Caprica good! BG…, nah.
July 3, 2009 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Does Battlestar ever get as good as Caprica?

Just watched Caprica and loved it, but (no disrespect to fans!) have bounced off BG several times, never making it beyond the 4th episode. Is there some point where the show starts to get the production values and general tone of the prequel, or just somehow feels more like it? (Same crew, right?) Wouldn't mind jumping in mid-stream, if so…

(What we didn't like about BG: The dialog, the FX, the pacing; hated that "soldier-bluster" thing between the various warrior-pilots; seemed like TV…)
posted by dpcoffin to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In my opinion, the best episode is 33; if you disliked that, you'll probably dislike the entire thing.
posted by ellF at 10:35 AM on July 3, 2009 [5 favorites]

Caprica is flashier. That said, if you're not into BSG by the 4th episode, I'm not sure you'll ever get there. That whole first season is pure magic to me. The start of the Second Season and the middle of the Third get very dice-y, quality wise, so I'm not sure how you'd weather them.

The magic of BSG, to me, is in it's purely allegorical story telling. It allows us to step back several paces from reality and apply a filter- the show- to our understanding of "real life". The "soldier-bluster" stuff actually gets some beautiful shading to it as the series goes on. The FX are pretty great the whole way through, those space battles are 100% memorable.

The dialog can get a little wince-y in places, but I thought it was pretty great. There are some really big, stirring speeches towards the end.

And so, in reading my reply, I'm guessing that it's maybe just not a show for you. And that's okay*! I'd try out the whole first season and see if it clicks.

*le sigh.
posted by GilloD at 10:40 AM on July 3, 2009

Battlestar starts out strong and gets really shitty. Boxing episode. Watch the miniseries and first few episodes of the first season, for sure, though.

It picks up some, and has some good episodes that are actually focused on moving the plot along, like the above-mentioned season two finale, but for the most part it just meanders around pointlessly.

Sorry nerds, that show was way overrated.
posted by yesno at 10:42 AM on July 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

Have you watched the miniseries? It's actually not as good as the series itself, but it sets up all the characters and themes. I tried to watch the first few episodes without watching the miniseries first, and, like you, I just didn't really "get" it. But once I watched the miniseries, I was better able to slip into BSG's universe and enjoy it.

Personally, I think the first half of the third season was BSG's best, but yeah, it might just not be for you.
posted by lunasol at 10:45 AM on July 3, 2009

I feel as though the last two seasons, and especially the last (fourth) season, do this very well. However, if you're really turned off by the tone, well, the confrontation of the problem of reconciling the military with democratic society never really goes away—it's a theme of the series—but, if you're like me and you find Gaius Baltar to be the most interesting and compelling character in the series, well, you'll get a lot of that throughout the series, even just beyond the first four episode.

You know what I would recommend, though? Track down the pilot-miniseries that first started Battlestar Galactica in late 2003. Personally, when I started with the first official episode, I liked it but had to watch maybe five or six more episodes to really get what the hell was going on. If you watch the miniseries, which actually starts on Caprica and has a lot more explanation and a lot of breadth to it, you'll probably get a much better sense of the story, the characters, and what's at stake.

In fact, the miniseries starts in a time when there really is no “soldier-bluster” thing—it was funny for me, having seen many of the later episodes, to imagine the Galactica as a museum with a gift shop selling t-shirts to tourists—and seems to provide some explanation and explication of what the point of the renewed militance really means. As such, it makes that whole part of the series a bit more comprehensible in terms of character development and plotline—it really does turn out that BSG isn't just about militance for militance's sake.

If I recall correctly, later in the series Ronald Moore himself lamented the fact that the series was watched primarily by males, saying he felt that unfortunately females seemed to be turned off by precisely the same militance you mention; he managed to rectify this somewhat, as the female viewership grew a lot during the last two seasons.
posted by koeselitz at 10:45 AM on July 3, 2009

…but I have to say: Caprica looks awesome, and it begins with a level of production and quality of story that BSG attained at its peak—so you should know that Ronald Moore's at the top of his game now, I think. You won't find better production values or story-lines going backwards, as much as I love BSG.
posted by koeselitz at 10:47 AM on July 3, 2009

I will admit to being one of the people who hated the BSG special effects. (Except those in the very last episode and the miniseries.) Most people disagree with me, but frankly, there are lots of shows with better explosions.

I started out watching the miniseries and 33 and was bored. I eventually watched them again, and I would say I was hooked by episode 5 or 7, though I was also determined to watch the show no matter what. (I did end up enjoying it very much.) Season 1 is quite uneven, especially the first half. They certainly don't really get into their characters by episode 4, or even by 5 or 7, but it grows. You can probably get the upshot of season 1 just by watching the last 3 or 4 episodes.
posted by jeather at 10:50 AM on July 3, 2009

As a data point, my family loved Battlestar but hated Caprica. I didn't really feel that the two were similar at all, with the exception of the monotheism undertones. If you liked the religious angle of Caprica you might enjoy Battlestar. The thread's present in the whole series, but I remember it picking up pretty heavily in the first part of season 4.

Ron Moore has said "everything about Caprica was designed specifically to not repeat what we had done in Galactica," so the elements you like may never overlap with Battlestar.
posted by lilac girl at 10:51 AM on July 3, 2009

I didn't really get interested in BSG until the 4th episode, and I still could have taken it or left it until midway through the second season. Then I was hooked.

Strangely, I can't seem to make it through Caprica. And I've tried several times. I don't think my love of Eric Stoltz will be able to carry me through it.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:54 AM on July 3, 2009

I foolishly watched 33 thinking it was the beginning, and had to go back to find the miniseries to figure out WTF was going on. After that readjustment, I was fine.

Other than the last half of the last season (major letdown, well documented all over the web I am sure), BSG is all pretty good.
posted by rokusan at 11:07 AM on July 3, 2009

Sorry nerds, that show was way overrated.

I mean... many people love it, nerds or otherwise, so yeah. I think it's pretty appropriately rated.
posted by ORthey at 11:08 AM on July 3, 2009

I watched the pilot episode for Caprica; are the actual episodes being shown now? In any case, nthing everything that GilloD said.

I think for me, the question would be: will Caprica every get as good as BSG?
posted by nihraguk at 11:30 AM on July 3, 2009

*ever. Urgh.
posted by nihraguk at 11:31 AM on July 3, 2009

I didn't really get into Battlestar till Season 2, so I would say it takes time. But then I found Baltar tedious and loved me all the emo. So YM definitely MV.
posted by dame at 11:31 AM on July 3, 2009

(What we didn't like about BG: The dialog, the FX, the pacing; hated that "soldier-bluster" thing between the various warrior-pilots; seemed like TV…)

You will continue to not like BSG then, because that's what the show is. It makes a few forays into politics-bluster and religion-bluster here and there, but it's still all the same show in the same style.
posted by ook at 11:59 AM on July 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

In an attempt to avoid spoiler about Caprica (which I intend to watch) I haven't read the previous comments, so I apologize if I'm repeating something someone else may have said.

However, I'd say that if the first few episodes of BG don't grab your interest, you probably won't like the rest. The show is definitely able to use it's premise to examine some interesting things throughout the series, but if you don't like the premise you probably won't enjoy the show enough to find it worthwhile later.
posted by Quizicalcoatl at 12:21 PM on July 3, 2009

Not to derail, but when did Caprica begin airing in the US? I didn't realize it had premiered yet.
posted by perrce at 12:25 PM on July 3, 2009

Not to derail, but when did Caprica begin airing in the US? I didn't realize it had premiered yet.

You're not the only one.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 12:35 PM on July 3, 2009

The pilot came out on DVD on April 21st.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:52 PM on July 3, 2009

I really enjoyed BSG until the final episode, which lacked any nuance or subtlety. It retroactively tarnished my experience of the show. If I had known that it was going to end the way it did, I would not have wasted my time watching.
posted by ndicecco at 1:12 PM on July 3, 2009

Response by poster: Oooo… Didn't get that C is a series; cool. (Just stumbled on the DVD at BB.)

Thanks for all the thoughtful replies; I'm much more willing to get sucked in to most stuff than Mrs. dpc, (who I've observed likes to hate stuff she winds up loving for a few episodes…) so, I'm still looking for ways into what I suspect will be a series we'll ultimately enjoy. But Domestic Tranquility comes first.
posted by dpcoffin at 1:15 PM on July 3, 2009

DP- My wife was the same. The third season starts to look into some broader themes- romance, relationships- that I think appealed to my wife more than the ZOMG SPACE BATTLE EPIC MILITARY CONFRONTATION stuff in the first two seasons. The 4th season is, for sure, the least blustery of the bunch. It also has one of televisions great divisive conclusions. I adored it.
posted by GilloD at 1:44 PM on July 3, 2009

No one else seems to have mentioned yet, but if one of the things you don't like about it is the military nature of it, you're not going to get on with it. It's really fairly central to the show, as while the politics become a strong core to it, the politicians often remain (purposefully) secondary to the military.
And as most have said, I would tend to rate 33 as about as good as it gets... Though there are some of the topical episodes in the latter series that were top notch.

Good news is it looks like Jane Espenson is going to be taking over running Caprica, and if her writing on various Joss shows and her blog are anything to go by, she'll do a damned fine job!
posted by opsin at 2:15 PM on July 3, 2009

BG has no sensible plot. They make it up as they go, with no thought to how the current episode will affect future episodes, and if the current episode doesn't jive with earlier episodes, they just re-invent history and put some flashbacks in the episode to help it along.

For this reason, Battlestar is the most infuriating and annoying TV show I have ever watched. I was on the edge of my seat for multiple seasons hoping to find out what the deal was with all the mysteries, only to eventually realize that there *are* no real answers, except what they piece together hastily to tie things up. The ending is just as terrible as the rest of the season.
posted by brenton at 12:41 AM on July 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

People like Caprica? I found it to be so boring that it was watched in several installments. I kept waiting for it to get interesting. There was no reason for me to care about the characters at all.

In contrast, I found that BSG kicked off in a really exciting way with the miniseries. There were some low spots (including the finale), but overall it was a great series.

I will probably watch the first few Caprica episodes, but my expectations are low. It seemed too much like a run-of-the-mill TV drama to me.
posted by reddot at 10:46 AM on July 4, 2009

Response by poster: So, I guess we're all agreed, then? Next!
posted by dpcoffin at 3:45 PM on July 4, 2009

« Older I need a free and simple online project tracker   |   How can an old lady see downtown Chicago in a few... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.