Prediction: Terra Nova will have dinosauroids

April 27, 2011

Image borrowed from here.

This isn’t the most perceptive prognostication of all time, and others probably have or will come up with it independently, but I still wanted to get it out there. The upcoming TV show Terra Nova, about a family sent back to the Cretaceous as pioneers from an ecologically wrecked future Earth, will have dinosauroids. I haven’t heard any leaks to that effect, it just seems inevitable. My reasoning is as follows:

It’s awfully hard not to read Terra Nova as Avatar, with time substituted for space to yield the exotic backdrop. Especially with Stephen Lang returning as Colonel Quaritch or whatever they’re calling him this time (“Out there beyond that fence every living thing that goes from the ground up, the trees down, or WAIRs wants to kill you and eat your eyes for jujubes”). Which is what made me realize that they’re going to have dinosauroids. Pandora without the Navi is just a prettier version of the Amazon.

There are only so many human vs. dumb dinosaur plots one can do, and human vs. human plots make the show a normal drama set in a jungle. I am certain that there will be a Treachery plotline, probably of the form Whoever Controls Mankind’s Bolt-Hole in the Past Controls Mankind. And there will be Difficulties Back Home, and Things That We Didn’t Know About This World That Can Kill Us, apart from the Random Dino Danger. But let’s face it, swap out “dinosaurs” for “lions” or “blizzards” and those plotlines would work just as well if the last humans are escaping to the Serengeti or Antarctica. Going into the past brings up the possibility of Them–the intelligent non-human adversary–and the writers will not be able to resist Their siren song.

And it might not be a siren song. It might be a thundering anthem of pure awesome–think BSG with dinos. I don’t think it’s impossible to do a dinosauroid storyline that is smart, or that the show will necessarily be bad because it involves dinosauroids. I’m just pointing out that the eventual arrival of the dinosauroids is as certain as the presence of the Outwardly Tough But Inwardly Vulnerable Hottie and the Lovable Doofus. If the show was set on a moon base, the humans would end up fighting intelligent machines and/or aliens. We’re dealing with inexorable laws of mass entertainment here.

There is a small chance that They will be aliens (probably time-traveling aliens, if so, but Enterprise already did that), but my money is on dinosauroids. They might not look like scaly humanoids–They might just be normal-looking raptors with australopithecine or better intelligence–but I’ll bet you a big pile of SV-POW!bucks that They will be there, and before the curtain drops on Season 1 (addendum: if They haven’t appeared sooner, someone will find a dinosauroid arrowhead at the very end of the season finale).

Any takers?


If you’d like to read more about dinosauroids, Darren Naish has left a vast trail of dinosauroid-related posts through the blogosphere. In addition to the post linked above, check out this, this, and and this, for starters. Also note that sauropods have not been ignored in the quest for speculative intelligent dinosaurs, as previously covered here.

8 Responses to “Prediction: Terra Nova will have dinosauroids”

  1. Andrea Cau Says:

    I believed to be the only one that have speculated this…
    Perhaps, the dinosauroids are those that created the Holocene-Santonian time-bridge. ;-)

  2. Zach Miller Says:

    Oh, I assume there will some kind of “Others” on Terra Nova, but I doubt they have the budget to do Golum-calibur CGI characters. Alternatives:

    1) A Predator-like race arrives in the past (maybe it’s their present) and sets up camp. Hijinks ensue.

    2) The Voth (from Voyager!) return through time for largely the same reason humans did. Hijinks ensue.

    3) Skeelaks. Terra Nova just looks like an updated version of Land of the Lost anyway.

  3. Matt, have you ever watched the sometimes-decent Earth2 program that aired for a few seasons way back when we’d like to admit we were younger and more handsome? From what I'[ve heard, TN is going to be a lot like that:

    A village-sized group, almost a small city, is transported to a new frontier (time, place, planet, whatever) where they must contend with the “alien” biology and geography with limited tools and knowledge. Obviously, like the plots of Lost and Land of the Lost (not the crapshoot that was Will Farrell’s contribution to that show), there would tend to be an opposing element that the cast must contend with. This is, unlike LotL, not about a single family, but like Lost, a whole disparate group: They can have contention among themselves, factioning, etc., to be spiced up by flashback sequences (a la Earth 2 and Lost) without ever introducing a native, alien, dinosauroid, etc. element to go all fantasy on a sci-fi flick.

    Seriously, these shows write themselves and don’t require aliens or whatever to contribute to them, especially with J. J. Abrams’ work to add to the mix.

  4. Dave Godfrey Says:

    I think a better idea might be “yet another bunch of humans arrive”. or even “there’s a bunch of humans already here”. You still get to have the “we’re not alone” cliffhanger, but without resolving it with the bleedin’ Sea Devils

  5. Matt Wedel Says:

    Oh, I completely agree with Jaime and Dave that dinosauroids are not required to make such a show interesting. I just don’t think the writers will be able to resist.

  6. Nathan Myers Says:

    Odd, isn’t it, that they popped back into the Cretaceous, and not a fair piece after it. They must figure that their descendants will, by the time the asteroid threatens, be equipped to divert it. How ironic it will be when those same descendants end up causing the collision, and prehistory is stitched up neatly without a seam. But so predictable.

    Let’s see if their graveyard is right in the middle of what will become the Yucatan.

  7. […] descendent, and it's use in science-fiction. Well imagine my surprise when I found this article, Prediction: Terra Nova will have dinosauroids! Hah! What would you think of that! A dinosauroid in Terra Nova! To be clear, IMO, this would […]

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