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Terra Nova: Land Of The Lost, No Sleestaks


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#2401

bmills

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Posted Feb 20, 2012 @ 3:04 PM

A sci-fi audience is different.

I'm afraid that this is going to make me sound pretentious, but film science fiction is a very different thing from written science fiction. Makers of movies and television seem to be convinced that they will scare viewers away with anything complex or intelligent, and it's usually just the most simple and cliched stuff that gets made into visual formats. For example, I liked the Battlestar Galactica remake and agree that it was quite good by the standards of television, but there wasn't a single aspect of that series that would have been considered surprising or groundbreaking in the written science fiction of 40 years ago. Filmed science fiction is almost never anything close to ambitious or original. Similarly, along comes big-budget, high-profile TN, and they set the thing in the flipping cretaceous, and still can't come up with anything more interesting to give us than the same old snitty teens and memory loss plots. I suspect that Braga has been a success in business terms because many of us are so starved for SF that we will even watch the bad stuff rather than go without. That is, in fact, why I watch TN.

sci-fi audiences do not like teenagers very much

Most of us spent our teen years reading science fiction rather than arguing with our parents and getting drunk at parties, and so we tend not to empathize with angsty twits who make patently stupid decisions.

Shit, no one wants to go to a kids' play in real life, much less see one on TV.

This made me actually laugh out loud.

It comes with an audience that has already sort of thought-through the entire concept.

When you mix dinosaurs from different time periods and depict the moon incorrectly, we're going to notice.

#2402

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Posted Feb 20, 2012 @ 3:36 PM

Most of us spent our teen years reading science fiction rather than arguing with our parents and getting drunk at parties, and so we tend not to empathize with angsty twits who make patently stupid decisions.


Yeah, but that is the thing: even people who were "angsty" teenagers do not sympathize with angsty teenagers. No one does. Every single person hates an emo teen. They are the least sympathetic person there is.

I do not expect a sci-fi show on Fox to be all that deep. I totally understand that the "sci-fi" part of it has to appeal to a broader audience. But really, this show does not need a lot of sci-fi. The concept of living amongst dinosaurs and rebuilding the human species is enough. We don't need really cool gadgets or technology for this concept to work. That should totally be enough for any competent writer to work with. So when the memory loss episode was like the 3rd or 4th one, it left me wondering how the writers could have gotten to that so soon. To me that is like a 6th season, episode 16 plot. And it could have happened on ANY sci-fi show! It was just really generic sci-fi, something maybe a high school student might come up with. Maybe Braga is simply too used to working in sci-fi to understand how to do good drama, and so the writers just fall back on stupid sci-fi stories. I just wish creators of these TV shows would get it through their heads that the story and the characters are what makes something interesting.

You know, the problem with relying too much on sci-fi instead of characters, is that you sort of write yourself into a trap. Once you start explaining how all this futuristic stuff works, then you are forced to keep explaining it, even if it does not really work within the framework of the characters or the story.

#2403

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Posted Feb 20, 2012 @ 6:39 PM

IMO the best characters are developed cooperatively by the writers and the actors. If you have a writer who is not interested in the actor's feedback, the character is going to suffer.

#2404

Florrick

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Posted Feb 21, 2012 @ 12:55 PM

Over on Fox, dipping ratings continued to ail House, which set a new season low of 7 million total viewers with a 2.3 rating. Similarly, Alcatraz dipped a few percentage points to new lows of 6 mil/1.8


http://www.tvline.co...-hawaii-five-0/

Edited by Florrick, Feb 21, 2012 @ 12:55 PM.


#2405

Emily Thrace

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Posted Feb 23, 2012 @ 12:37 AM

Yeah, but that is the thing: even people who were "angsty" teenagers do not sympathize with angsty teenagers. No one does. Every single person hates an emo teen. They are the least sympathetic person there is.


I don't know about that the success of Twilight and even Degrassi suggests teenage girls love those emo's. Which is I think what TPTB were going for and probably part of why Landon Librion was cast in the first place. The sad part is it would have been easy to give Josh a legitimate beef with his father, it easily could have been that with his fathers absence a lot of shit wound up on his shoulders and he resented that but TPTB couldn't be bothered to give it that much thought. Which is the real problem with the writing in general for everyone TPTB worried too much about the plot an not the character.

A sci-fi audience is different.


Personally I think that's crap, plenty of sci-fi fans love Seven of Nine for her breasts as much as her character arc and really I think that's an excuse for networks not to produce it. Sci-fi is no more different than a medical show which has plenty of jargon and technical details but is just more common so people are used to them. A big part of writers job is making a story that is universal and emotionally resonate with as many people as possible and far too many writers fail at that and then blame the audience(Joss Whedon is probably the biggest offender but RDM and a lot of others have done it too) .

I agree that this show needs some new writers. I can sort of understand why people pick on Braga a lot, but let's face it, there is another show runner too, as well as plenty of other writers. I don't think the people on this board understand that the show runner does not necessarily have as much control over the content as people think.


I spent most of Enteprise blaming UPN and I'm sorry but that excuse really doesn't hold water anymore. Braga has been doing this for over twenty years and he is still making the same mistakes, in my book that means he is part of the problem.

#2406

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Posted Feb 23, 2012 @ 1:15 AM

I spent most of Enteprise blaming UPN and I'm sorry but that excuse really doesn't hold water anymore. Braga has been doing this for over twenty years and he is still making the same mistakes, in my book that means he is part of the problem.-Emily Thrace


I agree, I so agree with you, that their should not be any excuses when it comes to the quality of show (regardless of what genre the show falls into) and that Braga is a shit write (or at least a writer who is not strong enough to write any script alone).

Edited by TVspectator, Feb 23, 2012 @ 1:06 PM.


#2407

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Posted Feb 23, 2012 @ 4:14 AM

Here's the way I am starting to see it. I think writing a GOOD TV show is extremely difficult. Case in point, we rarely get to see good television shows. I had yesterday off and so I re-watched a couple of TV episode. I have to say that, knowing what I now know about the show, the episodes were not as bad as I thought the first time. That is to say, that since I expected teenage romance, angsty teens, cutesy little girls, and bad special effects, I was able to sort of get passed all that, and I realized that for some show on Fox, it is exactly what it is supposed to be. I think our expectations were high because the concept sounded so good. Thus, we were shocked to find just another banal Fox show.

I think the network can rely on Braga to at least produce a profitable show. And let's face it, he does do that. (for a few years at least). Part of being a show-runner is not just being a good writer. It also involves managing an entire writing staff. My guess is that Braga is really good at that. I think his strengths as a show-runner lie somewhere else besides just his own creativity. From what I understand, each episode's script gets re-written lots of times before going into production. Perhaps Braga is good at managing that part of the production. We don't really understand all the behind-the-scenes. For all we know, Braga's main strength is something as simple as being a time-oriented task master, who always meets deadlines. If he really was as bad as everyone claims, then he would not get so much consistent work.

I do not want to defend the guy too much, but I do not think everyone here understands all the obstacles some EPs face when doing a show like this. You have to deal with what the network wants, what Spielberg wants, perhaps a really shitty first draft from a staff writer, complaints from the actors, etc. I think Braga may simply be really, really good at dealing with all those things at once. From what I can tell, Braga has never really passed himself off as some big sci-fi geek or anything. I think he pretty shamelessly considers himself to just be an EP. He is just a guy who makes a TV show that enough people will watch.

BTW, may I just quickly add something. I worked in production for a couple of years. It is really, really, REALLY hard to find truly talented writers. There are SO many hacks out there. There were so many writers who had clearly had a lot of help on their "spec" scripts, and did shit work once they got a job. I guess I am not surprised then, that this show sort of sucks. Putting together a great TV show is close to impossible, as far as I can tell.

#2408

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Posted Feb 23, 2012 @ 10:50 AM

Yeah, but that is the thing: even people who were "angsty" teenagers do not sympathize with angsty teenagers. No one does. Every single person hates an emo teen. They are the least sympathetic person there is.


It's just really not a good idea to make sweeping statements like that. Because I would be that one single person who does like Josh (hated the teen kid on V, so it's not all emo teens I like.) I also liked Wesley Crusher. I also like Soldier Boy and blow off the "courting" thing as something the writers tried and failed at.

And I don't care what you say about hard it is, Braga will always be the who threw Trip's life away needlessly and stupidly. I doubt that was network intervention.

#2409

spearmom

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Posted Feb 23, 2012 @ 7:45 PM

Braga will always be the who threw Trip's life away needlessly and stupidly.


Who's Trip? The name is familiar, but I'm not placing it right now.

#2410

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Posted Feb 23, 2012 @ 8:30 PM

Trip was the last, or would that be first ;) Chief Engineer of the Enterprise. He was killed off in the finale of Enterprise

#2411

spearmom

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Posted Feb 23, 2012 @ 10:49 PM

Thank you! I was definitely having a "d'oh" moment. Although I never saw the last season of Enterprise. I should remedy that.

#2412

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Posted Feb 23, 2012 @ 10:55 PM

I never saw the last season of Enterprise. I should remedy that.

No, you shouldn't. I couldn't make it through the first season, Enterprise was so bad.

#2413

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Posted Feb 24, 2012 @ 4:18 AM

And I don't care what you say about hard it is, Braga will always be the who threw Trip's life away needlessly and stupidly. I doubt that was network intervention.


Okay, so I never saw Enterprise. I did not have TV back then, and whenever I catch re-runs, they do not hold my interest. But it looks to me like Braga at least created a character that you grew to care about. I mean you clearly felt sort of "betrayed" that he was killed off. Now, I do not think Braga is a that great, but I do not think he is that bad either. I saw so many complaints about him on this board over this show, and basically no complaints about Spielberg or the other EP. From a quick google search, it looks like Braga and co were told my Spielberg to create a show the whole family would love. It was supposed to feature a family. Now those are not unsolvable problems, but I think even a really great writer might have a hard time with this. I think the writing on this show needs to be a lot better, but this hatred towards Braga is just so odd to me. He is just a guy who wrote some bad, some good, and some okay Star Trek episodes. I just cannot see how he fucks things up more than any other show runner. So far his writing credits on this show are always with another writer, and there is another show runner. I don't get how everyone is so certain HE is the one fucking up this show. For all we know, he may have vetoed even worse ideas. A lot of people think 7 of 9 was his "baby" but from what I understand the network really wanted some T and A. It looks like Braga at least tried to make her into a real character. Which leads me to: I think a lot of this hatred of the guy started around the time he and Jeri Ryan started dating. My guess is that most women have never even heard of the guy, yet lots of men literally HATE him. I think at least some part of that hatred stems from the fact that this guy was banging 7 of 9. (BTW, I have seen Jeri Ryan in real life before, and though pretty, is really not that special).

I think most of the awfulness of TN comes not from this guy, but from Fox. I highly doubt if Fox gave these guys millions of dollars just to make the pilot without lots of interference. Braga has never been too big on families and kids, which makes me think that certainly was not his idea. I have also not seen him feature teenager stuff in any of his shows, so I also think that was probably not his idea. No, all that sounds like something Fox probably wanted. Now I am not making an excuse for the guy, and certainly these ideas could have been saved through better writing, but I think it is unfair to put so much of the blame squarely on his shoulders. I think some of the biggest problems of this show stem simply from the way it was financed. By giving the producers $20 million just to create a two-hour pilot, Fox had already set up the show for some problems. I think the creators and writers felt pressure to "deliver" with the pilot. Thus we get the introduction of the sixers right off the bat. Something like should have been introduced later, after we had gotten to know the characters and TN. There should have been some mystery and suspense associated with it. If you need any help understanding this, then please go watch the first season of lost. Instead of wasting time on Sixer stuff, the show could have stayed with the family a little longer. That would have been cheaper to film too. Take Josh. I think he may have grown on us a bit over the season, but he was just such a twat in the pilot. But I think it would have been okay to have had a character that is experiencing some depression and anxiety. Shit, they left everything behind and risk being eaten by dinosaurs. In fact it seemed odd how quickly the whole family adjusted. Instead we went straight to bad guys, guns and dinosaurs. To me that sort of stuff seems like something networks execs would "want to see" just to be certain they were not "wasting their money." Again, this all goes back to having no faith in the audience. I think dinosaurs are as cool as the next guy, but the computer dinos on this show look like shit anyway, so why waste all that money and time on them? Why not just show us some really freaking huge footprints? For that you would just need a drawing and dude with a shovel. I am starting to wonder who the hell is running things these days, because they do not seem to understand some very basic concepts about story-telling. The tension in watching someone being hunted by a dinosaur comes from giving a shit about the character, not from how realistic the dinosaur looks. So for example, if Josh were better written, then when he is OTG, you could show some giant dinosaur footprints, maybe some destroyed vegetation, and then have Josh hear noises out in the jungle. If done right, that would be really scary. And for this you do not need any special effects at all. I almost wish there was no such thing as computer-generated effects. It has just made TPTB lazy as fuck. They clearly no longer feel the need to develop characters that we care about. They just assume that the audience will love any show where the special effects are good enough. (Oh, and on this show they are NOT good enough, so there). If I ran this show, I would make all my writers watch some older movies before the time of computer effects, just so they can get an idea of how to create a good story and characters without them. Ah heck, a while back I was re-watching the very first Star Wars movie. There is a great scene where Luke goes outside and watches the double sunset. There is no dialogue, the special effect is just the double sun, and the scene does not exactly do much for the plot, but at that moment, you're really feeling Luke's yearning. You're totally, 100%, completely on board with his need for adventure. The whole universe is waiting for him and you get to come along for the ride. It's a 1,000 times more exciting than a single scene from Terra Nova. You would never, ever see a scene like that in a sci-fi production these days. Not in a million years. At the very least the screen would need to be filled up with a bunch CGI shit, you know, to hold our "interest."

In some ways, I sort of wish that this show can work out some of its kinks and come back for a second season. When they discovered the ship's figurehead at the end of last season, I thought, wow that could be so fucking cool. There could be people from all different points in human history coming through the porthole. It is such a cool idea and could lead to so many cool stories. Alas, TPTB will likely find a way to fuck that idea up too.

#2414

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Posted Feb 24, 2012 @ 10:15 AM

I'm a female and I think Jeri Ryan could do better than him. I'm fine with Braga being a scapegoat, even if he wasn't totally responsible, his poor decision making was largely responsible for the demise of Trek. Ramming Captain Jonathan fucking-"Boring Vulcan Jesus" Archer down our throats for no apparent reason episode after episode in the later seasons and then murdering Trip. He's a malicious asshole who was totally out of touch with his audience.

I hope he's learned a life lesson and doesn't repeat the mistakes on this show, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

#2415

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Posted Feb 24, 2012 @ 11:05 AM

Yeah, I guess I never saw Enterprise so I have a different impression of him. I thought he did some good work on STNG and Voyager though. And Flashforward eventually started to stuck, but I thought it started out well. People act as though Trek is sacred or something. I guess it had its moments, but it was just an above-average TV show. Nothing more. I don't think Braga "ruined" anything. There just was not a lot left to do with that series. It was burned-out long before Braga started working on Enterprise.

I just still have not seen how this guy, all by himself, is responsible for the problems of this show. I don't think anybody, including Braga, sets out to do bad work. I sort of had a bad feeling about this show when I heard how big the budget was. You just know that for that amount of money, there are going to be too many people giving their input. I guess my problem with constantly harping on Braga is that this show is VERY OBVIOUSLY not the result of one man's creative vision. Besides, after seeing some interviews and reading some stuff about Braga, the guy just strikes me as a little too devious to come up with all the family/kid/teenager stuff. He just seems a little too dark for that. In fact I think that if he WERE 100% in charge, this show would have probably been a lot better. It would have been darker and more adult. No kids. No emo teens. We have seen some good stuff from this guy, so I think he does have a lot of creativity. I sort of question if sci fi really is the best place for him, but I think he most certainly does not need to be dealing with families and children. My guess is that he finds that sort of boring too, and so he has a hard time with it creatively. In fact, it looks like all the writers on this show did. But I think that sort of makes sense: teenagers are generally not that interesting. By definition they have had little life experience and little personal growth. That just usually makes them not that interesting to watch. I mean, they could be written a little better. Like I thought Skye was sort of interesting, but I think that is only because they gave her a more "adult" backstory. Maybe next season they could give Maddy some actual problems. You know, other than worrying that some geologist is a fake (holy shit was that terrible). Like maybe she could get kidnapped by the sixers or something. Maybe her and Lucas could fuck (because she finally meets an intelligent man). I dunno...just throwing some stuff out there. But alas, she is a "safe" character and the show would never let anything bad or interesting happen to her.

#2416

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Posted Feb 24, 2012 @ 11:23 AM

But it looks to me like Braga at least created a character that you grew to care about.

I would argue that Conner Trineer is more responsible for Trip being a beloved character than Brannon Braga.

I will agree, Braga did some good stuff on TNG, but when we saw the same stuff on Voyager, it felt stale and when we saw it again on Enterprise, it felt like he wasn't even trying. Add to the fact that he seemed to antagonize the fans. He managed an 8-figure deal to do Enterprise while bragging that he had never watched the original series. He complained about the complex backstory and canon of Star Trek (granted he wasn't alone in that, Abrams and his crew on the new movie did the same) yet the canon was not nearly as snarled as say DC comics. It's like he doesn't like worldbuilding, yet on Star Trek and even Terra Nova, the worldbuilding is vital, yet on Terra Nova it feels like he half-assed it, by throwing in the courting stuff and the fact that no one seems to think about dinosaurs when they're not around and people wander off into the jungle at night alone.

I also think about how when he was asked about how a human presence in the past will effect the future (which is a perfectly valid question), rather than saying they have 85 MY to figure that out, he responds with 'I feel like I'm at a Star Trek convention again.'

Terra Nova had problems from the beginning which did have nothing to do with Braga. They had the parade of EPs and the Network did have its hands all over this, not wanting to risk the amount of money and promotion they put into it. Even a good showrunner might not have been able to pull this one out.

#2417

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Posted Feb 24, 2012 @ 1:11 PM

I also think about how when he was asked about how a human presence in the past will effect the future (which is a perfectly valid question), rather than saying they have 85 MY to figure that out, he responds with 'I feel like I'm at a Star Trek convention again.'


I think that response is sort of funny. I know he comes across as a dick, but could you imagine if your life was spent answering the questions of Star Trek geeks? I can't blame the guy for having this reaction by this point. I don't think Braga is a very good people person, which is fine by me because I am not one either. I also think his sense of humor just comes across as a little alienating to some people. I mean the guy gets bashed constantly. He either has to have a sense of humor about it, or go home and cry every night.

Terra Nova had problems from the beginning which did have nothing to do with Braga. They had the parade of EPs and the Network did have its hands all over this, not wanting to risk the amount of money and promotion they put into it. Even a good showrunner might not have been able to pull this one out.


That is just it though, I think he IS a good showrunner. I know his creativity can sometimes falter, but he certainly has a lot of experience, and being a good showrunner involves management tasks that many people really cannot handle. I think his strength as a showrunner lies somewhere outside his ability to always write good television. My guess is that he was brought in not for his excellent sense of science fiction, but rather to keep the writing and production staff in line. He might also be good at dealing with the network. I know it is hard to believe, but this man MUST have something going for him. As I mentioned before, there are a lot of bad writers working in television, and a showrunner usually only writes one episode a year himself. I think maybe Braga is probably good at turning really shitty staff writer scripts into something that is at least half-way decent. Look, we only know of the episodes that his name is on, but we have no idea how many bad original scripts he managed to turn into a great episode. I don't think he sucks as bad as people here claim. I think his biggest fault, creatively, is being an inconsistent writer. I dunno, maybe the guy has the kind of creativity that is really sensitive to what is going on in his life. I have never seen the show, but from the complaints I have read here, it sounds like Enterprise was the end result of a sort of low-point in someone's life. I get the feeling people feel a sort of sadness, in a way, coming from the show. I really do not think Braga is totally to blame for the creative failings of this show. I am not letting him entirely off the hook, but I feel sort of sorry for him in a way. If a project he works on sucks, then he gets all the blame. I bet too that if he worked on a really good project, people would say that he must have not had much control over it.

#2418

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Posted Feb 24, 2012 @ 1:18 PM

The Finder's ratings (2.0) have now dipped below the lowest rated Terra Nova episode. Hopefully the cancelation of House as well as the low ratings for The Finder (2.0), Alcatraz (1.8) and Fringe (1.1) will bode well for a Terra Nova Season 2.

http://tvbythenumber...st-down/121543/

#2419

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Posted Feb 24, 2012 @ 2:50 PM

I just still have not seen how this guy, all by himself, is responsible for the problems of this show.

There are two sides to this. On the one hand, no one person makes a TV show, so yes, blaming it all on one person is a bit unfair. But on the other hand, when the same name comes up again and again in conjunction with shows or episodes you dislike, there has to be more than a trivial correlation. When I see Jane Espenson's name on a show I know I'm going to like it, and when I see Marti Noxon's name on a show I know it's going to have some powerful emotional moments but painful lapses in continuity and plausibility. So it's kind of a fair shorthand to say Braga makes this show suck, because I see many of the same flaws that drove me nuts about his other shows, even though he isn't personally making every mistake and misjudgement.

#2420

Westy8283

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Posted Feb 24, 2012 @ 3:08 PM

You could have attacks by 30 foot monsters, the threat of starvation by drought, they could have a problem with pests the size of ponies having snuck in and eaten all the granaries, there could be Battlestar Galactica-kinds of dilemmas in which you have to choose between survival and committing atrocities, etc.


Sounds like Star Trek: Pangea.

TN needs more 2149 because it is a moral depiction of what happens when you waste the one home you have, it offers a natural setting to show philosophical differences in how individuals deal with that reality (help others or grab the last remaining good bits for yourself, etc.) and it then serves as a contrast to the lives of people in TN who - after living in the world of 2149 - have to adjust to an entirely new mindset in TN.

It isn't that seeing ONLY 2149 would be better. It is that seeing MORE of 2149 would help us get past the "Land of the Lost" kiddie tone and repetitiveness of TN and give us some meaningful analogies on how people deal with the two settings.

The best shows put characters under stress and then show us how they react to it. Showing two connected worlds with entirely different kinds of stress seems more interesting to me than one world that, at least so far, has been very cliched.

#2421

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Posted Feb 24, 2012 @ 4:37 PM

So it's kind of a fair shorthand to say Braga makes this show suck, because I see many of the same flaws that drove me nuts about his other shows, even though he isn't personally making every mistake and misjudgement.


Yeah, I guess I can sort of see that. I think the problem with Braga is that he is one of the few well known EPs out there. I do not think that people generally even care who the showrunners are on a TV show. In fact I think that is something pretty new for people to even think about. Now with IMDB and whatnot, it easier for a fan to compare the works of different EPs. Look, I do not think this guy is a genius, but I think maybe people are getting cause and effect mixed up here. I do not think that Braga ruins projects that would have otherwise been good. I think he is brought in by networks because they know he will give them the product they want. And I think the networks are, even after all these years, pretty bad judges about what attracts an audience. So they like a guy like Braga. I think Braga is a bit of a "company man" in this regard. He understands the networks better than we do. In fact, I think that is the main reason he has lasted so long. This is his strength. Shit, he has worked for almost every single major network. That tells me something. I think he is probably a genius when it comes to avoiding clashes. I mean, you never hear about this guy getting fired due to "creative differences." Braga is likely the perfect liason between the writer's room and the studio executives. I know people love to hate this guy, but they really should hate the people that put him in charge of television shows. This guy wouldn't have a job if someone was not giving it to him. Which brings me back to Terra Nova. Someone at Fox picked Braga to run this program because they knew he would deliver a show like this. To me that is an issue with Fox in general. They had a cool concept, lots of money, decent actors, and yet they STILL had no faith in their audience. Thus they got a writing staff they knew would go along with that. Look, I am going to go ahead and make an assumption; that people who get into writing are probably creative people, for the most part. I don't think that people who are into shit like "courting" get into becoming writers. So I sort of think that the people writing for this show feel pressure to use the teen characters and come up with "family" story-lines. The problem is that the writers don't really know how to write this. They're at a loss and, to top it off, they do not have faith in their audience, and that makes sense. Hear me out: I am going to go ahead and give the writers on TN the benefit of the doubt. I am going to go ahead and assume that these people worked hard to become television writers because they love story-telling and because they had a lot of creativity. I am going to assume that these people likely tolerated years of fetching coffee and making dinner reservations for EPs just to get their foot in the door - because they were confident they had an original and creative point of view. The problem now is that they work for Fox, and Fox wants teen shit because they want that "market." As I said before, writing good teen characters is not easy. I just sort of wonder how much of what we see is a compromise between the network and the writers. I wish I knew, because the writing for this show is often so awful, that I simply cannot except that it was the creative vision of a person who worked really hard to get to where they are. But, I don't know. I wasn't there. This is just the best explanation I can come up with.

So this show just to me is Exhibit A as to what is wrong with so many networks when it comes to TV shows. I just think they think we're all a bunch of morons or something. They also seem to think that we have no patience. Shit, I spent 7 years watching Lost, didn't I? I got loads of patience, as do most viewers. We really do. Honestly. I also do not think they understand their demographics very well. Okay, I clearly remember being a teenager. I remember it very well. I did not have to watch teenagers in order to associate with the characters. In fact, I think it is more of a younger kid's thing to want to watch teenagers. But then this show does not really seem like a kid's show to me, so I don't get it.

I really wish some people in charge of these networks would maybe consider re-thinking how they go about things. I mean, how do they go about making a show like TN? I bet they do some test screenings, followed by the audience filling out some survey cards. I have never been asked to go to a test screening, have you? Sort of makes me wonder who does go. I guess I just sort of wonder why these execs feel they need test screenings at all. I mean, all you have to do is watch the show itself. Are the characters interesting? Is the dialogue realistic? Is the story good?

#2422

bmills

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Posted Feb 24, 2012 @ 5:53 PM

Sounds like Star Trek: Pangea.

I didn't mean that those should be the only dilemmas the colonists experience. Just that if you're going to set your show in the cretaceous, have cretaceous things happen instead of the same old dystopian future and corporate evil that have been staple cliches in recent years. Snip a few minutes of dino footage out of the TN they've given us so far, and it could just as easily have been set 20 years from now in the Amazon basin. Where's the exoticism? Why ship your production company 10,000 miles and your premise 85 million years if you're not going to exploit the setting?

seeing MORE of 2149 would help us

Did anything about the 2149 story surprise you? Do we really need to see a grunge future again when it's been one of the more common science fiction tropes since Bladerunner? Couldn't we all pretty much fill in the details of that world in our sleep? What more could happen there that would make the plight of our colonists any more dire or more clear?

Edited by bmills, Feb 24, 2012 @ 5:54 PM.


#2423

kariyaki

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Posted Feb 24, 2012 @ 8:07 PM

Maybe next season they could give Maddy some actual problems. You know, other than worrying that some geologist is a fake (holy shit was that terrible). Like maybe she could get kidnapped by the sixers or something. Maybe her and Lucas could fuck (because she finally meets an intelligent man). I dunno...just throwing some stuff out there.

If there's a 2nd season, that last one is probably already earmarked for Skye. Or already happened, actually, depending on one's interpretation of how Skye got Lucas to let Josh go.

#2424

Kaoteek

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Posted Feb 24, 2012 @ 9:00 PM

There are two sides to this. On the one hand, no one person makes a TV show, so yes, blaming it all on one person is a bit unfair. But on the other hand, when the same name comes up again and again in conjunction with shows or episodes you dislike, there has to be more than a trivial correlation. When I see Jane Espenson's name on a show I know I'm going to like it, and when I see Marti Noxon's name on a show I know it's going to have some powerful emotional moments but painful lapses in continuity and plausibility. So it's kind of a fair shorthand to say Braga makes this show suck, because I see many of the same flaws that drove me nuts about his other shows, even though he isn't personally making every mistake and misjudgement.


That. Yes, Braga did not create Terra Nova, and probably has to deal with multiple different agendas and expectations on a daily basis, which can't be easy... But still, his track record speaks for itself.

Braga was a writer on Next Gen. His work there was quite good, esp. when paired with Ronald D. Moore.
Braga was EP on Star Trek Voyager, and lead showrunner for the last three seasons. His work as a writer ranged from dreadful (Threshold) to decent (often when writing with a partner). When Ronald D. Moore came onboard after DS9 (which was excellent, and proved that under creative & inspired showrunners, Trek could still be great), he ended up leaving the show because Braga & him couldn't agree on creative matters. Seven Of Nine, IIRC, ended up being more of a Jeri Taylor pet project, as far as writing went, and most of the character development way planned by Taylor during season 4, before Braga officially took over.

Enterprise was Berman & Braga's pet project, on which they virtually had carte blanche, wrote a good 2/3 of the episodes, and claimed to reinvent Trek. It sucked. Big time. It was full of plot holes, it was sub-par writing, and it has no cohesive vision. When Braga gave up on the show, and left, suddenly, it became much better (except for the series finale, which was very bad, & written by Braga & Berman).
Threshold was Braga's baby, with David Goyer. The cast was interesting... but the writing wasn't (alien ! conspiracy !), and the show was uninspired.
Haven't watched the two seasons of 24 he showran, so I won't comment on those.
Flashforward, another Goyer/Braga venture, crashed quickly.

And then Terra Nova. Where Braga was hired due to his history as a writer/EP in the Sci-fi genre, and his two years as a showrunner on Fox's 24.
His mission : make a family show with dinosaurs. Production begins, the pilot is written... and Braga fires his entire writing staff, citing creative differences. And then the other co-shorunner, Angel's David Fury, leaves the boat too, citing... creative differences.
The result : a bland, all-over-the-place sci-fi mess, with really tired plots and characters, weak sfx, but an okay cast.

I mean, i'm willing to cut Braga some slack, since a lot of players are involved in TN, but still, I can't help to notice that the show, once again, fails where most Braga show have failed : the creative side. I have no doubt that Braga is a competent EP, as far as running the production side of the show goes, but I have yet to see something good, or even above average, come out of his various stints as an EP/showrunner.

And that's where the problem is. It's sci-fi, where what matters most is the writing/creativity/world building (and the sfx). Where a showrunner needs to have a vision, a direction to steer his ship in. And it's precisely where Braga struggles as a showrunner. Maybe he should stick to writing. With a partner.

Edited by Kaoteek, Feb 24, 2012 @ 9:03 PM.


#2425

VeryWellDone

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Posted Feb 25, 2012 @ 6:46 AM

The thing I think is odd about Braga, is that despite all his creative failings, he keeps getting jobs. He gets jobs with different networks, and to run some pretty big TV shows. To me that says something more about the networks than is does about Braga. He gets these jobs because the networks think that Braga does do a good job. What we consider a lack of creativity, the networks consider perfect for the mainstream audience. I almost wonder if this guy is brought in to reign in some creativity. Like maybe Fox thought that Braga could temper some of Fury's more outlandish ideas, not matter how cool or creative. I mean, think about Enterprise. UPN really wanted to expand the Star Trek audience. Thus, they did not want it called "Star Trek" and they really wanted to capture a bigger audience than just sci-fi geeks. That is where I think Braga came in. They probably thought he was a guy who could make sci-fi more mainstream. Now we all know that does not work. You only need to read this thread to see why it does not work. But I think Fox does not get that. I think what they saw in Braga is a guy who could help make the show more mainstream. Basically, Fox was too chicken-shit to take a chance. Now I do not know what executives were in charge of this, but I am going to go ahead and assume that they want to keep their jobs. They also do not want to ruin their careers. So instead of taking a chance, they tried to go safe with this show, and it just did not work. But at least they can use that in their defense later. "Well, we wanted it to be a family show...." Ugh. My theory is that the execs simply did not feel that they could take a chance with the amount of money that was going into it, which of course makes no sense. Cheesy TV shows just don't hold an audience anymore, at least not a big one.

If I were in charge of this show, I would have gone full-on adult audience. I would have totally ditched the "family show" thing as that is always a really big constraint on a TV show. I would have explored really big and deep themes about what it means to be human, and what it means to be civilzed. I also would have made it a point to show how isolated and alone all these people really are. There is no sense of "vastness" on this show, when there should be. I would also give the characters REAL conflicts. Like when Maddy thinks her favorite geologist is a fraud, I think every single last one of us was like "who gives a shit."

#2426

spearmom

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Posted Feb 25, 2012 @ 9:06 AM

"He is a fraud" was a far more interesting problem than "my battery is dead"--- which is sad.

#2427

VeryWellDone

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Posted Feb 25, 2012 @ 12:19 PM

"He is a fraud" was a far more interesting problem than "my battery is dead"--- which is sad.


Shit, I almost forgot about that. I cannot believe that actually made it on the show. You have so much you could do with the premise, and the drama was a dead lap top battery. Really says it all, doesn't it?

#2428

maggiebee

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Posted Feb 27, 2012 @ 9:49 AM

If I were in charge of this show, I would have gone full-on adult audience. I would have totally ditched the "family show" thing as that is always a really big constraint on a TV show. I would have explored really big and deep themes about what it means to be human, and what it means to be civilzed. I also would have made it a point to show how isolated and alone all these people really are. There is no sense of "vastness" on this show, when there should be. I would also give the characters REAL conflicts. Like when Maddy thinks her favorite geologist is a fraud, I think every single last one of us was like "who gives a shit."


Actually, I think finding the geologist was a fraud could have been interesting and a big deal. What other evil things might this guy have been up to while he was in TN? What about if his qualifications hadn't been quite up to snuff? The battery episode there was no redeeming.

I think one of the big problems is that you are right, the are not showing these characters isolated and alone. Compared to these people the folks on "Little House on the Prairie" and "The Walton's" lived in hell. Here, there's no worry about food shortages, being eaten, pests. Little, if anything goes wrong. (Except that stupid memory virus). We here about struggles they've had in the past but their issues seem pretty minor now. I think that is why 2149 fascinated so many people. There was the opportunity for epic issues in that arena and they showed us glimpses of it- laws against extra children, a shortage of food and air. A planet dying and humanity with no apparent alternatives. In TN the big news seems to be that soldier boy is horny and wants a girl and said girl is having lap top problems. Oh, the horror.

#2429

VeryWellDone

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Posted Feb 27, 2012 @ 12:58 PM

Actually, I think finding the geologist was a fraud could have been interesting and a big deal. What other evil things might this guy have been up to while he was in TN? What about if his qualifications hadn't been quite up to snuff?


You said it. The premise itself was not horrible, but it needed to fit into Terra Nova better. Discovering that someone you admire might be a fraud is a story that could happen on any show, basically. It could also happen in any period of history, and in any environment, between any two people. This could have been a story on The Tudors or Gossip Girl. Shit, I think if you took out any references to Terra Nova, you could have transported this story word for word to a TNG episode. I just cannot believe that this was one of the episodes of a season that had only 13 episodes AND it was the first season! There was no need for a generic episode yet. There was still so much to do with the world the characters inhabit. I mean, we have such an incomplete fossil record from that time. The writers could have invented some really cool plant or animal and have the story be about that. The theme of the episode could be about how nature ultimately chose humans (who destroyed the planet) over some really cool animal. I dunno, just throwing shit out there. This is why I actually liked the "Birds" episode the most. It's execution was not great, but I thought the premise was really cool. We see these people dealing with a totally unknown environment. We see how they have to face these challenges and the characters become more interesting to us through their reactions.

I just can't understand why the producers of this show don't get this: every single episode needs have a story that is unique to the world Terra Nova. So even though batteries may be in short supply in Terra Nova, needing something and trying to track it down, is a story that could happen anywhere, anytime.

#2430

maggiebee

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Posted Feb 27, 2012 @ 1:22 PM

This is why I actually liked the "Birds" episode the most. It's execution was not great, but I thought the premise was really cool. We see these people dealing with a totally unknown environment. We see how they have to face these challenges and the characters become more interesting to us through their reactions

.

When we did an informal poll here earlier the Birds episode called "Instinct" won hands down. My second favorite was when Taylor and Mira were stuck in the woods. Excruciatingly common premise but it still had them out there in the wild battling nature. In the season finale when they were kicked out of Terra Nova I thought: Finally! They'll be out here for a season and Taylor can show off his mad survival skills and I'll get the show I was expecting to begin with. Uhm, no. I think it comes down to them wanting to give us an extremely watered down version of Little House on the Prairie.