Monday, October 03, 2011

I watched the first episode of Terra Nova on Channel Ten last night. I'll try to avoid to avoid spoilers but I'll assume you've all seen the promos. So the Earth is trashed and selected people are being sent back in time to the Cretaceous Period to establish a new home for humanity but along a different time line so there are no nasty time paradoxes. Among these are the Shannon family whose selection and arrival is somewhat dramatic. There are some great sets, lush scenery - and dinosaurs. Loved the dinosaurs whether they were the more or less gentle herbivores or the vicious, pack hunting raptors. What a combination. More, we were launched into a seriously action packed beginning to the series.

So we have an interesting idea that is well executed but - you knew there'd be buts, didn't you - there are a few things that bugged me. One is the info dump. Writers are particularly sensitive to this because we have to continually guard against it so it may have irked me more than it would have others but in the few instances that occurred in this episode I found myself shaking my head, totally thrown out of the storyline for a moment. It's not as if they couldn't do it well. They did in most of the episode but when they missed as far as I was concerned they really missed. Another lapse was in some of the characters. A couple of them did not capture my sympathy although there is hope they may develop as the series proceeds. I should add this is not the fault of the actors, more the way their characters were written. As well there were a few not quite convincing explanations for the science but, hey, this is science fiction and as long as we are prepared to suspend disbelief - and we usually are - who cares. Just think about Dr Who travelling through space and time with no real mechanism given, the warp drive of the various Star Trek series or there's the star gates of Star Gate SG1 and on it goes. These are minor flaws as far as I'm concerned and I suspect that they will even out once the series develops.

So did I enjoy it? Yes, I did and I'll certainly be watching again next week.


Graham Clements said...

Hi Helen,

I enjoyed the first two episodes. It was filmed in Australia, Qld I gather. They wanted to film it in Hawaii but thought that might look too much like Jurassic Park.

I had a few problems liking the main family, especially their decision to have a third child, who would then have to be hidden for their whole life. Especially with one of the parents being a doctor. I suppose I was not supposed to contemplate that.

I also thought the kids behaved exactly like kids brought up in the 1990's not 2090's where everything was in short supply and there looked to be an oppressive government. The kids should have been more cautious, more mindful of authority and thrilled with the clean air and fresh food.

I also thought they could have taken some dinosaur killing weapons back in time with them.

Lots of plot holes. The dialogue was full of 1990's cliches too.

I still enjoyed it, but I think the series will quickly fall into cliched scripts.

Helen V. said...

There certainly are some serious plot holes including those you mentioned, Graham, but for now I'm prepared to forgive them and the cliches. I'm hoping there'll be some innovation and creativity later but I'm not holding my breath.