A little over a month after the Syfy Channel aired the final installments of Caprica, production has started on the Blood and Chrome telefilm, which doubles as a backdoor pilot for a second (possible) spin-off series. Unfortunately for David Eick, the franchise’s shepherding exec producer and guiding light, as well as for Syfy itself, B&C isn’t necessarily getting off on the right foot. To wit – a litany of possible (and literal) character defects and structural weaknesses that may cause the whole enterprise to come toppling down before it even gets the greenlight:
- Cast as Ensign William “Husker” Adama is 20-year-old actor Luke Pasqualino, a Briton with a silly hairdo (which, hopefully, will not contaminate the Battlestar mythos more than it already has on Caprica). While not meant as a disparagement to Pasqualino in the slightest, his choice to portray the lead is inexplicable, given the (quite successful) utilization of previous young Adama actor Nico Cortez, who brought the once and future admiral to life in the Razor: Flashbacks webisode series. If questions of quality of performance are not an issue, than questions of consistency are – the old man is the first character in all of sci-fi since Lord Vader himself to require such an extensive menagerie of actors to bring him to life.
- Caprica showrunner (the third and final one) Kevin Murphy admitted in his DVD commentary for that show’s penultimate episode, “Here Be Dragons,” that the killing off of Willie Adama – and the subsequent introduction of Bill Adama, born one year after his half-brother’s death – was done not only as a rather nifty and certainly mind-frakking narrative twist, but also as the result of some internal number crunching: the writing staff realized, well after the fact, that there was simply no way that 11-year-old Willie could possibly become Admiral Adama, for, despite all of Edward James Olmos’s weathered grisliness, he could not (retroactively) conceivably pull off being 69-years-old in Battlestar Galactica. But establishing his new age as 57 poses definite problems for Chrome: set in the tenth year of the First Cylon War, this makes Husker a mere and tender 15. How Michael Taylor and the other writers plan on addressing this is unknown – if they even broach the subject at all, which, given BSG’s track record in this regard, is a pretty big if.
- The constantly-under-revision experimentation process that transformed the Cylon Centurions into biological entities seems primed to be tweaked even further, if B&C concept art is to be taken at face value. Given original creator Ronald D. Moore’s penchant for seat-of-his-pants scripting – a character quirk he has bequeathed to his protégés, from Jane Espenson to, now, Taylor – audiences shouldn’t be surprised to see several different Cylon races at several different levels of cybernetic hybridization (not to mention the possible introduction of several new basestar Hybrids, as well, for that matter), regardless of the myriad and quite serious complications this would pose for Battlestar’s continuity.
Are any of these points irrevocable enough to lead to the fledgling show’s inexorable narrative dissolution? Of course not, although they certainly pose a number of difficulties for a production that has a decidedly marked history of such storytelling deficiencies already, and they did so before even one frame of film was even shot – not good omens by any stretch of the imagination. Then again, the Caprica pilot seemed to foretell of many a possible continuity misstep, narrative sand traps that were, by and large, avoided by the series proper.
Only time, of course and ironically enough, will tell.