It was a promising year for Science Fiction TV fans. With all the recent turmoil over the lack of any science fiction on TV (see SyFy) 2011 had promised not one but two Steven Spielberg produced epic TV shows.
The first of the two shows was Falling Skies on TNT. The series begins with Earth in turmoil; a recent invasion and attack by an alien race has left most of the human population wiped out and many children enslaved. It is up to a rag tag group of survivors to fight back. This scenario is not a new one, but there was high hopes that Spielberg could pull it off without being too cliche. Unfortunately that did not seem to be the case. The show is cookie cutter at best. These types of characters and plots might be okay for a two hour film, but lack the staying power for an entire series.
The second Spielberg TV show for 2011 is Terra Nova on FOX. After the premier was pushed back several times the show finally premiered in September with an epic two hour event. The series focuses on a group of time travelers who attempt to find a new home on prehistoric Earth. Time travel, adventure, dinosaurs and Spielberg seemed like a slam dunk. Unfortunately not unlike Falling Skies the show suffers from one dimensional characters and plots. Though with thrilling landscapes and a mega budget one would hope we could look past characters and plot and be caught up in the adventure and intrigue although these fall short as well. Plus the explanation of time travel employed by the show is laughable.
TV needs science fiction and I’m grateful both TNT and FOX have given it a try. However is mediocre science fiction better than none at all?
Falling Skies has already been renewed for a second season and Terra Nova will more than likely get one as well. Let us hope that with these new seasons both shows begin to push boundaries and try to avoid cliches.
A Quick Rant on Terra Nova
It is impossible for them to be both in an alternate timeline and still be able to communicate with the future. So that leaves us with them being in the same timeline as the future, no doubt strip mining the past is going to have some pretty heavy consequences.
A Quick Rant on Falling Skies
While I understand production cost are high on a show with large on location shooting and visual effects prices are steep, but could no one take the extra couple of minutes and come up with a unique sound for the alien creatures? The aliens sound like the velociraptors from Jurassic Park. Not just a little, but exactly the same sound.