Dinosaur Revolution premiered on Sunday, September 4 in the US, with its first two hours, Evolution's Winners and Watering Hole. Living on a budget that doesn't provide for cable TV at the moment, and being rebuffed in my attempts to get a screener from Discovery, I may have to wait a while before seeing it myself, but I've been keeping an eye on reaction from around the web. As might be expected by a series that blends the science of paleontology with bold storytelling devices and an occasionally comedic tone, the reviews are mixed. Of course, there aren't many yet. Which makes it a good time to start a roundup.
Before we start, however, here's Gigantoraptor (hopefully viewable internationally, though no guarantees)
Variety praises the series for its narrative-light presentation, which challenges viewers. Eschewing the common comparisons to old Looney Toons cartoons, the reviewer uses Fantasia and The Road as visual touchstones. Dinosaur Revolution "lustily attacks everybody's favorite extinct beasts with for-the-most-part impressive CGI effects and a cheeky storytelling approach."
Writing for Popmatters, Ross Langager finds the humor awkward, concluding that the program's "...melding of entertainment with science ends up disfiguring both."
More favorable is the review from the New York Daily News, as reviewer David Hinckley is enchanted by colorful, feathered dinosaurs and their quirky behavior.
Tom Conroy's Media Life Magazine review is concerned that the violence may be too intense for children who may grow attached to the highly anthropomorphized animals. An interesting point. It's disingenuous to claim that a dinosaur show isn't intended for kids, after all.
The reviewer for the Kansas City Star writes, "the animated raptors, allosauruses and T. rexes featured on Dinosaur Revolution are more realistic, engaging and emotionally complex than the humans on Terra Nova."
In the paleo blogosphere, we've had a couple of write-ups, as well. At Dinosaur Tracking, Brian Switek is tough but fair to the "dinosaur tribute," writing that "what gets me is that Dinosaur Revolution is being presented as a program about the latest dinosaur science when the actual scientific content is minimal." Switek wishes that the "talking heads" were a more diverse crowd and that it represented a real revolution in how we view dinosaurs, by providing the audience with an engaging description of how we know what we know. For naysayers who think that would just be boring, I offer the tremendous, enduring popularity of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.
Taylor of Beasts Evolved also reviews the first night's offerings. He's very positive about it, and provides a great breakdown of the critters introduced, giving praise for the number of new-to-TV species we finally get to see. His review of the last half of the series is also available.
Yours truly, now having seen the first two episodes, has reviewed them. Go here.
Albertonykus has written a review at Raptormaniacs as well, looking forward to the maniraptor-heavy second two hours.
Of course, what you're really looking for is pedantry. So head over and read Mickey Mortimer's withering review.
That's it for now, but I'll probably add to this list in the future, time permitting.