Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall Pilot #10: Terra Nova

FALL PILOT #10: Terra Nova
NETWORK: FOX
SUPPOSED SELLING POINT: Avatar meets Jurassic Park, a possible replacement for Lost?
POSSIBLE SELLING POINT FOR ME:  Dinosaurs?

If Terra Nova looks like it's blatantly trying to rip off Jurassic Park and mix it with Avatar and somehow snag a huge audience off this combination of elements, that's because it is.  It's a show built around a million recycles sci-fi plot lines.  Earth is dying, we've killed it with our grubby human ways.  The solution?  Jump through a stargate and start to rebuild human society on a mint condition planet in the Cretaceous period.  It's like Land of the Lost and Earth 2 (remember that show?) had a baby that took itself too seriously.  As can be expected, the show follows a family of sci-fi pilgrims on their magical journey, forging the way to completely mess up all of history.  Within the space-time continuum rules of science fiction, I'm not sure how forcing human life to exist during a time which humans had not yet evolved works, but it sounds like it would probably destroy natural progression as we know it.  It's an interesting concept, and the visuals are rather impressive for a network show.  It looks damn expensive, and it's a major risk for Fox as problem here is that apart from surprisingly decent looking dinos it offers almost nothing new.


Terra Nova has the usual things.  The creators seem to know that while they have a chance of reeling in an action audience, their primary targets are approximately ten years old.  So, it's another forced family drama.  Not space family Robinson, but close.  Instead of opening the group dynamic the way Lost did, introducing us to mysterious characters with complicated pasts, we're immediately pushed into a stagnant set of relationships.  Our patriarch, Jim Shannon (Jason O'Mara) spent some time in prison for protecting his brood, and while he managed to sneak his way to Terra Nova, there's some unresolved daddy issues from his wife and kids.  They talk through things, they try to bond, they marvel at the sights.  Mom is a smarty pants doctor, there's a teen daughter, a little daughter, and a teen son who meets a sparky teen girl.  They take the all-terrain vehicle for a spin and get into trouble.  There are big dinosaurs and small dinosaurs.  There are fences (see above) that really push that Jurassic Park association.  There's a tribe of human arrivals who have turned against this use of time travel and are fighting a resistance from somewhere in the rainforest.  There are politics.  Stephen Lang (the bad guy from Avatar) is in it.  He's the leader but we're not sure what kind yet.  He still looks like an action figure and scares me a little bit.  


It's nice to look at, but oddly bland.  Honestly, I wound up involved for maybe the first half hour, then barely watching it as it slogged through expected terrain.  I can't say it was a disappointment, because I didn't have high hopes to begin with.  What I can say is that I'm pretty sure it's wasting its money on creatures when it should be spending more time with its writers.  

SECOND EPISODE?:  Eh, those two hours exhausted me.
WILL IT MAKE IT TO A SECOND SEASON?:  It's got a good chance of collecting a cult following, and getting canceled...

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