Open Thread: Terra Nova

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So, did anyone else watch the premiere of Terra Nova last night? I'm still searching for something to fill my Lost hole, and Terra Nova had the distinct ring of Lostiness to it, from at attempt at cast diversity to scary things in the jungle to mysterious symbols to a rogue band of "others" right down to its annoying patriarch Jack Shephard Jim Shannon.

The central story is about a group of time-traveling pilgrims from a polluted, overpopulated, and dying Earth in the year 2149, who are sent through a one-way tear in the space-time continuum to a parallel timeline 85 million years ago, tasked with establishing and maintaining Terra Nova, a colony designed to build a new and sustainable human civilization.

But! There is conflict in paradise, and a rebel group has fractured away from the main encampment, with some nefarious and as-yet undefined plot which has something to do with the mysterious mathematical etchings in the rocks being done by the AWOL son of Terra Nova's benevolent dictator (OR IS HE?!) Nathaniel Taylor.

So, that's the main plot, and it was, to the writers' due credit, established rather compellingly with a minimum of clumsy exposition.

It's too early to make any definitive statements about the show's conformity to or subversion of kyriarchal tropes: Although the "good guys" are led by white dude Taylor, and the "bad guys" are led by black female rebel Mira, I get the feeling there's a distinct possibility that the "good" and "bad" groups are not exactly what they seem, so I'm tentatively withholding judgment on those casting choices.

I am not withholding judgment on casting the only Asian man as the head of agriculture. Boo. Particularly as the agricultural department duties were essentially maintaining a large and fast-growing exotic garden, which was more Asian than European or American in appearance, the conflation of "Asian" and "exotic" (or even "primitive") was unfortunate, to put it politely.

There are women of color in prominent roles: In addition to Mira, and the two Shannon daughters, mother Elizabeth Shannon is played by Shelley Conn, who is of Indian descent, and she was recruited for the pilgrimage to Terra Nova because she is a highly-respected doctor who's done social justice work. There is at least one (white/Latina) woman among Taylor's security team, and the oldest Shannon daughter, Maddy, is a math whiz. So there's potential for strong female characters, if they're given the space and attention to grow.

So far, however, there have been no visible LGBTQI characters.

Other random observations:

I don't know if this is a deliberate commentary being made by the show, or an inadvertent commentary being made by the show, but I found it amusing that the ability to wage war had been established in Terra Nova before the ability to manufacture medical supplies. (Supplies are still being sent from 2149.)

I am also deeply amused that, in 2149, annoying dudebro teens are still named Josh.

The special effects were pretty good for a television series. Not the best I've seen, but certainly not the worst.

What did you think?

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