Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

March 1, 2010

Group marriage in "Caprica"

Syfy Channel

The new science-fiction series "Caprica", which debuted on the SyFy Channel on January 22nd, presents group marriage as part of its far-future world (a prequel to the "Battlestar Galactica" world). Commentators are noticing. For example:

1. From the SF site io9 (slogan: "We come from the future"), by Annalee Newitz:

Is Caprica the Big Love of science fiction?

Friday's episode of Caprica, "Gravedancing," began with secret monotheist terrorist Clarice waking up with her wife and two husbands all snuggled in bed [see picture]. And this SF soap has more than just polyamory in common with HBO's Big Love.

Caprica's great experiment has been to wed the naturalist melodrama of nighttime soap opera with the posthuman preoccupations of contemporary science fiction. Which is why you have odd mashup plots featuring, for example, the mafia from another planet, and a dissolute rich family whose daughter turns into a cyborg. Ratings for Caprica so far have been low, so it's possible television audiences don't want to see Big Love in space....

SF elements: Clarice's pagan group marriage; monotheistic terrorists.

Soap elements: The Tauron family melodrama is pure Sopranos or Big Love....

...No matter how deftly the show hybridizes these two genres, however, I think Caprica may fail to garner a big audience for a simple reason. By combining science fiction with soap opera, you wind up with an otherworldy setting and a weird set of social relationships. After all, SF specializes in strange worlds, while soap operas specialize in strange people. Perhaps it's all too much strangeness, even for Syfy watchers?...

Read her whole review (Feb. 22, 2010).

2. From a Los Angeles Times interview with "Caprica" co-creator Ron Moore:

Q: I'd asked Magda Apanowicz about the "Big Love" storyline with Sister Clarice. How did that come about?

A: It was a sort of a notion that kicked around in the "Battlestar" offices that there were different societal norms in colonial civilizations, and one of them was a group marriage. In terms of polygamy, here it's usually framed in a "Big Love" context -- it's one man with many wives. I thought there was something even more intriguing about a true group marriage where all of the partners were married to one another. They have this much bigger definition of what a marriage was and I thought it was a fascinating cultural idea and I thought it would be very surprising if Sister Clarice was in a group marriage like that....

Read the whole article (Feb. 6, 2010).

3. From the movie news site Film School Rejects:

...Speaking of unconventional relationships, one of the first images presented to us during this episode [Feb. 12, 2010] was Sister Clarice in bed with (at least) three other people — presumably the husbands and wives that were introduced earlier this season. I can’t decide if this polyamory is meant to be progressive or just shocking, maybe it’s a little of both.

Read the whole review.




Anonymous Ysabetwordsmith said...

I think the likeliest reason for failure would be the low overlap in audiences between soap operas and science fiction. Those tend to appeal to very different people. I like science fiction; I actively dislike soap operas. I think soap opera SF would make me want to turn it off.

March 02, 2010 1:02 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

Another reason would be the cheesy astrological names for the 12 worlds. To sci-fi fans, that just suggests dumb writers writing for a dumb public.

About what you'd expect from people who try to change "Sci Fi" to "SyFy".

March 02, 2010 10:36 AM  
Blogger Alissa said...

I'm a giant BSG fan so have been watching Caprica with a lot of interest. One of the most compelling aspects to me is the thought experiment of what society would be like if poly-theism was the dominant religion (the detective tracking down the monotheist terrorists makes the most direct statements about the dangers of believing one Being can have all the answers). SO in this context polyamory makes a lot of sense. I'm excited to see where the series, and Clarise's character, go.

March 02, 2010 11:25 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Why does the mere fact it has a multiple-marriage mean that it is a hybrid of sci-fi and a soap opera?

Many sci-fi shows spend a lot more time on the details if inter-personal relationships (BSG being one of them) than we have seen so far in Caprica.

March 04, 2010 7:35 PM  
Blogger SquishArt said...

So far i have liked the show far more than BSG or V. I think it moves slower, which appeals to me very much, but i wouldn't call it a soap opera at all.

March 10, 2010 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idea of combining Science Fiction with familial drama is not a new one. "Space Opera" has been a genre for decades.

May 12, 2010 11:21 PM  
Anonymous The Caprica Times said...


Sign the petition:


Send Syfy a letter without leaving your computer:


Prove Syfy wrong:


December 05, 2010 12:28 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home