¿Terra? No Va

“Winter Is Coming” shirts are now IN THE STORE!!! [based on this comic]

“¿Terra? No Va” translates to “Terra? Doesn’t Go.” As in, “With such a great premise Terra Nova could go SO MANY AMAZING PLACES, but choses not to.”

I have written at least four pages of stream of consciousness, black and white notebooks from Se7en-style commentary on how I would fix Terra Nova. I am going to try to arrange it into a coherent, readable, non-manifesto format and post it here for your perusal. The bottom line is Terra Nova is a FANTASTIC concept with loads of potential that the writers and producers of the show seem hell bent on completely ignoring. I have several holiday-time, family-style obligations keeping me from organizing my mad ramblings now (plus I’ve been awake for 2ish days and the voices are starting to make some really good points), so check back over the weekend and hopefully I will have completed my transformation into a great and terrible red dragon… posted my thoughts on how to fix Terra Nova.

UPDATE: I have resurrected my TUMBLR and posted my Terra Nova rant all in one fell swoop.

COMMENTERS: Who else could save Terra Nova and how would they do it? How would you save it (which specific issues would you address)? Do you think it doesn’t need saving? That is certainly an opinion one could have… IF THEY WERE A SIXER SPIE! Of course there is no actual punishment in Terra Nova for being a Sixer spie, so… carry on I guess.

[thanks to @doctoravenue, @robgonzo and @dotcomaphobe for the title to today’s comic]

It being holiday-type times and all, I thought I would mention that I have an Amazon wish list. It mostly consists of Blu-Rays right now, since I finally got a Blu-Ray player (mostly to more conveniently stream Netflix). So there’s that if you are interested. If you’d like to send a card or anything else for that matter, the mailing address is on the contact page.

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80 Comments

  1. Brad Wright: Portals are discovered in the badlands that lead to other times and places. Now a team, led by Jim Shannon, consisting of Malcolm, a Sixer, and a young brontosaurus named Veal'c travel through the portals to bring back environmentally sound technology to Terra Nova.

  2. For me it was all over for Terra Nova when they went to the sci-fi crutch of the amnesia episode within the first few episodes!! Amnesia? Already?! Not to mention the loads of other played-out sci fi tropes

    • Another outcome of Whedon taking over: it will be cancelled within 2 seasons. Remember, this is FOX, and they seem to have some kind of vendetta against him.

  3. Lauren Faust: A kid-friendly (but still adult-enjoyable) animated series focusing on the adventures of the Shannon children and their domesticated velociraptor (with scientifically-accurate feathers!).

  4. aaaaw, no dino jesus?

    what about guillermo del toro, with creepy nightmare inducing dinosaurs and twists that always involve personal growth through horrifying nightmare realms

    or tim burton putting a emo twist on everything with johnny depp as the new main character, helena bonham carter as his soon to be main squeeze, also hot topic gets all merchandising rights

  5. Micheal Bay: all dinosaurs are replaced with the dinobot transformers and there is new mandate that all episodes must contain at least 3 explosions. Also, LaBeouf.

  6. Watched the first episode and was pretty underwhelmed. I was more interested in the Blade Runner present than the Jurassic Park past. The "mystery" hook they try to rope you in with in the pilot screamed LOST so loudly it had the opposite effect on me.

  7. Middle panel. That story. MAKE IT SO JOEL! PLEEEEEEASE!! Use your inerwebical powers and make it so!!
    Very awesome comic, it actually makes me want to watch Terra Nova and think of your version 😛

  8. I propose the Fox Networks solution ™. Every week the production staff, writers and director are changed, they are contractually obligated to not speak with any former crew or review any previous shows. The show will be aired at random times during the week, occasionally skipping a week or two without notice. If there is still too many viewers at the end of the season, the next season the actors are not allowed to read the scripts and the camera crew must be blinded and deafened.
    That seems to wrap it up nicely, lets break for lunch, anyone want to split a live kitten?

  9. JJ Abrams! The scripts acting and generally everything about the show stays the same but the screen is overwhelmed with lens flares that permanently blind anyone foolishly persistent enough to still be watching at this point.

      • he not named or listed anywhere so I highly doubt it as post Lost everyone wants to name drop anyone even vaguely connected to the show.

      • nope. he's just working on every other show currently in production. Alcatraz looks like it could be pretty cool.

        he was actually the 4th panel for this comic originally, but I cut him because everything I came up with was just a solid show idea and not really that funny.

    • The colonists are searching for a mysterious substance that will never actually have it's mystery explained in any way. This substance can be used to make cold fusion work.

  10. Tim Kring: First season's OK, but the dinosaurs are kept off-screen for the most part. In successive seasons dinosaurs change from herbivore to carnivore with little to no motivation and characters come through the time portal for one episode, then are never really talked about again.

    • Whats the word for when something is brilliant then you cry? That's what this is.

      Also Tim Kring CONSTANTLY rips off Jurrassic Park, Dinotopia, Primeval and Land of the Lost but consistently claims he's never seen any of them.

      • High praise, Joel. Thank you.

        Also how could I forget the rip-offs?! (The human main camp would be called “Crichton Base” or something, too.)

  11. Rick Berman and Brannon Braga: the people who get sent back are all incompetent idiots with absolutely no training. Every week, a time paradox hits and resets any conflict or development that may have taken place. They run into resource shortages every week but the problem gets conveniently resolved and forgotten by the next episode. No one can interfere with the dino-culture because it's against the law to meddle in the "natural development" of a species. When the ratings go down, they bring in a sexy dino-human hybrid, who looks completely human except with some reptile scales on the eyebrows and the back of the hands, dressed in a skin tight catsuit.

    Also, James Cameron could save the show if we hit him on the head really hard so he forgets the last 20 years and we get late 80's early 90's Terminator and Aliens James Cameron back.

  12. Christopher Nolan: The dinosaurs are no longer cliche'd mindless killing machines- they are now extremely eloquent killing machines, and each time they eviscerate a human, they deliver a chilling soliloquy about societal decay.
    Fans fall madly in love with each dinosaur for their completely unique and unexpected portrayal of dinosaurism, but unfortunately the dinosaurs are never featured for more than 1 episode due to… casting complications.

  13. Stephen King signs on as writer: Strange things start happening, strange unexplainable things, which grow in strangeness and violence until people are waking up covered in blood and dead people are seen in flashes or in mirrors only to vanish an instant later. It turns out that prehistoric Earth is alive, much like the planet in Avatar was alive, only instead of being benevolent and peaceful planet Earth is angry and hateful. It wants all of these time traveling interlopers dead by any means possible, including turning their own deceased against them.

    Eventually the show becomes a cross between Jurassic Park, The Walking Dead and Kingdom Hospital.

  14. Greg Weisman: The show becomes filled with Shakespearean motifs, and constantly emphasizes that the real monster is ignorance and fear.

    Also some guy plays chess with human lives and the group has to beat up a beach at some point.

  15. I watched the finale, and after the twist at the end the first thing that crossed my mind was, "So you just turned this show into LOST? God dammit."

    • They have to get back to the island!

      Funny enough, one of the very early LOST theories was that they had actually travelled back 1000's if not millions of years.

  16. Stephen Moffat:
    The characters meet an obvious Mary Sue author stand-in who comes from their future, where she is a wanted criminal for a crime not yet revealed. She has escaped from prison and travelled back to an earlier point of the Dino past, so has been around way before they arrived and therefore knows and can do everything better than the characters, which comes down in an obnoxious and condescending attitude. Said Mary Sue then takes over the plot of the entire series, which is now all about how the characters´ actions in their present contribute to the birth of Mary Sue in the future. Added twist of pseudo-tragedy will be that Mary Sue will fall in love with one of the characters, who will either turn out to be her future reason for imprisonment or her own daddy.

  17. I don't know about directors, but they should pay Harry Harrison for the rights to "West of Eden" and use that as a plot base. The idea of a parallel universe where intelligent lizard people developed because there was no asteroid wiping them out is way more interesting that Terra Nova.

    A this point I've pretty much given up on Terra Nova, the plot involving unanswered questions (what is really going on) is not moving quick enough and the storyline of the week is boring. Plus I really am not that interested in any of the characters. It makes the first two seasons of Primevil look stellar in comparison. Seems like Terra Nova is a show for teens and kids, a technological step up from Land of the Lost.

    • "the plot involving unanswered questions"

      That's interesting, because it annoys me for just the opposite reason. Everything is so clearly telegraphed. I have been watching the whole series with my gf, and about five minutes in to every episode, she'll describe, in detail, exactly what is going to happen to every character and when.

      I pause, think about it for half a second, then nod. "Well… yeah. I can't argue with that at all."

      Anything that LOOKS like an unanswered question that might actually be cool or eerie in any way ("WHAT'S THAT WRITING? ARE THERE ALIEN VISITORS IN THE PAST? OMG OMG OMG!…. oh…. those are 'equations' are they? Estranged son. I see. Right… okay… do your thing. Whatevs."

  18. Give it to J. Michael Strazinsky with the promise of a five year run, then shorten it to three and it will still be better than anything on TV today.

  19. Just have Geoff Johns keep retconing everything until the whole show is about one minor, obscure character that nobody likes but him.

  20. Are Sid & Marty Kroft still alive? Maybe we can remake it into a modern, slightly darker Land of the Lost (sans Will Ferrell)?

    OR…do the time paradoxes cause Terra Nova to BECOME Land of the Lost? Have we discovered Pylons yet? Are Sleestak human/dino crossbreeds? Are Chaaka's people the savage remnants of the survivors of Terra Nova?

    Also, haven't seen Terra Nova, so I'm basing everything on what I've learned from Joel and other watchers…just like most critics!

    • Nooooo. Terra Nova has the potential to become a modern day SeaQuest, but it is working in reverse.

      This is SeaQuest "Season 3". The plots are ridiculous and unsatisfying at the same time, the characters vaguely remind you of someone you once loved… in another time, another place… but they're just not *quite* right.

      If it goes to more insane special effects next season, we know we'll have entered SeaQuest Season 2. There will be more dinosaurs (FINALLY), but really strange an uninteresting things will be done with them.

      Finally, the season after, we'll reach the original SeaQuest. Sober, hard-sci-fi plotlines, political intrigues, genuine interest in science and exploration. The dinosaurs will be fewer in number (more than we have no, but less than we had during the special effects extravaganza of S2), but they will be far more philosophically and intellectually satisfying. It will have matured, like a fine wine.

      Then it will be cancelled.

  21. Lets give Catherine Hardwicke the show and let her work her black magics. We make the dinosaurs sparkle in the sunlight, and all the humans have to have their shirts off for 90% of the episode. The camera becomes the star character, allowing the couch potatoes at home to project themselves into the empty, bland void that has become the lead. Tom Cat, let eat those kittens.

  22. Since someone above name dropped Greg Weissman, I'm going to nominate Bruce Timm &I Paul Dini: Streamlined sleek building and vehicle design and sci-fi action mixed with spooky-detective-noir in an all-ages presentation. The fans will be hooked!

  23. They could give it to David Lynch, but then instead of dinosaurs they'd be fighting sand worms, trying to protect a deformed worm-baby, and lead by a dancing midget.

    On second thought, let's not give it to David Lynch. He is a silly person.

  24. Neil Gaiman… Ancient Gods and Myths abound in Pre-History Earth; the alterna-earth is heavily influenced by the hands of the Gods.The Terra Novans are some Mayan precurser, the Sixers some Aztecs… or ARE they really the Mayans? Terry Pratchett guest writes and we find out the entire world is actually being carried on the back of 4 brachiosauruses, all standing on the back of a giant plesiosaurus.

    Alternately, the Middle-est Shannon's friendship/fauxmance with Soldier Boy continues to develop as they uncover the dark secret behind Terra Nova. Taylor is a Beldman, who uses the portal to spy on the sadness and lives of people and create their perfect, happy world in order to lull them into submission before eating them/their eyes/their souls.

  25. So, in the Whedon version, is the kindergarten-age daughter secretly a programmed or prophesied raptor-quality butt-kicking machine?

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