Monday

Terra Nova, like a dinosaur in an hourglass


...but I love you, I am just
misunderstood, and brooding.
Terra Nova was hyped up to be THE show to watch out for. Produced by Steven Spielberg, and a budget of  around $4 million per episode, it'd have to be awesome... right?


Four episodes in and all I can say is, "where did all the money go?"


It sure didn't go to the writers. 



I'm not suggesting that all shows need to be written by Pulitzer Prize winners (although that's not a bad idea), what I am saying is for that amount of cash surely the writers could have made it less  cringe-inducing.

The premise of Terra Nova is fine:
  • Future earth is dying because humans have polluted it for so long, therby making it all but unlivable.
  • Scientists find a time portal to an alternate earth set in the Cretaceous period - clean air and sun shining brightly on the prospective settlers faces.
  • Pioneering folk are sent in groups, saying goodbye to their homes because the portal is a one way thing, thus creating angst and a feeling of isolation.
  • There's a rogue group of settlers (called 'Sixers', for some reason) that are actively trying to destroy the peaceful Terra Nova settlement.
  • Oh, and there's dinosaurs. Big. Bitey. Dinosaurs.
Mystery and adventure should ensue? Right?

Well, no, not really. It turns out that  Terra Nova is actually the most expensive soap opera on the planet, disguised as an adventure show.


Instead of focusing on any potential action/adventure/mystery angle the show spends most of its time on the main protagonists in the show - the Shannon family.


Text book cheese foundation here: Cop husband, Surgeon wife, rebellious teen son, smart teen daughter and sweet-little-child daughter. 


Unfortunately due to the horrific writing and at times equally bad acting, the viewer just cant get invested in them as there's no chemistry there that makes them likable.

Apart from the seamless plot mechanism that saw, in a very short turn around: Cop Husband imprisoned for punching another cop for ratting him out about Cop Husband and Surgeon Wife breaking the future earth's 2 child rule, THEN Surgeon wife getting an invite to Terra Nova, busting her imprisoned husband out of jail (an easy task it turns out) and somehow getting past a flawed ID system that allowed a convicted person to simply waltz through the expatriation process...

On arrival, Bratty Teenage Son decides to act up, and goes with a Love Interest Girl for a drinking session with other teenagers. Of course, why wouldn't he?  When you leave behind your entire former life, arrive at a strange place where you don't know anybody except for your family, and that strange place happens to be full of creatures that will eat you, one of the first things you do is go to a secluded spot to drink.

Needless to say, the group gets chased by dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs that seem impervious to any weapons carried by the Terra Nova guard, who are called in to play when Teenage Group lures the dinosaur pack back to Terra Nova... screaming

In Jurassic Park, I was scared when the characters got chased by dinosaurs. 


In Terra Nova, fuck, go dinosaurs go! Eat 'em up! Sadly, the teenage brats escape. Dammit.

The plot worsens as the episodes trudge on.

Hows this for plot 'twists'?

In Episode 3, the wife meets another doctor, who conveniently happens to be an ex-boyfriend from University. Turns out he was the reason she got an invite to Terra Nova in the first place. Yeah, that's going to work out fine.

Thankfully after the settlement is attacked by birds pissed at the settlers for building on their breeding grounds, Surgeon Wife and Hot Ex-boyfriend take almost a whole 7 minutes to isolate a pheromone from a trapped bird (supplied heroically by Cop Husband) that when thrown liberally about, miraculously resolves their whole bird problem - first time.

It also follows the tradition of humans showing up and screwing with the migratory habits of the animals of the area they choose to live... so yes, they solved their problem, but they probably made their first human caused extinction too - another rant entirely.

All this is just the aperitif for some seriously tragic writing in episode 4, please just hang on, the caliber of the fast approaching cheese NEEDS a build up...

...when a disease that causes a form of Alzheimer's hits the settlement.  Surgeon Wife gets afflicted, so Cop Husband and Hot Ex-boyfriend rush to rescue her. 


Strangely her mind is sharp enough to do the research and (surprisingly) find a cure, sure, smallpox took years to cure, but this pheromone isolating, brain disease researcher wasn't going to be stymied by some olde world disease... oh no. 


Of course this doesn't happen until after we find out her mind has regressed to a time before, when she was still at University, and dating (you guessed it) Hot Ex-boyfriend.

She doesn't recognize Cop Husband, she only know him as 'Jim'  - Jim is understandably upset. Much middle distance staring is entered into.

And here comes the cheese:

Wife with memory loss, after discovering that Jim is her husband: “I don't remember.”

Husband, holding up her wedding ring: “I know. But you will.”

Wife: “What have I done? What happens if we both forget?”

Husband: “What I feel for you is more than just a memory.”


*wretch*

I didn't know whether to laugh or bang my head on a wall.

Now, there's nothing wrong with soap operas.  Heck, I followed the Bold and the Beautiful when I was younger.


The problem with Terra Nova is that it ALSO fails miserably at being a soap opera. I couldn't give a fuck whether the main husband and wife couple gets together, nor do I care about the teenage son with his chick/s, nor about the teenage daughter who falls in love with a  military dude. 


This show is marketed as a CGI wonder of action and adventure.

But it's as stinky as a fridge full of week old cheese.

Lourdes B is a health care writer, avid romance novel reader, and her neighborhood's resident glutton. When she's not eating, she's busy thinking about what to eat.


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