When I was editing Star Trek Magazine, writers were always asked if the article they were pitching could only really be presented in that forum: if it could appear in a general SF magazine, then perhaps it wasn’t suitable. Terra Nova seems to have a similar problem, except nobody is asking the question “Is this a story that can only really be told on Terra Nova and one that plays to the series’ strengths?” And it has to be said that once again, it’s not the case.
With the exception of one tiny irrelevant scene where a dinosaur is nipping at Jim Shannon’s hanging body, there’s no sight of them, and the setting could be any cut off colony: even the revelations at the end that we gain about the Sixers don’t arise because the colony is 85 billion years in the past. It’s because they are cut off.
The Spielberg influence is quite heavy in this episode as well: it’s all about family, and what people will do for them. We need to see some different family dynamics, though, for the audience to care enough about the Shannon family to spend as much time with them as we do in an episode like this.
Verdict: Perfectly adequate, but this show could and should be so much more.
Episode 5: “The Runaway”: 6/10