Amph Walking With Dinosaurs: The Terra Nova Thread

Discussion in 'Community' started by BobaMatt, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    The second episode in general was pretty bland overall. Instead of expounding on the guns and dinos bit that they built the pilot around, we got a show that rehashed the basic plotline of countless other shows almost verbatim. There was just was no emotion to it all, and it was thus disappointing. Next week's show, from the teaser provided during the credits, looks like it will be another drag of an episode. I wish that they would move away from the "mysterious creature or mysterious disease has just been found that affects half the population", and just run with what they set up in the pilot. Give us the explosions and bloodthirsty dinos, and more people will be interested.
  2. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    I didn't watch the first episode, and watched the second only because I didn't have anything else to do -- I don't really intend to become a regular viewer -- but for a second episode of a drama, that was incredibly weak. There didn't appear to be anything actually going on with the plot. It's incredibly not-promising if, one show into the season, they can't think of anything to do other than the dinosaur attack of the week. That felt like the kind of filler episode you might have halfway through the third season, not the second episode of a show still establishing a storyline.
  3. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    I completely agree with that - what's more, of all the dinosaurs-of-the-week, you choose a tiny pterosaur and then have all the drama, basically, be caused by characters' unwillingness to harm them - there's a swarm of them that blots out the sun, but you're squeamish about slamming the door on one's neck before it bites your face off? You don't swat at it? For all intents and purposes, this was a flock of mean crows.

    This is another show that I want so badly to be good but, frankly, doesn't seem interested in the things about itself that I'm interested in.
    Actually, it looks like they did move it, as it appears to be on a pedestal. It seems to have shown up so that they would have a reason to explain their time travel mechanics - that being said, I'm pretty sure it's bull. Or, at least, I'm hoping it is.
  4. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Yeah, the pterosaurs were almost comical, between the way their menace consisted of acting all pissy, and the fact that they only started up like clockwork right when the main characters were about to have sex. And then the big action resolution was all offscreen.

    I also caught this week's episode, and it was a lot better, since there was some actual big-picture plot going on, and the characters got to do some interesting character stuff (Colonel Taylor got to be ridiculously badass). It's still not a great show, but I'd say it made progress.
  5. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    I want the show to be about building a society. I want it to be about the tensions between Taylor's seemingly benevolent autocracy and the Sixers' seemingly road-warrior "free" society...and the knowledge that neither is really the right answer. I want it to be about why the heck they've been there so long and don't have domesticated pets and pack animals, and are for some reason not allowed to leave the compound on their own...you know, as if this clean new planet were going to be their new home or something. I want it to be about how you feel about your dad when he went to prison for three years of your life, but did it, ultimately, for a reason you know is good, but still, the rest of the time it's been you as the man of the house so who does this bozo called Dad think he is? I want it to be about the pressure put on people to be fruitful and multiply, to be perfect...do people given a fresh start automatically embrace pastoral, idyllic life?

    It's not about any of that.
  6. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    The end of the episode and the preview made it look like we'll finally be getting some stuff on the Sixers, but who know how ambiguous it'll be. I agree that the show needs to go higher-concept than it is currently if it's going to survive. Standard action/sci-fi plots with dinosaurs tacked onto them, or goofy Lost-style mysteries about the portal, just make it seem gimmicky. It needs to go after the real drama, but I don't think the writers are up to it.
  7. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

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    So I take it that I didn't miss much by not seeing last night's episode?
  8. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    It was a step in the right direction, if only because we learned a little bit more about the world of Terra Nova and because Taylor was amazing.
  9. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    I'm going to have to go against the current here and say that I rather liked the second episode and how it dealt with them having to confront issues surrounding the greater eco/bio systems of the planet of which they obviously have only scratched the surface of.

    In other words, it seems like a logical problem they'd have to deal with in their situation.

    However, after seeing the teaser's victims' eyes having being plucked out, I have to admit the first thing that came to mind was "they will eat your eyes for ju-ju beans"! [face_laugh]


    Now, the third episode was absolute crap.

    Ignoring the terrible amnesia virus cliche, ignoring the random rogue genetic engineering (which, when combined with the former, makes this seem like an average episode of Star Trek Voyager at best), it's just a poorly timed use of such a plot- why the hell would you do an episode about the tragedy of characters forgetting who they/other people are as the third episode of a show, when we the audience don't know these characters enough to even care about the relationships they are forgetting?

    This is the type of idea you use as a filler episode in a second season, where we've had a long enough run to care about those relationships (or, at least be familiar with them enough to understand what they mean to the characters through their adventures), but it's still early enough in a show where subpar plots like this can be excused.


    That said, they managed to make Taylor's subplot go from the stupid "they have to deal with Taylor as a "bad guy"" to something that was very insightful to the character, culminating in that rather horrific moment at the end.

    Now, if they had used the virus plot to expose more of the characters' backstories in interesting ways like they did with Taylor, instead of the "save ourselves from the virus against the clock" angle, it could have worked quite well (and maybe even expose a few secrets to people inadvertently). But, no. They didn't do that.
  10. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    This article has me optimistic.

    But on with the discussion!
    You're absolutely right, I just don't think that this particular problem was enough to hang an episode on, because at the end of the day those pterosaurs are a nuisance and nothing more - presumably, Terra Nova has a shelter, and if you hole up there and wait, nothing really changes. Or you just stay inside. Or you assert yourself with enough force that the crows get used to you and go about their noisy business without paying any attention to you. It's a realistic ecological problem, but it wasn't compelling - now if, say, the swarms were messing with transmissions, or damaging equipment that was needed at that very moment...or they could only breed under extremely specific conditions...or they chose a more interesting dinosaur or a more interesting pterosaur...

    [image=http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/407/quetzalcoatlus1fw9.jpg]

    ...it would have been better. It was like building an episode around how those dinosaurs swallow nickel because it affects them like catnip, and infusing it with artificial tension.
    ::high five!::
    Yeah, mostly.
    I hadn't thought about that. Thinking about that makes me angry.
    I loved that, and in fact I think the only plot in this episode that worked was Taylor's. It might be for the reasons you stated above: while we don't care or know enough about the other characters' lives and relationships to one another yet for this plot to be effective, it's exactly the right kind of plot to reveal aspects of a characters' past whose past is being obscured.
    Or yeah, that
  11. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Tonight was the first time I caught a whole episode. On the one hand, it theoretically picked up its game in dealing with stuff like Taylor's autocracy and the whole social-experiment nature of the thing. On the other hand, there are too many questions that the setup raises that the show doesn't seem to be able to answer or interested in answering. Things like, what the hell are people doing out on patrol in the jungle at night if the place is so damn dangerous and people keep getting eaten? Why do their vehicles not come equipped with the basic safety measure of doors? How would a murderer even get outside the settlement without being detected, and if they can, why isn't there better security? Why does the annoying bar owner flaunt his untrustworthiness by apparently spending all his time looking sinister and smug in the background of crowd scenes? Why don't they believe in prison? What about trying to restart a paradise society made them think that the best judicial system would be Emperor Judge Dredd? What the hell political thought did they go through to get to the idea that military dictatorship was the ideal form of government for paradise? Why is nobody able to articulate a coherent thought about judicature and political philosophy while they're superficially arguing about it? The whole thing appears poorly-thought-through and superficial.

    For a show with the potential to get at some higher-level concepts, it doesn't seem to be interested in or capable of doing any of that well, but it's not able to go ahead and just be entertainment, either. I mean, the whole point of the show is that it has goddamn dinosaurs. The dinosaurs have done nothing so far. They kill people from offscreen in cold opens, and once some dinosaurs reenact The Birds on the cheap. If you're going to suck at high-concept and you actually want to attract viewers, you've got to at least have a couple T-Rex attacks by now. If you don't have the CGI budget to include dinosaurs, don't make a friggin' dinosaur show.
  12. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    Fox Cancels Terra Nova, though they are trying to shop it to other networks.

    Not surprised, but I was hoping the show could turn things around in Season 2.
  13. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

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    Given the premise, and Spielberg's other attempts at TV shows, and his recent movies, I cannot say I am at all surprised.
    This sucker was doomed before it even started.
  14. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    I wouldn't go that far- Spielberg has had some mild success on TV over the decades (seaQuest went for 3 seasons, for example) and Terra Nova had a lot of potential going in, given the Lost/JP/Avatar mixture of elements.

    The show lost it's audience because of pacing and style expectations- no one was expecting a 90's-style family sci-fi show like TNG, with one-shot stories closer to seasons 1 & 2 of TNG.

    So, to say that which killed it could seen coming (despite Braga's involvement) simply isn't true, IMO. It managed to fix that towards the end, but by then it had lost too much of it's audience and it simply cost too much on top of that.

    However, I do believe the show had a better chance than most to be redeemed by a second season and "grow a beard".
  15. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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  16. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

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    Heh, I remember when TNG first came out, it was mocked as the "Kindler/Gentler, more kiddie-safe, Minivan Generation" of Trek. Then I saw SeaQuest and thought, "Bloody hell, they've taken StarTrek, put it underwater, and kiddie-ized it even more."

    But looking at Spielberg's recent record, I just don't see anything good coming down the line.

    Crystal Skull, you can argue who is more at fault for, but he was 1/3 of the Top Men.
    Transformers: putting Bay in charge was a grotesque and egregious error of judgement.
    Munich: meh
    War of the Worlds: got bored & turned it off--hated all the characters
    Terminal: Haven't seen it/can't comment
    Catch Me if you Can: same
    Minority Report: pretty, but that's about it
    AI: tear-jerker without a real heart
    Saving Private Ryan: by the time I saw it, it was so over-hyped, and I just wasn't that impressed. Only thing I saw coming from that was mild resurgence in curiosity over Edith Piaf's singing.
    Amistad: didn't see it
    Shindler's List: another one that I found just over-rated. Still a good movie, but not the "Oh My Gawd This it Great Stuff" that it was sold to me as.
    Jurassic Park and Lost World: ug. Aside from the CGI, just awful.
    Hook: modern version of Victorian cheese fantasy. And it wasn't very good cheese the first time around.
    Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain: finally, something good. Almost 20 years back to find something really Good.
  17. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    How so? I understand the series quality went to hell in the second season (though recovered in the third) but the first season was pretty good, i thought- I have the first season on DVD and though I've only rewatched the first few episodes within the past few years, they were pretty good on the whole. The "Sci-Fact" approach to sci-fi storytelling was, and still is, refreshing.

    or was it just Lucas and the dolphin that you felt was too much?
  18. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

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    I love that the Dolphin got complaint letters about animal abuse. It was either animatronic or CGI--there was no live Dolphin in the show.
    It wasn't the kid or the dolphin, it was to overall level of writing and ultra-kiddie-safe style. DSV was not a sci-fi show written for adults, it was a kid's adventure show with a sci-fi skin. And did we really need the guy from the oceanographic institute to provide the "GIJoe Now you Know" lecture during the end credits? It was trying to be 60's trek campiness in the 90s. The characters (aside from the captain) felt like a bunch of teenagers or barely out of high-school kids. Even the ones in their 30s.
  19. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    DSV, like TNG, was definitely aimed at being a family show, so the "kid's adventure" interpretation I suppose I can see to some degree, but I don't think it was anymore overt than TNG's- the realworld/factual approach to their situations certainly, IMO, made it a more mature show than some of TNG's more outlandish notions.

    And I actually liked those end credits ocean fact bits (though I kinda wish they were slightly more in depth). One thing that, IMO, made DSV (initially) a perfect example of family genre entertainment that has gone missing was that educational element- included in a place where it wouldn't distract from the story itself.

    It was definitely a mixture of TNG, Seaworld and the Discovery Channel, but I don;t think that's a bad combination at all.

    And they did use real Dolphins for some scenes, though Darwin was mostly mechanical.