Monthly Archive for February, 2010


Having spent most of the last few days in bed coughing my lungs out, I’m postponing the next post by a week. Meanwhile, here is something beautiful, something thoughtful (found via Francois Bry’s blog), something promising and something that is something. If you, too, know of something, please post it in the comments.

‘The Way That People Are Watching’ …Caprica (Part 3)

This post contains specific spoilers for the first few episodes of Caprica.

One of the first key scenes in Caprica‘s pilot has a virtual version of teenager Zoe comment on the use that humans make of her virtual world, in which promiscuous and brutal orgies are commonplace: It is not the questionable reality, but the way that people are watching these deeds that discomforts her. After real Zoe’s death, virtual Zoe finds herself downloaded into a robot’s body. While very few persons know this, it is the way that people look at the robot, and the way it gazes back, that informs the viewer. This implementation of the functions of the gaze is probably the most enduring and most successful trope of the series so far. In a fascinating and productive way, it also seems to go somewhat beyond the producers’ explicit intention. »»»»

‘The Way That People Are Watching’ …Caprica (Part 2)

This post contains some very specific spoilers for the pilot and the first episode of Caprica.

When Caprica‘s pilot came out on DVD last year, it took me three attempts to watch it. The first two times, I eventually gave in to my drooping eyelids and increasingly irritated yawns: The show had managed to put me to sleep, and I obliged and went to bed half-way through. It took all the discipline I had to stick with it the third time, and when I rewatched it at the beginning of the series’ full broadcast now, I capitulated after the first 20 minutes. It is a testament to the loyalty that Battlestar has earned from me that I went on to watch the series, and so far, that loyalty has been ever-so-richly rewarded, with the first two episodes offering everything in involvement, fascination, provoked thought and engaged tension that Battlestar boasted and Caprica‘s pilot lacked. So what can account for such a difference in my viewing experience? »»»»

‘The Way That People Are Watching’ …Caprica (Part 1)

This post includes some very general spoilers for Battlestar Galactica and the first two episodes of Caprica.

“I knew that wasn’t real. Nothing in here is real. It was the way that people were watching.” — It’s not the reality of the observed but the manner of observation that counts: That’s one of several pertinent points of view towards virtual reality. In Ronald D. Moore’s new TV series Caprica, prequel to his amazingly thought-provoking reimagining of Battlestar Galactica, a virtual avatar driven by an artificial intelligence pinpoints this problem by uttering the somewhat heavy-handed line above. But there is more to the scene than that, and it is this surplus that makes the scene work and could, for this one viewer, make the series work. »»»»