Monday night saw the penultimate episode of Terra Nova’s first and hopefully only season. I gave this show four hours of my life before the endless teenage shenanigans (heads up to all network executives, I hated shows about teenagers when I was one, and I REALLY hate them now) and slow as molasses overall story arc drove me away. I came back last night, thinking it was in fact the season finale, just to see if Terra Nova would be capable of offering something, anything, that might make me care about this story. Crude as it may be, I’m quite happy with the one-liner quip that I posted on facebook in the immediate aftermath, “If Terra Nova sucked any harder, it would be a Dyson vacuum.”
I could go on at length about the show’s flaws. Nothing would give me more pleasure than alleging that the genesis of this series came in the form of a mid-level Fox Network executive finding a script from the BBC series Outcasts and thinking to himself, “Let’s trade space ghosts for dinosaurs and repackage it with family values that appeal to middle America.” Instead, I think I’m going to share some of the things that my lovely and wonderful partner, Rebecca, had to say about this series. Things to note: though she doesn’t hate science fiction it takes a particular sort of SF to turn her crank. Also, she had never seen a single second of Terra Nova before last night.
After 5 minutes Rebecca said, “Why is every teenager involved in some sort of espionage? What is this, Dawson’s Creek with time travel and dinosaurs?”
When the Sixer guy said, “It’s a long way down,” and looked at Skye; Rebecca quipped, “Nice to see the writing is as bad as the costumes.” I’m trying to remember if I told her that the sonic rifles are repurposed Nerf guns.
A few moments later Rebecca followed up with, “You know she’s [Skye] a spy because of all the dreadful acting.”
Despite a heroic struggle to keep focused on the endless banalities, Rebecca quit the couch when a game of chess, with its obligatory bad dialogue, became a not so subtle metaphor for events in the episode. I guess some people can’t appreciate the fact that the writers dug deep into the big bag of clichés as to avoid any confusion among the audience. Then again, this is the Fox Network, and they assume that most of their audience has an IQ comparable to that of the common goldfish.
One final thought. What’s so ethically objectionable about strip mining the past? Think about it, there’s something on the order of 12 billion people in 2149. The 11th pilgrimage to Terra Nova is inbound and there are what, a couple thousand people in the colony? Some might call that a life raft, but I call it eugenics. Characters keep prattling on about “…controling the past to control the future.” But if the Terra Nova of the past is in some alternate universe, why not strip it for its resources to save the 12 billion people back in the prime timeline? In the end, Taylor’s lame-ass speech about preserving Terra Nova didn’t have that much impact on me considering he’s just promoting Hope Plaza’s elitist plans to preserve only the “best” of humanity. I’m with his lunatic kid, strip the planet for all it’s worth. Should that come to pass and the series gets renewed (highly unlikely) Terra Nova can finally abandon any pretense of not being Avatar for television.