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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NEW TV SERIES Part 1: Terra Nova Review (E01-07)

*Update: A really cool look at the CGI effects from the show. Even the old school fence is CGI! Click here to view video.

I will post about a few fun TV shows that are new this Fall season. The first show is called Terra Nova, which plays on Monday nights at 8pm on Fox and is produced by no other than Steven Spielberg. The premise is that the Earth, in 2149, is overpopulated, extremely polluted and pretty much a wasteland (unrealistic eh?).

Earth 2149 vs Terra Nova, 85M years in the past

The show centers around the Shannon family, Jim & Elizabeth as the parents, Josh (age 17), Maddy (16) & Zoe (5) as the kids, who is selected to time travel to an alternate timeline on Earth during the Cretaceous period. Yes, we have Spielberg and dinosaurs reunited again!

(From Left to Right) Maddy, Zoe, Elizabeth, Josh, Jim, Skye, Commander Taylor, Mira
Now the overarching concept is really cool. The Shannon family are part of the "Tenth Pilgrimage" back in time to the new colony called Terra Nova. Terra Nova is run by Commander Taylor, the first person sent back in time seven years ago and who spent four months alone building a community upon arrival. We discover that "Sixers", those who came over from the "Sixth Pilgrimage" have broken off from Terra Nova and created some sort of rebel group. Commander's Taylor's son (who the Commander's thinks is dead) is working with the Sixers and is making some sort of machine (or plotting?) for some reason that is not revealed yet.

Everyone through the Stargate...I mean space/time rift

Even after humans discover time travel there are still tons of politics and fighting. The Sixers control the meteoric iron quarry while Terra Nova has medical supplies and they trade from time to time. Throw in espionage, dinosaur attacks and an exotic environment and you have the entire backdrop. A little twist occurs when Mira, the leader of the Sixers, tells Jim that there is an ulterior motive for Terra Nova that is in stark contrast to Commander Taylor's talk of starting off fresh and learning from mankind's errors. Furthermore, Josh, with the help of Skye (his seemingly soon-to-be gf from the fifth pilgrimage), makes a secret deal with Mira to get his "current" girlfriend from 2149 to Terra Nova in return for a future "favor" with no questions asked. 

Despite the great potential of the over arching storyline, the "story of the week" or the subplot of each episode is rather weak. The pilot and second episode start off with pretty much what I described above so that's fine. The third episode deals with an "attack of the birds ptersaurs" theme which was really lame and played a million times in other shows and the fourth episode also has a generic plot of "new disease that makes people crazy, but for some reason the main character is unaffected and he is used to save everyone".
When pteraurs attack
Even though dinosaurs are present, they are really secondary to the storyline. They are often used as tools (i.e. to murder someone) or to serve as a reminder of the exotic setting.

The herbivore
Requisite dino chase scene
Raptor-like "Slashers" up to no good

The Sixers and the secret agendas that are floating around are the most intriguing aspect of the show. A few pet peeves of mine are the acting (Commander Taylor and Mira seem like pre-programmed robots) and some really annoying characters like the eldest Shannon kid, Josh who stereotypically rebels against his dad every micro second to the point where you just want to slap some sense into him. The politics in Terra Nova remind me a bit of Battlestar Gallactica which was an awesome series.


  1. Good summary! Thanks.

  2. No problem! Some more posts to come soon...

  3. the best serial!!! i watch terra nova every day...