Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pilot Thoughts: Terra Nova

Anyone remember the ABC miniseries Dinotopia from about a decade ago? It was about two brothers who crashed on a mysterious island where dinosaurs and humans coexist in harmony and adventure ensues. While watching Terra Nova, I randomly started reminiscing about the older show even though other than dinosaurs both shows have nothing really in common. In any case, I finally did get around to seeing the much talked about pilot, which some critics have seen a handful of times already due to the delays and the tinkering that were done, and I liked it just fine with some reservations.

The production values and special effects are quite topnotch especially for TV and you can tell that's where most of the money went. I do worry for how they expect to keep this quality up, but at least in the pilot, they all looked wonderful. The concept itself--humans traveling back 85 million years for a fresh start after Earth has nearly reached its breaking point--is not only interesting and somewhat relatively original, but also risky. Of course, it could still become one big fail (some people feel it's failed already), but I'd rather TV, especially when it comes to science fiction, take a more adventurous route. The possible conspiracy and how it relates to the mysterious markings and the off-shoot rival colony feel a bit Lost-esque, but I say that in a good way. It definitely adds more intrigue than if the settlers had to only fight with dinosaurs.

My big complaint about the show is the Shannon family who becomes the audience surrogate seeing this world for the first time. They are dull or, in the case of the son, very grating. Apparently one of the producers of the show remarked that if you didn't care about the family in the first hour, then the show didn't do its job. Well, they really didn't. I'm hoping this part gets better as the season progresses and we learn more about them as individuals. The teen son also needs to be less Stereotypical Rebellious Teenager, because in those great scenes with the dinosaurs attacking all of the teenagers, I was cheering on the dinos to kill them all. B

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