26 September 2011 | cadillac20
Jurassic Park this is not, nor is it the new LOST
When I heard Spielberg was exec producing a show about dinosaurs, I half expected Jurassic Park: The Series. All the makings are here. Same for LOST, the two things that this show will inevitably be compared to. It shoots for the mystery and stranded feel of LOST, while throwing in the dinosaurs and the family dynamic of Jurassic Park. Sadly, this is neither, but something in between just shy of the quality of both.
For those unaware of the story, we are taken to the future first, where Earth has become an overpopulated, uninhabitable mess. To solve this problem, for a reason yet to be explained, humanity decides to time warp back 85 million years ago, where they can live in peace and harmony with dinosaurs. Or, as the first episode would like us to believe, can run and scream in terror as carnivorous dinosaurs keep people penned in their little colony and out of the jungle. The focus of the show is the Shannon family, new pilgrims to the colony who quickly learn what's what around Terra Nova. Of course, the most entertaining and interesting character is Stephen Lang, who plays a friendlier version of his character from Avatar. After all, who can't get enough gruff, military commander Stephen Lang.
For the most part, Terra Nova is entertaining, interesting, yet wholly disposable television. It has the Spielbergian touches and is somewhat reminiscent of early 2000, late 90's sci-fi TV. Where those similar aspects in LOST were unfolded in a slow burn to let things sink in for the viewer, or where our introduction to the danger of the dino's in Jurassic Park was slowly brought forth, here it's thrown at you in force. Not for a while, as we have to get acquainted with our main characters, but dangerous thunder lizards are soon enough thrown our way. The carnage shown is a bit surprising considering it's basic TV, yet there are no known deaths, just a few strong, gory moments (depending on your definition of gory) here and there. The dinosaurs themselves are less than desirable. Whereas Jurassic Park, which essentially perfected dinosaurs with a mix of practical and cg effects, had pleasing dinosaurs, here they seem a bit awkward and out of place. Almost completely cg, these dinosaurs look about 5 or 6 years old in the cg department. It would appear that the budget for creating the dinosaurs was less than sufficient, which sadly translates into poorly animated dino's.
Now, it's not all bad. Again, Stephen Lang is entertaining here as the military commander of the colony. The show also presents an interesting plot which I suspect could become more interesting as the season goes on. And while a show like LOST should have ended at probably it's fourth season, Terra Nova has life in it. Sadly, if it doesn't get better than the pilot, than I can't say we will see a season 2. And FOX is quite famous for canceling shows. Maybe the power of Steven Spielberg will save the show. Who knows. I'll ride it for as long as I can, I suppose. But for a pilot, the show was disappointing. What should have been a titanic, impressive two hours turned into a lackluster event with a lack of dinosaur action (and what is up with those names? Slasher? really? We couldn't go with real dinosaurs like velociraptors, compy's, or T- rex's?), turns out to shoot for the moon but only get so far as our atmosphere.