The secret sketches of Terra Nova

Posted by CB Droege

I enjoyed Terra Nova right from the start. A lot of cash has been poured into the sci-fi series, and it really shows in all the right places. The sets are beautiful, the characters interesting, and the effects outstanding.

While I watch the show, I spend a lot of time thinking about how impossible this series would have been even five years ago. Effects have come a long way recently, and in addition to creating great shows for us, it makes one look forward to a future of genre television with really immersive visuals.

The secret sketches of Terra NovaIt’s not just the eye-candy that sets this show apart however. We’re ten episodes in, the drama is beginning to escalate, and the big mystery of the series is coming into focus.

In addition, the characters have turned out to be dynamic and interesting, even the awkward teenager moments are compelling, and no one feels like a stereotype or a space-filler.

The world itself also boasts an interesting history and mythology, as it’s not just a fantasy backdrop for the drama of the characters. Rather, Terra Nova is a fully developed setting, and the more I learn about the brief history of humans in this place, the more I want to know about it.

The primary drawback that makes Terra Nova something less than the best show on television right now?
A massive plot hole. I mentioned this in my initial review of the double-length pilot, with the prediction that perhaps the hole will be filled in future episodes, but now the hole is actually worse.

The problem is the idea of communication. The portal is one-way, there is nothing which may be sent back to the future from which the characters have escaped, yet the characters periodically mention things like personal requests and supply requisition forms, and so forth, items which obviously wouldn’t work if there was truly no way to send anything back. Remember, this is already ignoring the idea that without sending anything back, there would be no way to know what was on the other side of the naturally occurring portal. For all they know in the future, it could lead to a black hole or even worse.

Of course, it would probably have just been better to let the discrepancy go, but the writers are insisting on making it a plot-point.

Yes, there is a character in the enemy camp who knows how to communicate with the future. The individual has a communication device of some kind which works like a telephone through time.

Implausible enough, but it’s a fantasy series, after all. And so, the tech is important. What could the characters accomplish if only they could communicate with the future?

So, now they have to fight over the communication device, which is allegedly the only way for any of them to contact the future. Yet, they still regularly discuss things like requesting specific personnel and supplies from the other side of the portal. It’s a bit maddening, and honestly, causes me to not take the conflict very seriously.

It’s a good thing everything else about Terra Nova is simply outstanding.