Everything about this show should attract and delight me.
* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *
* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *
* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *
It's got post-apocalyptic time travelly goodness; pre-historic worlds; cops and docs and DINOSAURS...what could possibly go wrong?
So far - this is my working list. I reserve the right to add to this at any time!
1) LACK OF CONFIDENCE.
The writers obviously don't think that there is enough story to tell about a civilisation emerging in the ether of time as people escape from a world polluted beyond repair. Within the first half an hour the audience is introduced to far too many characters, secrets and story lines. Far too much happens for us to emotionally connect with any one particular aspect or strand. Details to follow in second point.
It feels like the show runners are trying too hard to keep their options open. One minute it's all family drama, the next dramatic; the following comedic, then a bit scary (without any actual sense of risk or threat), then it starts all over again.
2) THE RELATIONSHIPS
This one could take a while.
(i) Unsympathetic characters - The first thing we find out about the Shannon family is that they contravened the rules of their stricken time. They had a third child - despite the planet's lack of resources.
Sure; the kid is cute and there have been plenty of sweet 'oh look; that's the shack you were born in cause Mommy didn't feel like she could ask a single friend to help us out with your birth despite being a spectacular doctor' moments.
However, I find it particularly condescending that we are supposed to take Jim seriously as a Law Enforcer - given that he broke into Terra Nova; endangering the lives of his entire family - not least the kid tucked into his back pack; potentially ruining the process in 2149; and putting the colony at risk. Oh yeah, give him a badge.
Or that his wife is SOOOOOO good at her job that she would still be offered a place despite her transgressions. Or her husbands (perceived) criminality.
By the way; how much do you love that he was sent to prison while she continued in her everyday life? Two to tango much?
Obviously the writers don't think that the set up is strong enough for a regular family. No; it requires the Shannon's - genius mum and daughter; cute child; sulky teen and occasionally bully-like father.
(ii) Juvenile Love Story - Teenager Josh and his girlfriends are driving me batty. AS IF the girl back in 2149 or whatever would seriously believe that he - a kid with no observable skills or talents - could ensure her future safety vis a vis a trip through the wormhole. Now the daughter - she got mad intelligence, but Josh. Puh-lease.
Which brings me to the third in his triangle, the oh so tough, oh so vulnerable, oh so informed, oh so input-plot-device-here Skye. She's not a bad actress but her insightful one moment, whoops I'm a teenager the next behaviour leads me to think that she'd take ONE LOOK at Josh and dump him back into the gene pool. Besides which, from minute three he's a traitor. Why in the name of all the holies would she let him betray everyone who has helped raise her for his ex?
Girl. Can. Do. Better.
I actually quite like the love story emerging between Maddy and Mark Reynolds. I think it's sweet. Toothache worthy in some places, but still. Cute.
(iii) Taylor's overtly abrasive son - I can just about buy one of the following.
- That the kid is smart enough to solve all sorts of maths problems.
- Or that he hates his father SO much that he taunts him with maths problems left scratched into rocks.
- Or that he would rather work with the Sixers than his dear old dad.
- Or that he can survive out in the wild all by himself - just like his dear old etc.
- Or that he's so arrogant that he terrifies Mira.
But all at once? Hmmm? Convenient much?
3) UTTERLY OTT BAD GUYS.
The Sixers are probably the least believable aspect of this SF show. They aren't just renegades. They. Are. Evil.
They kidnap children. Heck they hold children to ransom to make other children commit espionage.
They attack the entire colony (that's Taylor yes, but also children, hard working decent people and folks they would have considered friends) during a black out.
They lead dinosaurs out of the wilderness towards that same colony to wreck havoc.
They are lead by a woman who looks all snarly and dangerous because...she has dreads? That's it. She is incapable of nuance or depth or actual intimidation. She just growls instructions at her highly efficient despite living in tree tops soldiers. Her all-knowing smugness is offset by the fact that it's highly likely a bluff; and her dependence on both Taylor and the bar tender belie the supposed independence of the sixers.
And her motivation? Well that's the most pathetic of all. She can't honestly believe that her daughter will ever be sent through. If it was going to happen; it would have by now.
4) NOT ENOUGH DINOSAURS. BY WHICH I MEAN SCIENCE.
I'm not talking about having a dino attack every single week or anything. But they are in a whole different time period. We should see that. More than the occasional technical moment; I want to see hints of an outside world that is beyond anything that we can understand.
There was one beautiful moment in the pilot about the moon appearing bigger in the past than it would in our time frame. It was well executed and fascinating. It made sense and it made me think.
5) THAT FENCE.
The entire colony - with all of its barely seen technical advantages - is protected by a wooden fence. With gaps between each rung.
Words fail me.
6) THE SECOND IN COMMAND HAS EYELINER.
Every episode has felt like a re-tred as though I've seen it all before. Which I have. In about a dozen other shows.
Sometimes worse...more often better.
Nothing kills a so-called international effort (the colony) more than having an episode that directly ties in to a particular holiday (in this case American). Watching Taylor list all the things that he was thankful for was just a tad cringe inducing.
Then he kissed the baby.
And the cringe became a sneer.
9) IS TAYLOR A BAD GUY?
Yes. Look up Stephen Lang (the actor who is playing him) on IMDB. He never gets to play the nice guy.
Glad to resolve that one for you.
10) NO WORK ETHIC.
So, Josh and the rest of the kids that aren't attending school just wander about; scavenging for guitars and agreeing to betray all they know for the Sixers.
WHY AREN'T THEY WORKING FOR THEMSELVES IF NOT THE COMMON GOOD?
HOW DOES THE COLONY SURVIVE?
NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE.
Yes, Josh gets a job at the pub. That's real productive for the whole colony.