It all started way back in 2003 when a boldly re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, stripped of all its late 70s cheesiness (for which I still retain a great fondness, I have to admit), and bulked up with stellar scripts, imaginative narrative and superb acting blasted onto our screens.
From the moment the mini-series that began it all showed the 12 colonial worlds being blown to smithereens by the avenging Cylons, and a remnant humanity fleeing for their lives in the hope of finding sanctuary on the much-mytholgised Earth, I was hooked and remained so for the entire duration of the four series sci-fi sensation.
I found the ending ingeniously clever and an elegant and fitting way to wrap things up but of course like any nearly obsessive fan, I longed for more from the world of Adama, Starbuck and the blighted planets of the colony.
Caprica went some way to satisfying that craving with a gritty, unflinching drama that took place 58 years before the events of Battlestar Galactica and showed how humanity unwittingly sowed the seeds of their own almost-destruction by creating the Cylons.
It was bold, imaginative, perhaps a little dark and morose at times, but it underlined how even the most innocent and well-intentioned of decisions can come back to haunt anyone; in this case all of humanity.
Alas low ratings sealed its fate and on October 27, 2010, syfy cancelled the series and that I thought was that.
But then around the same time as the cancellation came word about another prequel to Battlestar Galactica called Flesh and Chrome – technically Caprica was a prequel although in terms of direct connection to the storyline, F & C is a much closer fit – which was grand in scope as this statement from executive producer Michael Taylor, quoted on chicagotribune.com made clear:
“It’s a story that will take us to new corners of the ‘Battlestar’ world (or worlds), and yet it aims to be a very contemporary war movie in a lot of ways. I would say I’m thinking as much of Afghanistan and Iraq–the reality of ‘Hurt Locker’, Sebastian Junger’s ‘Restrepo’, and similar movies–as I am about about the largely implied past of ‘Battlestar’.”
Originally envisioned as a 9-10 episodes of 10 minutes duration each, and intended for online distribution only, its aim was to tell the story of one William Adama, newly assigned to one of the most powerful warships in the colonial fleet, the Galactica against the backdrop of the first Cylon war.
However syfy indicated towards the end of 2010 that they would broadcast it instead which began one of those annoying back and forth bouts of indecision about whether to use the televisual or online channels till it looked like Flesh and Chrome would simply remain an un-viewed concept, caught in creative limbo.
Thank the gods, sense has now prevailed, and after showing the episodes online on the MachinaPrime site (the first episode debuted on November 9, 2012), syfy will finally air the show as a two hour telecast on Sunday, 10 February 2013 in the USA with a DVD/Bluray release of the show set to release on 19 February.
Battlestar Galactica looks as slick and spectacular as any of syfy’s digital productions before it – Sanctuary was also a standout in this regard – and it looks like this could be the BSG prequel that will finally, at least for a little while, assuage that craving for another instalment in the fearsome never-ending battle between man and machine.