In March of 2008 we told you about the Battlestar Galactica (BSG) prequel, Caprica, being approved. The Syfy Network then went on to pitch the prequel to the world. They released the DVD a year ahead of the television premiere date then in October of 2009 they brought it to the Woodstock and Austin Film Festivals to drum up the hype.
In April of '09, we reviewed the 2-hour Caprica movie premiere for you right here on Screen Rant, where I felt the show kept the BSG aura and still ventured down its own path.
Watching the premiere with BSG still fresh in my mind, it was compelling. But many folks have had to wait a very long time since the series finale of BSG to get back into the world that Caprica occupies.
The show finally aired last weekend but it aired to a paltry set of ratings, as it only brought in 1.6 million viewers. I'm sure the advertisers weren't that pleased by the cable turn-out.
Was The Marketing Worth It?
At first, I have to wonder if timing and marketing didn't work against Syfy on this one - or did they expect low numbers for the premiere?
The first hour of Caprica was up against the Hope for Haiti Now Telethon. That couldn't have helped much. But then Syfy (NBC) marketed the living "stuff" out of it when they released the DVD a year earlier. In addition to the DVD, they released it on Hulu, Syfy.com, On Demand for free, Apple and Amazon.
These various platforms did net them an additional 1.5 million viewers.
Does this mean that the pilot was truly seen by an estimated 3.1 million folks? I won't go that far since the additional viewers referenced were in a press release of estimates. But it's not the pilot that will tell the tale of viewer acceptance, but the rest of the season that will be the determining factor for the ratings.
Can The Series Support The Hype?
We've waited this long and I hope that Caprica lived up to your expectations. Despite having seen it a few times, it still lives up to mine. But I'm still marginally concerned about the series holding up its end of the bargain and being very entertaining.
Despite originally ordering 20 hours, Syfy reduced the order for the show down to 19 hours. What's up with that? Is something afoot with the story or is Syfy / NBC just doing what they sometimes do and cutting potentially good programming? Maybe they're worried about the Olympics and don't want to compete with them.
As it stands, we're going to be treated to the 1/2 season noise that we have come to expect from Syfy. Caprica is slated to air through March and then take a break. The remaining 9 hours of the series will air "sometime in the second half of 2010" (It really irks me that Syfy consistently fails to nail down premiere dates until a month out when it comes to the 2nd half of their seasons).
The real trick is going to be how to keep us guessing, while slowly moving towards what we know will happen. But how much will they move forward with the show? How much will they pull from BSG to tease us with where things are headed?
Time will tell. I have a bit of faith in Ronald D. Moore's vision and this should be an interesting series.
I did my own mini-survey of some friends who watched it. I am concerned that non-BSG fans will be lulled to sleep. One viewer told me it just dragged on and on for him and though he's got it queued up in his DVR, he's not sure he'll return to watch the show. Yet, the few fans of the franchise I chatted with were in a state of anticipation about it.
Time will tell, as I always like to say. So say we all!
FYI: I'll be back to touch base and chime in on the first few episodes. We'll see how it's going by then.
Ratings source: TV By The Numbers