"Caprica" (SyFy, 10 p.m.), which returns tonight for its second season, was one of the more interesting entries into science-fiction lore last year. It was also among the most divisive.
The prequel for "Battlestar Galactica" left fans of that show deeply divided about "Caprica." Some, like me, judged the show on its own merits and found it to be an interesting social commentary that was much different in structure than its predecessor.
Others, perhaps comparing it to "BSG," found it to be slow and plodding, missing much of "BSG's" signature action.
As with anything on TV, it's a matter of taste. While I'll readily admit the show proved a bit clunky at times in terms of its pacing, it also does what "BSG" did so well, and what all great sci-fi should do -- provide a looking glass into our own lives through the allegory of its story.
"Caprica" centers around a near-future style world, complete with religious factions, terrorism, crime, industry that's in bed with the government, and a growing dependance (bordering on addiction) with technology.
Sound like any planet you know of?
Series co-creator Ron Moore has played up those aspects, about a society that's becoming obsessed with a virtual reality world while ignoring the societal problems of the their actual world.
As we left off, Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz), who will one day invent the Cylons, is on the verge of losing his wife (Paula Malcomson) to suicide and his company to his biggest rival (John Pyper-Ferguson). Attorney Joseph Adama (Esai Morales) has recently come out of that virtual world addiction and is now an advisor to the local mob.
Meanwhile, the headmistress of the local religious school (Polly Walker) is a secret member of the underground monotheistic religion and terrorist cell. She's at odds with another rival leader (James Marsters) and seeks help from the movement's leader (Meg Tilly).
While "Caprica" isn't for everyone, the first two episodes start off on a strong note and keep the story moving at a steady pace. Fans of the series should be pleased, especially with some key twists that pop up.
TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: "No Ordinary Family" (ABC, 8 p.m.) is one of ABC's few bright spots among its new shows in the ratings, but it will be interesting to see how many people stick with it. It's new tonight, followed by "Dancing With The Stars" and "Detroit 1-8-7."
CBS is all new with "NCIS," "NCIS: LA," and "The Good Wife," in which Peter's mistress makes an appearance and Alicia and Will take on a military case.
"Glee" (Fox, 8 p.m.) this week focuses on religion. As for me, I pray that it doesn't suck as much as last week's Britney Spears-fest. It's followed by "Raising Hope" and "Running Wilde."
NBC has two hours of "The Biggest Loser," followed by a new "Parenthood" at 10 p.m., while the CW has "One Tree Hill" and "Life Unexpected" from 8-10 p.m.
On cable, "Caprica" follows a new "Stargate: Universe" (SyFy, 9 p.m.), while "Sons of Anarchy" (FX, 10 p.m.) picks up after Gemma's (Katey Sagal) heart attack.