Recap: 'Terra Nova' - 'Bylaw'

Let’s state this up front: telling a long-form narrative is incredibly, incredibly hard. When it’s done well, it represents a monumental achievement. So saying "Terra Nova" is pretty terrible at it isn’t quite the slam it might seem. It just means the show is just as bad as the majority of other television shows currently on right now. By now, it’s abundantly clear that the show barely thought past the pilot in terms of creating a far-reaching story that would sustain a single season, never mind a multitude of them. But that need not be a deal breaker for the show, so long as it recognizes its own limitations. But as long as it fails to do so, this will be an expensive misfire for FOX.

Here’s the thing: I think there are times in which long-term planning works AGAINST shows. Think about it this way: there are plenty of bands on the music scene right now. Plenty of them turn out perfectly good records that play to their strengths. Sure, these aren’t akin to "Sgt. Pepper," but they are solid albums that show a refreshing self-assurance. But once those artists try to create their own version of "Pepper," the results are almost comically catastrophic. It’s become fashionable of late to equate "quality television" with "having a long-term narrative plan." The pilot for "Terra Nova" hinted at greater mysteries within its universe, but has since demonstrated no skills in deploying hints to that mystery’s ultimate answer. It would be better for the show to focus on its present rather than stumble towards an uncertain future. Read More...


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