“Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous” season 2 is amazing, no bones about it

The surprisingly engaging and quirky Netflix show isn’t just for kids


Promo Image courtesy of Netflix

Hamilton Scudder, Editor in Chief

Monday, 7:57, October of 2011. The smell of Domino’s wafts through the air as your excited little body prepares for your weekly tradition: watching the new episode of “Terra Nova.”

Well, at least, that’s how it was in my house, and specifically for me, the dinosaur nerd of my family (and of course my mom who would watch it with me). “Terra Nova” is a show, much like “Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous,” that is about a group of people living with dinosaurs, but after a while in “Terra Nova,” the dinosaurs play a less important role. I remember the excitement well, but not the show. Not the case with “Camp Cretaceous.”

Netflix released the second season of its “Jurassic World” original on Friday, and after a quick binge, I cannot express how ecstatic I am about it. The first season takes place during the events of “Jurassic World” and we see the main characters have to survive among dinosaurs on their own. Season two sees the kids continuing to survive on their own long after the events of the movie, but now with the question: “how do, or can, we even escape?” The animation and graphics, dialogue, writing and story only get better than the first season, and it is a must-watch for any “Jurassic Park”/”World” fan.

“Camp Cretaceous’s” graphics and animation quality have been stunning since season one, but season two is even more gorgeous. I’d honestly say it’s top-tier for a show, better than the Star Wars shows “Rebels” and “Clone Wars” (well, except “Clone Wars” season 7 that is), which while easier with time, is still phenomenal since even Netflix doesn’t have the behemoth animation budget of Disney. The humans in the show are about on par with those on the shows mentioned, but the dinosaurs? The dinosaurs are some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen on a TV; the lighting, textures and animation all come together to truly make them feel alive.

One of my biggest contentions with season one was, being a kids’ show, the writing. It often felt forced or just unrealistic, even for kids, even for kids in 2015. It wasn’t awful; better than how a lot of writers handle it, but still one of my biggest gripes. However, this season trims down the fat on the dialogue and makes for an even more enjoyable season. The writers seemed to have a good time with this, writing in plenty of “Jurassic” movie references, and even get to poke fun at the tropes that made the writing less enjoyable last season. In short, this season is written really well.

The story is one of the most interesting I’ve watched in a long time. The idea of being alone on an island with dinosaurs without fences is an idea that has been written and done four times in the “Jurassic” franchise, between three movies and one short film, and yet this time they get it right. The problem was two-fold: they were always able to escape within about a day, and in one plot line.

With only a little bit of time to establish getting onto the island, showing the dinosaurs that prowl each area and running from them and escaping, previous movies got gummed up in exposition and boring details. “Camp Cretaceous” doesn’t have that weakness. They’re already established to be on the island with no real protection, and most of the dinosaurs and their hunting styles are already established, thus the main characters can simply be focused on the story and not explain everything to the audience. Each episode also features a much smaller plot line than a movie. The main goal in any given “Jurassic” movie is to escape the island. Not so easy when you’re five kids with no way to contact the outside world. This show gets to expand on daily life hunted by dinosaurs over the course of weeks in a way that no “Jurassic” media has ever done before.

The final aspect that is so important to the show is the atmosphere. There is such a beautifully wary, insecure feeling about the entire show. Because it’s following an entirely fresh plot line, you never know exactly how it’s going to turn out. The first episode alone had me incredibly uneasy with how tense it was, and as more mysteries around the bigger “Jurassic” plot get unfurled, you can never be too sure what the bigger picture is, and thus how what the kids are doing affects the franchise as a whole.

In all, “Camp Cretaceous” roars into its second season triumphantly as one of the most enjoyable pieces of “Jurassic” content I’ve ever seen. A well-written, beautiful show about surviving life among dinosaurs, this season is everything third-grade me wanted from “Terra Nova,” and it makes me want to order Domino’s if for nothing but to relive the nostalgia. And of course, one of the best parts about this series as a whole, none of the main characters or side characters appear in the movies, so you never know who will escape… and who will be lunch for a hungry dinosaur.