows that would fare better like Blood and Chrome.
Confession #5: My brain is littered with SciFi shows I wish would have lasted longer. I’m glad Haven was given thirteen more episodes, and I hope the show either gets more episodes, or is able to satisfactorily wrap up its storyline with the thirteen episodes it has. There are too many recent scifi series that have ended before their time: Sarah Conner Chronicles, Dollhouse, Bionic Woman, PainKiller Jane, and FlashForward. I’ll even throw in Defying Gravity since I was able to watch it with Mrs. Shooter. Hopefully, Caprica will be able to finish without leaving too much dangling for its fans.
Confession #6: I am still interested in the ending to Caprica. I’ve gone this far. I’ve watched the entire BSG series. I’ve watched every episode of Caprica. I want to see how it ends. But I will no longer be personally invested in Caprica. I’ll save my investment for shows like Haven.
Do you have something to say about Caprica’s Cancellation? Leave a comment below. I’d love to read your thoughts!
Until next time…