This week I go back to my only only other SSTV review to determine if it captured my interest beyond those first episodes.
To recap, here is the original review…
So. Um. Dinosaurs?
I have to admit, when I saw the previews, I had mixed feelings. I mean, yay for new science fiction on network television, and producers hailing from every Star Trek series, not to mention Steven Spielberg. The manpower and dollars ($4 million per episode) behind this production, filmed in Australia, is insane. How can that not be good?
Having said that, again I say: Dinosaurs. I liked Jurassic Park and all, but an entire series? How many times can I watch minor characters meet their end at the claws of overgrown lizards before it gets old?
The previews had me excited and concerned. So, after several days of eyeing the words Terra Nova in my DVD queue, I finally sat down to watch.
The story begins in 2169. Our future looks bleak, folks. We’ve abused the earth to the point that the air is barely breathable, and overpopulation is of such great concern that, as a billboard clearly states, a “family is four”. No popping out countless kids in the future. Two and you are done.
In this future, we meet the Shannon family. Jim (Jason O’Mara), the father, is a police officer, married to Elizabeth (Shelley Conn), a talented trauma surgeon. They have two teenage children, Josh and Maddy. The picture of a perfect family of four. Except for that three-year old hiding in the corner.
As you might guess, the unauthorized child leads to some trouble, trouble that lands Jim in jail. While he is locked away, Elizabeth’s talents as a doctor get her a ticket to Terra Nova, a new settlement 85 million years in the past. (::pushes up glasses:: don’t worry, it’s the past, but not their past, as it is in a different timeline ::adjusts pocket protector::) The bad news is that she will not be allowed to take her unauthorized child or her hubby who is still in prison.
Things happen, hubs and five-year old daughter make it to Terra Nova anyway. The show gives you more detail than I just did, but not much.
When they arrive, they are greeted by the leader of the new colony, Commander Nathaniel Taylor (Stephen Lang, Avatar), the first to scout out Terra Nova. A man of great knowledge, resourcefulness (he managed to survive the dinosaur infested place for 118 days by himself), and a certain amount of mystery, particularly surrounding the disappearance of his son.
So, now that we are in the past, is there something more to the show than dinosaurs?
But I’m not sold on whether that is a good or bad thing. So far, interactions are fairly trite. For example, the family’s strained relationships provide converesations that aren’t new, or even well played.
“My dad and I don’t get along because he gets in trouble by being compulsive and he doesn’t think and I’m saying all this while I am swimming in some place called the forbidden zone with some girl…wait a sec…”
You get the idea.
The potential for a good story is there. The political landscape of colonizing a new world for example, can provide a lot of thought provoking storyline. And, you know, dinosaurs chasing you here and there is exciting, too. But the series can easily go the way of cheesy “let’s all talk about our feelings and hug” storylines, too.
It’s a dangerous time for this show. Despite the hype leading up to it, it premiered to less than awesome ratings.
So, Terra Nova, make me care about this family (right now, I don’t), give me a little something for my brain to work with – psychology, politics, just no soap opera moments – and then do what you do best. Make really cool dinosaur scenes.
So, how do I feel now that I’ve had a chance to watch some more Terra Nova?
I hate to admit it, but I kind of like it. I still don’t love the kids in the family, but maybe I just don’t like teenagers on TV (save the awesome redhead in Suburgatory). Papa Shannon however may just be my newest action hero and that Commander Taylor is one bad man. By bad, of course, I mean awesome.
The storyline involving the commander’s son is good enough. I think there was a lot more potential for where it could have gone, but again, it kept me interested enough to keep watching.
Oh, and the dinosaurs and special effects are cool. Given the shows price tag, they better be.
If you were a Jurassic Park fan back in the day, this show may just be right for you. For me, it’s done well enough to receive the MacTV rating. Nothing fancy going on here. Plain old, out of the box mac n’ cheese.
Just super expensive.
Are you enjoying dinosaurs on your TV? Is it worth what they are spending to make it happen? We love hearing your opinions!
Now head over to Tiffany’s blog and see what she has for you this week. Unlike me, she has something she hasn’t reviewed for #watchwed yet. Go see what it is.