“Caprica”‘s Jane Espenson: “It’s Time For Sexuality to be Incidental”


Espenson accepting an award from the Television Critics Association
Battlestar Galactica

AE: There was a poll on BuddyTV about the direction SyFy is going, especially with Caprica and 77% of the folks said they weren’t happy. How concerned are you about having to pull off the feat of doing a prequel, which is always a tricky thing to do, and also doing a very different drama for SyFY. JE: I think if you start writing toward what polls are telling you, you end up in trouble. Then you don’t have an internal compass anymore if things are going right or wrong. You have to keep going back and asking people, "Okay, is this what you want? Wait! Let me try this. Is this what you want?"

You have to have your own internal compass. All you can really do is write the show you want to watch. As long as we’re doing that, we should be on the right track. I don’t think I’m that much different from the average SyFy viewer. I love SyFy. I know what I want to see. If I write something that would satisfy me, I think it will satisfy people who are like me far better than me trying to write for people who aren’t like me and guess what they want. That’s just not going to work.

AE: Are you a fan of Torchwood?
Yes! Yes, I am a fan of Torchwood.

AE: Do you think the character of Captain Jack opened the door for SyFy the network, and sci-fi in general, to be more open towards characters’s like Sam?

I have no idea how much Torchwood affected anyone at SyFy’s executive suites. I know it made me feel more comfortable going like, "Okay, the SyFy audience will be cool with this." It’s also just an amazing show with the unexpectedness of the plotting, the willingness to embrace dark subjects.

The Children of Earth miniseries that was their Season 3, oh my God, how brilliant! The decision that he can’t save his grandson, his grandson has to die. Yes, that’s a very Battlestar-y/Buffy kind of decision to pay the dark price. Go there. Don’t make everything sweet and wonderful and all tied up. Make it ugly and rough and emotional.

The way they own Jack’s sexuality is very admirable and very much like what we’re trying to do. The people around him have to be comfortable with it because he’s comfortable with it. It’s fantastic. Love Torchwood. Love it, love it, love it. Russell Davies is a genius, and all those people in the Russell Davies camp. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet them and wow. What a room full of geniuses. Fantastic.

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