First Impressions

Terra Nova

Aired on: FOX

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            When I watched the promos for Terra Nova, I was intrigued.   There hasnít been a dinosaur-driven series on mainstream television in quite some time.  Also, this was a dinosaur-driven series from Steven Spielberg, who proved he knows what heís doing with Jurassic Park.  I couldnít wait to check out the first episode of Terra Nova which premiered with a two-hour episode at 8pm EST on Monday, September 26, 2011.

            The series centers on the Shannon family.  In the year 2149, Earth is basically destroyed thanks to pollution, among other things.  The air supply is extremely lacking, thereís almost no vegetation to speak of - humanity is struggling to survive.  A law is put into place limiting families to two children, but policeman dad Jim (Jason O'Mara) and his trauma surgeon wife Elisabeth (Shelley Conn) break the law with a third child.  When the police attempt to take their daughter, Jim fights them, landing him in prison

            While Jim is in prison, Elisabeth discovers that the Shannon family has been selected to be a part of the tenth group of colonists to settle in Terra Nova.  Terra Nova is a colony of scientists and military officers who have traveled 85 million years in the past in an attempt to save humanity.  The trick is that they have to travel a different timeline so they donít cause issues with their own timelines like causing events not to happen or people not to exist.  The Shannon family is determined to travel together.  Thus, a prison break is arranged and their youngest child (Alana Mansour) is smuggled in via a backpack.  Jim just makes it into Terra Nova, much to the suspicion of Commander Nathaniel Taylor (Stephen Lang), leader of the colony.

            Jim begins to earn Taylorís trust when he saves Taylorís life after a ďSixerĒ - a member of the sixth colony who became oppositionists to the Terra Nova colony - attempts to assassinate him.  Jim becomes part of the police force at Terra Nova.  Meanwhile, his seventeen year old son Josh (Landon Liboiron) is having some growing pains and has been exhibiting a rebellious attitude towards his father.  He joins up with a band of rebellious teens and ventures out beyond the gates to a land filled with mystery and dangers, like huge, carnivorous dinosaurs!

            Terra Nova promised a great deal of action and adventure mixed with awesome science fiction special effects.  For the most part all of that is delivered.  The dinosaurs are terrific, exactly what you would expect from the makers of Jurassic Park.  Even the story premise is somewhat interesting.  And yet, I found myself somewhat bored.  I expected more from the storyline.  I wanted a lot more mystery and Iím rather peeved that I have already figured out the major secret behind Terra Nova based on one simple line uttered by Maddy Shannon (Naomi Scott) and a few equations etched into the rocks outside of Terra Nova.  I wonít reveal the secret to the rest of the world in case people missed the significance of the dialogue, but suffice it to say that Iím annoyed I figured things out so fast.

            The dinosaurs are cool, but the storyline needs something more, and after figuring out the main secret behind the show, I canít be bothered watching the rest of the season.  I expected so much, but all I got was really cool looking dinosaurs.  So sad.


For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at