Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Terra Nova

I have been looking forward to many of new shows on TV this fall but none more than Terra Nova. I love the concept of settlers vs dinosaurs - 'Lost' combined with 'Jurassic Park'.

The year is 2149 and the world is on the verge of environmental collapse. The air people breath is so toxic that they can't travel anywhere without using special breathing masks. During research, scientists discovered that they had discovered the means to travel back in time - in this case a one way ticket to the Earth as it was 85 million years again.

The show centers on the Shannons, an ordinary family from 2149 when the planet is dying who are transported back 85 million years to prehistoric Earth where they join Terra Nova, a colony of humans with a second chance to build a civilization.

I enjoyed this pilot episode a lot. The setting is fantastic and the dinosaur effects are pretty sweet for a television show. The lead actors are very good especially Stephen Lang as Nathanial Taylor, the leader of Terra Nova. He has the right mix of hardness and secrets to make him interesting to follow.

The action here is intense. Nothing like being on the menu makes someone jump at the sound of every howling scream.

I also really liked the little girl's perspective on everything. She brought a sense of awe and wonder to this new world. I like how the creators have thought about the little things like the larger moon in the sky and the different constellations. I am sure all that information will make sense in the future as we get more into the mystery of what happened to Taylor's son and the 'Sixers'.

I am jumping into this one with both feet despite the fact that this is a FOX program and they have a terrible track record with shows I like.


Wings1295 said...

I don't know, I had mixed feelings after watching this. Some of the family drama stuff was just... ugh. I mean, the dad really didn't do anything anyone else wouldn't have done when the cops arrested him, but the kid is going to have to have 'tude with him about it? Why? Just because they need some drama.

Other parts just fell a bit flat for me. Just wasn't as thrilling as I hoped.

Gonna give it a few more chances to thrill me, though.

Belle said...

I thought it was pretty good and I do like the setting and the dinosaurs. I think the stories will get better as it goes on. I always find the first show of a dramatic series a bit boring because you have to be introduced to everyone. If they flesh out the characters I think it will be a great show.

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

Sorry Kal, but much like your thoughts on "The Cape" I'm going to have to disagree. I did not like the pilot to this show.

At first things were going all right when we introduced the Shannons. I was fascinated by their bonding over a simple orange, the physical contact they made with one another felt genuine, particularly with Josh playing with little Zoey. I breathed a sigh of relief, saying to myself "Whew, Thank God they're not playing the teenage son as the stereotypical self absorbed whiny angry jerk." The disappointment I experienced at his characterization once they got to Terra Nova cannot be measured.

That was one of the two big flaws I had with the pilot. The domestic squabbles don't match the setting. I get that this is a show about family and that there will be some family arguments, but when your helping to build a colony after Earth is effectively "dead", a fight over who gets what bed seems trivial at best. Also, for a colony in a hostile environment seeing all these kids aimlessly wander around seems so absurd! If they're not in school, show them working and pitching in to help!

The second and biggest problem for me is the lack of consequences. Michael stows away with a gun. I'm sure you can imagine what they'd do to you if you tried that on an airplane, much less a big operation like this. All he gets is community service, which is fine under the circumstances, but that service consists of leaving him in an unsupervised area with a machete. What?!

In fact I'm surprised at the lack of security around this place, especially given how Taylor says they've got spies and traitors in their midst and doesn't even bat an eye at all the crap that goes on behind his back. Small children are feeding the potentially dangerous animals, which could lead to herds and possible predators being attracted to the fence and the ragtag Crystal Lake campers sneak away without any basic form of protection to do some dangerous cliff diving and handle sharp objects in the one way most likely to injure yourself, etc.

And by the end of the day everyone gets off with a "I'm glad you're alive", and no actual detainment or punishment. If just one of those kids had died from their stupidity it would have let all of the others and the audience know just how serious a situation they're in. How am I supposed to find tension in a show were there are no consequences? These people can't go five minutes without screwing themselves over. We'd be in better hands if we were all subjugated by damn dirty apes. Which reminds me of that whole timeline business... I don't even want to go there.

The effects are good but aren't too different from any of the dinosaur specials on the Discovery Channel and the acting is decent, but I really can't see myself sticking around for this one, sorry.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

You all almost convinced me that I needed to go back and watch this pilot again. I will wait until a few more episodes to see if I still like this one as much as I did. Like you said, Erik, I DID love THE CAPE so what do I know about good TV.

M. D. Jackson said...

I absolutely cannot bring myself to watch this until I know it is going to get at least another season. I'm tired of getting emotionally invested in "one-season wonders"

csmith2884 said...

LALALALA can't hear you..haven't seen it yet. Maybe tonight.