TV Time: Terra Nova

Let’s wrap up all this TV watching, shall we? The Wife will be so happy, as will I.

There are various reasons for wanting to check out “Terra Nova.”

1. It has the Stephen Spielberg seal of approval

2. It’s a sci-fi show that’s not on the Sci-Fi Channel, so the production values will be better. And it probably won’t suck as bad.

3. Big name stars like…uh… OK, let’s be honest. There’s only one real reason to watch “Terra Nova.”


The success or failure of “Terra Nova” will hinge on two things: (1) How good are the dino effects and (2) How often are the dinos on screen.

If this is another “Land of the Lost” where it’s all about some dull family and the dinos only show up briefly and sporadically then I hope it dies a brief, horrible death.

“Terra Nova” premiered with a 2-hour episode last night. I hate 2-hour premieres because just watching a 1-hour show is pushing it for me but I can see why this was set up as a 2-hour show. Because if they had aired that first hour alone no one would come back for the second week.

“Terra Nova” is about *sigh* the dull Shannon family who escape a troubled future Earth by going back in time to start over in the prehistoric past where dinos show up briefly and sporadically. The first HOUR featured ONE brief sighting of some brachiosaurs nibbling on leaves.

The Shannon family consists of dad Jim (Jason O’Mara); mom Elizabeth (Shelley Conn); pouty, rebellious son Josh (Landon Liboiron); cute, nerdy daughter Maddy (Naomi Scott); and small, adorable Zoe (Alana Mansour).

Future Earth is a bit of a hellhole where you’re only allowed to have two children. Despite being a cop and a doctor — so you’d think they’d know better — Jim and Elizabeth have a third child, thinking they can keep it a secret. They can’t, and Jim ends up in prison.

The chosen few are given the option of leaving Future Earth and going to Past Earth where people have set up a colony called Terra Nova. Being a doctor, Elizabeth is one of the chosen few. But before she can take the kids to TN, she has to break her husband out of prison and he has to get past what one assumes is a high-security set-up to get to TN. Oh, and he has to sneak Zoe in his backpack.

I don’t understand how he was able to accomplish any of that and frankly, I didn’t care. There are no dinosaurs in Future Earth, so let’s get the family to TN already. We’ve already wasted a half-hour in Future Earth, and while I enjoy a good dystopian future like any nerd, this one wasn’t that special and besides, No Dinosaurs.

The Shannons end up in a prehistoric jungle where it’s all talk, talk, talk and tease, tease, tease for the next half hour, ending in the previously mentioned short dino scene.

Things pick up considerably in the second hour. It turns out some of the chosen few are rebels who have set up their own colony elsewhere and have been harassing the TN colony ever since. Even when given a chance to start all over, humans screw things up. But I guess it wouldn’t be much of a show without conflict, and where would you get conflict in prehistoric times? Oh, wait. DINOSAURS.

Anyway, hour 2 opens with the rebel alliance about to attack TN when a dino comes along and ruins their plan. Finally, a decent dino scene. Still too short, but at least one of the dinos pulled a guy out of the sunroof and ate him, which was good. The dino animation is not bad. Not great, but I’ve seen worse.

Pouty, rebellious son runs off with some other teens and they go outside the compound where new mysteries await. They also get stuck outside after dark and are attacked by dinos. This sequence would have been much more entertaining if (a) the dinos had eaten the teenagers and (b) the scene had not been shot at night, so that you can barely see the dinos.

“Terra Nova” was ehh. Not enough dino action. Too much family drama. It did get more interesting in hour 2 when they started to lay out the factions living in Past Earth and how maybe TN isn’t the utopia that people have been promised. I have a feeling, though, that they’re setting up a bunch of mysteries that they will take years to explain — and I don’t want to go down that road again.

Not without more dinosaurs.





2 responses to “TV Time: Terra Nova

  1. I’ll tell you what. I wouldn’t watch this show strictly because I’m tired of it already from the promos that run every five minutes or so, all of which include this preachy, droning voice-over from some guy I presume to be the leader of the colony. It’s not a good idea to telegraph repeatedly that one of your main characters is of the cookie-cutter variety.

  2. I didn’t watch, but I had a question about the time travel stuff. Don’t they know that they’re gonna mess up history by going back in time? What would Doc Brown say (besides, ‘Great Scott!’)? I’m gonna call it now and say the big twist of the show is that they’re responsible for the extinction of the dinos.

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