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The year is 2149 and the Earth is dying; in order to save the population people are transported back in time millions of years to prehistoric times to build a new life. The colony is called Terra Nova and the series follows the Shannon family.
Created by Craig Silverstein (Nikita) and Kelly Marcel.
There was a lot of hype about Terra Nova before it premiered on US television. Steven Spielberg was an executive producer on the show, it had a lot of money behind it (a reported $20 million premiere and $4 million average episode cost) and of course, it had dinosaurs. Surely it couldn't fail? Ummm well yes actually, it could and it did. Terra Nova was cancelled after this first run of 13 episodes and a proposed pick up by Netflix was soon put to bed so it is to be no more. Not surprising given the fact its ratings didn't justify the massive budget being spent on the show.
Terra Nova had an interesting start showing some promise in the pilot, but it faded quite quickly. The idea is quite good with the writers finding a decent enough reason to go back to the age of dinosaurs but as the season goes on there are less dinosaurs and more family dramas. The show could be set anywhere really for many of the 13 episodes, it's irrelevant that they went back in time. It all gets a little soppy and given that the cast aren't the greatest actors in the world, it's like watching a daytime soap opera at times.
The CGI was pretty good most of the time; it should be for how much money was spent on the show. The props on the show weren't so good though, the sets looked plastic and fake. The guns for example looked like they had come straight from Argos. I expected more to be honest.
As I mentioned earlier, the cast aren't outstanding. Jason O'Mara (One for the Money) takes the lead as Jim Shannon. O'Mara is ok with playing the tough guy and his scenes with anyone other than his family are some of the best in the show. The problem is there is a big focus on the Shannon family and O'Mara isn't great with the more touchy feely scenes.
Shelley Conn (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) plays his wife Elisabeth who isn't really given a whole load to do as the show progresses. The fact that she is a doctor gives her some purpose otherwise she would be totally surplus to requirements. I found the Shannon children annoying, constantly doing stupid things and whining a lot.
Commander Taylor portrayed by Stephen Lang (Avatar) is the leader of the colony with a mysterious past. Taylor becomes a much better developed character as the season progresses, once you get to know his back story and how that fits in with what is happening in the colony and with the rebels the character becomes more compelling.
The rebels led by Christine Adams (TRON: Legacy) are underdeveloped but I get the feeling they would have been a bigger part of the second season If it had happened. It's a shame that the writers didn't really put enough good stuff on show to keep the series alive. Yes Terra Nova was a promising concept but in a season when FOX had a quite a few successful new shows it needed to be better and more consistent.
Season 1 of Terra Nova leaves unanswered questions so is it worth watching? Not really, you may want to see what all the hype was about but knowing it leads to an unresolved conclusion is never that much fun. A lot of people did enjoy Terra Nova but for me it never got above average and often was well below that. Give it a miss, watch Jurassic Park instead if you're craving dinosaurs.
Jason O'Mara - Jim Shannon
Shelley Conn - Dr. Elisabeth Shannon
Stephen Lang - Commander Nathaniel Taylor
Christine Adams - Mira
Landon Liboiron - Josh Shannon
Naomi Scott - Maddy Shannon
Allison Miller - Skye
Alana Mansour - Zoe Shannon
Rod Hallett - Dr. Malcolm Wallace
Also posted on ciao under the username shabbating.
Terra Nova follows an ordinary family on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a daring experiment to save the human race. In the year 2149, the world is dying. The planet is overdeveloped and overcrowded, with the majority of plant and animal life extinct. The future of mankind is in doubt, and its only hope for survival is in the distant past.