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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

PILOT REVIEW: Terra Nova

TERRA NOVA











Starring: Jason O'Mara, Shelley Conn, Christine Adams, Allison Miller, Landon Liboiron, Naomi Scott, Mido Hamada, Alana Monsour, and Stephen Lang
Created by Kelly Marcel and Craig Silverstein
Written by Craig Silverstein, Kelly Marcel, Brannon Braga, and David Fury, Directed by Alex Graves

Terra Nova is a big budget extravaganza from FOX that has been years in the making and delayed many times. The CGI is pretty cool and unlike any other drama on network TV but the story is also quite intriguing making for a promising show. It centers on the world in 2149 that is on the verge of destruction and the quest to go fix the mistakes made by traveling 85 million years to the past. Terra Nova is led by Nathaniel Taylor (Stephen Lang) and the main protagonists are the Shannon family - Dad Jim (Jason O'Mara) escaped from prison to join his family, Mom Elisabeth (Shelley Conn) is a brilliant surgeon recruited for Terra Nova. Their kids are rebellious son Josh (Landon Liboiron) and daughters Maddy and Zoe (Naomi Scott and Alana Monsour). Rounding out the main cast is adventurous teen Skye (Allison Miller) and Mira (Christine Adams), the leader of a rival group in Terra Nova - the Sixers.

THE GOOD: There's a lot to like about Terra Nova. The world they created is breathtaking and the CGI effects are great for a TV show. The show has the production value and feel of a movie but if that was it, it wouldn't be enough. The story is actually really intriguing and they planted enough mysteries in the pilot to make me want to come back for more. I'm particularly interested in the Sixers plot - who sent them? What do they want? Why did they break away? The mysteries set up at the end involving the area by the waterfall made me very interested in the story. Stephen Lang is a standout as the leader of Terra Nova and I can't wait to see where his story goes. Also, the dinosaurs are really cool!

THE BAD: The show took awhile to get going but I understand they needed to set up the trip to Terra Nova. The bigger problem is that the acting isn't always on par with the setting, the effects, and the story. I particularly thought that Landon Liboiron was weak as the son. I just didn't believe him in his scenes. The show also has so much going for it - effect, mystery, intrigue. It doesn't need to be a sappy family drama. I realize it's about a family but still, it doesn't need to be melodramatic. But these are nitpicky things. The show is off to a good start.

BOTTOM LINE: Terra Nova is not like anything else on network TV. I would love to see it work for that reason but the ratings weren't great for the first night. It will need to really kick it up or else the cost won't be worth the ratings. But they set up a good story to go with the flashiness. This show deserves some time to get going.

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