Despite the negative outlook I had after reading about production issues, budget overruns, and schedule push backs, I must say I really liked the 2-hour premiere of Fox’s “Terra Nova“. Let’s get the brontosaurus in the room out of the way: Yes it does allude to a few other popular movies and television shows of the past, mainly “Jurassic Park“, “Avatar“, and “Lost“. Despite these comparisons, it’s a completely fresh concept that has tons of potential to entertain viewers. And from the Tweets I was following during the show, many people would agree with me. Here are a few reasons why I think “Terra Nova” is the best new show on television:
1. It sends a great message without being preachy
In “Terra Nova”, humans have almost destroyed the earth and are now transporting themselves back in time to start over. They are lucky to have technology with them, but they are basically living like early settlers. Unfortunately in the real world we don’t have the ability to time travel, yet. This show can help set a precedent of what can happen in the future and how humans with have to deal, all packaged in a slick, entertaining package. In a way like “Avatar.”
2. It’s breathtakingly beautiful
Television shows are a means of escapism for the general public, and “Terra Nova” does an amazing job of taking viewers to another world filled with lush tropical landscapes and fantastic sets. While there could be a little more work with the CGI dinosaurs, they are dealing with episodes that need to be produced on tighter deadline than movies. The show is filmed in Australia, therefore tons of eye candy to look forward to, especially if your watching in HD.
3. Mythology and storytelling are the foundation
Yes it’s bound to be compared to “Lost”, with a few plot points that are vaguely similar. The mythology that’s been planted from the first episode adds a reason for viewers to keep coming back for more and become engaged. What’s the point of a television show where everything is spelled out to the viewer upfront? The storytelling is also great, with many interesting characters that a broad base of viewers can relate to. In this day of social networking, mythology & the ability to relate are great ways for viewers to connect with each other, share and discuss. In the end building more buzz and drawing in more viewers. No one thought Lost would survive, and yet it lasted for 6 seasons because of this.
4. It’s cheesy in a fun way
The dinosaurs have nicknames like “howlers” and “slashers.” People keep getting killed left, right and centre, and Stephen Lang from “Avatar” is basically playing the same character all over again. While the show is considered a drama, this thick layer of cheese adds to the love I have for this show from the first episode.
5. No matter how hard you try, you will think of “Jurassic Park”, and that’s a good thing
Maybe it’s because Steven Spielberg is an executive producer, or simply that there are dinosaurs involved. Or maybe it’s because a few scenes and set pieces tread awfully close to similar ones in the JP films (I was hoping for electrified fences!). Regardless, the entire time I was thinking about “Jurassic Park”, how awesome it was, and how it’s great to have the same feeling about dinosaurs again as I did when I was 8 years old.