"Pilot" Part 1
0:00-48:57 on the extended pilot DVD
Written by Remi Aubuchon and Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Jeffrey Reiner
Original airdate: January 22, 2010
before the Fall, the future of humanity begins with a choice.
(This episode begins with the hedonistic rituals of the VR
club and ends with Daniel Graystone forcibly downloading the Zoe
Read the synopsis of the full 90-minute pilot episode at the Battlestar Wiki site
This study is based on the unrated, extended version of the
90-minute pilot available on DVD, which was released before the
pilot aired on Syfy. The only real additions to the extended
edition are some shots of nudity in the various VR club
sequences and a longer closing credits list. The televised
version actually has more special effects shots, as the
producers decided to add a little more futuristic look to the
cityscape and even a space shot.
Caprica is a prequel television series to the
reimagined Battlestar Galactica. The series ran for one
season in 2010 before cancellation; the
reimagined Battlestar Galactica ran 2003-2009
(hereafter referred to as BSG2000). Caprica takes place
58 years before the return of the Cylons in the premiere of
BSG2000. It tells the story of the beginning of the Cylons on
Caprica and involves the Adama family as well. Since it is a
prequel and does not give any important spoilers of events in
the chronologically-later BSG2000, I've chosen to present the
studies of this series first, even though it was produced after.
Caprica was created by Ronald D. Moore and Remi
Aubuchon. Aubuchon had come to Universal with a series idea
about robots as slaves that was similar to what Moore was
proposing for a BSG prequel, so the studio had them collaborate
on a single series, which became Caprica. Original BSG series creator/producer Glen A. Larson is
credited as Consulting Producer on the various reimagined BSG
Many of the concepts and terms used in the original
Battlestar Galactica of 1978 (BSG70)
return in the reimagined BSG universe, but many more are closely
related to our own Earth culture than in the BSG70 universe;
this becomes explained
by the end of the BSG2000 series. "Frak"
is still used as an expletive, and is much more obviously a
stand-in for the English expletive "fuck" (e.g. "frak off" and "motherfraker").
The time units of BSG70 are not used here (yahren,
centon, sectar, etc.), instead using our English words of year,
hour, minute, second, day, week, month, etc.
Humanity is still based out of the Twelve Colonies, having
travelled from the human homeworld of Kobol almost 2000 years
previous. During the events of the Caprica series, the
Colonies are mostly independent of each other politically, like
nations, and they all have their own alliances and wars among
them. But by the time of BSG2000, they will have coalesced into a
single government, by the necessity of having to defend themselves
collectively from the Cylons.
In the reimagined universe, the Cylons are not the robotic
descendants of reptilian aliens from another system seeking to
conquer the universe. Here, the Cylons were essentially soldier
robots constructed by the humans of the Twelve Colonies to fight
in battle. Caprica begins to tell the story of the
development of the Cylons; by the time of BSG2000, the Cylons
will have gained sentience independent of their human creators
and will have rebelled, causing the first (and then second) Cylon
In the reimagined BSG universe,
the Twelve Colonies exist in the
Cyrannus star system (not
Cyrannus galaxy as in stated in
BSG70). Cyrannus is a system of
four stars, Helios-Alpha, -Beta,
-Gamma, and -Delta, which form two
binary sub-systems of Helios
Alpha/Beta and Helios
Gamma/Delta. The planet Caprica
shares an orbit with sister
world Gemenon around the star
Helios Alpha; the colonies of
Picon and Tauron also orbit
Helios Alpha. Much of this
information comes from the
Map of of the 12 Colonies
available for purchase from
Evidence scattered throughout the series (and also in the online
version of the daily Caprica newspaper The Caprican)
tells us that the Colonial year in which the "current day"
events of the series take place is YR42, 1,942 years since the
human exodus from the homeworld of Kobol. The months of the year
are similar to those of our Earth's Gregorian calendar:
Ianuarius, Februarius, Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Iunius,
Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, and,
presumably December (which is never mentioned in the series).
Many of the names are the same as those in the ancient Roman
calendar of Earth (Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Iunius, and
Quintilis). The number of days in each month is not known; it
may be based on the 28.2 day mutual orbit that Caprica and
Gemenon share around each other (revealed in the Map of the 12
Colonies) since at this point it's not known positively that
Caprica even has a moon at all or whether it may have more than
one. It is unknown to what extent, if any, this calendar is
used on the other worlds of the Twelve Colonies.
Many wireless computer devices are seen in Caprica but
are absent in the
chronologically-later BSG2000. Remarks in BSG2000 episodes
suggest that most wireless capabilities were eliminated by the
Colonies during the first Cylon War due to the Cylons' ability
to tap into them and corrupt or sabotage human computer
Brian Markinson, who portrays Global Defense Department Agent
Jordan Duram in Caprica, also goes on to play Commander
Silas Nash, the first commander of the battlestar Galactica
in Blood and Chrome.
The Adama family, though now living on Caprica, is presented as
being of Tauron ancestry here. In
BSG70, there was no indication
that Commander Adama's background was anything other than native
The televised version opens with a space shot of Caprica and its
sister world, Gemenon, that is not seen in the extended version.
There are a fair number of topless females in the VR club scenes
in the extended version of the pilot. (This shouldn't really be
in the "Didja Notice?" section of this study because [unless you
haven't watched the extended version], yes, you noticed.)
Notice that the head of the
woman on stage at the VR club at
2:01 on the DVD changes from
human to demon and then a
intermittently as the strobe
The exterior of the Athena Academy where Zoe and her friends go
to school is actually the
of Theology of the
University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British
Columbia, Canada. Athena is one of the gods of the Twelve
Colonies. On Earth, Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom,
courage, and justice.
We see throughout the series that Capricans often use the phrase
"So say we all," at the end of a prayer, just as the
crewmembers of the Galactica do
Apparently, Capricans enjoy the
game of tennis, looking pretty
much exactly like our conception
of the game, though the court has
a diamond shape added to each
half as well. It's not revealed
what purpose the diamond
markings have in the game; it's
possible the diamonds are laid
for a different game that may be
played on the same court.
At about 4:10 on the DVD, Amanda claims that her husband's shot
on the tennis court landed out of bounds. It's very close, but
it looks like hit the boundary line to me, meaning it was fair.
The Graystones have a robot servant named Serge. Serge has a
single, camera-like eye that is somewhat reminiscent of the
of the computer HAL 9000
installed in various locations of the spaceship
Discovery One in the 1968 film
2001: A Space Odyssey. It is implied throughout the
series that Serge is unique and that robot butlers are not
common on Caprica; Serge is essentially a prototype designed by
Daniel Graystone and extremely expensive. The voice of Serge was
provided by Jim Thomson, who was actually the assistant editor
on the 90-minute pilot episode. Though he was not an editor on the
regular series episodes, he continued to provide the voice of
Serge in all episodes in which the robot appeared.
Zoe's father occasionally calls her, simply, Z. Another nickname
used by some for her is Zo. Joseph calls Tamara, Tammy.
This episode mentions that Zoe is to have a computer science
wing at Apollo University named after her. She sarcastically
her father that she is only getting it because he donated "about
a billion cubits to the alumni fund." We learn right from the
very start though, that she actually is a computer programming
genius in her own right, though she presumably has not proven it
publicly, only clandestinely, with her creation of her own
nearly identical AI avatar.
Apollo is one
of the gods of the Twelve Colonies. On Earth, Apollo was the
Greek god of the sun, truth, prophecy, healing, and the arts.
On Caprica, one is able to use computers/displays that are built
into what appears to be a sheet of paper. The article
"Athena Academy in Mourning" in The Caprican
reveals that these are commonly referred to as "e-sheets".
Colonial paper and books are produced with the corners cut off,
as occasionally seen in BSG70 as well.
The infinity symbol used by the Soldiers of the One (STO) is
also seen during a Cylon funeral service in the BSG2000 episode
"Islanded in a Stream of Stars", implying there may be a
connection between the original human monotheist terrorist group
and the later Cylon monotheistic religion.
Zoe enters a combination code of
symbols on her computer sheet to
enter the VR world. The symbols
number twelve, arranged in a
circle like a 12-hour clock. The
symbols are reminiscent of
As Zoe walks through the VR club at 7:09 on the DVD, notice that
many of the doors have different symbols on them, including the
one in which she meets her own Zoe avatar. Her door has the
infinity symbol of the Soldiers of the One, with different
symbols on the other doors. The infinity symbol lights up when
she touches it, seemingly identifying her as someone with
permission to enter; in a later scene, Daniel tries to follow
her in there and cannot open the door. Presumably the other
doors' symbols identify other organizations, groups, or
Zoe, Lacy, and Ben plot to run away from home and go to Gemenon,
the Colony on which the Soldiers of the One cult originated. The
televised version of the pilot has an opening shot missing from
the extended version, of the twin worlds of Gemenon and Caprica
sharing an orbit around the star Helios Alpha.
The shot at about 10:39 on the DVD, was altered fairly
significantly with CGI for the televised version to make the
background buildings (of Vancouver)look a little less Earth-like
and adds a number of banners hanging off some of the buildings.
The city shot at about 12:57, when Joseph sees some of the smoke and dust
of the maglev explosion is also spruced up.
The Maglev station was filmed at Granville Station, a SkyTrain
station in Vancouver.
At about 12:09 on the DVD, it sounds like Tamara's mom calls her
T'Pri or something like that instead. The subtitles say "Tamara"
though. Is it a nickname? Was the name changed to Tamara from
the original script?
The Caprican tells us the bombing on the Maglev train
occurred on Ianuarius 23.
At 13:00 on the DVD, a stop sign appears to be covered up with
red in the background so the word "STOP" is not visible.
Perhaps the sign was considered to be too Earth-like, so it was
covered. Yet, an unobscured stop sign is seen at 45:39 on the
After the Maglev bombing, the episode jumps to two weeks later,
with the Graystones still in mourning for their daughter. This
would make it some time in
Februarius, since we don't know the exact number of days in each
During the government press
conference at which Agent Duram
details the facts currently
known about the bombing, the
Caprican flag can be seen
hanging in the background.
(Image from the
Agent Duram states that the Soldiers of the One had been
believed dormant for the past ten years before this bombing.
At 15:00 on the DVD, Joseph pats his pockets, trying to find his
cigarette lighter, which he apparently forgot to bring. In the
BSG2000 episode "The Hand of God", Commander Adama has a lighter
which used to belong to his father, i.e. Joseph, which his
father always carried with him into court, believing it brought
him luck on his cases. We finally see the lighter in "The
Dirteaters", and it is the same one seen later on
BSG2000's "The Hand of God".
At 16:32 on the DVD, we can see that the motto of the Athena
Academy is "Cast Aside the Temporal". (The article
from The Caprican,
"Athena Academy Applications at an All-Time High" reveals
the full motto is "Cast Aside the Temporal. Reach for the
Notice that Sister Clarice wears a large ring that loops over
two fingers, not just one.
The coffee shop Daniel and Joseph stop in appears to have
graffiti etched into the windows!
At 19:53 on the DVD, a sign for
Yagger's is seen across the street from the coffee shop.
This is an actual sports bar and restaurant in Vancouver. It is
seen again in "The Dirteaters".
As Joseph and Daniel get up from their booth to leave the coffee
shop, several people can be seen in the second floor windows
across the street observing the filming of the scene!
As Joseph and Daniel leave the coffee shop, we can see from the
reverse lettering in the window that they are actually at the
an actual restaurant in Vancouver. It is seen again in "The
At 20:48 on the DVD, we can see the reflection of a "Ramada"
sign in the window of Smile Diner as Daniel and Joseph leave.
There is, in fact, a
hotel across the street from it in Vancouver.
Daniel invites Joseph to attend a Buccaneers pyramid game with
him, since he owns the Caprica Buccaneers. In
"Pilot" Part 2, we see that the pyramid game is essentially the
same game that was referred to as triad in
BSG70. Pyramid was a poker-like
card game in that same series. Ronald D. Moore admits in the DVD
commentary of the BSG2000 episode "Kobol's Last Gleaming" Part 1
that he mistakenly mixed up the names of the two games from the
original series; in BSG2000, the card game is called triad.
At 21:41 on the DVD, there appears to be a book called My
Place in Heaven on the desk in Zoe's room.
When Daniel enters Zoe's room at 25:44 on the DVD and finds Lacy
there, notice there is a large, empty hook on the bedroom door.
But, just seconds later, at 26:14, there is a green decoration
of some kind dangling from it.
At 26:59 on the DVD, we get a
couple of distant looks at the
court seal of Caprica.
At 28:07 on the DVD, we see a
Graystone Industries building
where the prototype U-87 Cyber
Combat Unit is tested. In the
unrated version, the
building and grounds look quite a
bit different than they do in the
televised pilot and the later hourly
episodes of the series. In both cases,
notice that the central tower
has a pentagonal construction
reminiscent of the Cylon symbol
in BSG70 and which appear on the
sides of the Caprican Cylon
Marine VTOLs in "Apotheosis".
Industries from the unrated
version of the pilot.
Graystone Industries in the
televised version and later episodes.
At 29:04 on the DVD, notice that the U-87 is using paintball
guns in its test against the robotic drone.
At 29:13 on the DVD, a raised U-87 imprint can be seen on the
At 30:15 on the DVD, we see that Willie Adama attends Wilson
Until the penultimate episode of Caprica,
"Here Be Dragons", the
audience presumably assumes that Willie Adama will grow up to
become the Commander William Adama seen in BSG2000. But, Willie is
killed in the final minutes of that episode, and it is revealed
in an epilog
of the final episode, "Apotheosis",
that Joseph and his second wife, Evelyn, had a son
whom they also named William, in honor of the too-short life of
Willie, as is Tauron custom. The second William Adama is the one who becomes "Bill"
Adama and leads the rag-tag remnants of humanity to Earth as
Commander/Admiral Adama in BSG2000. In the audio commentary of
"Apotheosis", executive producer Kevin Murphy explains that when
they shot the pilot, a math error caused them to have a Willie
Adama that was too old to become the Commander Adama seen in
BSG2000; Adama would have been in his 70s by the time of that
series! So the writers/producers concocted the interesting
workaround of playing with viewers' expectations and flipping it
on its ear with Willie's death and the introduction of a new
William Adama in the proposed second season. (It might also be argued,
from a continuity standpoint, that an early indication that Willie
was not the same William Adama who would grow up to become
Commander Adama is that Willie's eyes are brown, while Commander
Adama's eyes are blue.)
Notice that what appear to be a child's drawings are hanging on
one wall of Daniel's home work area. Presumably, these were made
by Zoe when she was little.
The touchscreen keyboard used by Daniel in his home lab displays
letter keys in the phrase "ETAOIN SHRDLU". This is roughly the
order of frequency these letters are used in the English
language. Historically, typesetters that printed pages mostly in the English
language would have their blocks arranged in this order for ease
It is revealed that the Vergis Corporation has developed a
meta-cognitive processor, also referred to as an MCP. Possibly,
the "MCP" term was used by the writers as a reference to the MCP
(Master Control Program) of the
At 38:24 on the DVD, there appears to be a cello in Zoe's room.
Was she known to play it?
In the VR club, Lacy tells Daniel that the human sacrifice area
of the club is for offerings to Hecate, goddess of the
underworld. On Earth, Hecate was the Greek and Roman goddess of
crossroads, the Moon, and witchcraft, whose abode was the
In the unrated version, Zoe remarks that the human brain
contains about 300 megabytes of data. In the televised version,
she says its about 100 terabytes. The second figure is a much
In the DVD commentary of the episode
"Reins of a Waterfall", Ronald D. Moore states that
the Ha'la'tha is based on the Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia.
At 48:14 on the DVD, Daniel is obviously holding a USB
(Universal Serial Bus) connection for downloading the Zoe avatar
program. On Earth, USB is a connector and communications
protocol between a computer and an external device, developed in
the 1990s by seven international electronics and computing
Man, there is, like, no privacy in the Graystone bedroom!!
At 48:55 on the DVD, we see the Graystones' dog, Caesar, for the first
Notes from The Caprican
The Caprican is
the online version of the daily Caprica newspaper The Caprican.
Actually, it's an online meta-paper for fans of the show,
produced by writers for Universal to give them a sidebar look at
events before, alongside, and after the events of individual
episodes. It was available on the Syfy website while the series
was running. The articles are now archived at the
Battlestar Wiki. I
will be presenting a few notes from my readings of the articles
of The Caprican that relate to the episode study in
question. The names of the reporters writing for
The Caprican are probably fictitious, though some do seem
to be touchstones to real world reporters of Earth in the past:
Ann Royall was the name of the woman whom many consider to be
the first professional female journalist in the U.S.
(1769-1854); Ralston Sinclair may be a nod to the muckraking
author/journalist Upton Sinclair (1878-1968).
"V-Clubs: A Reality, Virtual and Otherwise" mentions the
Colonial Prison in Marathon. It's not revealed where Marathon
itself is located.
"Monotheists: A Passing Fad, Nothing More" mentions a smoke
bomb set off just outside of Goldie's Off Track Betting.
Goldie's shows up several times in episodes of the series as a
meeting hub for members of the Tauron Ha'la'tha.
"Caprica's Finest: The Graystones" of Ianuarius 12, suggests
that young Zoe Graystone is already becoming known for her
The article also describes the Graystone mansion as "the envy of
every up-and-coming business mogul this side of the Alpha
Quadrant." This may be a double reference to 1)
Star Trek, which
describes Earth's quadrant of the galaxy as the Alpha Quadrant,
and 2) the BSG70 episode
"War of the Gods"
Part 2, in which the Beings of Light give Apollo, Starbuck,
and Sheba some information about the location of Earth,
including it being in "quadrant Alpha".
"Fares Rise and Commuter Morale Declines" indicates that not
a colloquial term for the magnetic levitation trains that
make up a large part of Caprica City's mass transit system, but
MAGLEV is the name of the government department that runs them.
"Medics Revive Holoband 'Sleeper'" mentions that the
15-year-old holoband victim attends Promethia High School. In
"Rebirth" we learn that this is also where Tamara Adams went to
school before she was killed in the maglev bombing. A mention of
the VR game New Cap City is also made; many of our
characters visit this virtual reality in later episodes.
"Athena Academy Applications at an All-Time High" has a
quote from the Dean of Admissions at Athena Academy that it is "one
of the most prestigious high schools of the Alpha Colonies."
Presumably the Alpha Colonies are the worlds orbiting Helios
Alpha: Caprica, Gemenon, Tauron, and Picon. The article also
reveals that the Athena Academy is located at the School Complex
on Learning Boulevard South (and the later article
"Graystone-Stark Memorial Scholarship Fund Established at Athena
Academy" reveals the exact address to be 5633 Learning Blvd.
South, Caprica City).
"Teen Brawl Breaks Out at Little Tauron Eatery"
is about a brawl at Connie's Place between two teenage boys from the Athena
Academy, one named Ben. This must be Ben Stark, who went on to
blow up himself and a maglev full of passengers in this
episode. Connie's Place is a restaurant that is apparently
popular with teens since Joseph and Sam both recall spending
time there as teenagers in "Gravedancing".
Notes from the audio commentary by Ron Moore, David Eick,
and Jeffery Reiner
The clothing worn on Caprica is a mesh of 1940-60s Earth
designs. Automobiles run the gamut of "exotic" designs from
the 1940s through modern times.
Notes from the Deleted Scenes bonus feature on the DVD
It is revealed the Sister Clarice grew up in the slums on
BSG70, the colony was known as