My most anticipated media event of 2011 has finally arrived! Terra Nova hit US television last night with a "two hour" (i.e. an hour and a half) opening episode.
So what did I think?
The overarching themes are a bit tired.
1) Future humans found new colony. Earth 2, Outcasts etc have all been there before. This shows going to need to be top quality going forward to overcome the rather tired premise.
2) The same old family format. Estranged father. Check. Rebellious teen boy. Check. Relationship struggling after a long separation. Check. Teen girl going all doe-y eyed over an older guy in uniform. Check. Rebellious teen boy following hot girl into dangerous situation against father's advice then needing to be rescued by said father. Check. I could write this stuff myself!
3) Paradise having a dark side. Please God, we've done this one since Genesis! (which is the name of this opening two parter).
So yes, the show has a lot of baggage to get past long term. As an episode, this was enjoyable. Relatively well-paced, and if you ignore the clichéd themes there was some decent writing. The character of Skye seems a bit more layered than the usual rogue girl leading leading character astray stereotype. I'm interested in what the rebellious off-shoot group the Sixers are up to and just what the actual reason for Terra Nova's existence is. However, the CGI could've been done better. I've seen better in Primeval. The brachiosaurs looked good, the carnotaurs were okay, but the main dino-villians the Slashers were extremely poorly done. In the end there were dinosaurs so that's a huge plus point in my book.
If they can break free of the clichés and bring a fresh take to the story, the family relationships and the paradise lost motif it might just be an excellent show. But if the writers just play the same old tired tunes, I won't be keeping up with it. It's 2011. I want more than just by-the-numbers sci-fi drama.