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Re: Dinosaur Revolution Review



Sim,

You are right, of course... As I said, I do have this habit of asking
for and expecting/anticipating too much from the dinosaur programs.
Furthermore, I am fully aware of what Tom says about how the
production of these shows, from conception to airing, works. You'd
think at this point I'd realize the futility of asking "for the moon".
I just like to have some semblance of accuracy in my fiction ;-)
(probably why I freakn' love Star Trek and adhore Star Wars, etc).

That being said, I fully admit the situation could be much, much
worse.. Walk up to the average person on the street in the US and ask
them who we fought in WWI.  And then follow that up with the question
of why we fought them...

The answers you'd get will make you appreciate that we even have the
paleo programs we have.

So, I guess I should be happy that someone is even trying at this
point and settle on what we get... regardless of the scientific
calibre.

Kris



On Sat, Sep 17, 2011 at 7:39 PM, Sim Koning <simkoning@msn.com> wrote:
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>> Kris Wrote:
>
>> Sadly, "joe public" can, and often is, *that* ignorant. Just tell
>> anyone you meet on the street that you study dinosaurs and pay close
>> attention to 96.8% of the reactions (you get an "awwwww, that's
>> cute"-type of look).
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>
>
>   Wow, where do you live? Because where I live close to half (including 
> family members) would tell me that I'm going straight to
> hell for promoting evolution and the other half would be incredulous when it 
> comes to science in general. The latter half would be highly dismissive about 
> *any* claims made about an animal that has been dead for a 155 million years. 
> So, I'm not really worried about them swallowing every little detail of this 
> show as fact. What I am worried about is them not being the least bit 
> interested in evolution and natural history in general.  I am not worried 
> about the rather small demographic of teenage dinosaur fans that watch it, as 
> they will likely be on some 'Jurassic Park' forum the next day picking apart 
> every little mistake. So, in short, I envy you for living wherever you are...
>
>
>
>   I understood from the beginning that this show was basically meant to be a 
> more accurate version of Disney's 'Dinosaur', or more specifically, an 
> animated version of this comic book> http://youtu.be/X0Nz0y7qXFw. Which I 
> personally thought was great. The model work in 'Dinosaur Revolution' was 
> superior and more accurate than any BBC doc I've seen so far; that includes 
> 'Planet Dinosaur'. Of course, being a made for TV show with a restricted 
> budget on a network that has been steadily dumbing down its programs didn't 
> help, and so it has its flaws. But, since I didn't have to pay anything to 
> watch it, I'm not going to complain too much.
>
>
>
>> while performing Looney Tune antics and stupid pet tricks... Not that
>> these were actual, living, breathing animals that have been brought to
>> life using the latest scientific knowledge...
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>   This show was meant to be a form of lighthearted  xenofiction, not a David 
> Attenborough ducumentary.  For that you have 'Planet Dinosaur'... well sort 
> of. I mean it's almost like complaining that 'Bambi' was a horrible movie 
> because its portrayal of North American wildlife wasn't accurate , and so 
> it's misinforming people all over about white tailed dear.
>
>
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>   Just to be clear, I do understand your disappointment, since you seem to 
> have been expecting something rather different than what you got. But the 
> show, for what it was meant to be, wasn't a disaster, and I thought the T. 
> rex 'End Game' episode was great. I thought the 2nd episode was pretty good 
> as well. I missed the 3rd episode so I can't comment on that one. I'm pretty 
> exited about 'Planet Dinosaur' and I do prefer its more intelligent 
> scientific approach. However, on the other hand, I do think there is a place 
> for a less serious more family friendly show that helps get a younger 
> audience as well as some not so paleo-savy adults interested in the subject 
> as well.
>
>
>
> BTW if you think 'Joe Public' is bad where wherever you are, you should come 
> to Michigan and try telling someone you are also interested in human 
> evolution and see what kind of reactions you get ; ).
>
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> Sim Koning
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>> Date: Sat, 17 Sep 2011 13:19:35 +0200
>> From: saurierlagen1978@gmail.com
>> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
>> Subject: Re: Dinosaur Revolution Review
>>
>> Unfortunately, I have a more pessimistic view of "joe public" and the
>> strong influence these types of shows can have on him...
>>
>> Sadly, "joe public" can, and often is, *that* ignorant. Just tell
>> anyone you meet on the street that you study dinosaurs and pay close
>> attention to 96.8% of the reactions (you get an "awwwww, that's
>> cute"-type of look). The lackadaisical treatment of science for the
>> sake of sensationalism and comic-book style entertainment the kids
>> seem to be so into these days will leave the main take away of the
>> show to definitely be chirping cuteness lost in a fog of Purple Haze
>> while performing Looney Tune antics and stupid pet tricks... Not that
>> these were actual, living, breathing animals that have been brought to
>> life using the latest scientific knowledge... and that will be the
>> case regardless of the age of the audience.
>>
>> Compare that with BBC's "Planet Dinosaur", the first episode of which
>> has been uploaded by various persons to YouTube (part 1 of 2 of an HD
>> upload... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa0U7cvS6Ag&feature=share).
>> Although the animation and reconstruction work isn't the greatest, and
>> some of the inferred behaviors are questionable, the obvious emphasis
>> is on the actual science and making these animals "real" animals and
>> not cartoonish caricatures for the sake of entertaining grade school
>> intellects... "Dinosaur Revolution" has been fun to watch, and the
>> overall look of the animals are gorgeous, but it is very silly (and
>> rather irritating... infuriating even... for anyone who knows anything
>> about the natural world... but those sorts of folks don't make up a
>> large enough percentage of the demographic to be the target audience,
>> of course). Am I being uber critical, brash, bitter, and rather
>> unrealistic in my expectations? Yes, yes I am... but I had such high
>> hopes for "Dinosaur Revolutions"... so I just can't help myself.
>>
>> Bottom line is that once again, a US-associated paleo show hyping
>> itself as depicting the "new" science/understanding of dinosaurs is
>> misleading, disappointing, and rather insulting (but not surprising).
>> BBC, on the other hand, has produced both an entertaining and a
>> scientifically-based gem (fancy that).  It may not be perfect, but it
>> is at least "smart" and gives an honest try at taking dinosaurs (and
>> in consequence, paleontologists), seriously, without sacrificing good
>> storytelling.
>>
>> It'll be interesting to see how the remaining episodes play out... and
>> how much the narration is dumbed down and the show edited for the "joe
>> public/plumber" audience once it makes it to the US.
>>
>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 11:03 PM, Sim Koning <simkoning@msn.com> wrote:
>> >
>> >   I'm guess I'm glad that I more or less knew what to expect. I read 
>> > Ricardo Delgado's 'Age of the Reptiles' when I was a kid. So, when I read 
>> > the show description and saw that his name was attached to the project, I 
>> > pretty much expected it to be an animated version of his comic book 
>> > series. Now I didn't think that would be a bad thing because I loved those 
>> > comics as kid. I knew this wasn't going to be another 'Walking with 
>> > Dinosaurs' copy cat and I basically expected it to be somewhat like a 
>> > cartoon, minus the talking... and I'm fine with that. It helps that BBC 
>> > has a 'WWD' clone coming out tomorrow night; I think variety is a good 
>> > thing.
>> >
>> >   Regarding episode 1:
>> >
>> >   All right, I grew a little worried when I saw the animation, then I 
>> > reminded myself that this is a made for tv show, not a $65 million dollar 
>> > Hollywood production like Jurassic Park. So, I just ignored the low points 
>> > and focused on (what I thought) was great model work. I've always like 
>> > David's Krentz's dinosaur sculptures, and have been often tempted to buy 
>> > some of them, so I'm quite glad he worked on this series. That being said, 
>> > there are some minor things that bugged me: for some reason, it seems as 
>> > though many paleo artists like to make the pterygoideus way too small and 
>> > stiff; it also seems as if many artists are afraid to go the Greg Paul 
>> > route and put dino fluff on all small theropods and ornithopods.
>> >     Regarding the pterygoideus: I watched a video of a croc dissection and 
>> > one of the things that was immediately apparent was just how damn big that 
>> > muscle really is. It's easy to miss on an intact animal, as the muscle 
>> > looks like part of the neck when relaxed, but it's there. many artists 
>> > seem to miss this detail and instead draw/sculpt/paint the jaw as if it is 
>> > just skin and bone. The reality is this muscle should not only flex 
>> > visibly, but should also jiggle with movement and deform when the head 
>> > rests against the ground. Surprisingly, despite its myriad of anatomical 
>> > flaws, the Jurassic Park T. rex actually has it, and I think the bulge it 
>> > creates makes for a more powerful looking jawline. David has already 
>> > addressed this, so I'm not going to write several pages just to complain 
>> > about it.
>> >
>> >   The lack of protofeathers with both Ornitholestes and Eoraptor kind of 
>> > bugged me, but there is no proof (as far as I know) that either genera had 
>> > them. I am inclined to think that it is more likely that a simple, bristly 
>> > body covering combined with a mix of scales and scutes was common among 
>> > basal ornithodirans. And I have a hunch that most if not all non armored 
>> > small dinosaurs were at least partially fuzzy. I think it's probable that 
>> > some lineages lost this fuzz later on in favor of armor or greater body 
>> > mass. This may be why we've found titanosaur embryos and a small 
>> > ceratopsian with scales, while more cursorial forms such as Tianyulong and 
>> > small basal theropods were 'protofeathered'.
>> >
>> >   The anthropomorphism was a bit much in the first episode, but I was able 
>> > to ignore it for the most part. There were a few other behavioral issues 
>> > that just didn't make sense to me as well: mosasaurs are basically giant 
>> > aquatic monitor lizards; monitor lizards often eat their own young... so 
>> > why was the mamma mosasaur protecting her baby? Varanids and snakes are 
>> > also mute, so I'm not sure I liked hearing dolphin sounds coming from a 
>> > aquatic lizard species. I don't understand why the Saurosuchus threw one 
>> > of the Eoraptors aside after chomping down on it lightly enough to not 
>> > break its skin. Was it just irritated with the mushy dino love scene? I 
>> > would have been okay with the mosquitoes if they just drove the dinosaurs 
>> > a little nuts, but showing them kill an amphibian/reptile was pretty 
>> > silly. Showing the male Cryolophosaurus destroying the offspring of a 
>> > rival seemed plausible, as it's a behavior that can be seen in 
>> > crocodilians, dolphins, house cats, lions, bears etc. so no problem there.
>> > I have to say I enjoyed the 2nd episode quite a bit more than the first. 
>> > The animation was better and its much longer narrative and more 
>> > interesting characters helped. I'm looking forward to the T.rex episode, 
>> > though I don't know if I'll get to see it since I don't have Discovery 
>> > Science...
>> >
>> >  "It's not that these soft parts or behaviors are impossible, but Joe 
>> > Public's only going to remember Gigantoraptor as "that goofy 
>> > rainbow-colored thing that dances" or Eoraptor as "those raptors that 
>> > cutely chirp and build mounds to select mates, and then care for their 
>> > baby who adorably falls down, awwww".  So you're emphasizing the fictional 
>> > aspects of these animals, while not going into any of the actual known 
>> > interesting facts about them."
>> >     I don't think "Joe Public" is *that* ignorant. I'm willing to bet that 
>> > most older children and adults are aware that it's just a show and that 
>> > it's mostly guesswork. The point of a show like this is not to be a 
>> > lecture on dinosaur anatomy, it's supposed to be a semi fictional 
>> > depiction of dinosaur life. I think all us dinosaur enthusiasts have 
>> > conjured up similar images in our minds eye at one point or another as we 
>> > try to guess at what these creatures were like when they were alive. 
>> > Sadly, outside of our mind's eye, CGI is all we're going to get unless 
>> > someone invents a time machine in the near future. I suppose someone could 
>> > do a hyper accurate dinosaur show of this nature, and use only what we 
>> > *know*. Think about it, the audience would get to see some awesome 
>> > anatomical images and maybe, if we have a mostly complete specimen, they 
>> > could be shown a black and white, silent, cg models spinning on a turn 
>> > table... for an hour. It would be pure awesome! I would watch it of 
>> > course... just not sure how much money it would make the Discovery Channel 
>> > ; ).
>> >
>> > Sim Koning
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>> >> Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2011 04:23:00 -0700
>> >> From: mickey_mortimer111@msn.com
>> >> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
>> >> Subject: Dinosaur Revolution Review
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> I decided to review the show on my blog.  Read more at 
>> >> http://theropoddatabase.blogspot.com/2011/09/dinosaur-revolution-review.html
>> >>  if you enjoy scathing criticism and snarky comments.
>> >>
>> >> Mickey Mortimer
>> >>
>> >
>> >
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