Wednesday, March 07, 2012


So, Terra Nova was cancelled. This was not exactly a shock, nor indeed was it a shame.

Actually, on this one I find myself in the slightly odd position that I was actively hoping for it to be cancelled. In general, I don't do this, because even if I don't like the show, other people probably do, and I can just as easily go watch something else.

(Although I have absolutely no interest in Twilight, them making the movies doesn't affect me in the slightest. Except the fifth one - the notion of splitting a single book into two movies is fundamentally wrong, and should be stamped out when encountered. And that goes for "Harry Potter", too - a good edit job would have eliminated any need for that awful seventh movie.)

But Terra Nova was a bit different from the norm. See, it was a show with a great concept, which was after all the reason that I watched. It was just that the execution of the show was pretty lousy - by the third episode it was already actively annoying me.

The thing is that that makes the show almost perfect fodder for an RPG campaign. It allows the GM to steal the things that work, ditch the things that don't, and then take the solid concept in whatever direction they want.

The only other prerequisite for this to work really well is for the show to last just long enough to give a sense of the setting, so players can easily get onto the same page, but also getting cancelled soon enough that the amount of lore doesn't become unmanageable. This is especially important if the GM wants to throw the existing material out - the more of it there is, and more tightly woven, the harder it is to discard.

(This is what separates Terra Nova from Star Trek: Voyager, in fact. Voyager also had a really strong concept and a lousy execution, but because Voyager lasted for the full seven years it is nearly impossible to 'reset' it for a campaign. The best you could do is have another starship thrown across the galaxy and have to make their way home... and I did that particular campaign back in high school.)

So, the cancellation of Terra Nova works out really well for me. And now I have another campaign concept to add to my list...

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