Syfy announced today that Caprica has been cancelled and the remaining episodes will be pulled and aired some time next year. My first reaction was silence.
My next reaction was sadness over the loss of this wonderful community of people who supported Caprica. I began this website on February 17 of 2009 but I conceived of it much earlier. Battlestar Galactica was ending and I had just become a fan. I hadn’t seen the first three seasons. I was in awe of the plethora of intelligent discussion among such a diverse group of people that was taking place online. When I first heard that Caprica was being conceived I was excited at the notion that I might be able to join in, maybe even be a source of great news. Today I feel awful having to share this news. And that thought alone I guess is what caused me to be silent.
But I keep going back to – why? Why did this happen? Isn’t that the question Caprica would have asked? I know there will be all kinds of finger pointing and looking the other way, but there are people responsible. One phrase I’ve been seeing for the last few weeks is, “There just aren’t enough viewers.”
Ask this question and someone will undoubtedly shout, “Because it sucked!” But, that’s not good enough of an answer for me – because it didn’t suck. Actually Caprica was pretty awesome. I won’t be so ignorant as to tout myself as an entertainment professional, but I have my opinions and I want to share them.
As someone who owns two websites, I’ve dabbled in marketing a little bit. As an amateur I’ve learned a few things along the way. Immediately – in fact before I even began my first website – I realized how important marketing is to the success of a product. You wouldn’t be reading The Caprica Times today if I hadn’t marketed it in a way that would bring you here. If I were unsatisfied with the number of viewers – I’d go out and market my sites. I’ve never spent any money to do this and each time I’ve done it my viewers have increased.
What’s crazy to me is although initially it was a lot of work to market my sites, it became easy. Once I picked up on certain principles it couldn’t have been anything else but easy. Market to the right people, market at the right time and market what makes you good. Simple! If I could do it I’m sure you could too.
I do not believe that Caprica was marketed properly. I believe that it was severely damaged by the timing of the release of its episodes. Let me walk you through the timeline us fans have endured:
- It began with the end of Battlestar Galactica. The last episode had 2.4 million viewers and aired 3/13 and 3/20 of 2009.
- The pilot to Caprica was experimentally released on DVD one month later, 4/21/09.
- The excitement of the remainder of BSG fans for this new show was slowly drained away as we waited 9 months more for it to debut on television 1/22/10.
- Once it did air we were treated to a show that thoughtfully moved along at a solemn pace. Just as it began to pick up speed it screeched to a hault after only 9 episodes on 3/26/10.
- By that time there were roughly 1.1 million fans – not a great number, but not a terrible one either. To our strong disappointment we were told that the remaining episodes would air in January of 2011. This would be a 10 month wait.
- It was then passed down that Caprica would be moving from Friday to Tuesday nights to make room for WWF Smackdown. Viewers who had work in the morning now had no option but to DVR Caprica.
- On 9/9/10 it was announced with less than a months notice that Caprica was to return on 10/5/10. Many fans still don’t know that it even returned as there was a rush in promoting it.
- And here we are today, 10/27/10, with only 4 episodes shown and Syfy announcing Caprica’s cancellation and removing the remaining episodes from television despite many favorable reviews.
For me this paints a clear picture of how this show was mishandled and as much as Syfy may want to wipe their hands clean of responsibility, their name is all over this product. I’d like to talk about that name. During the course of Caprica, what was once the Sci Fi Channel changed its name to Syfy. With that came a new slogan:
I look at how WWE Smackdown had replaced Caprica on Friday nights, and I just can’t help but wonder – where is the imagination in wrestling? I don’t think it’s a secret that sensational wrestling for the most part isn’t real. I guess you could say this makes it “imagined”. But is this not a cheap version of an imagination? I watched wrestling as a child. Twenty years later I can’t say I remember with great excitement anything about it. I do remember shows like Twin Peaks and Quantum Leap – shows that made me think. They made me think about my life in a way I never had before.
Caprica made me think about my life in a way I never had before.
WWE Smackdown draws ratings, absolutely. I think it was a smart decision to acquire the show, but at what cost? Is Syfy doomed to turn into something different than its name suggests, like MTV did? If your aim is to have the most popular programming regardless of its relation to science fiction why bother having your moniker even resemble Sci Fi? Bad marketing? Maybe I’m just bitter.
But that brings me to something else. I know I’m not the only one bitter here. I’m not going to just forget about this in a year or two when Battlestar’s Blood & Chrome airs. And I think that’s terrible. I love the Battlestar Galactica story and I was glad to see something else was being made. Now I don’t know if I want to go through it again. I ask myself,
If Caprica was mishandled and cancelled, why should I believe Blood & Chrome won’t be?
I want to support the people behind Blood & Chrome, but I’m having a hard time supporting the people behind them – Syfy. Although I won’t put words in his mouth, it seems as though Ron Moore, creator of Battlestar Galactica and Caprica, feels the same way. Earlier this year he signed a two year contract with Sony and will not be involved with Blood & Chrome as of this writing. Blood & Chrome was to be a web series but with Caprica out of the way will now be a pilot. Syfy seems to be toying with whether or not to go to series and support something Battlestar Galactica related. With a lack of support for Blood & Chrome from the beginning, I keep thinking to myself,
If this has all happened before, it will happen again.
And now I feel like a character on Caprica faced with a choice I never truly asked for. Do I support the programs on Syfy that are science fiction related and include some level of intelligence and imagination? Do I write off Syfy as a channel with an identity crisis pandering for ratings no matter the cost? Or maybe I should go back to where I started years ago – not having turned on a television in years. And now what do I do with The Caprica Times? I wish I had a head character to guide me on this one.
Thank you to all of the creators, cast and fans of Caprica. It’s been wonderful sharing so much with all of you and I’m truly sad that it has ended. You’ve inspired me in so many ways and I wish I could give all of you the best things I could imagine. I hope everyone walks away from this and into a greater future. Apotheosis.Share on Facebook