Terra Nova – Episode 1 Genesis

Terra-Nova 300I finally got around to watching the pilot. Well done. I’m hooked. I really like the fact that they cast Stephen Lang who played the Colonel Quaritch in Avatar. I guess this is a chance for the tough guy in charge character to redeem himself a bit. I was skeptical at first because this seemed like a SyFy channel Original about a space colony landing on a Jurassic Park planet. Maybe it is to some extent. But I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for the first few seasons until the perpetual chase gets tiresome.

The type of survival depicted in this series differs quite a bit from Falling Skies. Instead of a decimated present we’ve got people going back to a time millions of years before humans to make a fresh start. They didn’t spend a lot of time dissecting all the environmental issues that made their present-day Earth the horror shown in this episode. So we go through the portal and land amongst some very hungry dinosaurs. The colony is setup in stages and all the necessary tech goes to the new time. The people I’ve observed so far are as dependent on their technology as we are today. Granted there appear to be a few Canterbury/Grills/Lundin/Stroud types around but very few. Most people are relying on systems of support from the hospital to everything else. I’m not sure how they’re getting their food yet other than raising animals they brought with them and cultivating crops. I didn’t see any loads of stuff coming through and since people can’t go back I have to wonder if they have a way of communicating any needs to the future.

There are some nice backpacks and other gear. I’ll have to try and identify the brands. I want to see more of a balance between self-reliance and tech. If there is no steady stream of parts and supplies, how are they going to repair equipment? This is a village. There might be a way to set up a wafer fab to produce chips to replace stuff that wears out but that seems a bit anachronistic. We’d have to see what future generations come up with as far as technology goes.

This theme has been played before in science fiction. There was planet Sarpeidon in the 1969 Original Star Trek episode “All Our Yesterdays,” where the sun was going supernova so the inhabitants migrated to the past. There was no colony in that story. The people used a library to choose periods of history in which to live out their lives and they had to be converted by a central computer to be compatible with those times. I don’t believe this series will be pulling any ideas from this Trek episode. It looks more like how an Earth colony on some far flung world would run.

The only incompatibilities between colonists and their environment I see are people who are from our paradigm of else-reliance instead of that of our ancestors which was based on self-reliance. We’ve seen just from the natural disasters that we encounter that under such a setup there will always be those who fail to survive. That does not mean that everyone who has had training and maintained a supply of food and tools will survive. However I believe such people have a better chance at being alive on the other side of whatever comes their way.

I just hope this series can survive the usual suspects that plague everything on the air.

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