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The whole family thing has the wrong feel for the situation. It's like they just moved there from Orange County. The teens are petulant babies. I doubt that would be the case if they had really just left an overpopulated, dangerously polluted world run by a harshly militaristic government. Why can't there be some original thinking about how people might behave in such a precarious situation with an uncertain future, dinosaur threats, and a competing population. Maybe this is a world where teens use their capable brains in new and interesting ways, rather than as trite selfish brats who need babysitting. I doubt that teens would act like that if they were in this situation. Yes, it's good to have varying levels of behavior; not everyone has to be brilliant or saintly. But behavior is influenced by situation and it should bring unique fears, force some creativity, plus there is an obvious ability to have impact in such a small population. What are the relevant issues in this world and how do they impact the inhabitants?
Season premiere was pretty bad. Mind you the production values are
quite decent with good FX and costumes and whatnot. However...
The Story? Boriiiiiing. It started very good, in a dystopian future, which seemed pretty interesting even if not the most original of settings... But it only declines from there. At the end of it all, we're in a "family drama", a very cliché one incidentally, with dinosaurs.... so yeah.
The plot is dumb. Typical dumb characters that do dumb things because there needs to happen something to fill the time of the show. The characters are dull, completely un-original, their dialogue is often cringe-inducing, and sadly, the actors that portray them don't seem to be very inspired.
It's fine to have laser guns and dinosaurs and retro-sci-fi stuff, but give us an intelligent story please. I don't want to watch another show about the estranged dad, the angsty son, the nerdy daughter, the innocent child, the worried mom, the hot girl-friend and the over-confident military guy... There seems to be only rehashed stereotype characters in this show... ugh! To be honest, this seems like a waste... it looks expensive enough, but I was expecting something less dumb. Seriously, I wanted to slap every last one of the characters silly. And then the writers...
Let's hope it picks up and quickly, but something tells me it's not going to. I'm already dreading the 'family drama of the week' pace, with a little bit of mystery to try and seem like an interesting show.
Oh well, at least we still have Fringe, we sci-fi buffs...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The show starts out in the future where humans due to "greed and
ignorance" have destroyed Earth's environment. The rich live in domed
cities (Logan's Run) to protect them from the bad air and the
overpopulated poor. The main family, the Shannons, consist of two
parents and their 3 children, the third being illegal. Since the planet
(America) is overpopulate, families are only allowed 2 children. The
police come in to search for this law infraction and the dad ends up
getting arrested for fighting with the police. We find out later that
the family would have only gotten a fine. Plot Hole: If there is such a
strict law, then they probably would take the child and euthanize it,
not just a small payable fine. If it was just a fine, the family would
have just paid the fine earlier, because the mother has a very well
paying job. It is her job qualifications that allows her to be selected
to go to Terra Nova (without her husband) and not have to worry about
winning a lottery selection.
Since the Earth is dying, scientist accidentally find a crack in the time/space continuum that allows them to go back in time millions of years. This is apparently a one way trip. We also find out that there is a probe sent, but never found, which leads scientist to believe that whatever they do in the past won't affect the current time line. It isn't explained how they know how far back the crack in time goes, since they can't find evidence left back in time. They also don't explain how they can communicate with whatever is sent back. Plot Hole: if they can't confirm that they are actually sending things back in time, how do they know they aren't disintegrating whatever they send through the event horizon? Obvious Future Spoiler: The probe has been found, which is why they know that they can affect the future from the past and why the "Sixers" were sent.
The Shannon family breaks out Dad from a "maximum security" prison with a simple laser cutter and not much else. Dad breaks into the "maximum security" time travel center using stuff left out in the open crowded train station by the family. Dad brings illegal daughter in a backpack and family goes through time crack. So many 'deus ex machina' moments in that sequence. Where was the illegal child being held during the 2 years Dad was in prison? If everyone is given provision when they get to the camp, then why do individuals bring backpacks with them? This is a science/military expedition, everyone would probably be issued clothes and other things and only allowed a few personal items.
Plot Hole: We also learn from the leader of Terra Nova camp that the difference between one person stepping into the time crack and the next is months. Yet, when 200 people go through, they all appear on the same day, not delayed. Did they improve the process and just leave that part out? Also, you hear announcements about more oxygen in the air and how much brighter the sun will be when they go back in time. There is no mention of how everyone in the current barely visible sun time line will require major amounts of sunscreen when they encounter clear skies and a blazing sun.
After everything is straightened out with the stowaway Dad and child, we get into the predictable plots. Teenagers living on their own who spend the after work hours (apparently the writers never worked on a farm) jumping the fence to go drink moonshine at the only restricted area near the camp. The group of teens enter a restricted area and get into trouble.
The family is clichéd out the wazzu. The boy teenager hates the Dad for going to jail for 2 years, which according to him is a very long time. Future Obvious Spoiler : The girl teenager is a science geek who will later figure out the drawings on some rocks left by the missing son of the camp leader. The illegal youngest child is inquisitive and calmly goes and feeds a brontosaurus, having never seen any animals in her short 5 year life. And the most that the Dad and Mom show for emotion is a little hand holding. They've been apart for two years!
Since there has to be more than every day life problems on Terra Nova, there are the "Sixers". The "Sixers" were sent in the 6th wave of time traveling pioneers by some unknown group determined to change the past, to control the future. In the end, you are given the feeling that the "Sixers" are good guys, while the camp leader is a bad guy.
The biggest plot hole is the mass extinction event of the dinosaurs. What is the point of creating a new civilization that could be possibly wiped out when the dinosaurs go belly up?
So far the show has been predictable and at times boring. I am sure most will find it entertaining enough to continue watching the series.
I get it that for most of you high and mighty reviewers Terra Nova seems to be dumb. but I honestly do not feel this way.
People complaining about some holes and everything is just ridiculous with a series that is sending people 80million years in the past. come on people, give them a chance. (if anyone is going to mention the asteroid again I'm going to scream ... 16 million years until impact you geniuses out there. that's enough for a thousand civilizations to rise and fall so stop whining and use your oh soo awesome brains)
so let me tell you that yes, the first 4 episodes a rather drama heavy with long character plots to get to know them. and yes, the CGI is not the best on the market. but that did not keep me from Doctor Who or LEX and it's sure as hell not going to keep me from anything else.
I really love the direction of the later episodes when the meta plot gets going and we get a broader picture of what is wrong with Terra Nova, Commander Taylor and the Sixers.
The acting still ranges between average and sometimes very good. episode 9 had a nice Stephen Lang moment.
give the show a try, maybe jump in the later episodes and forget about the CGI.
suspend the disbelief and just enjoy it. it's better than most of the other crap out there, and you can watch it with the whole family.
and dammit, it has Dinosaurs!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
No Terra Nova is not as good as Jurassic Park, but did anyone really
expect it be be?
I believe that people are too quick to write Terra Nova off. Even great sci-fi shows such as Falling Skies, BattleStar Galactica and Stargate first come under negative reviews and yet went on to become successful. The acting and choice of actors has also come under criticism and yet no one would enjoy watching a series about a whole military base fighting the odd dinosaur and killing all enemies. The civilian element, much like the colonial fleet in Battlestar, helps to cause trouble within Terra Nova (ie the sixer spy). The human element is crucial to ALL sci-fi's -surely people must realise this? If not i recommend watching a different genre (Preferably a war film)
About the CGI used in Terra Nova. What can u expect from a TV Series? The big films may be able to get the best CGI but for a TV series it is incredibly harder (And has caused shows like Stargate to be cancelled). Is the CGI so bad? No, not compared to some current shows broadcast on SciFi.
Overall i believe People need to give Terra Nova a chance, especially as the story is now getting deeper. If, After this season, the plot hasn't improved, then criticise Terra Nova and get out your DVD of Jurassic Park.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've watched five or so episodes of Terra Nova thus far, and I think it
is quite good, definitely not the drivel that one would believe from
scrolling through the first couple of pages of reviews on IMDb. Calling
something "family friendly" doesn't really offend my sensibilities- why
can't families have shows that are appropriate for all members to
watch? True, the gore and body-count in the series is noticeably lower
than we have be trained to expect from any offering that features
dinosaurs, but I never finish an episode and say, "Gee, I wish more
characters had died and exposed their shredded flesh on camera to
preserve my sense of realism this time!"
Obviously, the graphics and scenery are really well done, as one would expect from all the hype surrounding the large-budget production. The dinosaurs are better than anything I've seen on television, and I admire the care and planning that has been put into the futuristic trappings.
The cast and characters are generally well-done. Jason O'Mara and Shelley Conn have great chemistry and I have enjoyed watching their characters rekindle their relationship. I will agree that two of the children: the youngest daughter and the eldest son, are grating and pointless. The daughter seems to mainly have existed as a plot point in the pilot: to give the family a reason to escape to Terra Nova and ratchet up the stakes while still building sympathy for the parents. After that, she's just too cutesy-wootsy and tends to get in the way. The son is the dreaded "worst offender" of the show. I think that probably without him, a lot more people wouldn't have so much to complain about. Every single storyline for him is a mess of clichés, from "son is inexplicably always angry with father" to "son is horny and will do stupid things for a hot chick" to "son is a moron and really deserves to die, but he is a main character, so we will kill someone else to teach him a Very Important Lesson." The middle daughter is much more tolerable and her storyline is (dare I say it?) sweet. In that manner, I find it kind of refreshing to mash up family-friendliness with sci-fi stuff. How often in dinosaur flicks do you get to have "sweet" (not ooky-gooky, just tender) moments between characters? Not that often. Stephen Lang and Christine Adams as opposing leaders of Terra Nova and the Sixers are probably the strongest performers of the lot.
Overall, the stories have been pretty good, and never what I would consider to be offensively unwatchable. It's not LOST, but geeze, why should anything else try to be LOST? LOST was LOST and this is Terra Nova, and it is good at what it is. It's interesting and exciting and entertaining. The b-plots can tread on tired ground, as I have mentioned above, but the a-plots are solid.
Overall, Terra Nova does what it aims to do well. Sort of a loose contemporary spin on Lost in Space, but with dinosaurs. If you don't like those kinds of shows, guess what? You won't like this. And that's okay, but that doesn't mean that Terra Nova is badly done by any means.
At first, like most folks, I was excited about this show based on the
trailer, concept etc. I watched the first few episodes and realized
it's a rather conservative, formulaic show clearly designed to be a
family drama that was safe enough for children to watch with their
parents and of a topical arrangement tolerable for most modern parents.
However, the show has developed immensely in the final few episodes of the first season. The majority of the episodes were drab, capsulated pieces of neutral television programming. However, what has developed in the last few episodes leads me to believe that this show has tremendous potential. Main Characters die, big things happen, the plot twists and thickens and the action picks up quite a bit. I still can't call the plot original at all, it's Avatar/Jurassic Park/Earth 2/Lost/Stargate all the way but who cares? Firefly was just a show based on Han Solo, The Wire is just the Sopranos over again and Law & Order...well need I say more?
In just 3 or 4 episodes, this went from a show I caught on Hulu because I couldn't sleep to a show that's now at the top of my list. Too bad they waited until the very end of the season to make the show worth while, there's a whole lotta boring episodes to sit through to get to the good stuff, that could alienate a lot of potential viewers.
Time will tell.
When I heard Spielberg was exec producing a show about dinosaurs, I
half expected Jurassic Park: The Series. All the makings are here. Same
for LOST, the two things that this show will inevitably be compared to.
It shoots for the mystery and stranded feel of LOST, while throwing in
the dinosaurs and the family dynamic of Jurassic Park. Sadly, this is
neither, but something in between just shy of the quality of both.
For those unaware of the story, we are taken to the future first, where Earth has become an overpopulated, uninhabitable mess. To solve this problem, for a reason yet to be explained, humanity decides to time warp back 85 million years ago, where they can live in peace and harmony with dinosaurs. Or, as the first episode would like us to believe, can run and scream in terror as carnivorous dinosaurs keep people penned in their little colony and out of the jungle. The focus of the show is the Shannon family, new pilgrims to the colony who quickly learn what's what around Terra Nova. Of course, the most entertaining and interesting character is Stephen Lang, who plays a friendlier version of his character from Avatar. After all, who can't get enough gruff, military commander Stephen Lang.
For the most part, Terra Nova is entertaining, interesting, yet wholly disposable television. It has the Spielbergian touches and is somewhat reminiscent of early 2000, late 90's sci-fi TV. Where those similar aspects in LOST were unfolded in a slow burn to let things sink in for the viewer, or where our introduction to the danger of the dino's in Jurassic Park was slowly brought forth, here it's thrown at you in force. Not for a while, as we have to get acquainted with our main characters, but dangerous thunder lizards are soon enough thrown our way. The carnage shown is a bit surprising considering it's basic TV, yet there are no known deaths, just a few strong, gory moments (depending on your definition of gory) here and there. The dinosaurs themselves are less than desirable. Whereas Jurassic Park, which essentially perfected dinosaurs with a mix of practical and cg effects, had pleasing dinosaurs, here they seem a bit awkward and out of place. Almost completely cg, these dinosaurs look about 5 or 6 years old in the cg department. It would appear that the budget for creating the dinosaurs was less than sufficient, which sadly translates into poorly animated dino's.
Now, it's not all bad. Again, Stephen Lang is entertaining here as the military commander of the colony. The show also presents an interesting plot which I suspect could become more interesting as the season goes on. And while a show like LOST should have ended at probably it's fourth season, Terra Nova has life in it. Sadly, if it doesn't get better than the pilot, than I can't say we will see a season 2. And FOX is quite famous for canceling shows. Maybe the power of Steven Spielberg will save the show. Who knows. I'll ride it for as long as I can, I suppose. But for a pilot, the show was disappointing. What should have been a titanic, impressive two hours turned into a lackluster event with a lack of dinosaur action (and what is up with those names? Slasher? really? We couldn't go with real dinosaurs like velociraptors, compy's, or T- rex's?), turns out to shoot for the moon but only get so far as our atmosphere.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Very disappointing and formulaic TV show. Perhaps the worst pat is the
old "rebellious teen" angle. So Junior sees his prison escapee dad for
the first time in 2 years, is reunited with his newly freed little
sister, get transported back to dinosaur times, breathing fresh air and
seeing clouds for the first time in his life...well what better time
for teen angst and rebellion. He doesn't attend the required
orientation school (what cold he possibly need to learn about life in
dino times) and wanders off, until Ta-da! he meets the prerequisite
saucy aggressive teenage "bad girl." Her suggestion "why don't we and
the other disaffected teens go off and do dangerous "teen" stuff like
wander unarmed in dinosaur and bad guy territory and get drunk...oh
look I'm wearing a bikini." Jeeez this is lazy inept pathetic writing.
The rest of the stuff is OK..and I mean just OK. The plot with the conspiracy could be developed, the dinos are OK, but this brings up another issue. Why are they in dino land with weapons that are not able to bring down even a small dinosaur. They empty magazine after magazine into small dinosaurs, which run off seemingly none the worse for the experience. I'm thinking 2 rounds of 30-06 would be sufficient to drop one..or at least wound it pretty severely. Anyhoo....I had high hopes, but will not be watching. I lost interest quickly, the characters were lame and the show was one big MEH!
OK...I've tried to watch this some more..give it the benefit of the doubt but this last episode with the lost little girl was TERRIBLE and BORING. This is the worst pile of junk on TV.
Terra Nova is a great show! Fox should be commended for producing a
truly family-friendly series, a brave thing to do these days. Terra
Nova and The Middle are about the only family- friendly shows on TV
right now. Everyone else puts in sexual scenes or incidents that
degrade the characters, distract from the story and jar family viewers
for no reason. As Bill Cosby said, "It's like someone put red pepper
flakes in the Jell-O pudding." Terra Nova doesn't do that, but still
packs enough excitement to keep jaded teens interested.
(Full disclosure: I joined IMDb just so I could post this review. I'm not a big network TV fan but was lured back to network TV to check out a fairy tale show on a different network, which promised to have a "Narnia" feel to it. Alas, it has been disappointing because it has extramarital sex in every episode (Hollywood promoting its favorite fairy tale: casual sex with no emotional damage, or venereal diseases, or pregnancies.) But that got me watching network TV again, and I'd heard about Terra Nova so I checked it out. I was pleasantly surprised - and hooked.)
Four reasons why I really enjoy the show:
1. It features a functional family who are civil with each other instead of snarky and sarcastic (rare on TV, since sarcasm is a cheap way to create conflict and laughs). The family members engage in no extramarital anything. It is extremely refreshing. My teen and 5th-grader can watch it and I don't have to hide their eyes (except for some dinosaur-on-human scenes early on). The father of the family and the Commander of the colony are strong father figures, even honorable. Admittedly, this means the writers have to resort to implausible situations (like all the blackmail) to generate conflict and interesting story lines, but that's better than having to endure another parade of atrocious role models just because that makes it easy for writers to generate conflict and drama. Give Terra Nova time to learn how to generate exciting story lines without all the tawdry, cliché techniques other shows employ. Bravo, Spielberg, et al!
2. The show portrays the Cretaceous period very realistically (speaking as a lifelong dinosaur fan and a geologist). The dinosaurs aren't an invincible scourge that bullets can't stop; they don't lurk behind every tree waiting to pounce; instead, the Cretaceous is like the Serengeti - both have big animals that are dangerous if you get too close, but they can be subdued or avoided with the right approach or hardware. I like it that big animals show up only now and then, as big animals really would. Big dinos should be rare, since it takes a lot of food to maintain the big ones. Someday that nearby Brachiosaurus herd can camp around the colony; that would bring in some dinos that really could snap their fence in two without trying, and the brachs would attract the really big predators that everyone wants to see.
3. The sets are detailed and lavish. Somebody had to BUILD this colony in Australia; it's not CG! That alone makes it a pleasure to watch - it's more believable than CG. Their futuristic technology is well-designed and plausible; it forms a natural and interesting backdrop to the story. They use it, but it doesn't get in the way. Refreshing (but probably expensive).
4. Scientists, doctors, and engineers have positive roles in every episode (along with the soldiers and cops). Science or medicine helps the colony in every episode; it's vital to Terra Nova's survival. This is great because we need to inspire kids to enter scientific careers, so we can keep innovating at a rate that will be competitive with China and India now that those countries each graduate more scientists and engineers than the total of all U.S. college graduates!
Apparently the show didn't live up to the hopes of some sci-fi fans (judging by the early reviews in this series), but it is clean, positive entertainment and that's brave for Fox to offer (and they're the only ones doing it this season). Bravo for them! As to the complaint that it is unoriginal and relies on cliché plot lines and dialogue, that is true; but everything has been done before, so calling it "unoriginal" is a very unoriginal criticism. I admit the show is predictable, but I don't mind that; I've watched enough sci-fi shows in 45 years to be able to predict all of them. I watch the show for the realistic rendering of dinosaurs and the positive family role models. I say give them time; their writers deserve a chance to learn how to make the show more believable. Meanwhile, the show has enough dinosaurs and cool technology to keep kids and teens (and at least one geologist) interested.
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