Tuesday, October 4, 2011

TV Review: Terra Nova

I watched the pilot for 'Terra Nova' and the bottom line is: I have so few new SF choices I'm going to keep watching it. If I start to actively DISLIKE it... well, I'm never going to run out of cartoons and sitcoms, am I?

Chicago 2147 AD, a world on the verge of environmental collapse. Humanity is cut off from the sun and the moon and uh, oxygen. Perhaps oxygen deprivation helps explain some truly bizarre choices in this culture. The Shannons, Jim & Elizabeth, are a cop and a doctor who break the two-child law. Already blessed with demographically appealing Josh (15) and Maddie (13) they have kept Zoe (3) hidden until our story begins with government jackboots. Jim fights the Man and earns 6 years in jail.

Two years later, an exciting action-packed break out from future prison, followed by an action-packed break-in to The Tenth Pilgrimage. You see, Elizabeth and her legal kids were invited, Jim and Zoe were NOT. It's a voyage through a fracture in space-time to Terra Nova: a human colony 85 million years in the past. So, I gotta ask: apart from wanting to show us Jim is bad-ass, WHY?
Why split up families? What kind of colony doesn't want breeders? Why crowd your jails if you can dump your problem citizens down a time hole?

Well, it's a colony with problems, to be sure, and despite the dinosaurs outside the gates, most of them are human. Commander Nathaniel Taylor gives a speech about how greed, war, and ignorance destroyed their home. Now that it's a brand new beginning, he and all the other gun-toting soldiers have a second chance. My hypocrisy sense is tingling.

So, a splinter group with a nebulous agenda from the Sixth Pilgrimage are up to something, and they started their own gun-toting colony with uh... with blackjack... and hookers! Our group call them Sixers. To keep them distinct from Slashers, which are dinosaurs with sort of a certain slash-y quality.

I should mention that 'Primeval' spoiled me on what CGI creatures on a TV budget can look like, and these look a little... well, primitive.

While I'm picking nits, I should point out that if smarty-pants Maddy's dialog is to be believed, then the basis for believing this is a separate timeline from theirs (thus safe to step on butterflies in), is down to the fact that nobody in 2149 has yet found an 85 MILLION YEAR OLD basketball-sized probe. That's a hell of a supposition. Hey, they looked for it almost a month. Things to do, man!

"Control the Past, Control the Future." No shit, Sixer. How about, Save the Cheerleader, Save the World?

I'm a complainer, but I'm watching episode 2. I notice Star Trek veterans Rene Echevarria & Brannon Braga wrote it. Worth it? Sure, why not?

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