Do you know Caprica’s origins? You think you do.
After the successful relaunch of Battlestar Galactica the producers began asking for a prequel type show. Everyone agreed it was a great idea, but they also didn’t have anyone with the time in season to work on a new series with all the demands of the current show so the idea sat on the shelf of “To-Do” ideas.
Along came Remi Aubuchon to SyFy to pitch a show about androids, artificial intelligence and pushing them into a society as slave labor and how they would “feel” and respond. The producers loved the idea, but they thought it also could be a short cut to the spin-off they were planning and instead put Aubuchon with the writing team to re-manufacture his idea into Caprica.
So is Caprica’s failure that it was a bad show? I don’t think so.
I think Caprica’s failure was that it was marketed as Battlestar Caprica, though I personally really enjoyed the connection, but I can see where it is difficult to progress to a slow mind driven political drama from an action series. The idea that Cylons, an android race(don’t sue me George Lucas) hell-bent on eliminating humanity is the concept of a genius teenager and her mourning father is hard to accept. Not to mention the first Cylon is his beautiful and actually peaceful daughter.
Sure things are developed all the time and misused, Einstein did not develop the hydrogen technology to destroy Japan.
Sometime, most of the time, almost always prequels are a difficult subject to create entertainment. The boundaries of the predecessor (but really the successor) really limit the direction a show/movie can progress. Characters must die off or disappear that were not in the original. Plot lines must fall into line and take no unscripted but entertaining detours.
Caprica’s original pilot worked, it should have ended at that, people would have been satisfied with the creation of the Cylon. But the Zoe storyline would have been more fitting as its own unassociated series. Had it been a stand alone we would still be watching it today.
A prequel’s gift of instant audience and brand recognition is also it’s curse. Imagine the possibilities without the limitations.