Terra Nova (s1ep01-02) (review)

I’m a sucker for science-fiction, so when I heard about Terra Nova, I couldn’t pass it up. The idea of humans living among dinosaurs is an old one (at least as old at H.G. Wells) and Terra Nova puts a new twist on it.

Plot

In 2149, when the planet is so polluted that people cannot even breathe freely anymore, scientists find a tear in the fabric of space and time (why isn’t the Doctor there?) and are sending people back to the Cretaceous period of an alternate-reality Earth to start human civilization anew. Dinosaurs and a group who broke away from the main colony (known as “sixers” from being of the sixth group of colonists) are the main dangers on this new paradise.

The show follows one family, the Shannons, whose father Jim (Jason O’Mara) escaped prison to join them on Terra Nova and whose parents broke the law by having a third child. Freed from sanctions because of Elizabeth’s (Shelley Con)–the mother–skills as a doctor, they try to put their broken family back together on that new and strange world.

Here’s a sneak peek of next week’s episode, “Instinct”:

 

Review

The characters seem interesting even if I don’t quite feel attached to them yet. The leader of the colony, Nathaniel Taylor (Stephen Lang) seems a weird and not quite believable mix of a military man and an idealist. Although he doesn’t shirk from using weapons, he’s a bit too hopeful to my taste.

The Shannons are a bit too stereotypical for now (although I suspect that this will change): the mother is a motherly doctor who takes care of the poor, the father is a cop who likes to break the rules, the eldest son is a rebel who doesn’t like to admit that he’s just like his dad and the daughter is a budding scientist (who will probably end up being super important in unraveling the mysteries surrounding the strange markings on the rocks of Terra Nova).

The special effects are good enough but lack finish. The dinosaurs are nice (we’re FAR from Jurassic Park!), but the landscape scenes are too obviously fake. The “save the kids” plot was a bit too predictable, but there’s the seeds of a good story arc that unfortunately reminds me a bit (too much) of Outcasts (sadly cancelled).

In fact, Terra Nova seems to me like an alternate version of Outcasts: instead of another planet, it’s an alternate universe; there are no dinosaurs in Outcasts but there are strange wind storms; there’s a group who broke away from the main colony, and there’s a mystery embedded in the rock of the planet.

I’m going to keep watching because I like sci-fi, but I hope this isn’t going to become Outcasts US.

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