Sunday, February 14, 2010

Yes, Even Worse Than the Enterprise Theme Song

After three episodes, I remain agnostic about the Battlestar Galactica prequel series Caprica: interested enough to keep watching, but not so interested that the show's by-now all-but-guaranteed cancellation bothers me overmuch.  The one conclusion I have come to, however, is that this series has the very worst opening titles sequence ever aired on television.



The images are far too on the nose--Joseph Adama is kneeling before a tombstone (which conveniently bears his name) because he's mourning for his wife and daughter; Sister Clarice hands the symbol of the monotheistic cult to Lacy because she's indoctrinating her--and the Blade Runner-esque visual sensibility (with the zeppelin at the end adding a slight steampunk touch) is entirely at odds with the actual show's look, which can best be described as Naturalism Askew--familiar interiors and exteriors made strange through delicate touches of futuristic technology or unfamiliar design choices.  Most of all, the plasticity of the animation recalls pulp SF, not the respectable image that Caprica is obviously trying to project.  One gets the sense that the core concept was something along the lines of opening credits to Carnivalé or Rome--distinctive, richly imagined and realized credits that definitively established the show's emotional tone and visual palette--but there was either not enough talent or not enough money at work to do the job, and what results is the exact opposite of the sophisticated, mainstream-friendly show that Caprica is trying to be.

8 comments:

Ed S. said...

The main difficulty I have with Caprica is that it's too plodding. Some scenes are so repetitive. This would have made a much better mini-series with a fast moving story line.

Anonymous said...

I'd be curious to know your thoughts on Caprica, mostly in regards to the young female characters- It's not very often that a sci-fi or genre show really gives teenage girls a chance to do much of anything.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

As I said, I don't yet feel very strongly about Caprica one way or another - which given that it's a Galactica spin-off is a lot more positive than I would have expected. I do agree that it's good to see girls in so prominent a position in a genre series (though I don't think such characters are unusual - Joss Whedon alone gave us something like half a dozen of them). I like Zoe and Lacy (though in the former case for a value of like that also includes frequently shuddering at the enormity of her self-absorbption), and given the events of the last episode I'm hoping that Tamara will also play an important role in the events of the series.

chance said...

The credits make me think of a really awful soap opera. (not that they are really soap opera like, but I think of it anyway so there you go.)

Anonymous said...

Nope.

The Enterprise theme is still the worst.

Fred said...

Say what you will about the Enterprise theme, it was at least apropos and fit with what they were (at least initially) trying to do. (Whether they succeeded, or should have attempted in the first place, is another matter.) The problem with the Caprica opening credit sequence is, as Abigail notes about, that it's often at odds with the the look and feel of the actual series. It's also incredibly on-the-nose and lame.

That said, I usually don't pay much attention to such things except maybe once a season.

Ouranosaurus said...

I've found myself bothered by Caprica so far mostly because (like Carnivale, and the latter seasons of BSG) it seems to be striving for profundity, and missing by a distance that renders the attempt somewhat laughable.

Which is probably what I'd say about the credits on their own, too.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

it seems to be striving for profundity

I got that sense from BSG, but not yet from Caprica. Right now the show still seems to be mostly story - getting all the pieces to their starting positions on the board.

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