I recently spoke with Caprica executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick on the red carpet at this week’s 2010 Syfy Channel Upfront. You can read my Caprica story on AOL here, but there were some extra bits left over that make for a nice feature for ADD.
So here are Moore and Eick discussing their shows, their cultural impact and last year’s controversial Battlestar Galactica finale.
How much of an impact do you think that Battlestar Galactica and Caprica have had on modern sci-fi television?
Ron Moore: That’s really hard to say. I don’t know.
David Eick: We were so busy cribbing from others that it’s been hard to keep track of who we may have begat. Our touchstones were the greats: [Robert] Heinlein, Philip K. Dick and the movies of Ridley Scott, not just the science fiction ones. I think we were fortunate to figure out a way to apply some of that aesthetic to a modern TV show. I haven’t been able to pay attention enough to what else is on out there to see what we may have inspired.
Ron Moore: To me, the biggest and most important impact is that Salma Hayek had a “Frak” T-shirt when she was on 30 Rock. That was a major score because that’s the one they put in the time capsule.
Isn’t it ironic that one’s cultural impact can come down to one word?
Ron Moore: You know what? However you can get there.
Ron, I saw you speak last year at the New York Television Festival and reminisce about your later years with the Star Trek franchise and how formulaic it got. How hard is it to stay as original as possible with your storytelling on Caprica, especially after four seasons of Battlestar, and to keep the mythology fresh?
Ron Moore: I think you’re always trying to avoid clichés just as a storyteller. I think within the Battlestar universe the smartest thing we did was we developed Caprica while Battlestar was still going, so we were able to make sure that we carved enough blank space for the back story on Galactica to give ourselves a lot of room. So as a consequence there are not huge plot grids that we have to keep tying into. The continuity is not so densely packed that we have to make all this stuff line up. It feels very free, that Caprica can be whatever it wants to be.
As opposed to Lost, where as the story keeps getting bigger, you have to keep checking to make sure the continuity is accurate.
Ron Moore: That’s a very different set of…
David Eick: That was a good, cautionary tale.
Many fans found the Battlestar ending to be controversial. What did you think of the fans’ reaction?
David Eick: We were just talking about this. I’ll say this because I didn’t actually write it, and he did, so I could speak about him in the third person. I’m really proud of it. It’s the best possible resolution given what we had set up, and I think if anybody’s longing for something different it’s only because what had been set up was so rich and had such depth and meaning that they just didn’t want it to end. So I’m very happy with what my friend here did with the script. I think it’s the best version of any that could have been conceived.
Ron Moore: I’m very happy with it. I’m very settled with it. I was very happy with it when we wrote it, shot at and saw it, and that’s the end of the show. People can take from it what they will, but I’m very pleased with it.