Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Crappa Nova

Going at least one step further than Patti Smith's classic lines 'I don't fuck much with the past / But I fuck plenty with the future', the new Spielberg-produced TV sci-fi drama Terra Nova – meaning new land – aims to fuck up both the past and the future as much as possible.

The multi-million dollar series (also known as Terra Bull), starring one of the annoying women from Mistresses and a bunch of equally annoying unknowns, begins in the year 2149, when things look a bit like Blade Runner, which was set in November 2019 – now only eight years away. Funny how the future catches up with us, and most things are still the same. Anyway, to escape the depressing Blade Runner production design, a rift in space-time has been discovered, like the one in Stargate, to transport people back 85 million years to dinosaur times, and Spielberg-style mise-en-scĂ©ne. Yes, it's Jurassic Park meets Lost in the most derivative programme since… The Walking Dead? We follow the boring Shannon family through the rift and back to the late Cretaceous period to see them build their future from scratch, except they've also bought with them guns, jeeps and the various technology which will no doubt see mankind's fall once again. The big budget is impressive, but can't hide the corny dialogue, hackneyed scenes, ropey acting and Spielbergian saccharine sentimentality.

The series has naturally received great reviews Stateside, with the LA Times calling it 'Easily the most exciting show of the fall season'. I do pity the TV critic, surely one of the most difficult and frustrating jobs around. Seeing as the bar for quality TV has become so low, anything seeming even anywhere near average gets praised to the heavens. The TV critic with the easiest task was the acerbic Charlie Brooker, who just ripped the piss out of all TV, but where's the challenge in that, when everything's crap? (But even Brooker buckled when he realised he was biting the hand that fed him.)

Not really related, but anyway, far more engaging than Terra Nova is the film Melancholia, which I recently saw. For once, an original sci-fi disaster movie, and just beautiful. Bring on the apocalypse if it's going to happen like that.

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