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New This Week
The tale of humans from an ecologically ravaged (and “Blade Runner”-y) 2149 A.D. Earth who seek refuge via a one-way time-wormhole to the dinosaur era, the pilot for “Terra Nova” came to us from “24” writer-producers Brannon Braga and David Fury, though Fury was replaced as co-showrunner post-pilot by Braga’s fellow “Star Trek” vet Rene Echevarria.
It stars Jason O’Mara (the ABC version of “Life on Mars”) as a cop who sneaks through the wormhole with his oversized family and Stephen Lang (“Avatar”) as the (benevolent?) ruler of Terra Nova.
The premise of this series, which I believe originated in the brain of a Londoner named Kelly Marcel, is such a good one I was rooting for the project despite its clumsy exposition dumps, annoying characters and dopey plotting. It also helped that Echevarria, who went from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Deep Space Nine” to “Now and Again,” “Dark Angel,” “The 4400” and “Medium,” was aboard starting with the second episode.
But Echevarria didn’t help. “Terra Nova” never got as good as those other shows he worked on, and that’s a tragedy. Because, again, great premise. But “Terra Nova” never made a ton of sense to me. I watched every episode, hoping the series would address my many, many concerns about logic, motivation, characterization and surprisingly cruddy effects work.
The colonists who head back in time have to deal not only with hungry, building-size lizards, poodle-size leeches and python-sized centipedes but also with a renegade human group known as “the sixers,” the sixth batch of colonists who decided to break away from the main colony to pursue their own mysterious agenda. There are also mysterious man-made markings on rocks outside the Terra Nova compound.
By the way, we learn early on that the “time fracture” actually transports the colonists to an alternate universe’s timeline, so you don’t have to worry about killing your grandma by stepping on a butterfly.
Hopefully “Jurassic Park IV” will prove more satisfying.
Dino-Snore ... A year and a half in the making and costing a reported $20 million, the pilot of Terra Nova has been through so many overhauls and management changes that its credits boast 12 executive producers. What's surprising is that none of them is a 5-year-old boy--because that's who I imagine scribbling the pitch, with crayon illustrations: I want to make a TV show about the future! It will have lasers and guns and computers and time travel! And but ALSO they are living in a jungle, and the bad people want to take them over! ...
... will win no prizes for its cardboard characters and clunky writing, but hey, it’s got CGI dinosaurs! ...
... Luckily for Terra Nova, fans of the genre are often at least temporarily willing to overlook bad writing and performances if the battles are exciting and special effects convincing, and they are. That should buy the show time to improve.
... the family remains much less interesting so far than the dinos - and, in fact, has gotten progressively less interesting with the tweaking. ... Simply put, the Shannons are boring. Well, except for Josh, who gets to be annoying - the token rebellious teen whose function is to be stupid and get into trouble so there will be a story that week. I would suggest that the "Terra Nova" writers should know better - especially given how much fans of ABC's short-lived "V" despised that show's version of the same character …
... If it chooses to focus on whether the generic Shannon family can rebuild itself, all the dino antics in the world probably won't save it from falling into a tar pit of predictable, sub-Spielbergian sentimentality. The most interesting question 'Terra Nova' could answer is this: What problems and baggage does a society bring to its efforts to reinvent itself? That's the most tantalizing part of the 'Terra Nova' premise, but one wonders how interested anyone involved is in delving into the kind of complicated ideas explored by other edge-of-the-frontier shows we've seen in recent years. Nobody's expecting a dino-riffic version of 'Deadwood' or 'Battlestar Galactica' (the Fox show is meant to be popcorn entertainment, after all), but it would be a huge disappointment if 'Terra Nova' ignored the political possibilities and ethical dilemmas of its premise. Certainly the various indications that there are serious troubles in the Terra Nova colony are the most interesting parts of the pilot. ...
... lavishly produced by television standards, at a level of visual and technical sophistication that was partly responsible for the show’s taking nearly two years to land on the Fox schedule. But it’s also so predictable that you might want to fast-forward through the domestic-drama scenes set inside the hilariously clean and orderly colony, stopping whenever you see something that looks like action or a dinosaur....
... Easily the most exciting show of the fall season ... manages to introduce a panoply of narrative threads and themes while telling a remarkably clean story, both in terms of plot line and tone; "Terra Nova" is whole-family friendly. … For all its excellent green-screen usage, "Terra Nova" is remarkably old-fashioned, rejecting the angst and existentialism of "Lost" to tell the exquisitely American story of colonists, strangers in a strange land come not so much to conquer as to flee, a familiar tale rendered here ferociously and gorgeously new once more.
... The special effects in a preview disc sent to critics ranged from glossy to mediocre CGI -- some tweaking remained to be done -- and eagle-eyed viewers will catch some plot holes no animated dinosaur can hide. …
... But let's get back to Spielberg. On the plus side, we can point to elements of "Terra Nova" that evoke some of Steven's Greatest Hits. If being chased by a salivating raptor, for example, inevitably evokes "Jurassic Park" in any film or TV show, it's because Spielberg did it so well in that movie, and does it equally well here. Perhaps we can't blame him for the lame dialogue, per se, but, wow, I haven't heard sentences this dumb since last week's episode of "Jersey Shore." ...
... It’s all pretty dazzling, but with so much time spent on special effects, the characters seem to be factory-direct. The script gets wordy, as the cast hurriedly speak in bursts of dialogue meant to give viewers all the background that, frankly, we don’t need. Even with a lavish two-hour premiere, “Terra Nova” could stand to slow down and admire the world it has taken us to — Earth, 85 million years ago...
... Every movie genre – the western, the cop drama, the teen-slasher flick, the family-reunited drama – seems to have been thrown into a blender and then some dinosaurs thrown into the resulting bland soup of storylines. Ah yes, the dinos. Big selling point. The dinos help take Terra Nova from bad to fabulously bad. ...
... excuse me if I’m skeptical about this show’s prospects. The pilot reportedly cost $10 million. Spielberg has a spotty record when it comes to television. “Amazing Stories” really wasn’t. TNT’s “Falling Skies” first season was notable for how the budget plummeted each week, to the point where the season finale centered on a battle that happened off-camera. So long as the dinos roam, “Terra Nova” has a future ...
… The pilot, with subplots featuring O’Mara’s teen kids, is Spielberg 101 - mainstream, iconic, inoffensively predictable. As a weekly series, the effects need to remain impressive and the writers need to avoid falling into “Lost’’ and “Walking Dead’’ band-of-survivors rehash. …
... boasts a muscular pilot, a serviceable plot and considerable ambition -- none of which, it should be noted, sustained the net's "Terminator" series. For starters, though, "Terra Nova" shines pretty brightly, even with the possibility it might wind up being remembered as another really expensive TV camping trip. …
... has a lot to get fans excited about. It’s ambitious in scope, has a likable, far-ranging cast and appears to be planting enough storylines to lure in fans who are having Lost withdrawal. ...
NBC continues to stock its sitcom with writers and actors who once toiled on “Saturday Night Live.” Following in the footsteps of Greg Daniels and Steve “Ambiguously Gay” Carell at “The Office,” Tina Fey and Tracey Morgan at “30 Rock,” Chevy Chase on “Community” and Mike Schur and Amy Poehler at “Parks and Recreation,” Maya Rudolph and longtime SNL writer Emily Spivey are collaborating on
“Up All Night,” which stars Will Arnett and Christina Applegate as the foul-mouthed hard-living fortyish parents of a newborn.
Spivey’s depiction of the parenting life feels authentically autobiographical and the pilot carries an agreeable semi-improvisational feel. I’m less impressed with the Rudolph character, who has taken a definite turn for the broad and wacky since NBC transformed her character from a celebrity publicist to a Oprah-y talk show host.
... There aren't many laugh-out-loud moments, but the parenting stuff is sharply-observed, and it's great to see Arnett playing a recognizable human being after spending years trying to (or being asked to) recreate GOB Bluth from "Arrested Development." ...
... It's hard to walk that fine line between sincerity and sarcasm in a comedy, and though each show is a bit broad here and there, neither of these shows [“Free Agents” or “Up All Night”] overindulges in the kind of false, cynical patter or the unearned, warm-and-fuzzy mawkishness that sinks so many network sitcoms. ...
... Network television has grown remarkably callous and blasé about all kind of things, including rape, adultery and masturbation, but there is still a taboo against child endangerment. So “Up All Night” takes three of the funniest actors working on the small screen and ties their hands while asking them to send up child rearing ...
... Both series [“Free Agents” and “Up All Night”] offer pilots that are tight and often funny — "Up All Night" is the one I'd save first if we were all together on a sinking ship...
... The more original conceit is the notion of later-in-life parents who have had 20 years to themselves before life-with-baby. Culturally, it’s a potentially resonant approach but is becoming a parent at 40 different enough from having a child at 25 to hang a series on? We’ll see. ...
... has a great cast, crisp writing and, most important, the potential for plot and character elements to maintain our interest beyond the premiere. ...
... Neither smashingly hilarious nor overly redundant, it is instead tolerable and occasionally LOL (as the mommy blogs would say). ...
... NBC missed the real comedy, but it’s not too late. Lose the kid and blow the show up around big baby Ava, the would-be empress of daytime TV. Right now, “Up All Night” is the TV equivalent of a glass of warm milk. ...
… Am I hooked? Yeah, mostly because of the scenery-chewing Rudolph, whose line delivery is unique. …
... Too many of the lines are witlessly vulgar (A "mug of butt"? Really?), and too few are funny. And simply repeating them with slight variations and a raised voice ("We're doing a cleanse! Office cleanse!") does not improve them. ...
In theory, "Up All Night" ought to resonate with young families who can identify feeling cooped up and grounded by a new baby. The premise, however, proves more fertile (pardon the expression) than the actual show, which as presented plays like a one-note gag about as subtle as watching the central couple, Christina Applegate and Will Arnett, do a lot of bleeped-out cussing in front of their newborn....
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Sept. 11, 2012, 1:55 a.m. CST
Sept. 11, 2012, 2:27 a.m. CST
Sept. 11, 2012, 4 a.m. CST
Sept. 11, 2012, 4 a.m. CST
Sept. 11, 2012, 4:25 a.m. CST
Sept. 11, 2012, 7:05 a.m. CST
Sept. 11, 2012, 9:10 a.m. CST
by Nasty In The Pasty
Sept. 11, 2012, 9:40 a.m. CST
by jesus 2099
thats like listing jack black as a cast member, who is also in like one sketch.
Sept. 11, 2012, 10:09 a.m. CST
Internetting is hard!
Sept. 11, 2012, 10:38 a.m. CST
Amazon shows it as now available, and I should be getting my pre-order today
Sept. 11, 2012, 10:52 a.m. CST
<div><iframe frameborder="0" width="576" height="324" src="http://d.yimg.com/nl/ytv/site/player.html#vid=30545724&browseCarouselUI=hide"></iframe></div>
Sept. 11, 2012, 1:57 p.m. CST
by You Have MY Voice
Any word on if the music issues have been cleared up? The set is something I'd like to give as a gift, but not if it's been butchered (again).
Sept. 11, 2012, 2:08 p.m. CST
MLP:FiM = My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Sept. 11, 2012, 4:11 p.m. CST
Worth The Ban just to say it.
Sept. 11, 2012, 4:19 p.m. CST
Herc bans people like George Steinbrenner fires people. That's his pleasure, man!!
Sept. 11, 2012, 7:38 p.m. CST
Sept. 11, 2012, 7:47 p.m. CST
My kids love it and so do I. My only complaint is the hidden New Age agenda they're pushing. Maybe a little more friendship and a little less magic next season.
Sept. 11, 2012, 10:53 p.m. CST
by Nasty In The Pasty
Sept. 12, 2012, 9:03 a.m. CST
got one i didn't have that was a good mix of mike and joel, and grabbed a cheap rifftrax too,
Sept. 12, 2012, 10:11 a.m. CST
by Red Ned Lynch
...for shame on your incomplete knowledge of Mr. Show! Silverman was in a bunch of sketches. She was the Bride in the Box, the woman in the handicapped band, she went up Bob's mom's ass, slept with the protestors, interviewed for MTV right before the earth exploded...the list goes on (but not on). You're closer to right about Jack Black, although he was in a handful. Both Jeepers Creepers and the Farmer and the Three Holes spring immediately to mind but I have the feeling there were others. So anyway jesus2099, just watch your mouth! Or don't. Whatever. Yeah, I liked Mr. Show.
Sept. 12, 2012, 11:02 a.m. CST
So much potential
Sept. 12, 2012, 12:04 p.m. CST
I guess they finally got around some of the music issues that were keeping the release delayed, though as far as I know REM's 'Stand' still won't be in the intro because Stipe hated the show and revoked permission or something.
Sept. 12, 2012, 2:33 p.m. CST
by Raptor Jesus
When you know it's going to be total shit how can you be disappointed that it is?
Sept. 12, 2012, 6:17 p.m. CST
and saying "If you don't buy me, i'll chop yer head off!!!"
Sept. 12, 2012, 6:21 p.m. CST
But i'll have to put it in my netflix que alas. I have close to 500 "to buy's" in my Amazon as it is (dvds, cds, marvel and dc collections, books.) Gotta draw the line somewhere and with the news that sales tax is in the offing at Amazon, i think the line will be drawn for me!
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