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Caprica’s official news source The Caprican is now running fictional ads for Graystone Industries. Check out this one, “Technology for a brighter tomorrow.”
While Caprica’s Graystone Industries specializes in self-aware robots bent on destroying humanity, our world’s GrayStone Industries makes “self-powered wireless networking technology for monitor and control applications.” How intriguing…
More on The Caprican here.
Syfy just launched its latests news vehicle The Caprican, Caprica City’s premier news source.
In addition to my science fiction problem, I’m a news junky. So fictional science fiction news= I win.
Here are my quick (because apparently your ability to focus on my words in non-list form is already fading…) thoughts on The Caprican:
The cutting of corners (in the literal sense) is essential, and every corner of the new site has indeed been cut. I imagine cutting corners in css is equally as tedious as cutting corners on books for props. I like the commitment. Well done! The formatting of the page retains the news feed/blog style that most news sites have taken to using—apparently Capricans are a lot like us and suffer from visual ADHD.
-Looks like there’s a logo centered in the header—what is it? Looks kind of like a key?
-In my opinion, the overall color palette might be a tad too mute (heavy on the shades of gray..), but this is a tightly wound future city with a teeming underbelly of rebellious counterculture, so I suppose it makes sense.
-Major props for some of the custom images, like this Soviet-era Communist looking Maglev graphic:
So far, so good. The basics of Caprican life have been covered, though I’d love to see the editorial content get as nasty as our current news media has a tendency to get. Imagine headlines on Tauron hate crimes or a whistleblower inside the Graystone company.
Overall Grade: B+
Hopefully, The Caprican will actually function as a well-scripted counterpart to Caprica the series, and reflect the political/social intrigue as it plays out on the show. The writing quality of the articles is a little on the USA Today side of things rather than The New York Times, but I suppose the point of the site is to entertain and it’s rather tedious of me to quibble over the quality of fictional journalism. But still…quibble I shall!
One last thing—I realize that ad space on a fictional news site is still technically real ad space, therefore it advertises real things, HOWEVER, it would be thoroughly impressive if The Caprican could intermix ads that remain within the world of Caprica. Of course, I also assume that The Caprican’s budget is about $50/month and getting Syfy’s web designers/marketing team to come up with completely fictional ad campaigns may be a stretch.
@CapricaSeven aka Jane Espenson just tweeted “Mr. Marsters starts work for us tomorrow. Whoo!”, a tidbit that comes as a pleasant surprise. Apparently Spike, I mean Marsters, will play a terrorist named Barnabus Greeley for three episodes. Curious? I am. For instance, will he be sporting a sassy english accent—you know, the one that sounds like it’s still there even when he’s talkin’ american? And will he pull a Buffy-esque move as a guest character who ends up staying through not only the entire run of the series, but ascends into the spin-off series as well (and will the spin-off series have it’s own spin-off?)? The man has some serious staying power. Watch out Caprica!
I finally watched Caprica, after avoiding it for a few months. Maybe it was this desire to leave Battlestar alone after the epic finale. That, and the previews I had seen for Caprica just didn’t quite excite me as I hoped they would.
The pros: Holobands and Virtual Worlds.
Seems like Ron Moore, with Caprica and the soon to be aired Virtuality, has virtual worlds on the brain. Virtual reality, or however you want to term it, might be the most meta of all science fiction metaphors given the elements of escapism, of playing god, creating new worlds, manufacturing experiences, etc. It’s the sci-fi arm of sci-fi, if that makes any sense. It’s also always been one of my favorite plot devices in sci-fi. Everyone (and by everyone, I mean EVERYONE) knows that shows like TNG are at their best when safety protocols on the holodeck have been mysteriously disabled, allowing virtual reality to run amuck. Caprica is likewise at it’s best when Moore immerses us in the twisted, psychedelic, and utterly depraved world of underground teenagers made manifest by the oh-so-hackable holobands. The opening shots of Caprica are completely disorienting, and the vacillating camera shots between Zoe and, well, Zoe, make things all the more ominous since BSG fans are already on red alert for any cylon presence. As the camera wanders through Zoe’s holoband world of crude sex, murder, human sacrifice, and brutal fights, we get a taste of what human invention—in the wrong hands—can and will mostly likely lead to. It’s a meaningful message, and one that hits home as our own addictions to networked technologies grow increasingly skynetty.
The cons: The Graystones and Hard to Swallow Technological Inconsistencies.
I didn’t find Zoe particularly believable as a teen genius 1337 Hax0r, nor did I find Daniel Graystone’s desire to bring his daughter back from the dead a particularly convincing motivation for making his strangely incompetent early model cylon acquire consciousness. Indeed, it seems like the writers were somewhat torn between Graystone’s ambition and his paternal obsessions. The two motivations manage to cancel one another out, effectively creating a strange Steve Jobs meets Darth Vader sort of persona. And Eric Stoltz’s eery resemblance to a Constantine-era Tilda Swinton was a bit unnerving. But these petty things aside, the idea of a society coming apart at the seams is unfortunately overshadowed by the two fathers losing two daughters story line, a plot movement that should provide emotional resonance but doesn’t. The moral ambiguity of trying to infuse someone’s googled consciousness (or at least that’s how Zoe explains it) into an external robotic body as a way of preserving them ad infinitum is all mashed up with Graystone’s desire to snag a supersized defense contract from the Caprican government. Bottom line, it’s hard to like the Graystone or his pontificating, dead daughter.
As for the technological inconsistencies, I’ll try to be brief. Metacognitive processors= positronic neural net= artifical intelligence. You get the picture. This is not the first time some special piece of technology has made it possible to create artificial life forms. However, I have to say that given how pretty awesome the Graystone’s artificial butler/moving target robot thingy was, I couldn’t quite piece together why his big ol’ cylon couldn’t shoot a damn thing without the metacognitive processor. I mean, maybe they should have uploaded it with the artificial butler’s cognitive processor instead of Zoe’s. Which reminds me of my final gripe. Am I really to believe that Graystone wouldn’t have backed up a copy of Zoe’s consciousness imprint? When his Frankenstein moment seemingly fails, all I could think about was how inconceivable that he didn’t save a backup. I mean, this guy is supposed to be a computer genius.
Wow. I didn’t quite mean to rant this much on the cons. Counting backwards from ten, breathing now. Ok. I’m glad I finally watched Caprica, and I’m curious to see if things will take a more humanizing turn as the series continues. And while I understand that Caprica is not meant to be a variation on BSG, I still miss those awesome space battles, and wouldn’t mind some action being thrown in the mix.
Personal easter egg: In the DVD commentary Allesandra Torresani, who plays Zoe Graystone, makes a priceless comment on Caprica, something to the effect of how (and I’m paraphrasing here) the main difference between the planet of Caprica and Earth is that Caprica is in space. Go teen genius!