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Fall TV First Impression: Terra Nova

Airs: Mondays at 8 / 7 C on FOX


  • Jason O'Mara plays Jim Shannon
  • Shelley Conn plays Dr. Elisabeth Shannon
  • Landon Liboiron plays Josh Shannon
  • Naomi Scott plays Maddy Shannon
  • Alana Mansour plays Zoe Shannon
  • Stephen Lang plays Commander Nathaniel Taylor
  • Allison Miller plays Skye

Plot Synopsis:

The show begins in the year 2149, where life on Earth is horrible due to beyond poor air quality and overpopulation. The rule is “a family is four” – you can only have 2 children, and our protagonist family has 3 children – Zoe is technically not allowed. They are found out and husband/dad Jim gets imprisoned. We see Elisabeth, his wife, visit him in jail to tell him the family has been selected to go to “Terra Nova” and they devise a plan to get Jim out of jail so he can go as well.

What is Terra Nova you ask? Scientists had discovered a rift in space-time that allows people to travel back in time to the late Cretaceous period of Earth, but in an alternate timeline. This will save humanity and also means there will be no butterfly-effect shit.  After some dicey action getting Jim out of jail and through the portal, including Zoe stuck in a backpack for hours (hello ACS!), the Shannon’s successfully join the tenth pilgrimage of humans to Terra Nova, and they become part of the first colony there. The colony is run by Commander Taylor, the first man to set foot through the portal – who clearly has a secret as to what he is really doing there on Terra Nova. There is also a rebel faction called the “Sixers” (who were the sixth pilgrimage to Terra Nova), that are opposed to whatever is really going on at Terra Nova. We have yet to find that out.

Oh, did I mention there’s dinosaurs? Happy herbivores that eat tree branches from little Zoe’s hands and deadly “Slashers” that really, really want to kill all the people in their world. I am sure there will be plenty more where those guys came from, knowing Spielberg’s penchant for the overdone.

Plot Thoughts: For a pilot that cost $10-$20 million to make, it was a little blah and long for me. Two hours to introduce a show is not necessary to me at all. The characters were all a bit boring and dry for my taste, and I hated the son, Josh. I had hoped he’d get sliced to bits by the Slasher dino. It is a hopeful concept, just not suited for an hour of TV each week.  The effects for the dinosaurs were definitely cool, but I am sure they will be over-used just to make the show more interesting.

Decision: As Rich stated when we watched the pilot, this show is “Jurassic Park meets LOST”.  If you like both of those, you may like Terra Nova. But if you are like me, this series will get old quickly. Plus, I honestly don’t give a shit about dinosaurs. Bottom line – I think that this premise would make for a good movie, but not a TV series. Sorry, Spielberg.