Esai Morales and Eric Stoltz, <i>Caprica</i> Esai Morales and Eric Stoltz, Caprica

Twitchy Battlestar Galactica fans can rest a little easier.

The Sci Fi channel has given the green light to Caprica, the buzzed-about prequel to Battlestar, according to Variety. The cable channel has already produced a two-hour TV movie/backdoor pilot, which was set to debut in December, but will now launch the series in early 2010.

The series, starring Eric Stoltz, Esai Morales, Paula Malcomson and Polly Walker, is set 50 years before the Cylon attack in Battlestar and focuses on two rival families dealing with the implications of society's expansion of artificial intelligence — the AI that gives birth to the original, deadly Cylons.

Pegging Caprica as a family drama, Sci Fi is hoping to lure in a broader audience and even some non-Battlestar viewers. "I think, because (Galactica's) backdrop was space and spaceships, there was a barrier to entry for some viewers," Sci Fi president Dave Howe said. "Caprica has none of that. It's ... set on an Earthlike planet, in the near future, speaking to a lot of the ethical dilemmas that we as a human race are going to have to face very shortly."

The series will be executive produced by BSG masterminds Ron Moore and David Eick as well as Remi Aubuchon (24). Moore and Aubuchon co-wrote the pilot.

Battlestar Galactica returns with its final 10 episodes on Jan. 16, and a two-hour movie, Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, is slated for the summer.

Are you excited about the series pickup? Can you hold out until 2010?