[Terra Nova Review] Pilot Ramblin’

Welcome to Terra Nova.

So, what happens when you merge Jurassic Park, Primeval and Outsiders together?

I had no expectations going into Terra Nova. I had none because it’s on Fox. I’ll be highly impressed if this show stays on the air and manages to keep it’s big set pieces on a TV Budget.

Ignoring all that, let’s get to the heart of the matter: In the 22nd Century, the Earth has become Dune and unfortunately with no Starfleet to ferry them off planet they instead find a rift in time and space and after sending a probe through found Terra Nova, a beautiful world untouched. So, the leaders of Earth decide it’s check out time on Earth and head to Terra Nova.

The entire paragraph I just mentioned was not a scene. And, should have been. The discovering of something like that while reeking of the Stargate Movie where the gate connects for the first time. This type of scene would have been great just to set the tone.

Instead, we get a credits and ten minutes setting up the protagonists of our show. I hate credits and voice overs except in 80’s supervehicle shows and Highlander. The good news is, there are no voice overs in Terra Nova. The credits I can ignore until I have to squint at them because someone used to the wrong color font but I digress.

The protags of our story are the Shannon Family, a lovely family consisting of a police officer, doctor and three kids. The problem is this family of five is living in a world where the population control says two kids are the absolute limit. Unfortunately, the population control cop goosestep in and throw the father in jail for several years while the Doctor and family head to Terra Nova.

Overall, the Shannon family is your standard TV family which is probably one of the problems of this network show, everyone looks perfect instead of being rough and rugged. If this had been on FX or AMC one wonders how far the network and the writers would have gone to harder measures to separate them before they go to Terra Nova.

Instead, the family reunites in a scene that makes one laugh when even the 22nd Century TSA can’t get it right, makes it through to Hawaii, er, I mean Terra Nova and Nathaniel Taylor played Stephen Lang is there to meet them with a similar spiel from Avatar. But, since most the audience probably didn’t see it except the rabid James Cameron fanboys he comes off likable.

The lovely world is not without it’s problems: the Shannon Family is part of the tenth pilgrimage to Terra Nova. Four pilgrimages before, a group tried to steal weapons and supplies and set off on their own, they are called Sixers and led by Mira played by Christine Adams she and Taylor don’t hate each other enough to shoot each other but just enough to establish the waring towns.

There are several other plot threads running through this episode, Shannon being a gardner to becoming a cop again to his son running off with the teenagers to get drunk, go OTG (outside the gate) and manage to get in a heep o’ trouble and need to be rescued. The underlying plot thread of Taylor’s possibly genius son writing equations all over the rocks is just enough to hint that people in the future want to use Terra Nova for their own means.

It’s the land rush all over again except with Dinosaurs. The CGI is fine in spots, other times the green screen is bad and the additional dialogue recording (ADR) is wince worthy. As for where the additional scenes were added, I have not a clue. A few reviewers groused about this but I haven’t read the script recently enough to complain further.

Overall, the show promise. Let’s face, not every pilot is going to LOST’s pilot and blow our socks off. Terra Nova plays it safe even when three teenagers get attacked by dinos and blood is spilled. The characters and the locals have been introduced. Hopefully the ongoing tension between Nova and the Sixers will enjoyable to watch.

It would be nice to see a full season of this, pairing it with Fringe would make a good two hour block.

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