Back in 2010, Syfy aired exactly one season of Caprica, a spin-off prequel of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, it takes place about 58 years before the events of Battlestar. For those of you unfamiliar with Battlestar Galactica, it was a science fiction series that ran from 2003 to 2009 and focussed on the fallout of an all-out war between humans and the cybernetic life forms (Cyclons) they created and which turned on them. Caprica shows how humanity first created the robotic Cylons.

I love Battlestar, and I recently re-watched Caprica to my great enjoyment. What makes these series unique are its settings. In this universe, humanity is divided between The Twelve Colonies of Man, also called the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. The names of the colonies' tribes and the planets they live on were borrowed from the Zodiac, so, for example, there are Caprica (obviously), Tauron, and Sagittaron.

The mainstream religion on all colony planets is polytheistic, with a mixture of Hellenic and Roman Gods. It is the state religion of the colonies; government oaths refer to the Gods, and on the Twelve Colonies, public museums housed artefacts of the Gods. Some people are devout believers, others are atheists, and most fall somewhere in the middle; all three viewpoints are accepted more or less equally. Monotheism is seen as unnatural. In fact, the rise of monotheism is one of the major issues in Caprica, and the Cylon religion is monotheistic, making both series extremely religious. They even flirt with religion in the official promo material, as seen above.

The Kobol Gods have the same names and characteristics as the Hellenic Olympic Gods and the show makes references to Zeus (as well as Jupiter), Hera, Athena, Poseidon, Ares (as well as Mars), Artemis, Asklepios, Atlas, Hekate, Hephaestos, and Apollo. The Kobol Gods are morally refined and are believed to watch over and intervene benevolently in the lives of the just. The characters on both shows pray to the Gods on a variety of occasions, and the human characters exclaim 'oh my Gods', while the Cylon characters use 'oh my God'.

Re-watching Caprica led me to question--again--why there isn't more religious diversity on TV and in the movies. If a character even is religious, it's usually some flavour of vague Christianity that never has them in church but has influenced their world view to such a degree that they end up struggling with their ethical framework whenever something goes wrong. Even science fiction--traditionally a genre in which the status quo gets explored through slightly distancing stories about aliens and robots--is very lite on religion.

Seeing as the US (and to a lesser degree Canada and Australia) are the major sources of (home) entertainment, and about 75% (more or less, depending on the poll) of US citizens are Christian in some form or another, I understand why. I get it, I do, but I wonder sometimes if people will really get upset if a Hindu character gets introduced somewhere, or a Witch, or a Hellenist. By 'introduced' I mean 'belongs to that religion, but it's not a whole storyline. They just are a member of that faith, and they relate tot he world through the ethical framework of that religion'. You know, like the vague Christianity that is continually on my TV.

As far as I am aware, the religious framework of Battlestar and Caprica was never an issue. It was there from the very beginning, gradually intensified, and became a major plot point a few seasons into Battlestar. It was perfectly acceptable. I think the Battlestar poster above caused some controversy as it depicts a re-imagined 'Last Supper', but that didn't stop the show's creators from pushing the envelope even further in Caprica, where monotheism is depicted as a fringe cult from the planet Gemenon, one regarded as disruptive and potentially hostile. Throughout both series, believing in only one God pretty much meant you were the bad guy. No one seemed to care.

So, where is the religious diversity on TV and in movies? It's a question I have often asked myself in light of many minority issues. Where is the racial diversity? The sexual diversity? The gender diversity? Why are most characters I see cis gendered, straight, white, (male), able bodied, thin to super skinny (for women, mostly), monogamous and vaguely Christian? To be honest, I'm getting a little tired of seeing the same characters over and over again, and I think there are a lot of stories left to be told, and I think some of those stories can very well be seen through the lens of religious diversity. We have seen in Battlestar Galactica and Caprica that it can be done, so... where are these series? These movies? There characters?