All the spin-off additions to the Battlestar Galactica universe are hit and miss at best as far as I'm concerned; Razor and The Plan felt like unnecessary retrofitted back stories for fans more than anything else. Caprica is a more rounded and full blown prequel to the original series, set before the first Cylon war when the Cylons were being conceived.
In a futuristic yet not to distant future society, we find people who dabble in the extremes of vice. On the rich and powerful Caprica, powerful families influence the people as their corporations run everything from entertainment to defense programs. Science plays god and religious-based terrorism runs rampant in a political climate much like our own runs through the 12 colonies.
Zoe Greystone and her friends have become jaded and repulsed by the extreme sex and violence which people indulge in V-World, a virtual environment access with their holobands. V-World, though intended as an innocent recreational pass time has an illegal and dark side, where godless crimes, promiscuity and even virgin sacrifices occur. Believing that their society has lost it's way and ripe for change, they join an undergroung movement known as Soldiers of The One (STO) who are devoted to a monotheistic religion believing in the one true god. Fleeing Caprica, Zoe becomes involved in a terrorist attack which destroys a public train in which she is also killed.
Zoe's father Daniel Greystone (Eric Stoltz) is a powerful and intelligent CEO of Greystone Industries. He invented the holoband and is now working on perfecting fighting robots in order to win a military contract. When his daughter's V-World avatar lives on after her death he attempts to transfer it's program into one of his robots. In order to do so he gets involved with the Helefa, a Tauron Ganster organisation (Ha'la'tha), through a man who has also lost his daughter, Joseph Adama.
Joseph Adama struggles to walk the line between the straight and narrow as a prominent lawyer and his family connections to the mob, who make up much of his clientèle. The character of Joseph Adama is much richer here than the way he was depicted in Battlestar Galactica. He was talked of as a very good and influential lawyer, a dominant figure in the lives of his family. Here, many years before, hasn't quite become that person yet. More troubled, even hiding his ancestry by adopted the name "Adams" as a means to integrate better into the Caprican society he can never truly be a part of in the way he want to. His arc is the most interesting, even if it's mainly based on the fact the Adama family runs through the entire franchise. The promise of being reunited with his daughter leads him to help Daniel through his underground connections, as his Brother Sam, is a Ha'la'tha enforcer. His son, Bill Adama, learns to be a street smart kid by skipping school and following his uncle around the Caprican underworld. The "things fall apart" motif goes full circle in reverse here. We see that Bill Adama follows the path of his Uncle, more accepting of his Tauran (a very latin inspired race) roots rather than his father's wish to embrace Caprica.
Though the overall arc between Daniel and the Adamas is interesting, there is ultimately too much following of teenage girls through the show with some dialogue like, "if your my friend, you'll do this" which can seems a little lazy at times. The focus on the children's relationship with the STO and the Willow family who essentially run the terrorism cell does lack much of what made the original show great. Here, the character motivations are never very clear and at times simply serve as plot devices. Case in point would be Lacy's attempt to get the Cylon Zoe to Geminon, which in the end simply serves to get Lacy into the STO and the whole smuggling plan is soon forgotten.
At it's core, Caprica debates whether we can live in a world free of consequence. The symbolic representation in the series is the holoband's virtual world where anything goes without repercussions. It is here that the breakthrough of human life everlasting is offered. Daniel Greystone and Clarice Willow (Polly Walker) are both obsessed with this, though have differing agendas. Daniel's is to get his daughter back and create perfect machines, whereas the Willow's promise to prove life eternal to those who will embrace their monotheistic religion and give up the gods.
It's not hard to see why this show didn't last more than a season. Though I appreciate Ron Moore's sentiment of not creating spin offs that are the same as the successful parent show, Caprica probably focused a bit too much on the younger characters for the type of Audience's who are attracted to the Sci-Fi genre. The ending montage however does tie up loose ends and demonstrates how the Cylon uprising came about after the events of the show leading into the feature length Blood and Chrome which focuses on Bill Adama earlier military career as a viper pilot.