Bossa Nova, no… Chevy Nova… no…

So, on Monday the series Terra Nova premiered on Fox… I wasn’t watching it, choosing to watch one of the most boring football games I’ve seen so far this season (Cowboys versus Redskins, or Battle of the Kickers). To be honest, I have doubts that any SF series can last a season on Fox — they seem to have a hard time wrapping their heads around the genre in the first place (re: Firefly). In this case, I’m not even turned on by the premise:

In the year 2149 the world is dying.  The planet is overdeveloped, overcrowded and overpolluted.  With the majority of plant and animal life extinct, devotion to science has brought mankind to the brink of destruction, but has also provided its only hope for salvation.  Knowing there is no way to reverse the damage to the planet, a coalition of scientists has managed to open up a fracture in the space-time continuum, creating a portal to prehistoric Earth.  This doorway leads to an amazing world, one that allows for a last-ditch effort to save the human race… possibly changing the future by correcting the mistakes of the past. (Source:

I’ll admit, I’m not giving this series a chance at all, but this isn’t a foaming-at-the-mouth-rant where I demand something better. The show may actually be good, given it’s Jurrasic Park thematics and visuals — it doesn’t appeal to my aesthetic. The whole “flee a dying Earth to start over” trope just doesn’t catch my interest. That said, I did end up questioning/poking holes in the premise.

1) If the colony is being time-shunted into our own past, it’s doomed to either fail or the colonists go post-human without leaving any evidence of their existence. Otherwise, the folks in 2145 would have found fossilized remains or some such (maybe). On a side note, I question if the colony is equipped to maintain its technology until it can produce it for itself. I’m guessing as plot twist the time portal will break down, and the colony will have to somehow “make do.” Depending on what they have, it could be a good chance that they’ll end up going primitive once things break down.

This assumes that history cannot be diverted, a concept used in the film The Terminator. You could have an alternate timeline or some such.

2) Could they have picked a point in time after the extinction event that ends the Cretaceous Age? Actually, this is a really minor point. If they’re going back 85,000,000 years, they’ve got about 20 million years before things go boom. Any human presence will be long gone by then.

3) If they have the resources to send a ten stage colonial effort millions of years into the past, why can’t they fix what’s wrong with the Earth, or utilize the technology to establish colonies on other habitable worlds?

It occurs to me that the amount of resources needed to open a temporal passage spanning at least 65 million years would be enormous. You’d be tapping fusion at least, if not antimatter as a power source, and even then how much of a power infrastructure are you going to need? We’re able to get a look at distant planetary systems now, so a century and change later you’d think we’d have found some place that doesn’t have a Starbuck’s.

The progression of technology — at least to me — would be: Slower Than Light travel –> Faster Than Light travel –> Time Travel/Post-Human Ascension. Granted, in many SF novels the whole Post-Human/Singularity concept could hit at any point on or after the Information Age, but time travel is pretty far out there on the tech tree.

I don’t know how or even if those questions I have can be answered in the context of the series. The third one would have to go by the wayside for sake of the plot, considering there’s no going back. The second question is largely irrelevant, and the first one … well, no telling how long the show will last or if the writers have an end in mind.

So, yeah, I’m taking a neutral stance on this show to a general lack of interest. If you enjoyed it, then make sure you let the network folks responsible for making the show know that you dig it — and do it before they announce a cancellation…


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