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.