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Terra Nova Finale

I stopped reviewing Terra Nova with episode four. I'm a sci-fi geek and I really wanted to love this show, but in truth, I just sort of like it, which isn't enough to make me want to keep writing about it. Time travel, dinosaurs and Stephen Lang as Taylor kept me watching, though.

The show has gotten a bit stronger since they started doing more arc and less stand-alone, and the finale began with a lot of excitement and tension. The Eleventh Pilgrimage started arriving, a suicide bomber took out the portal, Josh's Kara was killed, an armed contingent arrived elsewhere and the bad guys took over Terra Nova with an evil anti-environmental 1% sort of agenda.

The thing is, that very plot line is what bothers me the most about this show. The manifest destiny-ness of the pilot, the assumption that we can go back and screw up the Earth eighty-five million years before we originally screwed up the Earth, is uncomfortable and disturbing. Instead of feeling good about our Terra Novans successfully defending their new home, it just made me feel again that humans shouldn't be there in the first place.

That said, I liked a lot of this finale. I liked the idea of the civilians, secretly led by a supposedly incapacitated Jim Shannon, carrying out a clever insurgency against Mira and Lucas, as Taylor and the rest of his soldiers were carving secret messages into bullets and bravely preventing the bad guys from strip-mining half the continent. The emotional and physical confrontation between Taylor and his horrible son Lucas was upsetting, and for a moment I thought Taylor was dead. (And that would have been enough to keep me from tuning in to a possible season two.) It was cool that Taylor got some near-instant karma for forgiving and trusting Sky.

Jim's trip back to Hope Plaza with the bomb was (again) disturbing (is it terrorism when you're defending your home?) but the dinosaur tromping around in 2149 and eating the bad guys made it almost worthwhile. It was probably the best dinosaur CGI they've done so far. I especially liked the dinosaur racing for the portal right behind Jim. I was rooting for it.

And I think they made some good decisions about set-up for future seasons, if they get them. The idea of cutting themselves off completely from the future, doing without supplies and more colonists, worked for me. They also left us with the wild cards of the horrible Lucas Taylor out there somewhere in the jungle, and the possibility of other uncontrolled time portals, because totally eliminating time travel as a plot device would be a mistake.

Killing off Wash was a bad decision, though. She was my second favorite character. I was sort of fantasizing about Taylor/Wash stories. Not any more. In truth, the Shannons only partially work for me. I like Maddy and her soldier boyfriend Reynolds, and I like little Zoe, who is incredibly adorable (when she hugged Taylor, I actually went "awww"). But Jim and Elisabeth are only okay. And I can't stand Josh, even though they've done a lot to redeem his character since his childish in the extreme behavior in the pilot.

Terra Nova has been doing okay in the ratings, but nowhere near what they were hoping for. I'm firmly convinced that if they'd started doing arc episodes sooner, chosen not to focus so much on teenage angst and had given Stephen Lang a lot more screen time, Terra Nova would have been a lot stronger. Maybe if they get a second season, that's what they'll do.

I'd love to hear your opinions. Does Terra Nova work for you? If not, why not? Does the lack of scientific veracity bother you? (It bothers me.) Do you think they'll get a second season?
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. I learned a new word today, "veracity", thank you.

    (have not seen the finale yet, so I won't comment on it)

  2. Alas, the show doesn't work for me. I wanted it to, but it doesn't.

    It just feels like a low budget children's show. The episodes are all light weight. No issues really seem to matter beyond the single episode.

    The biggest problem I have is just that the plots don't seem to have much to do with their situation. They're living in a world with dinosaurs, and the daughter's biggest problem is the battery for her iPad went dead.

    It's just not involving.


  3. Well, it's not our Earth but a universe one step over that we're screwing up, which makes it less stupid but just as nasty

    Fair Warning, I'm going to get somewhat political here.

    What I dislike most about the show is it's hypocrisy. As Billie points out just our being here in any form is going to screw with the environment.. There won't need to be a killer asteroid 20 million years later we will have wiped out the dinos way before then. but it's okay because instead of mean old capitalists it will have been done by...a one man military dictatorship. because that's what Terra Nova is, plain and simple.

    Okay, rant over.

  4. Oops, that last anonymous was me.

  5. I wanted to like it more than I did. It felt like they squandered awesome ideas for easy-going family friendly stuff..I wanted more Wash/Taylor stuff. I wanted more moral dilemmas. I still hope for a second season so they can fix it. With better writers. And Wash needs to be alive again.

  6. I'm pissed about Wash too, Billie. Why do my Washes always die?

    This show had promise, but it's gotten even sappier than Falling Skies. The baby dinosaur plot, the teen wangst, the freakin' painful 'spider' song...

    Not to mention that logic changes each week. One episode, the outside is dangerous and all Jumanji. The next, hey let's go fishing and picnicking, what dinosaurs?

    I read the original pilot script, and it was much better, much more BSG.

    Also, maybe I'm being overly sensitive, but Wash's treatment is a little...sexist? The badass second in command is suddenly replaced by an ex-con who is suddenly vital for everything? The only female characters left are Mira, who's defined by her evil and her motherhood, Elizabeth, who's just a romantic object, Zoe the prop, Skye the traitor...


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