One of the problems with Caprica is that, tracking as it does the origins of the Cylons, its earliest stages fall before the human-Cylon total war that made both incarnations of Battlestar Galactica so compelling.
Caprica promises to get bloodier and darker as it progresses, but in the meantime Syfy is looking to introduce viewers to an intermediate stage in the conflict previously only hinted at in backstory and flashback.
Syfy is working on a new two-hour TV movie set in the Battlestar Galactica universe, titled Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, according to an exclusive report from TV Squad. It's from executive producer David Eick and Universal Cable Productions, and will serve as a backdoor pilot. The potential series was originally devised as an online production, but Syfy became excited enough by the scripts (by BSG veteran Michael Taylor, also the author of the unsold-pilot/movie Virtuality) to upgrade it to a full-blown broadcast series, contingent on the TV movie doing well.
Syfy Looks to William Adama Again
"We jumped at the chance to revisit the William Adama character and explore this exciting chapter in the Battlestar Galactica narrative which falls between the events of the original series and the prequel Caprica," Syfy head of programming Mark Stern said of the new series.
"When we read Michael's script, it was so clearly a full-blown pilot for a series," Stern said in a Thursday interview. "The scope is fantastic and bigger, I think, than anticipated, so we said, 'Let's do it as a 2-hour backdoor pilot.' ... We're trying to get up and running as soon as possible."
The pilot is set in the 10th year of the first Cylon war, placing it between the Battlestar Galactica series and its prequel Caprica.
Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome also reintroduces viewers to Ensign William Adama, last seen in Battlestar Galactica: Razor (which was written by B&C writer Taylor), and the grown-up version of the boy now seen in Caprica. In B&C, William Adama has recently graduated from the Academy and finds himself assigned to the newest battlestar in the Colonial fleet, the Galactica.
More New Directions for a Beloved Character
No word on who will play Adama or who exactly will surround him as allies and antagonists. Nico Cortez, who played him in Razor, is an obvious choice, and is probably available (he recently guested on Chuck and Eureka); but much will depend on the specific direction Eick wants to take.
The key idea is that at this stage in his life, and in the midst of brutal war, Adama's personality and point of view are still being formed. "Your way into the story is a young William Adama who is not the grizzled old veteran we have come to love in BSG," Stern noted, in a phrasing that might annoy some fans of the not-that-grizzled Edward James Olmos. "This is someone who is more like us, in terms of coming into this with certain preconceptions and learning as you go."
Stern continued, "It's very much about relationships along the way. I think ultimately the arc of the pilot and of the series is about getting Adama to be who you came to know in BSG, but it's also about the deep relationships he forms. And I don't think there are any deeper relationships than the ones you form in life-or-death situations."
Is This a Good Idea?
Some bloggers have voiced suspicion that anyone could effectively portray a character inhabited so seminally by Edward James Olmos. "No more BSG please," whines Comic Book Resources, arguing that BSG didn't need any prequels, since the backstory was brilliantly served up in the ccurse of the series itself.
But I'm not so sure the naysayers about revisiting Adama or prequeling BSG have much of a point today. It's been a long time since BSG ended. Longer still by the time this movie/pilot appears in late 2011 or early 2012. And the regular presence of another Adama played by Esai Morales has created further distance.
The main impact I see is that it will siphon a bit of suspense away from the development of Boy Adama on Caprica -- but honestly, who cares that much about Boy Adama? (Not the writers for Caprica.) In any event, the adult William Adama is such a compelling and convoluted character, and the Cylon War such an evocative atmosphere, that in balance it could well be a rush to see him again.
What do you think, folks? Another prequel? More space war? If it's cast and written well it stands a better chance of catching fire than the low-burning Caprica.