Let me get one thing out of the way first: I hate Jurassic World. My opinion on the film is often dismissed due to the assumption that I hate it because of scientific inaccuracies, when really I think it is a terrible film which failed to understand what was good about the original Jurassic Park film. Worse than that, it was a success, meaning that we now have no chance of getting a better version of the franchise and have to suffer through more sub-par films. Admittedly, I did have some accuracy-related criticisms before the film came out and since then I added a few more (bloody inaccurate stegosaurs), but mostly I hated it as a piece of cinema, to the point where I have several draught posts which went on and on critiquing the film that I doubt I will ever publish.
At around the same time as I was becoming increasingly despondent about the franchise, I was rereading the books. I couldn’t help but think that the franchise would slot right in with the modern move towards the big budget, gritty, serialised TV shows. Jurassic Park was a brilliant family film, whereas Jurassic Park the TV show could be much more adult watching (with a better name, naturally). The films do not follow the books, leaving a lot of unseen events which could be pilfered from the writings of Crichton whilst adding a lot more. I wanted to see more about the business side of things, the ruthless industrial espionage which jeopardises everything. The show would be about people, not dinosaurs, much in the same way that The Walking Dead is about people rather than zombies – they just happen to be people living through a zombie apocalypse.
My idea faces some major obstacles, not least that Jurassic World did well and its sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, is out next year (I will still try to stay optimistic). The other major problem is that a series with similar themes has recently done brilliantly: Westworld. Also from the mind of Michael Crichton, Westworld has many of the same philosophical themes, lots of intrigue surrounding business, and some fascinating characters. It’s what Jurassic Park could have been.
I will still fantasise about what could have been and a recent fan theory has plugged some gaps in my ideas. Originating on Reddit, this fan theory has found a wider audience thanks to Cracked covering it in one of their videos. Watch for yourself:
Why do I love it? Well, firstly it makes quite a lot of sense and takes care of some inaccuracies. It also takes care of one of the major scientific inaccuracies in Jurassic Park which I don’t have a big problem with for the original film – the technique for extracting DNA just would not work. This never particularly bothered me as it was wild speculation at the time which made the film work, it’s only really since then that scientists have been able to say that it is inaccurate. So is the new technique mentioned in Jurassic World, by the way. Rebooting the series would have us relying on a well known inaccuracy, whereas this fan theory suggests that us film-watchers have been misled in the same way that many of the major characters were misled.
Imagine incorporating this fan theory into a rebooted TV series. Dodgson’s company, BioSyn, would desperately be trying to copy InGen’s cloning technique and failing miserably, having to resort to espionage and theft in an attempt to find out just how Hammond was doing it. Meanwhile, Hammond was taking more of a Jack Horner-esque approach by manipulating the genetics of extant animals, putting him over a decade ahead of BioSyn. It was all a show but he needs experts to sign off on the park and establish that these theme park monsters are convincing as dinosaurs. At the same time, we would be seeing many of the park issues which are found in the book, particularly escaping dinosaurs (a friend of mine suggested a Predator-style film as a worthwhile sequel, which would make an excellent focused episode) and we would have some resolution on the sick Triceratops (which is a Stegosaurus in the book).
In Jurassic World, the Masrani company owns the park and it is they who are responsible for abominations such as the Indominus rex. I’ve disliked the idea of hybrids since the original Jurassic Park 4 concepts came out, so basing a film around them was unlikely to ever really appeal to me, however, in the context of my imaginary series, the Masrani company might be a competing company who have managed to see through the InGen ruse and are making their own dinosaurs, even looking at bizarre hybrids which tend to fail (in a castle in Switzerland?).
There is plenty of source material available too. There were a number of comics which, if I remember correctly, did look at escaping dinosaurs having to be tracked down. There was also a planned animated series set after the first film – Escape From Jurassic Park – aimed at adults and which had some decent ideas. Some of the artwork is available and a full rundown of the individual episodes too, see here. I particularly like the duplicity of Hammond, deceiving the others into thinking that he intends to set up a biological preserve when he plans to reopen the park, the introduction of new characters, the development of BioSyn’s Dinoworld resort in Brazil using stolen InGen dinosaurs, issues arising for BioSyn due to the rapid growth of InGen dinosaurs, raptors hunting marines, escaped dinosaurs spreading through South America causing opportunist hunters, poachers and scientists to try to stake their claims; all ideas which could be used.
Admittedly, a Jurassic Park reboot series could go very wrong. I don’t hate the series Terra Nova, but that is nowhere near the quality I would want even though it was a dinosaur series produced by Spielberg.
Alternatively, Cracked also did a video about how to improve Jurassic World through a simple tweak: