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3 Things Terra Nova Should Do to Make It to Season 2

Fox is reportedly close to deciding whether or not to renew the much-hyped Terra Nova for a second season, weighing up whether the ratings – which have been in a state of decline since a premiere that already failed to meet network expectations – are weak enough to make the show too expensive to continue with. Purely because I want genre series to stay alive on network television, I’m hoping it gets renewed… but only if the following changes are considered.

Less Is More
You know what’s been surprisingly underwhelming about Terra Nova? The dinosaurs. It’s not that I’d bought into the idea offered in a lot of the pre-premiere hype of “It’s Steven Spielberg, and he did Jurassic Park, so you know what that means,” as much as… the dinosaur special effects were continually being hyped up as one of the selling points of the show, and let’s be honest, they’re not a million miles away from the kinds of thing we’ve seen for a fraction of the cost in Primeval. I don’t really mean that as a condemnation of the special effects team as much as a comment on just how underwhelming the very idea of “Look! It’s CGI dinosaurs!” is in the first place these days – Unless it’s something that is genuinely groundbreaking and spectacular, you’re left with a strong sense of “Yeah, seen it all before.”

There’re only really two possible responses to that; either significantly improve the quality of your CGI in the break between seasons or, much more realistically, change the focus of your show so that the CGI is much less important to the stories being told and let the audience see those dinosaurs much, much more sparingly. Remember how little we saw the shark in Jaws? Or the alien in Super 8? Remember how much scarier they were because of that? That would be great, wouldn’t it…? And cheaper, too. Just sayin’.

Lose The Family
I refuse to believe that I am the only person who thinks that Terra Nova is a potentially interesting show that’s continually overrun by soap opera and a misguided desire to try and be a “family show” with subplots about the three minor Shannons, Josh, Maddie and Zoe that more than occasionally seem to come from another show altogether than the more science-fictional elements happening in the main plot of the week. If the show could quietly shuffle the kids off to the side for extended periods of time (Like, forever, especially in the case of Josh and Maddie) without killing them – That would be a step too far, tonally, I suspect – the show could, perhaps, put an end to its schizophrenia and become more watchable as a result. Which reminds me…

Find A Purpose
What is Terra Nova actually about? That’s a really difficult question to answer, having watched the show, because based upon the episodes themselves, it doesn’t really seem to be about what it thinks it’s about. Episodes have a particularly “Star Trek meets Lost with some Jurassic Park thrown in” feel, all topped off with a crusty layer of “We’ve seen Avatar but don’t have that budget,” but more and more, it feels like it’s at best giving lip service to the idea of restarting civilization in the wake of a complete societal breakdown – Shouldn’t it be harder? Shouldn’t people be more… I don’t know, bitter, and hopeful, and just more extremely emotional and less level-headed in general?

I actually have no problem with the show choosing to be something other than a gritty, realistic and probably depressing and not-incredibly-network-TV-friendly look at how hard it is to try and reboot society on a weekly basis, but without that, I feel that the show doesn’t really have any purpose beyond “Hey, dinosaurs! And mystery!” That’s the kind of thing that’s really evident when you watch on a fairly regular basis: There’s no “there” there, no real heart or meaning behind the show, and it feels very empty as a result. For Terra Nova to be worth a second season to Fox, there has to be some promise to the show, some suggestion that audiences will come back and, more importantly, grow – but, unless the show gives viewers reason to care about what happens to the characters and what’s going on, that won’t happen, and until the show’s creators know just what kind of a show they’re creating, why should viewers care?

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Comments

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    There’s no feasible way to incorporate any of these changes now. At best, episode 13 is filming now, at worst (and probably more likely), it’s in post-production. Or maybe it’s finished already. And Fox won’t renew it on the promise of change. What’s the point of this? What did it accomplish? What were your true intentions? Why should readers care?

  • Orphan

    I said this before elsewhere that this is the worst written show at this time.Everybody involved with it at this stage other than the actors should be fired immediately.I am especially amazed that Braga and Echevarria formerly of various Star Trek projects are getting away with this kind of crap.Plot holes you could drive a super nova through,the fact that after the 1st episode people are running around a Jurrasic jungle day or night without a single dino,and a convoluted completely ridiculous Lost style conspiracy theory storyline that makes no sense whatsoever.This doesn’t even work as a parody of the bad old days of 60’s Irwin Allen television.Dollhouse,Cape,No Ordinary Family,the threat of Wonder Woman,and now this turkey.Let the dino’s eat the cast and crew, cancel the show and let’s move on. 

  • 12478

    I personally love it. Maybe I have bad taste, but I would devestated if Terra Nova was cancelled.

  • Guest

    Terra Nova could be highly successful if they would change it from a family-friendly adventure show into something grittier like the new version of Battlestar Galactica.

  • Rmansperger

    I have to say I was much more intrigued by the world the characters left behind than in Terra Nova itself.

  • Anonymous

    ME too.

  • http://twitter.com/Dawnell_do Dawnell_do

    Hopefully this show will get better once it gets an second season. 

  • Anonymous

    I think the best dino was the made-up spinosaurous “Empirosaurus” so far. It was night, they hid it most of the time, and they really delivered it well. Just show feet and heads or tails more.

    It’s scarier that way anyway.

  • RunnerX13

    FOX did nothing to make this show other than mediocre and unimpressive, so I see no reason for it to continue.

  • Jim

    Same for me. I’d watch a show about that world.

  • Anthony

    Terra Nova is not the worst show of all time, I like it, if its cancelled it’ll just show what we Europeans already know, Americans don’t know good TV at all. American TV companies have cancelled Firefly, SGU, V, Jericho and Medium. Stop cancelling good shows, get rid of shows like biggest loser, those shows need to be cancelled.

  • Donita

    We love the show n we hope they stay on. Each actor plays perfectly and if you pay attention it is also historic n science history.

  • Debtav1

    Wow—I really like this show because it has alittle of everything.  I truly “hope” it stays.

  • Xdanicusx

    i like the series as well.. 

  • Wynnyelle

    I think in their effort to make it everything they failed to make it something.

  • Evendale1

    Yeah i mean the show cant be bad. I have not missed an episode yet. If u keep on warching every week. That says sonething about the show. I wanted tO kniw if they were going to do another season. When they said ssee how it all ends. Hope it dont end like the event. Maybe its just a one season show.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LOG2UHGAUEUAL4BSNOD7ZCHUYU jeff s

    I love the show the way it is. When you start making too many drastic changes, thats when shows start going down the gutter. For the one who said this is the worse show they’ve seen obvioulsy hasn’t watched much television over the years.

  • Roge

    I like it. Hope it runs it’s full course

    Lots of potential. Will get grittier as plot develops.

  • Orphan

    Roge that’s exactly my point there is no potential because there is no plot

  • Orphan

    You’re right, but I think the blame more squarely falls on Spielberg and Braga not that FOX hasn’t dropped the ball on numerous occasions.All FOX did was see the pilot at the initial sales convention saw the name attached to it and bit.Let’s face it if it had been any good then FOX would have screwed up at their end anyway as usual.Didn’t we go through this several years ago with Spielberg and NBC and something called Earth 2.It started a lot more promising than this but didn’t make past season 2.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sylvantos Aron Brookes

    I think its pretty simple decision for fox.
    Here is why: As a network they are not doing good at all, across all key demo’s for most of their shows.
    They struck a deal with warner bros to get a fourth season for fringe…and i doubt it was because of syndication rights…reminds of me of lost, which was never syndicated…some shows do not make good repeat viewings…much like fringe..season 3 was really bad for key demo’s..it did deserve to die and not get a 4th season…this season its even worse, and their are many fans now speculating whether it will even make it to the 13 episode (22 full episode order) due to its extremely low numbers…but despite this, fox have confirmed through the #maskedscheduler on twitter, they are committed heavily to fringe despite its ever decreasing numbers and that all of season 4 will air on fox…and a possibility of a 5th season, despite being down at the 1.1/1.2 demo mark.
    They have also stated numerous times that they also have a committment to Terra Nova, they want to see it suceed because they believe in the show, this despite TN not doing good in the ratings..

    One important thing to remember here…its numbers are not so low it wont be renewed. In fact the numbers are right on the bubble for renewal..and it will likely depend on last night’s finale, which I thought was pretty much its strongest episodes to date, in a lot of ways.

    The main and serious problem it has its its long hiatus…here is why. It takes around 5 weeks per episode..each episode is reported to cost around $5/6 million though it could be as low as $3 million.

    Fox are going to be letting us know very shortly if TN is to be renewed, because the longer they take the longer it will take to get a full season order for the show…

    They wont go with a 13 episode season because financially it would be insane..because if they renew the only thing they will go for is syndication (now 88 episodes, not been 100 for a long time)..which is 4 seasons of 22 episodes ..the longer they hold off..the less likely it is to return due to the extreme time it takes to make even a single episode…if they make the decision in the next couple of days (sounds like they will) then if its renewed the earliest we’ll see a second season is around October 2012 time…if they defer to spring we’d def be looking at the fall of 2013  (this show was fail epicly in summer or spring)..

  • http://profiles.google.com/sylvantos Aron Brookes

    actually they cant even get the dino’s right, and the medical jargon? its pure mumbo jumbo..there is nothing scientific or even correct about the show.

    Look at the flora..take a look at the grass..that grass did not exist 85 million years ago, certainly not in the form we see it on the show…infact take a look at the dino’s most of them have no connection to the dino’s we know of.

    TN literally needs you to suspend your belief in what your seeing..because their ‘facts’ are quite simply wrong.

  • star1000001

    Long Live Terra Nova! My Family and Friends LOVE this show. Best show ever!!!

  • Martin

    I would like to see another season, one thing must change for better show and ratings!
    1) Move the show off of Monday’s if the show is going to be on during on Football Season. Every show I believe suffers from Monday Night Football so another day would help this.

  • lnormy

    Terra Nova should be given a chance to settle in. The first season has set us up for some good storylines if you would only be patient.
    The first episode  gave us food for thought when maddie was talking about the initial probe. This in itself could give us a whole new direction to go in. Whats to say they were not wrong. The last episode could tie in with this seeing the discovery that was made in the badlands.

    With the porthole now closed things won’t be as easy as it was. They are now truly alone at the beginning of time. When did the ice age start. Do they need to begin preparing for that. They have the eye which has the history of their world as they know it. This could become their bible to survival. Showing them how to create things they need to survive,showing them the mistakes made in the futre/past that they could possibly avoid. Taking the good things from their history and using them to create a better society.

    The writers could expand their circle of central characters similar to the star trek series. They are supposed to be the masters at this.(they have the same writers). 

    I am sick of a new series coming out that I get into and then having it cancelled because it doesn’t make billions in its first season. 1 loyal viewer is worth 5 viewer points as they remain loyal to the show even when there is a slow patch in a series. Give the series to grow. You have cut the umbilical now give Terra Nova a chance to survive on its own.

    Terra Nova has a chance to build a whole new world, we have a chance to watch it happen 

  • Dillonawsomeness

    Totally wrong bout the kids.and I think that in the season finale the Dino looked great .I would love to see the show go on and so would the rest if my family

  • Dillonawsomeness

    Ur totally wrong the show is just fantastic

  • Ryanortuoste_archt

    I Love Terra Nova, It feeds your desire for both Romance and Science… I hope you got the point of the Show, Those who can’t understand the series are stupid…… I Can’t wait for season 2….. Season 2 should come soon…..

  • Ryanortuoste_archt

    Hey, The show is Fantastic, I Love it…..

  • Ryanortuoste_archt

    Terra Nova is a show for family and friends, That is why I Love it.. Its fantastic!! Cant wait for season 2….

  • Ggmnanajan

    I love this show!!  It’s the best show of its kind in a long time.  Low on extreme violence, rates extremely high on its family values and if it was a book, it would be a page turner.  Please come back for another season