Shows like Doctor Who and Quantum Leap are entirely based on the premise that they send their lead characters all throughout various points in time. Terra Nova isn't jumping all over the place, but instead just sends a handful of people 85 million years back, in some sort of alternate timeline, in order to save a few members of mankind. While they seemingly can't save the folks in our existence who can't see the sun, or breathe on their own or eat oranges or have more than two children without getting arrested, they do have a plan on saving humans as a race by sending them through a portal back 85 million years to create a new society. Or something. We're a little fuzzy on the details.
Why not send folks back to an alternate timeline that's only 50 or 100 years ago, or to the Industrial Revolution, or to the colonial period, or the Renaissance, or, you know, any time that included a modicum of civilization instead of the dino-infested Cretaceous period? And how is it that people can't return from the past but messages can still be sent to the future timeline? It's all so much more complicated than falling into the abyss and ending up playing with dinosaurs Land of the Lost-style. So while we're still trying to wrap our head around Terra Nova's confusing logic, we've compiled a few other somewhat recent examples of time travel on TV shows that just went to waste. We've left off Charmed (because those witches went back to change history all the time with varying results), anything to do with Urkel's time machine and Family Guy, because using a tanning bed to time travel was intentionally be comical.
Turning Japanese (Heroes)
Aside from bringing Adam Monroe/Takezo Kensei into the fold, Hiro's entire jaunt to the 17th century was quite annoying and was the beginning of a downhill spiral that involved Hiro engaging in some inconsequential romance that didn't involve that girl from Glee, and learning to send notes via ancient scrolls.
Back to the '70s (Lost)
We appreciated the jumpsuits, and the way people dealt with younger versions of people they knew, and their lack of modern conveniences, but after all was said and done, did we need to be hopping along in a time shift in order to arrive to the conclusion we got? We blame the frozen donkey wheel for this one.
Tribbles: the Ewoks of Star Trek (Star Trek: Deep Space 9)
We never saw the point of this aside from "Hey, we got this cool technology that allows us to digitally insert our actors into classic footage so we might as well use it." That and because they must have wanted to capitalize on the success of the always adorable Tribbles. Was it a fun episode? Sure. Necessary? Not really.
We're On a Boat (The X-Files)
If you go back in time, you can totally make out with a girl that is a doppelgänger of the partner that you've wanted to kiss for ages. Sure, it was dressed up with Nazis and period clothing and involved Mulder falling into the ocean of the Bermuda Triangle and winding up in 1938, but really this trip through time was all about the kiss and his present day confession of love.
Somebody Save Me (Smallville)
Lana Lang gets hit by a bus and a devastated Clark can't possibly leave her for dead, so he finds a way to restart the day and save her life. Only to have his dad get killed in her place. That's a major downgrade. Lesson learned: never save Lana. Ever.
Just how insanely expensive was the Terra Nova pilot? Find out.
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