Caprica Gets Smarter as Ratings Teeter; Syfy Remains Committed

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If you’re a regular to Techland, then you know I’m a big fan of Caprica – more than a fanboy…maybe an evangelist, who believes strongly that this is sci-fi of the highest order.

I’ve marveled at the sliding scale of humanity on display, as the show has challenged us to confront our biases about what it means to be a human, an avatar, and a digital replica of a human being. Where does the soul reside? What makes us who we are? I think we’ve seen in recent episodes that each character has been forced to confront this very issue: Where do we reveal our true selves? In our personal lives? Our public lives? Our virtual lives?

Anywho: Syfy has made it clear that they are standing behind this series 100 percent. Even as its premiere episode went up against the star-studded Haiti telethon. Even as the Olympics has siphoned off viewers. Even as the ratings fell below a million people. All along the way, Syfy has remained adamant, that this show has remained strong in the key demo of 18-49-year-olds. More than that: The execs over at the network, which have planned some pretty major Caprica events in New York in a couple weeks, seem to believe in the story, the talent and the themes every bit as strongly as I do. (Check out our interview with Caprica’s co-creator)

I thought last Friday’s episode took things up a notch in a fascinating way, revealing what the larger plans are for Tamara, the standalone avatar whose real-life alterego is dead. Lost in the virtual world, and relatively invincible since she can’t be booted out of the game, Tamara grabs an uzi and takes over New Cap City, threatening to lead a virtual of revolution of sorts.

So now imagine how this divide will play out, if a Tauron family commandeers this virtual space, becoming the ruling elites among the avatars, even as Daniel Graystone – who has sworn off profits from his holoband – devotes his life to building sentient robots and killing machines for the Caprican government. What happens when the real world starts operating according to one set of rules, but the virtual world exists on another plane? Just as Google has surpassed the wealth of so many other brick and mortar companies, solely through their online presence, what happens when Tamara is the strongest person in Caprica? Back from the dead, and to the top of the heap…

In any case, the ratings have told a frustrating tale thus far. 1.6 million viewers the first week, 1.4 the second, 1.1 the third, and just under 1 million the fourth. But then last Friday a bump: 1.1 million. Could it be that the devout fans – like myself – are spreading the good word? Could the new storyline, about the young girl in heels toting a sub-machine gun, be catching on? Did the Olympics play less of a factor?

All I know is that I love the show, I think it’s getting even smarter – and slightly more action-packed – and with these big upcoming PR events in the Big Apple, I’m betting there are some big twists and turns on the horizon. Your thoughts?

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