The Countess and I caught Terra Nova on Fox last night and were not precisely disappointed (not having had any expectations, after all) but were certainly reaffirmed in our low opinion of the state of what passes for mainstream popular culture these days.
The show should really be called Terra Antiqua. There ain’t nothin’ — I mean NOTHIN’ in it that isn’t completely threadbare. In fact, it’s easiest for me to tell you what it’s about in terms of telling you what it’s a mash-up of : Blade Runner meets Jurassic Park, with Lost and Land of the Lost thrown in for filler.
Essentially it’s about a family of time colonists from a dystopian earth future (one that owes every angle and scenic element to Ridley Scott…except for the one scene lifted from Soylent Green ). They journey through a time rift back to 85 million B.C., where they live in a locked-down compound with other very good-looking time travelers. (All the ugly people have been left back on the polluted earth of 2148 A.D. to die a well-deserved death). The mom is a stereotypical doctor; the father is a stereotypical cop; they have two stereotypical teenagers (a rebellious son and a book-worm daughter) and a stereotypical cute five year old. Steven Lang plays the colony’s leader, a mysterious and tough-ass army general. (“Stand down!”, “Move it, move it, move it!”) There is not a line of dialogue, not a situation, not a moment in the entire show that is not predictable a beat or more before it occurs. And once it occurs, it is expressed in such a hackneyed manner that one blushes with embarrassment. (Many will take issue with me no doubt, for being so hard on it, since the general standard is so low. Well, mine isn’t).
Then, because having all the characters be boring isn’t boring enough, they make the situation more boring, by diluting the perfectly cool ideas of time travel and dinosaurs with the usual boring bullshit of machine gun toting bad guys and fire fights.
The dinosaurs? Yes, they’re cool, and one wishes them many hearty meals. We shan’t be watching again.