Friday, 28 October 2011

Terrible Nova.

I know it has been on the TV for a few weeks but I watched the first episode of Terra Nova the other night.

In the first few minutes I was told that in the future the Earth is an overcrowded, pollution filled hell hole where everyone wears smog masks and families are allowed to have two kids only. Then I was introduced to the heroes of this series which was a family including dad who is a policeman and mum who is a doctor, they have two teenage kids but have also had a third illegal kid who is about five or six.

So the heroes are two people in positions of authority who have decided that two kids aren't enough for them and have squeezed out a third for no reason other than their own selfishness.

Suddenly there is a knock at the door and grim faced men in black uniforms burst in and search their apartment. They quickly find the youngest child who has been hidden away in a crawl space behind a wall. Despite the child being around five years old she is too stupid to remain quiet and starts whimpering 'Mummy' until the grim-faced men can't help but find her.

Dad then kicks off and punches a couple of the grim faced men before being stabbed with space cattle prods.

We then jump forward a couple of months where dad is in prison and being visited by his doctor wife where they discuss his overreaction and the fact that if he hadn't immediately resorted to violence and attacked the grim-faced men then he would have only been fined and not been locked up for a few years. So the whole 'Anne Frank' scenario falls apart and the grim faced men are suddenly more like police men doing their jobs rather than evil SS figures.

I may sound judgemental but so far I'm not warming to these characters.

His wife then slips him some kind of break-out of jail kit.

To cut this sorry tale short a wormhole in time has been discovered that links up to 85 million years in the past and a colony of humans has gone through it to set up a colony and re-engineer the past.

As our heroic wife is a doctor she is allowed to go through the wormhole and take two other people with her so she joins the queue to the wormhole with her two teenage kids. As they go through the husband who has broken out of jail pushes his way past everyone else in the queue carrying the illegal daughter in a rucksack. He then jumps through the wormhole into the past.

When they arrive in the prehistoric colony the authorities point guns at them for a few seconds then decide to do nothing other than give them a nice big house to live in. The leader of the colony frowns at the policeman every now and then but also asks him to participate in all the dangerous missions thereby allowing mutual respect to grow and the policeman to run around with a gun.

If anyone is still reading this post then I apologise for the rambling nature of it but I wanted to justify my opinion of how shit I think this programme is. It is a perfect example of special effects being no substitute for good storytelling. What exactly is is trying to say?

Basically two people whose jobs put them in a position to see how much damage overcrowding is causing have decided to ignore this and have as many children as they want, despite the future not looking great for their kids. They have broken one member of the family out of prison and then shoved other people aside so they can set themselves up in a better world.

After being told to root for a bunch of selfish, irresponsible arseholes like this there is little point in discussing the formulaic nature of the writing or the characters that are so shallow that they might as well have saved money on actors and used paper plates nailed to broom handles with the character traits written on them instead, such as 'Moody Teenage Son' and 'Gruff Authority Figure'.

If you want to watch a drama about a group of people trying to survive in a hostile enviroment then you are better off watching 'The Walking Dead'. The first series of this was gripping and I just watched epidsode one of series two last night and was literally on the edge of my seat at one point. This too has movie production values but the difference is they spent some of the budget on good writers and it makes all the difference. You care about the characters and when they are in danger it is genuinely nerve-wracking.

As for Terra Nova it manages to make Dinosaurs boring, which I suppose some sort of accomplishment.


Interwebs Fails said...

I still haven't watched it. D:

Joshua said...

I haven't had a chance to watch it. Not sure that I will, even though I had high hopes for Jason O'Mara.

Al Penwasser said...

They have an illegal daughter? She must be from Mexico and willing to do the household chores that the American kids aren't willing to do.

My first inclination was to ignore this Jurassic Park rip-off as being little better than a bad Land of the Lost episode (without the comedy provided by Slestaks).
You've confirmed my suspicions.
Thanks for taking a bullet for the rest of us.

YeamieWaffles said...

I've never watched this before either but I've always intended on watching it. Maybe it's better I haven't though by the sounds of it.

Pat Hatt said...

You know ever since I heard about it, it just didn't strike me, there always seemed to be something missing. I watch a ton so I can usually tell and guess you just proved me right, looked like a borefest and now sounds like one too. The walking dead is awesome though, agreed.

Belle said...

I've tried to get into it but it didn't work for me.

dirtycowgirl said...

Thanks for the warning Tony.

I wasn't gonna watch it, now I know why.

Orang3 said...

I watched it but meh

LOLA said...

I don't think I'd like that. Appreciate the warning.


Bob said...

I hate, when they make protagonists unintentionally unlikeable like this. Makes sense that you can't really watch it if that's the case.

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

I always thought it looked a tad overhyped... sigh.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've never even heard of it. Probably just as well. Not that it sounds like my kind of show. But thanks for the warning. :D

My 2 Pesos said...

Never watched it!!

Padded Cell Princess said...

Branden heard about it and just got excited at the thought of a TV show with dinosaurs. I'm having him read this when he gets home from work so then I don't have to be bored to death watching it with him! Thanks for the review!!

vanyelmoon said...

Glad to know I'm not missing much by not having TV. Too busy :)

Britta said...

They don't show it - at the moment - in German TV - and if they start, I will be warned :-) (At the moment I go back without a wormhile to 1964: "George Gently" on DVD - just great!)

The Angry Lurker said...

It's pretty bad alright, stopped watching it myself.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Interweb: You aren't missing anything.

Joshua: Don't know which one O'Mara is.

Al: Maybe she's called Consuela.

Yeamie: If people don't watch it do you think Spielberg will sue me?

Pat: Glad you agree on Walking Dead.

Belle: I can't see it working for anyone.

Dirty: you owe me for this.

Orang: Meh is a good description.

Lola: Love you too.

Bob: I thought they might do something interesting with their inlikeablness but apparently not.

Sub Radar: That's putting it mildly.

Stina: I'm sorry I even introduced the concept to you.

Princess: There weren't even any dinosaurs in the first episode. Oh, hang on there was about two but they didn't do anything apart from eat some leaves.
Vanyelmoon: Remain TV-less.

Britta: You like George Gently?

Lurker: A man after my own heart.

Joshua said...

He's the one on the far left in that picture. He's an Irish actor, and was Sam Tyler in the American bastardization of LIFE ON MARS. Decent show, just misguided for American television. And nothing against Harve Keitel, but he wasn't right for Gene Hunt.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Joshua: Neverwatched the US Life on Mars, no need as there was a perfectly serviceable original version to watch.

Juliette said...

Well I'm not going to bother now, sounds a load of tripe. You saved me some time, so cheers!

Witchygrrl said...

Yeah, I gave up on 'Nova after a few eps- I was bored & really shouldn't have been.

Walking Dead on the other hand- great! Loving S2 :-D have you been watching Lost Girl or Haven or Fringe? Also very good shows.

Al Penwasser said...

What's more, doesn't "Nova" in Spanish mean "No go?"
Well, there you are.

Poetry of the Day said...

i really really need to watch this

Gizmo said...

I've never heard of this show, it's probably not on the air in my country

Tony Van Helsing said...

Juliette: I haven't seen any of those shows, haven't even heard of Lost Girl.

Al: Informative.

Poetry: You really really do.

Gizmo: No loss.

Al Penwasser said...

I think that's why the Chevy Nova didn't sell that well in Latin America. I'm (seriously) almost positive that's true.

Craziness abounds said...

Having decided against watching this show to begin with you are just reinforcing my decision to stay away. lol Not my idea of a good time!
Anyway, Thanks for coming to visit me since I'm a lame ass and haven't been making the rounds lately. Way to much crap to going on in my life. Getting caught up (even have the flu) but still need to find a hack saw and cut my toenails. Ok that was gross and wrong and also a joke, but why do my nail cutters decide to vanish every time I need them? sigh

Nicki Elson said...

Well hey, at least you got a decent blog post out of it.

H A R R Y G O A Z said...

Have a SUPER week, Tony !

Lindsay N. Currie said...

I heard rumblings that this show was horrible, so I never watched it. Sad though, cause I'd like to see some more Sci-Fi on the air. Have you watched American Horror Story or do you get it there? It has some redeeming value - creep-factor mainly. It isn't a terribly well plotted out show, I'll admit that, but if you want something unusual and a bit unsettling, it does a decent job. I miss X Files.

Nightgaunt said...

I've watched some of it, and MST3Ked at it a fair bit. ((Including arguing with the tv that until you are NOT being chased by the two story tall carnivore, the EXACT species is probably a point of discussion that can wait till later. Especially if you don't know enough about dinosaurs for pinning down the species to be in any way relevant to not being eaten by said dinosaur. Otherwise you're kinda debating the trivia of whether or not it's a Siberan or a Bengal tiger gnawing on your shin bones.

On the other hand, I think I'd rather sit through Terra Nova (and eyeroll at the shallow tropey characters) than EVER sit through something like Desperate Housewives.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Al: My first car was a Vauxhall Nova, that didn't go too well either, kept stalling at traffic lights. It was good training to get it in and out of gear and restarted before the lights went green, though.

Craziness: Someties we need to sort throught the crap before enjoying the good stuff. Good luck with the nails.

Nicki: Every cloud...etc.

Harry: Why thank you, and the same to you.

Lindsay: American Horror Story starts over here next week. I'll have a look at it.

Nightgaunt. I did watch the first series of Desperate Housewives and thought it was ok. The second series just got ridiculous so I jacked it in. The only thing you should be thinking about when faced with a dinosaur is how big it's teeth are.

altadenahiker said...

Well, we can thank the show for something -- it made you write this. (More, please. But only of the scathing variety.)

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

I can see why you didn't warm up to the characters. It does sound super boring.

Great post.

Ixy said...

I meant to watch it but kept missing it. I was annoyed with myself, thinking this was going to turn into a huge interesting series and I would have missed the beginning. Sounds like I had nothing to worry about - thanks for the honest review!

B. McGillicutty said...

Terra Nova has to be one of the most boring shows ever. How do you make DINOSAURS boring? How? What a crime.

Elle Strauss said...

I've never seen the show but I love your commentary on it--made me laugh.