We don’t all have time to re-watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the good seasons of Fringe and Veronica Mars (although the new movie‘s a hell of a reason to make some), so if you’re looking for a single-season show with a kick-ass female lead, Sara‘s got you covered with another installment of “That Year’s Girl.” Consider it your weekend assignment.
CAPRICA (Netflix and DVD)
Our hero: There are no heros! Everyone’s culpable! But the show’s main focus is Zoe Graystone, played by Alessandra Torresani, a teen genius who builds the first truly alive artificial intelligence — a perfect replica of herself. Unfortunately, she dies before she can do anything with Zoe-A, so Zoe-A has the thoughts and feelings of a human girl, all trapped in the body of an old cylon. Haven’t we all felt that way?
Story: A spin-off prequel to the amazing Battlestar Galactica, the show deals with the fall out from a train explosion in which the Graystone and Adama families each lose a daughter (Zoe Graystone and Tamara Adama). Daniel Graystone discovers his daughter’s AI double, then makes one of Tamara for Joseph Adama. Shockingly, things get weird after that.
Is a guy I have a crush on in this? … maybe? Basically, this show is good if, like me, you’re into super specific things; Eric Stoltz is hot if you’re into mad scientist weirdos (I am), Sasha Roiz is great if you’re into gay assassins (I am), and James Marster’s shows up for his classic “am I creepy or hot” routine (I was creeped out). Otherwise, Scott Porter’s around? But just sort of… around.
Is a gal I have a crush on in this? Alessandra Torresani, who you might recognize from being naked on the Caprica posters — but I’m partial to robots. Plus, Polly Walker plays a school mistress/cult priestess, which, again, is a pretty specific kink, but one I’m sure someone out there is super into it.
Your surprise fave: I went in primed to love robot girls and crazy robot creators, but Amanda Graystone’s totally over-it, grieving mother got me good. All the women in this show are unhinged badasses, and all the men are in poor-decision spirals, and if that’s not what you’re looking for, I can’t help you.
The OTP: Sam Adama and his mostly off screen husband? You’ve all (hopefully) seen Battlestar Galactica; you know how this getting-invested-in-a-ship thing is going to go.
Best female friendship: Zoe and Lacy’s friendship is amazing and epic and toxic — even more than you would assume from its use of the ol’ “girl gets guilt-tripped into becoming a terrorist by her best friend’s ghost in a killer robot’s body” trope.
Heads up: This show is a bit of a mess that never really had the chance to find its pace. Watch for its characters and the big ideas they’re going for, but I will admit: some of the other stuff gets muddled along the way.
Why should I watch? This weirdo, full-of-itself show just gets me. It’s Shakespearean, Biblical, dumbly melodramatic, half-assedly philosophical, and about killer robots — in other words, a Syfy show, and I love it. Maybe the show doesn’t always know what it is, but if nothing else, it has a BSG-level score and acting. (Plus, the TWoP recaps are certainly worth reading, now that they’ve been saved from internet limbo.)
Sara has a degree in television and a fear of squirrels (unrelated). Follow her thrilling saga on Twitter @binaryfission.