What’s With Caprica‘s Long, Confusing Farewell?

Syfy is burning off the remaining five episode of Caprica in a mini-marathon today – 6pm through 11pm, in case you didn’t know – and, even though the fate of the show may have already been decided, there’s definitely a draw in the idea of seeing how the series unfolded towards its end. But why are we getting a marathon at all?

Here’s the thing: Syfy is clearly burning off the final five episodes. The marathon hasn’t seen much promotion, and it’s happening in a relatively slow period, ratingswise. The channel had clearly decided to cut its losses when it came to Caprica when it pulled the show from its original slot, so ratings aren’t necessarily a concern with this mini-marathon. That leaves two reasons for Syfy to air the episodes at all: For the fans, and/or for contractual obligations.

We’ll probably never know whether Syfy was under any specific obligation – contractual or implied, so as to keep relationships friendly, considering the in-progress Blood & Chrome spin-off – to air the end of Caprica‘s first and only season, but it wouldn’t be too surprising. It helps that the studio will have already earned the money from the episodes’ early DVD release (They’ve been available as part of the Season 1.5 set since before Christmas), meaning that it gets the best of both worlds from these episodes: Profitability from home release debut and whatever money Syfy pays to air them. Everybody wins! Well, except for those who wanted more than one season, of course.

But the fact that the episodes have been available both legally (through the DVD) and illegally (through torrent; the show wasn’t pulled from Canadian television, and the final episodes aired there in November) for weeks makes me wonder whether the idea of showing the episodes for the hardcore fans isn’t dated thinking that assumes that it is, if not the only, then at least the main source of the show for the fans. That might be true of those who tuned in every now and again, or who were curious enough to check it out if there was nothing else on at the same time, but… If you’re willing to watch five hours of a show in a row, then I think it’s fair to say that you’re into the show enough to be willing to consider the DVD or internet as ways to get it.

(There is, of course, a counter-argument to be made that TiVo and other DVRs make that an invalid argument, because you’re really only devoting five hours of recording to catch up. I think that’s a fair point, but if that was really on Syfy’s mind, then why a marathon at all? Why not just program the remaining episodes in the middle of the night, when they’re there to be recorded and watched when people are awake?)

The mini-marathon, then, feels a bit like a misstep, a throwback to an era where television itself was central to the television experience and networks had more power than they do now. The attempt to make the final episodes into an event by programming them this way seems unsupported by advertising or promotion, and instead an excuse to just write off one evening of programming instead of multiple evenings. It’ll be interesting to see the ratings from tonight, and find out who tuned in, and try to work out why.

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Comments

  • RUSSELL A. JENNINGS

    CANCELLING SUCH A GREAT SCI-FI PROGRAM AS CAPRICA. ONLY TELL ME THAT THIS NETWORK ONLY IS WORSE THAN THE MAJOR NETWORKS. I WILL NOT INVEST MY TIME IN WATCHING ANOTHER “ORIGINAL SERIES”.

  • guest

    My DVR did not record them as they were not marked as new. This is disappointing.

  • Rae

    Some of the shows have been difficult to follow, but for me, at least, the episode titled “The Heavens Will Rise” came back to the original story, which I found very compelling!!

  • good scifi addict

    I just learned that this was happening. I’m glad my dvr was already programmed for it. I’m sad to know they let the series die.

  • Vbcain

    Omg, I just found out today that Caprica is ending!!! Why?! Such a good show and I’m new to the whole sc-fi. :( Caprica at least deserves a second season.

  • Whatever

    THIS REALLY SUCKS CAPRICA IS A REAL GOOD SHOW TO WATCH I CANT BELEIVE THEY PULLED IT OUT …VERY DISSAPOINTED WITH SCI-FI WONT WATCH THIS CHANNEL AGAIN

  • :(

    Mine didnt record correctly as well, luckally I cought it and managed to mannually record them. Hate to see the show go I am very interested in it…..

  • kalorama

    Honestly, I’m not sure what the point of the original post was. It seems to be a bit all over the place, contradicting itself at points then trying to head off counter arguments to the contradictions. It seems to be trying very hard to make an argument for something where nothing really exists.

    Look, the fact is that marathons are pretty standard fare on the SyFy channel. They routinely run half or all day blocks of shows, some current, some decades old. It’s really not that big a deal. They needed to burn off the remaining episodes of Caprica and this probably just seemed like a natural way to do it that fit in with their overall mode of operation. At the end of the day why does the decision to run it as a marathon have to be something that requires analysis? I realize this runs counter to the standard mode of thinking in the read-and-react world of the internet, but not everything has to mean something.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/Hostile177 hostile177

    I found my way here because I wasn’t sure what was happening with my DVR. I thought..ok, they messed up the air dates in the description and I’ll have to pick out the ones I’ve already seen. Then I realized with a sinking feeling…that I haven’t seen any of these!! I knew immediately my new favorite show was doomed. So…I am in the “DVR catch up” group. I am sorely disappointed that yet another show I looked forward to watching has met it’s untimely demise at the hands of a few simpletons who probably couldn’t grasp what the show was about. I have to agree with some others here, what’s the point in investing time watching an original series if they are going to pull the rug out from under us just as the major networks do.

  • Tehuti_44

    I had no idea that Caprica wasn’t coming back, and that these were “new” episodes. I just happened to be surfing around and thought I would watch a Caprica rerun when – surprise – I had never seen this episode before. Was there even a warning that they were going to air new episodes. I was a huge fan and I never heard squat.

  • Indadavision

    If there had been promotion I would have been prepared for it. As it was I tuned in to episode 5 and was confused. I guess I’ll watch them in order on Hulu.

  • Sithkitten

    Mine DVR did not record…WHY!!! Frak you, Sci-Fi and your frakking name change, you motherfrakker!

  • Sithkitten

    Oh Frak! MyDVR not “mine DVR”.

  • Akualezli

    i wish i had known… i just found out and thankfully my DVR is recording. Wish they had aried some of these during the empty of content Christmas time!

  • Baruch1213

    I can’t believe that SyFy aired the final five episodes this evening, without even a mention that they were going to do this. I was angered beyond belief a few months ago, when I heard that the series had abruptly ended, and now am feeling the same outrage, because they aired the final five episodes, but neglected to publicize that they were doing this! I just scrolled forward in the TV listings, and tonight’s airing seems to be a one time thing. None of the episodes will be repeated in the upcoming days. Frackin unbelievable!

  • Rebelscott

    I enjoyed Caprica and will miss it. Too bad SYFY has nothing else worth watching. Zoe was so hot……

  • http://twitter.com/cjd11 christopher duff

    The SyFy marathon thing is pretty standard. I miss when they would do a half a day marathon of Twilight Zone or Hercules each weekday, instead of devoting half of their programming to watching poorly filmed morons taking turns saying, “Dude, I think I found a cold spot in this dark basement!” Or wrestling, long considered to be one of the pillars of science fiction.

  • Forbes23669

    I guess SYFY would rather air wrestling. I don’t know what’s been going on with them lately. They are broadcasting shows that have nothing to do with SciFi.

  • CeeCee

    I am very disappointed that the show ended. I just saw the final episode and wished there was more. I happen to be looking though the channel guide and was surprised to see that they were airing 2011 episodes. I am glad I saw the final 5 episodes. I will miss Caprica but I did enjoy the new episode marathon.

  • Anonymous

    They are trying to move away from their roots and have for the most part become a crap network. Most of their movies barely rate as B-movie quality and if they have another ghost hunting series they will not have room for anything else. I’ve moved on to better networks. Lets see, they canceled Stargate SG1, Caprica, Stargate Atlantis, the only thing left for them to cancel is Stargate Universe.

  • Duckman_wis-george

    Well I missed it all because they were marked as not being new episodes on my Uverse. WTF! So I guess I’ll download them.

  • Donfrederick72

    I DONT UNDERSTAND WHY SUCH A WELL DONE SHOW LIKE THIS IS CANCELLED ! ! IT JUST SHOWS THE LIMITED INTELLIGENCE OF THE AVERAGE PUBLIC

  • Karen Mote

    loved it

  • bearcatvol

    I had no idea they were doing this tonight.
    I happened to catch it during the 7pm hour in the east.
    It was a very strong ride…. If the rest of the series had been like this they would be trying to line up things for years to come…. instead of killing it.
    Its a shame that such a creative effort is being squashed.

  • Dave

    Guess you are behind the times. SGU has been cancelled also. They will air the remaining episodes that have already been filmed this spring.

  • Jetz

    Astounding. I saw the recordings and (luckily) chose to google it and found your synopsis, thank you!
    Boo Syfy. What’s the bet they couldn’t handle the ‘blasphemy’, “Oh my Gods”?

  • Chrischreston

    The show was good… I’m a fan! But it did lack focus and thats probably why it couldn’t hold an audience. And in this day an age with downloading and streaming it has become harder for TV networks to balance the budgets. It costs a lot to make a Sci Fi show, and if you can’t present strong ratings numbers you can’t sell advertising time. Thats why shows get cancelled! The only thing a true fan can do is buy the DVDs and write letters… thats assuming there is any chance they would bring it back…. and I doubt there is.

  • For Zoe

    THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION

    They canceled Stat Trek some 40 years ago and look what happened. WE CAN CHANGE THIS. WE HAVE THE INTERNET and Stat Trek didn’t. Lets start a movement.

  • mrcrossroads

    “It’ll be interesting to see the ratings from tonight, and find out who tuned in, and try to work out why.”

    I tuned in. This show got a really bad wrap. I loved BSG. More than Caprica. But I was able to accept Caprica on its own merits. I think that, sadly, BSG fans in general expected something more BSGish of Caprica and were disappointed.

    The cancellation of Caprica isn’t up there with the cancellation of the Firefly series, but disappointing nonetheless.

  • Kkomnath

    i loved the show i am sorry to see it end

  • mrcrossroads

    Not sure why so many people were caught off guard. I’ve known they were going to air these episodes for at least 6 weeks. It wasn’t a mystery.

  • Jhweiner5

    My DVR Recorded all five luckily! Shame on Syfi for this. The show was good and could have been around for years. I am glad for the wrap-up, but, this is no way to treat their fans.

  • kalados

    They have gone from marketing a channel for, get this, “a fan base of what the channel was designed” to marketing it along with the mind numbingly incredibly stupid programming that attracts the masses of thralls such as American Idol and Dancing with washed up stars! As for shows like Destination truth and Ghost Hunters, give me a frakkin break. Do they ever find any ghosts? Of course not, they don’t frakkin exist! But wait, there’s more…. WWE on a Sci Fi station??? What the hell are they smoking???? Then you have the inability to make new shows, so instead they are just ripping off the UK, can we say “Being Human”? This network has gone completely retarded. Would Spike begin airing chick flicks or would Oxygen air shows/movies where men aren’t the devil? I think not as they have their audience base and program accordingly. I may not watch the O but at least I respect them for not screwing over their fans.

  • Ralph R.

    Morons catering to morons is being demonstrated by the switch from awesome conceptual shows like Firefly, SGU, Caprica and it’s ilk to trailer-trash shows like TNA Wrestling and Ghost-Busters!

    As a species–we could use a good nuking. :)

  • Lennis

    Maybe Caprica lacked focus at times, but that’s not the reason it failed. “Heroes” also lacked focus after season 1, and yet it went on for three more seasons. Caprica was doomed out of the gate because SyFy didn’t support the series. The evidence is plain to see without any insider knowledge. Showing a few new episodes and then going on a months-long hiatus before showing 5 – 6 more is not the way to build a following. Sometimes we didn’t even know when new shows were airing, like tonight. If my mother hadn’t noticed the marathon, and I hadn’t looked carefully at the episode titles, I would have missed it.

    Someone else mentioned that SGU was being cancelled too? I’ll believe that when I google it, because if SyFy nixes that they will have totally alienated their core audience and abandoned their roots. It’s hard to believe SyFy has fallen so far only a few years after the excellence of Battlestar Galactica.

  • Lennis

    Create all the buzz you want. Petitioning is almost never successful, even in this modern age. The last successful petition in recent memory was for “Jericho”, and that only gave the show a few more episodes before it was cancelled again. The Star Trek revival phenomenon was an anomaly. That will never happen again. The only surefire way to make our voices heard is to not watch the cheap entertainment that replaces quality shows. Boycotts would be more effective than petitions, so long as the network knows why it is being boycotted. That’s not something they can ignore, unlike petitions.

  • Striker777

    same here, only the episode “Apotheosis” was listed as new and recorded on my Comcast DVR. I didn’t even know the show had been canceled

  • Eliteharley21

    Where were all these Fracking fans when the show was on…It might not have got the ax. I have to admit that it was really long at times and that made it hard to watch. With the long breaks it took it was hard to remember the story line of the minor charactors. That made it easy for me to lose intrest too. I did really enjoy the major story lines and the GREAT BSG tie ins in the last episode. Great Work over all guys sorry you got the boot. I want to konw what roll Zoe will play in Blood and Chrome.

  • Jbyers1

    I HAVE BEEN FRUSTRATED WITH THE SCI FI CHANNELS SCREWY PROGRAM SCEDUAL FOR QUITE SOMETIME. THE ONLY REASON I PUT UP WITH IT WAS FOR CAPRICA. THE CAPRICA SERIES WAS THE ONLY THING THAT SCI FI HAS EVER DONE RIGHT. THEY AS INCONSISTANT AS A CRACK ADDICT AND I WILL NOT BE WATCHING ANY OF IT IT PORGRAMMING FROM HERE ON OUT!

  • Jbyers1

    I HAVE BEEN FRUSTRATED WITH THE SCI FI CHANNELS SCREWY PROGRAM SCHEDUAL FOR QUITE SOMETIME. THE ONLY REASON I PUT UP WITH IT WAS FOR CAPRICA. THE CAPRICA SERIES WAS THE ONLY THING THAT SCI FI HAS EVER DONE RIGHT. THEY ARE AS INCONSISTANT AS A CRACK ADDICT AND I WILL NOT BE WATCHING ANY OF IT IT PORGRAMMING FROM HERE ON OUT!

  • Guest

    they did advertise it

  • Guest1

    I couldn’t have said it better! Ghost bullshit and WWE! Assholes!!!

  • Guest1

    LMAO! hahahahaha

  • Guest

    This is directed to Graeme McMillan – the writer of the original post. “If you’re willing to watch five hours of a show in a row, then I think it’s fair to say that you’re into the show enough to be willing to consider the DVD or internet as ways to get it.” Your arguments are flawed. Yes, I would consider the DVD or internet to watch the remaining 5 episodes, but that assumes that I knew about them. Just because I love Science Fiction doesn’t mean that I obsessively search online for news related to my shows. Just because I watch television doesn’t mean that I keep up with every cancellation or DVD release. I only found this post because I was wondering what those 5 new episodes that recorded last night were. I enjoyed watching Caprica, but was completely caught off guard by its cancellation. I wouldn’t even know at all if I didn’t read a “TV Guide” magazine in the waiting room at a doctor’s office. I had no idea that a company would release a DVD of the entire series before even airing the entire series or that there were any episodes missing that had not been aired. Yes, if I knew these things I would have either bought the DVD or searched online for the episodes. And yes, my DVR was set to record and I can watch those 5 shows at any time. I consider myself a “hardcore” fan of most science fiction shows (many of which get canceled far too early), yet the television does still remain my main source for watching them. Instead of trying to figure out why Syfy chose to air the shows (and air them in a marathon instead of at midnight), I am just glad that they did air them. If they hadn’t, it would have taken me months before I realized that they even existed…..and I am so happy to be able to see a few more episodes of such a great show!

  • Capricrazy

    I agree. I won’t be watching the Syfy channel anymore. There’s nothing on that channel I want to see now. Wrestling?! Give me a frakin’ break. Syfy is supposed to be one of those channels that is not in a basic cable package. We are paying for it folks, and not just in watching the dumb commercials. If Syfy is not going to be about science fiction, and it just going to be psuedo-reality then the channel should re-name itself and we should all stop paying for it.

  • Joansutt

    I am pleased and surprised. I like Caprica a lot and I’m sad that it’s been ended. There was so much potential for some fascinating development.

  • RunnerX13

    Here’s the thing: Syfy is clearly burning off the final five episodes. The marathon hasn’t seen much promotion, and it’s happening in a relatively slow period, ratingswise.

    Has not seem much promotion? I think the only two commercials Syfy ran during the two-day Twilight Zone marathon were Caprica and Being Human

  • Youngdt1998

    Canceling Caprica is incredibly STUPID! I love love love SciFi genre shows and movies… I was thrilled with the idea that a prequel to Battle Star Galactica came out! It explained alot to me! Zoe is a great character and Lacy has come into her own. I’d much rather watch another season of this show than most of the crappy movies they want to show a million times in a row! Perhaps it was in the wrong time slot.. Personally, I like Caprica a million times better than Star Gate Universe! and I am a HUGE FAN of the Star Gate shows and movies. PLUS Caprica was way better then that crappy re-make of Battle Star Galactica and that thing was a mini series and then a show with a few seasons! CAPRICA IS BETTER!! I hope that the new show Blood and Chrome is good..

  • Youngdt1998

    That is a HUGE BUMMER.. I didn’t know until my husband told me.. out Direct TV DVR picked them all up.. I was also unaware the show had been canceled or that the Season 1.5 at the stores already had these 5 episodes.. I thought it was just that couple of shows we got a few months ago.. I’ve been waiting and waiting for Scyfy network to say something.. I checked their web page a few times, but not in the last few months and it didn’t say anything!

  • Youngdt1998

    really its more of that we as Fans are pissed the show is canceled and are confused about running a show for the very first time in this manner.. re-runs are typically done like this on Scy Fy network I’ll give you that… but this was not really a re-run.

    BRING BACK CAPRICA

  • RunnerX13

    And you’re not considering that it’s marathon season, as I previously said, Syfy just devoted two days to the TZ, and many other stations had their own NYE marathon, with many others all week.

  • Youngdt1998

    I’m sure a lot of people like me DVR’d it to watch later.. I work long days so I DVR shows I like to watch on my days off…

    Hopefully ScyFy doesn’t halt Blood and Chrome.. or perhaps it will fall flat because people don;t want to get all involved in another show they are going to yank out from under us again.

  • Youngdt1998

    You articulated exactly what I wanted to say!

  • FoxBlows

    Not to defend the stupidity of SyFy, but Firefly was originally on FOX. Go blame Rupert Murdoch and the idiots who run FOX for the cancelation of Firefly.

    BTW, I saw one episode of Firefly and tuned out immediately. That was a stupid show IMHO.

  • JJ

    Um, not all of us want to watch TV on the Internet! I prefer watching TV on my TV screen and without hooking it up to a computer. No, I didn’t go chasing Caprica episodes on the net so the only way for me to see the final is on TV. Luckily I recorded them when they aired.

  • William

    I don’t even know where to begin. I now regret saying in the beginning that Caprica would Fail, I feel partially respnsible…LOL, I among many enjoyed he program regardless of the long drawn out episodes that seemed to lead nowhere except sleep. I do not feel this way about the show itself only the writers that can’t seem to put it together for what ever reason wether its the lack of imagination or or no ambition. Ya know you have to follow the story from the beginning to end and if your going to make a prequel then you have to remember the story from other shows that related to the topic at hand. This is to the writers; ” Take the time to learn the story line and then base a logical outcome from what you know is true or what a character has expressed in previous episodes and that in itself will assist you in a believable story “.
    They should still hire me to help write thier shows, if they had this may not have been cancelled.

  • William

    I feel as if I could go on and on but I guess this is where I stop as I could explain the problem outside of the box but no-one listens it’s in one ear and out the other.

    It’s really too bad people don’t get paid for their ideas but more so the impilmenting of them, funny thing is the idea had to come first. Ever heard of the Chicken and the egg? Sometimes staring at the beginning is really the end and vice versa. Why put a structure together if your not going to follow it. Everthing needs to make sense and attribute to the origin of the inturpetation or the leason, whatever it is that you are trying to convey. And as for the new show Blood and Chrome it should be called ” A NEW ORDER ” This is where the Cylons will break free of the hold that Humans have over them and become thier own species. This would be the prequel to BSG for the preparation of the Cylons abandoning the home world of Caprica and finding their own path with some major conflicts in between. The whole Religous overtones now becoming very relavent in the storyline that maybe once was thought to be just a strange cult like organization. This is just some of my thoughts on a new story line or to accompany the original, I will be goig to Syfy with this one, look for it.

  • Mjgarmise

    I disagree heavily. I’m an avid fan, but I have no time for updates through technological avenues. I had no idea about the marathon. I found out because my DVR is set to record any new episodes. IF that had not been the case, I would have had to probably pay to rent or buy the episodes.

  • Lennis

    Maybe they had too many writers. Remember Babylon 5? That show was on the verge of cancellation many times, yet it finished its planned five-season arc. What kept the show alive was the strength and consistency of the writing. How many writers did it have? One. Four out of every five episodes were written by the same guy. It showed.

  • http://blog.lisakretchman.com Lisa

    If you didn’t catch the marathon broadcast, you can watch the final five eps on Hulu.com. I just caught up on the series and thought it was great, but they could have used that momentum way earlier in the series. Wish they would reconsider and bring it back!

  • http://www.capricatimes.com Caprica

    For anyone who wants to know what Season 2 of Caprica would have been like, check out the Capricatimes.com interview with Show Runner Kevin Murphy:

    http://www.capricatimes.com/the-caprica-times-exclusive-interview-kevin-murphy/