Caprica

Discussion of Science Fiction motifs, symbols and allegory.
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LoneBear
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Caprica

Post by LoneBear » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:46 am

I just got around to watching "Caprica," the spinoff from the Battlestar Galactica remake, apparently sponsored by Marlboro, Jack Daniels and Pfizer, given they are lighting cigarettes, gulping alcohol and popping prescription pills in just about every scene. Disturbing, since the target audience are teens and young adults.

For those who know the old Battlestar Galactica, the portrayal of the Adama family in Caprica as a bunch of Tauron Mafia hit-men does not fit the characterization made by Lorne Green--a man of respect and honor. I've noticed this in recent Science Fiction... they seem to be missing the wise-old man / wise-old woman archetypes that were abundant in my generation--particularly as major characters. Status is being defined by "the more screwed up you are, the more important you are."

I did find the theological concepts quite interesting, regarding the origin of the Cylons and their quest for immortality--which they were able to achieve through technology. Quite the counterpoint to Stargate's Ancients, who had to abandon technology to ascend to a higher state of existence to achieve their immortality--even emphasizing that the Replicators were unable to achieve ascension because they were "technological," not human.

Science Fiction is on the leading edge of apprehension so when I watch a show, I watch for the subliminal content--and Caprica abounds with it. In one episode, characters lit up cigarettes on 17 occasions--not so subtle programming of cig sales. Every time they there is a problem, out comes the alcohol and pills. Though I did notice they were careful to avoid brand names, so it wouldn't be TOO obvious.

Another interesting bit of symbolism was the "Soldiers of The One", or STO, the terrorist organization trying to impose the "one, true God" on a polytheistic culture through threat and violence. Given "STO" is the common abbreviation for "Service To Others", it is as they are trying to program STS behavior by trashing STO. Again, with all the self-gratification through sex, violence, cigarettes, drugs and alcohol that the show promotes, it is not surprising.

I actually found myself cheering for the Cylon robots!

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Re: Prometheus and Epimetheus

Post by Ilkka » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:44 am

LoneBear wrote:If you enjoy Sci-Fi, Caprica is definitely a good one to watch, given where AI technology is heading these days.
I have watched few episodes of it today and it seems to be worth watching. And there is this very attractive young actress in it too in the role of Zoe, who created the AI in it.
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Re: Caprica

Post by LoneBear » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:17 pm

Despite all the efforts that Hollywood put into commercializing Caprica, the series, itself, poses some interesting philosophical concepts, centering around the idea of what defines "what is alive."

In the series, they have something analogous to "Google Glasses" that are a total immersion game, where you can do anything to anyone and there is no consequence for your actions, as "it's just a game." One of the main characters, Zoe, is an intuitive computer genius that attempts to create an AI avatar for herself that can run parallel to her non-AI avatar that is normally expressed in the simulation. Her idea was interesting, and parallels the way the brain actually works--take all the information about a person, from all the thousands of databases around the world, and use that to construct an artificial intelligence matrix--in other words, the computer version of obtaining knowledge and experience in the "outside world" to build an identity. And Zoe was partially successful in creating a "copy" of herself, from the knowledge available on the Caprican internet.

Then something happens--Zoe is killed in a terrorist bombing, while her AI simulation of herself is active. Her AI, having all her knowledge and experience up to that point, becomes her. The series goes through a number of pro-and-con episodes regarding whether AI Zoe is actually the same person as the "real" Zoe and if the real Zoe's consciousness was somehow transferred to the AI upon her unexpected death. The STO group operates from the latter premise, and comes up with an idea to achieve immortality from it (the concepts based on Heaven and the "one true god.")

It is an interesting series, particularly for those with a technical background, because it takes you from the "that's nonsense" premise to "you know, that might be possible" scenario. I always enjoy a series that expands ones world view, and Caprica is one of those that does. (My only objection was the nonstop use of alcohol, drugs and smoking, which, IMHO, detracted more from the plot line than adding to it.)

But I do recommend it. The series stands on its own; you do not need to see the Battlestar Galactica remake to understand the concepts, other than to see the inferences on how the human race got into a war with the AI's on the BG series.

One season only; 18 episodes.
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Re: Caprica

Post by Ilkka » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:41 pm

I think there are some "contradictions" about their technology for one there is alot of very old cars around and then in this one episode there was VHS tape :D and then they have these super cool papers with computers in them, its like what the heck man all tech from back in the "good old days" comes mingled with the future tech. That is funny also Joseph Adama's hat with feather on it, that is funny and quaint.

One thing wrong with prequels usually have is that the tech is more futuristic like in the latest Star Wars compared to the original saga, their tech was more advanced before so to speak or atleast better looking lightsabers. And in this series there was none of those paper computer screens in the Battlestar Galactica remake series. However, I dont mind the mistakes too much, its just something that I take a notice to, the little things.
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Re: Caprica

Post by LoneBear » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:38 am

Ilkka wrote:I think there are some "contradictions" about their technology for one there is alot of very old cars around and then in this one episode there was VHS tape :D and then they have these super cool papers with computers in them, its like what the heck man all tech from back in the "good old days" comes mingled with the future tech. That is funny also Joseph Adama's hat with feather on it, that is funny and quaint.
The technique is called "thematizing" (to create a structural theme, analogous to creating "context" in literary works). You select symbols that are fairly well known to set the mood and environment and place them in the background. The mind subconsciously picks up on them (or in your case, consciously!) which brings up related concepts, moods, feelings, etc. for the players to work against.

The "feather in one's cap" is an old English saying from the 16th century, meaning a symbol of honor and achievement. For Adama, it is a symbol of his lawyer status, and foreshadowing of future events. Probably came from the American Indian tradition.

The series is loaded with subliminals and subtexts, so keep your eyes open.
Ilkka wrote:One thing wrong with prequels usually have is that the tech is more futuristic like in the latest Star Wars compared to the original saga, their tech was more advanced before so to speak or atleast better looking lightsabers. And in this series there was none of those paper computer screens in the Battlestar Galactica remake series. However, I dont mind the mistakes too much, its just something that I take a notice to, the little things.
I've noticed that, as well. Has more to do with the quality of special effects available at the time, not the plot line.

Though if you notice, booze and cigarettes never seem to get outdated... on BSG75 they would run out of food, fuel, air, water, toilet paper... but ALWAYS had plenty of booze laying around to guzzle at the first sign of emotional trouble. Tells you where their priorities are!
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Re: Caprica

Post by Ilkka » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:27 pm

LoneBear wrote:but ALWAYS had plenty of booze laying around to guzzle at the first sign of emotional trouble. Tells you where their priorities are!
It is sad even todays people who dont have enough money to eat, however there is always enough money to buy booze, atleast in this country and there are alot of these types around who are somewhat alcoholics including my own family members even though they dont admit it. I see that my family members have emotional problems alot of them and they just want to drown those problems, but they are only postponing the inevitable, I cant see point in doing that, but they just do it anyways. Also its part of Finnish culture, i guess.

I've noticed booze, cigarettes and other drugs, pills and stuff, however even though I notice them I tend to look for other things beyond them, atleast nowadays. Before this year I wasnt interested about human behavior, but now I can see it in a new "light" and it kind of requires my attention I think.

It is true that we are susceptible to certain stimulus that makes us crave specific things when in certain state of emotion. I used to like the pizza commercials when I was hungry and tease myself with the idea of a tasty pizza, nowadays every fast food pizza will give me heartburn. This is the cause of my body to be more balanced in alkaline than acidic pH. Keeps mind more clearer and healthier body, I think.
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