Is it really so simple?
A recent article over at popular sci-fi blog io9 theorized that the secret key to the enduring popularity of any science fiction franchise is uniforms. Writer Marc Bernardin makes two really interesting points. The first is that uniforms make it easier for fans to dress up as though they belong as part of that world. The second is that a recognizable uniform helps one member of a particular fandom spot like-minded fans.
I must admit that I can buy into that theory. My only experiment with costuming has been to build a Battlestar Galactica Viper Mechanic costume for Dragon*Con last year. Besides being bright orange, the jumpsuit served as a magnet for other Battlestar fans. I wore it with pride and definitely felt like I was part of a larger community. I compare that to previous BSG events where I had “dressed up” as President Laura Roslin, since there is a certain physical resemblance between us, and for the most part people thought I was simply showing up straight from work in a skirt and jacket. Even within the same fandom, the response to the two costumes was very different. Therefore, the uniform gets a thumbs up from me.
But I think you could also make a very good case for the occasional character who is just so riveting with a style so iconic that the costume is instantly recognizable even if it isn’t a uniform. Princess Leia’s slave bikini is probably the most notably instance in fandom, but I would say that Caprica Six’s red dress comes close behind.
Caprica doesn’t have the military storylines that BSG had, and I don’t see much of that coming in future episodes. Rather than uniforms, it evokes a certain style. If you ran into a woman at a sci-fi convention wearing a 1940s-style gangster’s moll outfit, would you assume she was a Caprica fan? Or could she be dressed as Lois Lane from the original TV series, or someone from the Watchmen universe? Would it matter?
Just another one of those questions to ponder as we wait for Caprica to come back.