Esai Morales wants you to know that Caprica (premieres Friday, 9/8c on Syfy) is no Battlestar Galactica. "BSG is BSG, and we will never touch BSG because we're not in that business. We don't want to be," he tells TVGuide.com of the prequel. "We're trying to show that someone's parents and someone's pre-life is different than their children's." Set 58 years before the post-apocalyptic events of Battlestar, Caprica focuses on the thriving, technologically advanced Twelve Colonies that eventually create the Cylons. Morales plays Joseph Adama, a lawyer and father to BSG's Commander William Adama.
The elder Adama meets inventor Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) when they both lose daughters in the same terrorist bombing. Graystone attempts to bring the girls back as robots, and it's from there that a "morally gray family saga unfolds," Morales says. Find out what else is in store this season and why the actor thinks the show is similar to The Godfather.
TVGuide.com: How did you get involved with the show?
My manager told me to take a look at this. "This is a really classy show," she said. "The creators are geniuses. It's on Syfy, but they're doing a whole rebranding thing. This could be a flagship show for them." I wasn't a BSG guy per se. I had kind of grown away from sci-fi in my adult years. I'm really happy to be back in a way that I don't feel like I'm regressing to my childhood! There is nerd appeal, but at the same time, it's something many people can identify with. It's just a smart show and unlike anything I've seen on television.
Watch the extended pilot of Caprica now
TVGuide.com: Joseph Adama is sort of mythological since we've never met him until now. How would you describe him?
In reality, the myth is not as grandiose. We will be deconstructing a bit of the statue of the man and showing the human being. I'm not playing him as some sort of hero. I'm playing him as a man who is just trying to survive, stay on the right side of the law and be a good role model to what's left of his family. He'd like to reconnect with the digital aftereffects of his own daughter. When he hugs and holds her, it's as if [she's real] — except for one little thing: He can't feel her heartbeat, which is that poetic representation. What are these things if they are not people? What do they feel? Where do they go when they're in limbo?
TVGuide.com: How will the conflict between the Adamas and the Graystones and the repercussions of artificial intelligence progress on the show?
It's conflict that can sometimes turn into collision and sometimes goes back into conflict. It's kind of like being in business with Donald Trump. You never know what you're going to get. You have to look closely to see what's going on in this society that seems to have it all. What happens to a people when their technological prowess exceeds their sociological ways? It's like giving a child a gun. The power that technology gives us unduly influences us to lord over others. Do we take advantage or do we step aside and say "not I"? There are no good or bad people, just good or bad acts. And it's good or bad depending on who's doing the acting and who's being acted upon.