Monday, November 7, 2011

NEW!: Terra Nova 1:1 - 1:5

Why yes -- it is time for another catch-up post! Though I still have reservations when it comes to this new dino-venture series, I've decided to give it a place at this blog for the following two reasons:

  • Its ratings have actually been pretty good considering it's a genre-oriented series on Fox (also known as "The Sci-Fi Graveyard").
  • I believe the Terra Nova settlement is way too idyllic to not have skeletons in its closet, and I pray I'll soon be proven right. (Translation: Part of me is cheering for Mira and the "Sixers" just because I'm contrary like that. )

Included in this post are my capsule reviews of the first five episodes. Episode six will be reviewed as soon as I get a chance to watch it.


1:1 - Genesis

Plot Synopsis: Can be found here.

Steph's Comments: The Malthusian hell-hole that is 2149 is not at all our sure trajectory. In reality, technological advancement seems to have lead to decreased birthrates in the developed world. But I will try to ignore the environmentalist fear-mongering for the time being; after all, we don't really stay in 2149 for very long. Plus, I find it vaguely interesting that the hero of the piece, Jim Shannon, gets thrown in jail for violating his world's population control law. The fascistic undertones there are really hard to miss -- and they bring a welcome bit of balance to the writers' picture of the future.

This two-hour pilot competently establishes the setting, but at this point, the characterization still needs work. Except for Taylor (who might be evil), the people are pretty darn flat and "cookie-cutter." In particular, I have a difficult time understanding why the writers decided to create a new incarnation of Tyler Evans (from V) in Josh. My God is Josh the most self-absorbed little brat ever! I hope he gets eaten by a dinosaur.

Steph's Rating: 6.0


1:2 - Instinct

Plot Synopsis: Can be found here.

Steph's Comments: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ... er, what? Sorry, I fell asleep for a second. This is a boring "Creature of the Week" plot meshed with a boring "The Female Lead Encounters an Old Flame" plot. I think I'll pass.

Steph's Rating: 5.0


1:3 - What Remains

Plot Synopsis: Can be found here.

Steph's Comments: And here's yet another sci-fi cliche: memory loss. There is a way to do this right, but it involves waiting until we've actually come to care about the characters and are eager to learn more about their pasts. Episode three is much too early to deploy this trope. Plus, it also doesn't help that the writers continue the annoying Jim vs. Malcom jealousy sub-thread. How soapish can you get?

Steph's Rating: 5.5


1:4 - The Runaway

Plot Synopsis: Can be found here.

Steph's Comments: Okay, now we're actually getting back to the myth-arc (such as it is). Good! This episode is still pretty "meh," but as I remarked to SABR Matt over email, it gives me hope that the writers have some twist up their sleeve involving Mira and the people she's supposedly working for. Personally, I vote for a "Taylor is an evil utopian" revelation. You have to admit that there is something vaguely despotic about the guy. The fact that he and he alone makes decisions for the entire colony really raises my suspicions.

Steph's Rating: 6.7


1:5 - Bylaw

Plot Synopsis: Can be found here.

Steph's Comments: Once again, allow me to go on record with my prediction that Taylor is actually evil. As we discover in this episode, there are no jury trials in Terra Nova. Instead, Taylor gets to decide on his own whether you're guilty or not -- and if he figures you are guilty, then you get banished to the wilds (and beaten up by Taylor himself if you happen to be a member of his military/police force). Red flag, red flag, red flag! Something is totally not right here -- and that makes for marginally good viewing.

Steph's Rating: 7.0


  1. Pretty apt descriptions of the first few episodes. Terra Nova is a show I *really* want to like but it is too clean and plays it too safe.

    I don't really need *arc* all the time, especially too early, but they got to at least have interesting story for the 'stand alone' episodes.

    Also, why do all the dinosaurs appear to be bulletproof?

  2. Also, why do all the dinosaurs appear to be bulletproof?

    Heh. Beats me.

    (And thank you for your reply, by the way. ;))