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Summer-Glau.com Forum » Filmography » Other movies/shows » Terra Nova and other sci-fi shows try to be family dramas
Terra Nova and other sci-fi shows try to be family dramas
FordStaffDate: Friday, 21 Oct 2011, 02:06 | Message # 16
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So would you suggest Babylon 5 as a good show to watch? I have read about it and may be interested, but since it is old I can not find any place online to watch it.

I have to agree with the space opera as a superior sub-section of Science Fiction. There are just so many options that earth-based (present time or not) science fiction simply can not explore.

Quote
The whole thing was like watching a gigantic movie.


It seems that this is not the objective with television shows. Which is a shame at least re-watch-ability wise.

Since we are discussing story arcs I should mention a show that does story arcs extremely well despite being a sitcom. Arrested Development has overarching story arcs (and a few over only a couple episodes). Literally almost EVERY single resolution of the arcs is foreshadowed pretty much at some point in the show. Even revelations of the final episode were already hinted at in the very FIRST episode. I suggest this show to anyone who likes comedy, it has a far more tightly knitted plot than most shows in genres that typically have overarching story arcs.


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BlaziusDate: Friday, 21 Oct 2011, 02:37 | Message # 17
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Quote (FordStaff)
So would you suggest Babylon 5 as a good show to watch? I have read about it and may be interested, but since it is old I can not find any place online to watch it.


I would, I find it brilliant. Its not that action heavy so if you are rather in the Stargate crowd you won't appreciate it that much. But if you like story and character development and mysterious things and awesome characters rather than just technobabble it rocks. The ending is like if Shakespeare wrote it, its just plain beautiful.

Quote (FordStaff)
Since we are discussing story arcs I should mention a show that does story arcs extremely well despite being a sitcom. Arrested Development has overarching story arcs (and a few over only a couple episodes). Literally almost EVERY single resolution of the arcs is foreshadowed pretty much at some point in the show. Even revelations of the final episode were already hinted at in the very FIRST episode. I suggest this show to anyone who likes comedy, it has a far more tightly knitted plot than most shows in genres that typically have overarching story arcs.


From your description you'd definitely love B5 minus the comedy part( althught there are comedic elements here and there- see Londo and G'kar biggrin ). Maybe you can buy it cheap somewhere since its old, I'd say its worth it.

I don't really know why they don't do brilliant shows like this anymore.


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FordStaffDate: Friday, 21 Oct 2011, 03:19 | Message # 18
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Quote
Its not that action heavy


That is quite fine with me if the story is interesting. I love Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction which is 90% dialogue so I think I can handle action light fiction biggrin . Besides most action is not even done well anyways. The only pure action scene that I can think of in an instant that truly wowed me were Summer Glau's fight scenes in Serenity. Now those were well done action scenes to say the least.

Quote
But if you like story and character development and mysterious things and awesome characters rather than just technobabble it rocks.


Well now, I am going to have to get my hands on this.


Keep Flying - Not much, but it's enough.
 
chrisdvanne_Date: Monday, 09 Jan 2012, 01:22 | Message # 19
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Terra Nova has had so-so ratings the whole season so that everyone is wondering if the serie will be renewed; Fox’s entertainment president, Kevin Reilly, said more about the renewal at the Winter Television Critics Association’s (TCA) press tour :

Quote (Kevin Reilly)
Regarding the status of fellow bubble show Terra Nova, Reilly said a decision will have to come down in the coming weeks. “We’ll decide very soon, because it does need to get back into production in the next month,” he said. “If [it doesn't come back], we made money on it [and] the audience enjoyed it.” Reilly acknowledged that the show “was hunting for itself creatively through the season.”

Source : TV Line
Don't even try to deduce from that statement which choice does Reilly support because, as i showed on numerous occasion on the forum, such press releases are a web of lies.


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wolverine13Date: Monday, 09 Jan 2012, 13:11 | Message # 20
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I think Terra Nova did find itself by the end of the season, the story lines were good, it should get a second season by the way! but it's FOX you never know!!!

as for the Fringe i will dissapointed very much if they cancel it!!!
 
chrisdvanne_Date: Monday, 09 Jan 2012, 13:50 | Message # 21
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You must recognize they bored us with the family-oriented plots (hence this thread btw); if only the characters, the family drama and the ships were engaging it would not have been a problem (see TSCC) but it was boring. If only the ratings were high, saying it was boring would be inappropriate but it was not the case.

Not enough has been shown about the discovery of a new world and the struggling for survival in a new and hostile world. The only good thing was the bromance between Jim Shannon and Commander Nathaniel Taylor.

I watch and enjoy the show and i hope it will be renewed. We should know the answer very soon.


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The1RussterDate: Monday, 09 Jan 2012, 16:38 | Message # 22
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Fringe failings on Fridays is Foxes fault for the move, and the writer's and producer's fault for rebooting the series at the start of the season. It's like going back to the beginning with the characters, but still dealing with the problems as they were at end of S3. I really don't see this program as a family show. Its aimed more at the intellectual nerd with just enough romantic drama to keep it interesting, but then they took that part away from the show. My thinking is, they need to wrap it up at the end of this season. They killed the show with the move and changing up the characters like they did for the new time-line RIP Fringe

I like Terra Nova, but I like it more for what it could be than for what it is. If you know what I mean. The family situations tend to be too sappy, sugary, even cloying at times. The bad guy, I never remember his name only that he's Taylor's son, is so bad, as in badly written and badly acted. This little twerp is the guy causing the problems? A psychotic with daddy issues! Oh please! Half the time I expect him to walk through a scene twirling a non-existing mustache and swinging a cane. My only hope with the start of next season, if there is one, the stories become darker and grittier and more about the survival of this colony of humans under harsh conditions and less about the potential threat of some conglomeration from 2149 raping the past for all the resources it can grab. That plot is so transparent I'm surprised the show isn't sponsored by the Occupiers and some environmentalist group. It's Avatar and Fern Gully with walk-on roles for the dino's from Jurassic Park. I t could be and should be better.


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Message edited by The1Russter - Monday, 09 Jan 2012, 16:41
 
chrisdvanne_Date: Monday, 09 Jan 2012, 18:02 | Message # 23
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Quote (The1Russter)
The bad guy, I never remember his name only that he's Taylor's son, is so bad, as in badly written and badly acted.

Agree.
The sixers were supposed to be the bad guys then we got hints they're not necessary bad (reminds me of Alphas and the Red Flag organisation btw); not sure were to stands now but i hope the writers have a clear idea of what they want; Taylor's son is non-existent so far as you mentioned.


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chrisdvanne_Date: Tuesday, 06 Mar 2012, 14:33 | Message # 24
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Fox has cancelled high profile (and presumably) hight budget Terra Nova reported THR today; another scifi show to add to the long list of cancelled shows i watched and Fox's Alcatraz should follow the same path very soon.

As usual in this case, the studio behind the production, 20th Century Fox Television, will try to find another network that could air a second season but my two-cent is that it won't happen.

I have said on this forum that Terra Nova was cheap on dinosaurs and filled with (boring) family drama; FOX tried to lure a broader audience but failed in the adventure as well in the overarching mystery department.

The actors are free to look after new roles but star Stephen Lang didn't wait for the final decision to land a three-episode-arc on USA Network's In Plain Sight.


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BlaziusDate: Tuesday, 06 Mar 2012, 17:43 | Message # 25
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Quote (chrisdvanne)
I have said on this forum that Terra Nova was cheap on dinosaurs and filled with (boring) family drama; FOX tried to lure a broader audience but failed in the adventure as well in the overarching mystery department.


Just to ponder a bit more on the family drama aspect. Our most dear Available for users only friend Tricia as we all know got her fame from sensual scenes in BSG. Now BSG itself wasn't really what I'd call a typical sci-fi as the overabundance of family drama, daddy issues, who had sex with whom aspects pretty much drowned the sci-fi aspects. I'm pretty sure that even Terra Nova got half of its ideas from it to merge soap opera with sci-fi. The idea in BSG should have been the same as in Terra Nova to lure a broader audience and it seemingly lead the show to success.

Now why is that exactly that BSG became successful while other shows with a similar setup didn't? Did the audiences preferences change that much over time? Or does Tricia really has such an awesome body that its worth watching her that much? TBH I've never understood myself what made BSG that awesome. Was it more accessible to casual sci-fi fans while still being in space or what?


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The1RussterDate: Tuesday, 06 Mar 2012, 18:04 | Message # 26
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Quote (chrisdvanne)
Fox has cancelled high profile (and presumably) hight budget Terra Nova reported THR today; another scifi show to add to the long list of cancelled shows i watched and Fox's Alcatraz should follow the same path very soon.

As usual in this case, the studio behind the production, 20th Century Fox Television, will try to find another network that could air a second season but my two-cent is that it won't happen.

I have said on this forum that Terra Nova was cheap on dinosaurs and filled with (boring) family drama; FOX tried to lure a broader audience but failed in the adventure as well in the overarching mystery department.

The actors are free to look after new roles but star Stephen Lang didn't wait for the final decision to land a three-episode-arc on USA Network's In Plain Sight.


Trying to appeal to a broader audience is a good thing. So much of sci-fi is aimed at a niche audience its nice to see some effort to bring in other viewers. Unfortunately for Terra Nova, the formula was flawed. Wholesome family to bring in family viewrs, B+ for effort, C+ for results; People from doomed future travel to Jurassic times to rebuild civilization, A+ for awesome idea, C for keeping them dependent on future and its technology; The enemy, 6er's B+ but too Mad max for my tastes, The bad guys leader, rebellious son of Terra Nova leader F; Dinosaurs A, their sporadic use for high tension dramatic interludes C. Terra Nova had a family, but it was plain vanilla, with maybe a few sprinkles that for all appearances fell off the neighbors dish of ice cream.

FOX doesn't quite get it and for a network that's been around for 20 to 30 years you'd think they would learn something by now.

Case in point, Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles. What little advertising and mention I saw in my location during its run, always emphasized Terminator! Like the only aspect of the show was, Terminators! Yet what grabbed me and held me to the show, was the characters and their relationships. The family dynamics, dysfunctional, holding together for reason alone, John Connor, and the constant struggle to find the enemy while struggling to keep family together. A mom's fear that her son, who would one day lead man-kind in the war against machines, might be in love with the machine in their midst. A machine which exhibits little emotional expression until pushed, and then her only concern is about John. Derek, John's uncle from the future, doesn't trust any machines, especially Cameron, until the day he gradually begins to learn Cameron can be trusted more than the girl he loved. IN the midst, John Connor. Not yet the man he will be, but no longer the boy he once was. Struggling to find his place in his family, in this world. Struggling against these confusing feelings he has for Cameron and rebelling by going out with a strange girl against his mother's wishes. And out there, as this family struggles to hold together and prepare and fight the enemies around them, one enemy stands alone, unseen, unknown, building something strange and amazing in its basement. Was any of this mentioned by FOX in pushing the show? Not in any of the advertising I saw. One thing clear from their advertising, they weren't paying attention to the story and only cared about Terminator of the week stories.

They missed the ball with their advertising on TSCC as a family drama, and they missed the ball in designing Terra Nova as a family drama. You'll never get a TV network exec to understand this. The group of people who answer to him are like the blind men in the room with an elephant. Each only sees what they think they see, but no one in the room is smart enough to remove the blindfold to see the whole picture. Its up to the chief executive to discern from their individual reports what that thing is in the room and act accordingly. You see, he isn't smart to go into the room himself to see the bigger picture either. All he has is a stack reports and a list of numbers from those inside to base his decisions on.

Now if we could just get them to understand we are a sophisticated and intelligent group of people, they'd stop dumping all this other garbage on us that they think is quality programming.


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chrisdvanne_Date: Tuesday, 06 Mar 2012, 18:12 | Message # 27
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When i was talking about boring family drama, i was refering to "No Ordinary Family" or to "The Cape" and not to rel drama like TSCC or BSG; the big difference is that TN, NOF or TC were marketed for a young audience and full of teen angst while TSCC or BSG kind of family drama was aimed to a more adult audience.

More, while the family drama was only on one level in the first shows ("Will little Zoe managed to fight her fear of spiders?" in TN or "will the teens in NOF ever get laid"), it was always linked to larger aspects of the show in TSCC or BSG (How will John's relationship with a "normal" girl will affect his mission and his relation with Cameron, for example).

I think BSG managed to find a perfect balance between space battle, family drama and overarching mystery (who are the 13 cylons?). Tricia was an important element of BSG but with such an ensemble cast, the success of the show cannot be conferred to her only.


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Message edited by chrisdvanne - Tuesday, 06 Mar 2012, 18:13
 
The1RussterDate: Tuesday, 06 Mar 2012, 19:52 | Message # 28
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It got kind of lost in my rant, but TSCC's family drama was firmly tied to the bigger picture and it never got a mention. Terra Nova's family drama had a smaller connection to the bigger picture and it was heavily pushed.

Terra Nova tried to be a family drama with scifi aspects and despite advertising emphasizing that, it failed, and if viewers can be relied on, it was because of its weak stories.

TSCC was a sci-fi drama with strong family aspects and the only part of the show heavily advertised was the sci-fi, yet it was the characters and their relationships which kept us the viewers involved. Its failure wasn't that it didn't have a strong fan base, it failed from FOX's mishandling of the show and failure to market the show to a broader audience by ignoring the other aspects of the show that made it great.

"The Cape" just had bad writing or poor execution. It had its moments, but the writing was on the wall in its first episode. We just tried to ignore it in hopes it would get better, but it didn't. I never watched "No Ordinary Family" or BSG so I cannot comment on either.

That's my opinion.

Tscc tried and failed. Terra Nova tried and failed. But both for reasons, many of which, we viewers aren't privy to know.

Three key things play into how well a show does. 1) Execution: writing, directing, production quality, actors and acting. 2)Marketing: selling to the right market, right time-slot for that market. 3)Faith: how long a network will keep a show on the air to not only find its audience, but to grow an audience. There could be more, but I like the nice round number of 3 which represents stability. If all of those are executed well, the program holds up and has stability. If any of those three legs begins to crumble, the show will become unstable and fail.

P.S.
If there was something in that quote referencing 'boring' I didn't see it. I was only adding my comments and making comparisons regarding the cancellation of Terra Nova. It usually takes me a while to compose my posts, so at times I select quote for others to use as reference for the general topic, especially if a new one springs up in the interval. That used to happen to me a lot in the old days on the Red Wiki, when it was good and busy.


Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

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Message edited by The1Russter - Tuesday, 06 Mar 2012, 20:08
 
chrisdvanne_Date: Tuesday, 06 Mar 2012, 20:11 | Message # 29
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Sorry, Russ, my answer was for Blazius but you type and write in English quickly then i do and i didn't see your post; on the contrary, i think your message highlight very clearly the close link between the family drama and the bigger picture in TSCC.

I agree 100% with your rant except maybe for the part about the studios execs; i don't think they're that blind (even if i keep repeating that because they don't take the chance to hire Summer Glau in bigger projects).

Also i'm not so sure about the real weight of the "sophisticated and intelligent group of people" you're talking about, until a scifi show proves me wrong and reiterates what Lost and Heroes did a few years ago.


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chrisdvanne_Date: Tuesday, 27 Mar 2012, 11:56 | Message # 30
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Internet streaming service Netflix won't save Terra Nova from extinction, reported TV Guide.

Not only the $4 million-per-episode costs were a problem but “international broadcasters may not have been keen on the idea of Netflix serving as the sole US ‘broadcaster’ of Terra Nova. Netflix, still new to the original programming game, doesn’t carry the same marketing heft or cache that a TV network does, and international outlets perhaps weren’t sure they wanted to commit to another season without an actual broadcast or cable channel attached.”

Also i've already reported here that certain members of the cast, while still under contract with TN, have signed for other gigs.


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