On Monday, Fox premiered their newest “epic” show: Terra Nova. The concept is simple: In 2149, the world is ending, but we’ve thankfully found a portal to 85 million years in the past, so mankind can keep on living.
First things first: I love this concept. It’s a simple way to mix people and dinosaurs. Hell, you don’t even have to worry about all those nasty time-travel paradoxes since, as it’s explained early in the episode, this is a divergent time-stream. (Maybe. We’ll get to that.)
However, the concept is the ONLY thing this show gets right. The biggest problem is, the writers don’t seem to have any confidence in that concept. Instead, the show is a cluster of terrible ideas, all thrown on the screen in the hopes one of them will stick.
We have evil conspiracies, family drama, a competing group of human colonists, mysterious markings, and an ominous warning of “Control the past, control the future”. And this is just the first episode.
Our point of view characters are the Shannon family. And they suck. The dad is a former cop who had been arrested… for punching a cop. The mom is a doctor with multiple PhDs that can’t do even simple math (evidenced by her being absolutely puzzled by her daughter’s grade school “math genius” abilities). And their son… oh lord… their son is the world’s biggest douche. Upon arriving in the past he immediately ditches orientation to go off into the jungle (a jungle filled with dinosaurs) putting everyone in danger. He also whines about his dad “abandoning the family” (i.e. got arrested) for the whole god damn episode. Look, I’ll admit that he has a legitimate complaint. His dad shouldn’t have been stupid enough to punch a cop. However, he just traveled back in time 85 million years. This isn’t the right time to have this argument. How about learning how to not get eaten first? Or hell, just suck it up bitch. You’re like 17. Stop being such a little bitch. (Interesting note: The son is played by Landon Liboiron, known for playing a bitchy little douche in Degrassi. I guess that’s what he does best.)
The Shannons also have a 3rd child, Zoe. Normally, this really wouldn’t be a big deal. Lots of families have 3 kids. But, in the year 2149, having 3 children is very illegal. (It turns out that when the world is ending due to overpopulation and pollution, having extra kids is a bad idea.) The Shannons can’t even give a good reason about why they’d do this. Their exact line is “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” This makes them come across as douchey as possible. THE HUMAN RACE IS IN DANGER OF EXTINCTION AND YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE MASSIVE OVERPOPULATION BECAUSE “IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME”? How are we supposed to sympathize with these people? They are selfish, stupid, and completely terrible.
Of course, being stupid isn’t unique to our main characters. We get to see a lot of people do dumb things, starting with the teenagers that sneak out of the camp to… ummm… drink? Alright, that’s fine. Teenagers love drinking. But, damn kids… just drink a few meters into the woods. Don’t drive 80 kilometers away to drink. Especially if that puts you in slasher territory. (Note, slashers are a dinosaur made up for this show that attack with their tails. Actually a pretty cool creature, so I’ll let it slide). And when you do get attacked by dinosaurs (as everyone with a brain predicted), don’t run from the armored jeep, at night, into the woods! Have you ever seen a movie, ever? God damn teenagers.
So the characters suck ass. But what about the plot? Well, it’s a confusing pile of shit. The worst offender is the line “Control the past, control the future”. This is bullshit. I actually really appreciated the idea that this was an alternate time stream. That means we don’t have to deal with any of those messy time paradoxes and I don’t have to go cross-eyed trying to work it all out. But noooo… we can’t do that, can we? The god-damn show can’t even get past the pilot episode before throwing out that idea. Bad form, Terra Nova.
I wanted to like this show, but the first episode is just so disappointing. Anyone can criticize though, so I’m going to actually help them make the show better.
Dear writers of Terra Nova,
Please do the following:
People should ride dinosaurs. I want to see a T-Rex with a saddle and mounted machine guns. Maybe a triceratops with steel plated armor and a cannon. Just go balls to the wall crazy with this.
Make some of the dinosaurs intelligent. Keep the conspiracy if you must, but make the head of the conspiracy a talking velociraptor. And have him speak in an English accent.
If you need a new antagonist, make aliens attack. Then we can have an awesome battle where people and dinosaurs team up to stop an alien menace. And one of the dinosaurs can punch an alien in the face and say “Welcome to Earf.” Also, the dinosaur is played by Will Smith.
Final Verdict: This show sucks. I’m going to go watch Jurassic Park instead.