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December 02, 2008

Sci Fi Channel orders 'Battlestar' prequel 'Caprica'

Nup_131000_0114 Sci Fi Channel has given the long-gestating "Battlestar Galactica" prequel "Caprica" a series order.

The network has made a significant commitment to the project, ordering 20 hours, including a two-hour pilot. Cast members include Eric Stoltz ("Milk," "Chicago Hope"), Esai Morales ("Jericho," "NYPD Blue"), Paula Malcomson ("Deadwood," "ER") and Polly Walker ("Cane," "Rome").

" 'Caprica' will build on 'Battlestar Galactica's' acclaimed legacy of gripping drama and extraordinary characters," said Sci Fi president Dave Howe. "It's the beginning of a brand new epic saga that will appeal to both new viewers, totally unfamiliar with the 'Battlestar' franchise, as well as existing loyal and passionate 'Battlestar' fans."

"Caprica" was originally planned to launch as a two-hour movie, which has already been shot. After viewing the footage, Sci Fi has opted to go straight to series -- but that means launching later than fans expected. Series production will begin next summer for a 2010 premiere. "Caprica" is produced by Universal Cable Productions and executive produced by Ronald D. Moore and David Eick and Remi Aubuchon.

Description from the press release:

Nup_131000_0602 Set 50 years before "Battlestar Galactica," "Caprica" follows two rival families -- the Graystones and the Adamas -- as they grow, compete, and thrive in the vibrant world of the 12 Colonies, a society recognizably close to our own.  Enmeshed in the burgeoning technology of artificial intelligence and robotics that will eventually lead to the creation of the Cylons, the two houses go toe-to-toe blending action with corporate conspiracy and sexual politics. "Caprica" will deliver all of the passion, intrigue, political backbiting and family conflict in television’s first science fiction family saga. As the series begins, a startling development is about to occur -- the creation of the first cybernetic life-form node or "Cylon" -- the ability to marry artificial intelligence with mechanical bodies. Joseph Adama (Morales)  -- father of future "Battlestar" commander William Adama (Najafi) -- a renowned civil liberties lawyer, becomes an opponent of the experiments undertaken by the Graystones (Stoltz), owners of a large computer corporation that is spearheading the development of these living robots: the Cylons.

"Ron, David and Remi have created an amazing series with thought-provoking storytelling that deals with a world very similar to our own," said Mark Stern, executive vp of programming at Sci Fi. "It’s definitely not as dark as 'Battlestar,' but like that show, this series has smart, dimensional characters who grapple with issues of love, sex and politics from a world in transition."Nup_131029_0848_2

"Not as dark as 'Battlestar' " is a key selling point for the network.

"Battlestar" debuted to strong ratings, that fell off in later seasons. One of the network's frustrations with the show has been its dark and increasingly complex mythology. The network hopes "Caprica" will bring in wider viewership. But will a sci-fi melodrama that eschews using space ships (see interview below), whose central crisis is essentially a ramp up to a story whose ending we already know really be able to draw a fresher and bigger audience? And are the characters going to wear trench coats and hats like Morales does to the right, or is that just his thing?

Previous: Ron Moore talks "Caprica"

Previous: "Battlestar" crew talks final 10 episodes

Also: Sci Fi's "Caprica" trailer


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