Terra Nova – Occupation and Resistance

What did you think of the Terra Nova finale? Sorry for the delay on this post but with the holidays and all I’ve been pretty busy.

I’m not surprised they left a hook for possible time travel. But it might have been better if they had not.

One of my ongoing complains about the series has been that the creative staff seems to ignore the prehistoric world around the colony. I’ve always said that the peculiarity of “the island” was a big part of my LOST experience. Terra Nova had an opportunity to capitalize on that sense of exploratory adventure that’s been missing from network television ever since well, LOST.

I thought that having the entire conflict with (and occupation by) the Phoenix mercenary army take place while Jim was in a coma was kind of a rip off. That would have made for some good action sequences. Although, considering that this is Terra Nova we’re talking about; maybe it is for the better that these events are left to the imagination.

I’m not expecting Terra Nova to return next season. What a shame that is. Now that the colony has severed the link to the year 2149, the show might actually improve. Maybe the writers would be forced to interact with the world rather than replaying tired old character driven episodes.

Particleshock needs your comments. If you have an opinion about Terra Nova; please take the time to leave a comment.

Terra Nova finally gets to the point, still not a replacement for LOST.

It took long enough but the FOX series “Terra Nova” finally succeeded in breaking a plot arc. The mystery of “the equations” has been brewing from the very beginning of the series. Almost immediately viewers we teased with mysterious symbols found scrawled on rocks near a waterfall that Commander Taylor had ordered off limits to the Terra Nova Colonists.

Terra Nova Season 1, Episode 8: Vs.

As Taylor searches for the “Sixer” mole within Terra Nova, Jim stumbles onto an old murder, for which Taylor is the prime suspect.

IMDB

It took long enough but the FOX series “Terra Nova” finally succeeded in breaking a plot arc. The mystery of “the equations” has been brewing from the very beginning of the series. Almost immediately viewers we teased with mysterious symbols found scrawled on rocks near a waterfall that Commander Taylor had ordered off limits to the Terra Nova Colonists.

Many (including Particleshock) formed theories about the nature of the equations. Now we know the computations describe a means by which the time rift could allow bi-directional travel. previously it was only possible to travel from the future to the past.

Terra Nova fell flat despite having vast potential to immerse viewers in a strange prehistoric world filled with untold dangers and countless mysteries. The Series ignored the obvious (and most desirable) plot concepts which would have centered around the unknown nature of the world around the colony. Instead, Terra Nova resorts to some rather cliché character driven story arcs.

So far we’ve already seen:

The love triangle.
The Hidden Agenda.
A Spy in our camp.
The natural disaster/blackout.
Locked out of the Camp.
Wrongfully Accused.

None of these plots are unique to Terra Nova. They can be employed in almost any situation where there are more then three people divided into at least two factions. That’s every war drama, most cop shows, a lot of comedies, and most sci-fi. It’s been said there are only about seven unique plots and that any story can be distilled into one of them.

Unfortunately, Terra Nova makes no effort to make these stories unique to the series. At least LOST had elements which were unique to the island. While we may not have known who organized “the sixers”, we have always known exactly who they are and where they came from. Do you remember on LOST how mysterious “the others” were? In the end everything you thought you knew about them turned out to be wrong anyway. I officially recant my previous statement about Terra Nova possibly being the new LOST.

Every series needs solid character development. Some amount of time must be spent exploring who these people are because it’s difficult for an audience to become invested in two dimensional characters with no background. The problem here is, that Terra Nova began to move forward with very personal stories about characters the audience knew next to nothing about.

The love triangle episode where Dr. Shannon encounters her old flame Malcolm is a perfect example of over-reaching on the part of the writing staff. The audience knows very little about the status of the Shannon’s marriage after Jim went to prison. We know that Elizabeth hadn’t seen her husband in years. Its safe to assume that she hadn’t previously visited him as she was quite surprised by the conditions in the prison. We also know that Jim hadn’t seen his daughter Zoe since his arrest.

Yet somehow Jim Shannon is portrayed as being overly jealous of Malcolm. Wouldn’t anybody wonder if their spouse had remained faithful over a six year separation? It only adds to Jim’s existing insecurity when he learns that Malcolm recruited Elizabeth for the Terra Nova Project, knowing that her husband was incarcerated.

If we had seen a little more background about Elizabeth’s dedication to her husband (or lack thereof) while they were still living in the future, we might have been able to either laugh at Jim’s insecurities or feel some contempt for Elizabeth. I have always hated Malcolm. I’ve had nothing but contempt for him since his character was introduced.

I don’t anticipate that Terra Nova will be picked up for a second season. In fact I’m hoping that it is not renewed. But you have to give Fox credit for taking a chance on a number “science fiction” series. For every “Earth Two” or Terra Nova that fails there is an hit like “The X-Files” or “Fringe” that I wouldn’t miss for the world.

Terra Nova 1.04 “The Runaway”

terra-nova-runaway

Terra Nova Season 1, Episode 4: The Runaway. Commander Taylor’s security force discovers a young girl outside the colony who has run away from the rogue encampment. As the Shannon family attempts to reintroduce the child to civilization her true motives come into question.

Were you getting tired of bland episodic plots yet? I don’t know of may television series which held as much promise as Terra Nova and utterly failed to deliver. Thankfully the most recent episode of Terra Nova resumes the story of the renegade colonists who arrived on the sixth pilgrimage. The group splintered from the main colony and now represent a considerable threat.

Terra Nova keeps teasing us with the back story of the sixers. Unfortunately the series has only provided vague hints about the politics of the future thus far. It appears someone back in the year 2149 has a problem with Commander Taylor (Stephen Lang) and wants him gone. Taylor has long suspected the renegades were sent by some faction from the future to infiltrate the colony. Taylor has suggested several times that he’s not sure who back in 2149 he can trust.

Mira (Christine Adams) The leader of the Sixers, confides to Jim Shannon that Commander Taylor has enemies in the future, but that her role in their plans is coerced. She simply wants to see her own child again. That’s about the only new information this episode provides about Terra Nova and temporal politics.

Terra Nova: What do the symbols mean?

Before the new episode of Terra Nova airs on FOX tonight, let’s take a minute to ponder one of the questions I’ve been seeing in search engine traffic.
“what do the symbols/equations scrawled on the rocks by the waterfall mean in Terra Nova”?

Commander Taylor(Stephen Lang) mentioned to Dr. Shannon that his son had went missing about seven years before the Shannon family arrived on the tenth pilgrimage. Mira, the leader of the sixers (Christine Adams) later told one of her men that Taylor’s missing son had made the symbols. She described Taylor’s missing son as “that poor crazy bastard”
We can assume the quest to solve the equation has driven him mad.

So what are the symbols? Equations which resolve relativity and causality in time travel?

Mira had suggested that true purpose of the colony was darker and more political than the colonists have been told. She said “Control the past; Control the future”.
When researchers in the year 2149 discovered the rift in time which lead 85 million years into Earth’s past they also determined that this ‘past’ was not part of the current timeline.
Shortly after her family’s arrival in Episode 1, Maddy Shannon (Naomi Scott) pointed out a probe which had been sent into the past through the rift. When scientists in the year 2149 could not locate the probe, it lead them to that conclusion about the fractured timeline.

This means that nothing which transpires in the colony will effect how events leading up to the present (the year 2149) will unfold. There would be no causality paradox and nothing would be changed as a result of modern humans colonizing the prehistoric past. But in order to control the future by means of altering the past, there must be causality; the colony must share a timeline with the world they left behind in 2149.

It would seem logical then to assume that the equations are related to resolving the two timelines through the rift in so that the Terra Nova Colony was in fact the past of the world they left behind.

Terra Nova just might be the new Lost.

The new FOX series Terra Nova just might be the new Lost. In fact, I’m calling now; Terra Nova is the new Lost. Before you get your Oceanic Air panties in a bunch, consider this:

A group of people suddenly find themselves in what appears to be a tropical paradise. The new inhabitants quickly learn that nothing is as it seems as they discover a jungle of dangerous, sometimes even monstrous creatures.  As  mysteries begin to surface about the very nature of the world around them, Those who would survive in this strange new environment must also confront hostile members of another encampment. Though many people arrived there by chance, some must confront their own past in order to make a the right choice for the future.

So yeah… that’s Lost. Do I need to spell it out for you? The survivors arrived by plane crash accompanied by convenient group of supporting characters who just happened to be on the wrong plane at the wrong time.

The island had no shortage of dangerous creatures like polar bears in the tropics and the black smoke monster. In Terra Nova there just happen to be dinosaurs.

I hope you didn’t forget about  ‘the others’ and the Dharma Initiative. Terra Nova sure didn’t. There’s a group of renegade pilgrims who splintered from the primary settlement. They have an agenda and somebody sent them.

What about Strange symbols? Check. Episode one and we already have mysterious writing which looks like complex mathematical equations.

Sawyer, kate, Jack, and Locke all had to come to terms with the lives which led them to the island. You want and personal conflict and inner turmoil with your dinosaurs? Well, Terra Nova begins with a man on the run – Jim Shannon (Jason O’Mara) imprisoned for breaking strict  population control laws and assaulting police officers.  With help of his wife he makes his escape and finds himself  in Terra Nova trying to mend a fractured family and suddenly gun to gun with a dangerous group of former pilgrims known as “sixers”.

So does all this mean that Terra Nova is unoriginal? Not at all. This is easily one of the best new shows of the year. I think someone at FOX  recognized what fans loved about Lost. Something NBC failed to re-create with last season’s ‘The Event’.

Kudos to FOX. Terra Nova is right up there with Fringe as a weekly must-watch.

Terra Nova, a new FOX sci-fi series premiers this fall

terra-nova-cast

Terra Nova looks to be one of the most interesting new titles slated for fall premier. In order To save mankind, colonists are transported millions of years into the past. Some people are already saying this could be the new “LOST”.  As long as the visual effects are good and the characters are compelling, Terra Nova could be HUGE.

Here’s a summary from Wikipedia because this honestly took me completely by surprise and I don’t have much more to tell you about it.

The show begins in the year 2149, a time when all life on planet Earth is threatened with extinction. In an effort to save the human race, scientists develop a portal allowing travel 85 million years back in time to prehistoric Earth. The Shannon family (father Jim, his wife Elisabeth, and their three children Josh, Maddy and Zoe) join the tenth pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first human colony on the other side of the temporal doorway. However, they are unaware that the colony is in the middle of a group of carnivorous dinosaurs.

As much as I criticize FOX for pulling the plug on some of my favorite shows I really have to give them credit for taking chances on some really risky concepts. Think about some of the sci-fi series which FOX took a chance on. Some worked out while others … not so much.

  • The X-files
  • Fringe
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
  • Firefly
  • DollHouse
  • Earth 2
  • Space: Above and beyond

As far as Terra Nova goes, if it has  temporal doorways and dinosaurs,   I’m already looking forward to it.

Weekend Rewind: The Time Traveler’s wife

The Time Travelers Wife stars Eric Bana as the chronologically displaced Henry Detamble and Rachel McAdams as His wife Claire. The endearing but sometimes complicated relationship between Clair and Henry translates reasonably well to the big screen. However, the overall plot is somewhat hurried, with some events seeming to be out of context or poorly explained

time-travelers-wife

“The Time Traveler’s Wife”, the movie based on the much loved novel by Audrey Niffenegger, is now available on DVD. I can’t believe I forgot to post an entry about seeing this film in theaters.

The Time Travelers Wife stars Eric Bana as the chronologically displaced  Henry Detamble and  Rachel McAdams as His wife Claire. The endearing but sometimes complicated relationship between Clair and Henry translates reasonably well to the big screen. However, the overall plot is somewhat hurried, with some events seeming to be out of context or poorly explained, but that’s to be expected from any film adaptation of a novel. Peter Jackson (The Lovely Bones) said that there is no such thing as a perfect adaptation. Time Traveler’s Wife is ‘close enough’.

If you are a fan of the novel you will no doubt feel that some of the ‘magic’ is missing from the film version, but all things considered I recommend this as a good ‘date night’ dvd.

If you like Audrey Niffenegger’s writing, you may also enjoy Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel.