Terra Nova: Review: Series 1 Eps 1 / 2

Fox, September 23 (US); Sky One, October 3 (UK)

Escaping from the overpopulated world of 2149 AD, the Shannon family find themselves facing some very familiar and some very new dangers 85 million years in the past…

It’s hard when watching this opening two-part episode not to start counting all the different shows and films that it brings to mind. Blade Runner, Soylent Green, Jurassic Park (obviously – but even down to the first dinosaur that we see properly), Primeval, StargateOutcasts (in far too many ways), Survivors and any number of Spielberg dramas where there’s conflict that needs to be resolved so we all understand the importance of family…

That aside, does Terra Nova hold up as its own entity? The jury has to be out for the moment. Jason O’Mara makes a good lead, and there’s a nicely developing rapport between him and Stephen Lang’s outpost boss, Taylor. The rest of the family are a little one-dimensional – cute kid, cocky teenage son, nerdy teenage daughter, moderately supportive wife with career of her own – and at present the “bad guys” who we meet in the second half of the story are being a presented a little too obviously as People With An Agenda.

But it keeps the interest engaged, so you don’t start asking difficult questions until the advert breaks, and although the second half descends into cliché in terms of the “damn kids out there, oh well, we’ll have to rescue them” story, there are enough plotlines left hanging in the opener to bring you back next time.

Verdict: A fair start but the show will need to up its game to gain the ratings its massive budget demands.  6/10

Paul Simpson

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