It’s sci­ence fic­tion, but not as we know it. Guy Davis in­vites you to blast off with him to Caprica.

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Some­thing like Caprica, one might say. It’s pos­si­ble that only the odd glimpse of a robotic Cy­lon or the lib­eral use of the fic­tional pro­fan­ity “ frak” would give a viewer the in­di­ca­tion that Caprica, now air­ing on Seven’s new dig­i­tal chan­nel 7mate, is a spin-off of the late, great sci-fi se­ries Bat­tlestar Galac­tica.

Be­cause with the ex­cep­tion of those el­e­ments, and some ad­vanced technology that’s a few years ahead of any­thing Mi­crosoft has de­vel­oped so far, Caprica doesn’t re­ally seem like sci­ence fic­tion. In­stead, it comes across like an edgy drama with well-drawn char­ac­ters and a philo­soph­i­cal bent. Oh, and ro­bots. Tak­ing place pri­mar­ily on the planet of Caprica, one of 12 plan­ets colonised by the hu­man race in the dis­tant fu­ture, and set 58 years be­fore the re­bel­lion of the Cy­lons, ar­ti­fi­cially in­tel­li­gent ro­bots built for war­fare and man­ual labour, the show in­ter­twines the fates of two fam­i­lies.

Daniel Gray­stone ( Eric Stoltz) is Caprica’s an­swer to Bill Gates. He’s a bril­liant but ruth­less ty­coon whose vir­tual-re­al­ity technology has made him wealthy and pow­er­ful.

His teenage daugh­ter Zoe ( Alessandra Tor­re­sani) may be even more bril­liant than he is, but her em­brace of fun­da­men­tal­ist re­li­gion sees her fall in with a cult-like group re­spon­si­ble for a ter­ror­ist at­tack all too rem­i­nis­cent of the 9/ 11 bomb­ings.

Two of the peo­ple who died in the at­tack were the wife and daugh­ter of Joseph Adama ( Esai Morales), a lawyer with some dodgy un­der­world ties. ( If that name sounds fa­mil­iar, it’s be­cause Joseph is the fa­ther of Wil­liam Adama, who grows up to com­mand the Galac­tica.)

At first, Daniel and Joseph are bound by their shared grief … but events soon con­spire to put them at each other’s throats. In fact, the glory days of Caprica and the other colonies are num­bered.

Co-cre­ator Ron­ald D. Moore, the man be­hind the Bat­tlestar Galac­tica re­make, has called Caprica the story of “ a so­ci­ety that’s run­ning out of con­trol”, a place so en­tranced by its own pros­per­ity that it fails to see its own down­fall ap­proach­ing.

Ad­mit­tedly that doesn’t sound as cool as a show that had armies of fighter planes shoot­ing it out in space, but Caprica could be seen to have more in com­mon with ter­rific dra­mas such as Dead­wood, Rome or even Mad Men in that it’s a very real, very hu­man story that takes place in a world un­fa­mil­iar to its au­di­ence.

World’s apart: The cast of in­cludes ( from left) Magda Apanow­icz, Alessan­dra Tor­re­sani, Polly Walker, Eric Stoltz, Paula Mal­com­son, Sasha Roiz and Esai Mo­rales.

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