Comprehensive 'Terra Nova' Premiere Review

I thought I'd throw my two cents in on the premiere of Terra Nova. I haven't sat down and watched a TV as it aired in a long time. Not to mention live tweeting during it.

But, this has some elements I'm into. Dinosaurs, guns and adventure. It just seems like a bold choice for a TV show. So...

The Premise

People travel back in time 85 million years to begin new lives, because we destroyed planet Earth.

I like it. Very strong. As I said, a bold choice for a TV show. You get dinosaurs, sci-fi and adventure all in one shot.

Ignoring the Butterfly Effect* had me worried, but it was dealt with by the creation of "a new time stream."  This creates new problems (or opportunities). They're not really starting over. They're starting a colony. Also, how do they know they traveled back in time? Could it be another planet, not Earth?

The Story

"Genesis" Part 1&2

The pace and the action moved quite well. I was carried along with likable characters in exciting situations for a couple of hours. Very fun television.

The groundwork was laid for a mystery show. But, too much was given away. Text at the intro explained the entire premise bluntly. In almost every scene a character spilled their guts about something private or important for later episodes.

When my writing gets rejected I usually get notes that say, "Don't info dump," or "Hide your exposition better." I'd like to pass those notes along. But, I'm sure the writing staff is aware. I'm guessing the studio was worried the audience wouldn't understand the show (which is completely unfounded). I'd love to read the original teleplay.

For example, I thought the point of attack was wrong. Imagine if the show would have started with the Shannons coming through the portal. Why does that man have a gun? Why are they protecting the backpack? He's a cop? She's a doctor? They can only have two children? Why are they here? It would have been amazing.

If the show focuses on adventure, then the mystery can be secondary. This is the way it should go. Rescues. Exploration. Survival. TV is missing adventure.

The gore, underage drinking and foul language were unnecessary. The show would still be fun without them. I'd eliminate them or at least tone it down. Dinosaurs and time travel mean the kids will be interested, so why not let them watch? You'd have a show that parents could watch with their kids. And, boom, you've just doubled or tripled your audience.

The Cast & Characters

Jim Shannon (Jason O'Mara) - Very likable. A great choice for the male lead. Has a good action hero look and style. My only problem is that they made him a cop. When will the cop show go out of favor? Please tell me! I'm so tired of cop shows and crime solving. I want adventure. If being a cop gives him skills to survive or to rescue people. Fine. But, I hope it's not dwelt on.

Commander Nathaniel Taylor (Steven Lang) - Tough. Strong. Looks like he's former military. Seems likable, but is mysterious.

Dr. Elisabeth Shannon (Shelley Conn) - Attractive. Smart. Believable as a doctor. Broke the law to have another child because she loves life.  Awesome. Didn't get to know her very well, but I'm looking forward to it.

Josh Shannon (Landon Liboiron) - Okay, in real life I'm sure he's a great person and he is talented. But the character (and now the actor unfairly) is pegged as a whiner. The problem with the Dad being so likable is that when the son smarts off to him the kid looks like a punk. I'm hopeful this will get better over the course of the season.

Maddy Shannon (Naomi Scott) - What an attractive, talented, young actress! She'd better not be just little miss know-it-all. I'd like to see her character grow.

Zoe Shannon (Alana Mansour) - Sweet. A little ray of innocence. I hope the producers use her as a window into a world of wonder. (TV has been lacking wonder for quite some time. Actually, our whole world has been.)

Mira (Christine Adams) - Strong. Fiery. Not much about her yet, but she seems cool.

Skye (Allison Miller) - The tough teen girl. I didn't get into her very much. The actress handled the part well, but something was wrong. When the character was introduced I got a sense for her, but by the end she was totally different.

Tasha (Aisha Dee) - Not part of the main cast, but what can I say? She's beautiful! I was so ticked off when I thought she was going to die (and so glad when she didn't). I hope she's not just, "Ethnic Teen #2," or some crap. I want to see the character used more.

All In All

Enjoyble. Fun. Exciting. I'm a fan. I'll be watching.

Check out the official site for videos, pictures and other goodies.

*     The Butterfly Effect says a time traveler changing even the smallest thing in the past (stepping on a butterfly) will alter the future. Of course, a time traveler breathing or stepping on the ground or even displacing air by their presence would be enough to change the future.

In "real" theoretical time travel the effect works in opposite. The traveler would be crushed by air and could not lift a feather. Raindrops or butterflies would tear holes in him. Because the future can't be changed in the past or the traveler would never be there. The future can only be changed in the present.

All this is thrown out for the sake of drama and story, which is fine. Imagine Star Wars without explosions in space...


Post a Comment