October 27, 2011
Terra No (2)
With the treacle and dreck filtered out, the stories so far on Terra Nova have been retreads of average fare on Stargate or Star Trek. Unfortunately, they're constantly bogged down by the "Wesley Crusher" syndrome and the even deadlier Sarah Connor Chronicles syndrome.
The former tries to "connect" with the teen demographic with a wimpy teenage character whose presence shatters suspension of disbelief. The latter tries to "broaden" the appeal by layering on soap opera plots (as if dinosaurs and killer robots didn't provide plenty of conflict as is).
A running joke on Buffy is that the Apocalypse is right around the corner and all she cares about is getting a date to the prom. Some people in Hollywood apparently don't think that's a joke (memo to Hollywood writers: stop trying to relive and romanticize your high school years on my time).
The problem is further compounded by having critical story elements depend on said teenagers doing stupid stuff. The result is to turn off the core geek demographic, who want to be intellectually challenged, not pandered to, and who want to leave their idiot teenage years far behind.
Discussing the politics of ressentiment, Daniel Foster gets right to the point:
Nietzsche was correct to point out that the leaders of men, the successful few--you might even call them the one percent--are too busy acting, doing, and accomplishing to complain about their "emotional crises."
(Incidentally, one of my favorite names for a conceptual alien race is the "Nietzscheans" on Andromeda.) Or as a reviewer on IMDB puts it,
I don't want to watch another show about the estranged dad, the angsty son, the nerdy daughter, the innocent child, the worried mom, the hot girlfriend and the over-confident military guy.
To be sure, Stephen Lang as Commander Nathaniel Taylor makes a pretty good Nietzschean. But this James Kirk or Jack O'Neill has no Spock or Samantha Carter to act as a counterweight. And no mission to get the blood moving every morning, besides babysitting a bunch of listless ingrates.
A competent, go-getting alpha male with no goals. A supposedly brilliant doctor who spends all her time treating oopsies and dealing with whiny teenagers. Man, that's so depressing. Scotty, hurry up and fix the transporter and beam me back to dystopia!
Terra No (1)
Apocalypse not now
No way to wage a war