★ Caprica

Note: This post was originally dated July 22nd, 2009, but in light of the series's debut last Friday, I feel obligated to repost. I'm a big fan of Ronald D. Moore's Battlestar Galactica, which finished its run on the channel formerly known as Sci-Fi earlier this year.  Having spent years wrapped up in the drama unfolding in Admiral Adama's ragtag fleet and in desperate need of a quality science fiction story, I was anxious to see what Moore and company were going to do with their recently commissioned but long-gestating prequel series Caprica.  Billed as more of a political and family drama than a space story, Caprica promised to be a very different experience from its predecessor.

Well, I can safely report that it is a different experience in every way except one - quality.  While only time will tell whether or not the series will live up to BSG's high standards, the Caprica pilot is riveting.  The performances are uniformly strong, the writing is tight and full of emotion, and the direction is wonderfully stylized and involving.  The subject matter is certainly very different from BSG - there isn't a spaceship in sight - but it is certainly strong enough to stand on its own.

In fact, that may be the most impressive thing about this story.  At no point does Caprica feel like a spin-off.  There are connections to its predecessor, obviously, but enjoyment of the pilot is in no way dependent upon familiarity with BSG.  This isn't a Star Wars-style prequel.  In fact, I can safely say that while the Galactica connection is great for publicity, Caprica is a program that I would watch even if it were a standalone.  It is a strong, compelling piece of work, and I strongly recommend it to any fan of good drama and good sci-fi.