Terra Nova Review: Pterosaurs and Pheromones

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Some criticized the Terra Nova pilot for lacking in character development, saying it relied too much on its flashy special effects to excite its viewers. Others, including myself, enjoyed Shannons, the mysterious events and the overall epic nature of "Genesis."

I don't foresee as much of a divide happening in regards to "Instinct." Don't get me wrong, the sights were still very much for sore eyes, but everything else about Terra Nova's third hour was pretty disheartening.

Assessing Damage

Maybe it was hidden in the pilot by all the bright colors, but this time around the acting - especially in terms of spoken word - felt amazingly mediocre. Jim attempting to make dinner and help his kids with homework in the kitchen was tough to watch, as was Maddie attempting to ask her father about boys.

Even more troublesome was how stiff Stephen Lang was throughout the hour. I gave his robotic portrayal of Nathaniel Taylor a pass in the pilot, but it's only become worse. Maybe it's just the writing he was given here, but every time the Commander spoke, I wanted to hold my head in my hands.

On the plus side of things, Josh didn't make me want to slap him in the face this week. That's a win for teenage angst television everywhere. His storyline with Skye is the only one with any logic right now. It may be a bit predictable, but at least it makes sense. They're definitely going to start hitting it off, only to find out that his girlfriend has made her way to Terra Nova on the next pilgrimage right?  That should cause some fireworks...

...unlike the ex plot between Jim, Elizabeth and her ex. That entire story just fell flat on its face. Falling Skies fans, didn't we see almost this same scenario between a doctor and her former colleague this summer? In no way was there any spark between Elizabeth and her ex. Nor was there really anything hot between Jim and Elizabeth, even when they finally did get a chance to be alone by episode's end.

I give them credit for attempting to up the heat factor by putting Jason O'Mara's abs on display somewhere between two and 13 times in one hour. If you count all of the definition in his obliques, instead of a six-pack, I think the dude may have a 30 rack.

Most disappointing about "Instinct" was its procedural feeling. It was as if they decided, "Okay, this week's problem is Pterosaurs." The crazy dino birds came, and the gang got rid of them. At this point, I'm worried this style of writing might continue, which will then hurt the more interesting ongoing story lines we learned about in the pilot.

Was there only one mention of the Sixers?  Not a single one about Taylor's son or the mysterious equations on those rocks?

At the end of the day, though, there was plenty of clumsy writing, forced acting, and misguided plots in some of the best action flicks of all time. So if they continue to bring out crazy dinosaurs that want to eat people's faces off, and a crew that is willing to go after these creatures, I will be entertained.

Was "Instinct" the best constructed television on air? No, probably not. Was it still something fun and exciting to watch? You bet! While I didn't hold back any judgments this week, I'm still looking forward to next Monday, and finding out where this story goes next. What did everyone else think?


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.3 / 5.0 (159 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


If the time rift is only open at one point in time, then everyone will arrive at the same exact time and terra nova will not even be built yet. you could leave ten years after the first guy that left and you would still arrive at the same exact time as him. get it? no terra nova. everyone would be standing in the middle of the woods getting ripped up by dino's. Nothing is explained properly on this show. Nor is it written with any substance whatsoever. Also, who loses their memory on the third episode? that stuff only happens in the 3rd or 4th season when the writers have completely run out of ideas. The father is a thug. not a cop. The show is about war. not starting over. This show is for people who don't take anything into consideration.


well terra nova has been a very good idea i love the theme so much, and im watching every day, but something i didnt like was the drama family bullshit, first of all i hated that family so much 1. the little daughther when crys inside the pipes... i wnated to have a machette and dismemeber that stupid brat and the lit the remains on fire 2.the teen son is so stupid with his bullshit about his father leaving him , when the dad was trying to protect family from the piglets, so that josh i wanted to trow some sulfuric acid to his genitals and face so he could show some respect. 3.the dad has an attitud of insolence like he is now boss of everything and that he can break rules and so on .. so i want to put a bullet inside his asshole and then he suffers an horrid cancer in his doduanus. there are some people complaining about why did they go to that age of dinosaurs... well people stop being idiots, you have to watch the show so you can understand that they went to the past beacuase the time rewind was only one stablished , so stop saying why did they go to dinosaurs,.. be more intelligent .... people like that deserves a punch in da face so theyre brain make some conections im loving the show beacuse of its potential but i dont want to see more stupid things doing by this fucking family , they have to put more importance to other persosns and sixers and more crazy psychedelic and secrets aboput that age and cientific coool things, more suspense, more madness, more comunism more politics , more ambient, more guns , more action, more conspiricy and so on


I thought the first three episodes were a good bit of harmless fun. Not everything has to be mind-blowingly serious: sometimes some people just wanna sit down and watch humans vs dinos. People say the show has a lot of potential and they're right, but so did Lost, yet for it's interpreted perceived flaws, it was still appreciated it for what it was, rather than what it could have been. Not sure the show will survive two series, but it's pleasantly basic and pretty entertaining. Terra Nova's getting steady ratings because it's fun, and there's enough complexity in tv writing out there to last a life time. With that in mind, I definitely agree it's a good one for the kids.


the show is a steaming pile of dino sh!t. there's no doubt about it. and its because fox thinks people are idiots.


Rename this show Terra-ble Nova. You could make a master class out of how badly this show was developed, written and executed.


I love the premise, and I really wanted to like the show, but the writing and acting truly are "amazingly mediocre." I couldn't even make it to the end of episode three. Oh, well!


Some of you are missing a plot point. The rift that is traveled through only opened at the 85 million year ago era. One point that bothers me is if there are still dinos running around, what are the Terras going to do when the ice age hits. On the fire power, if you knew dinos were there, wouldn't you take a lot of guns and ammo?


Yeah.........So...........A few writers have already hit upon the many, many, many plot holes within this series. Along with the incredibly bad acting and lack of decent script, it provides a complete package of nothingness to the viewing audience. Brain cells die, we know this. Watching this show also guarantees that no new brain cells will be created as well.
The idea and premise behind this series has SO much potential. It's the ultimate "What If" scenario. A second chance for mankind to go back and right the wrongs of years (many) gone by. I'm still trying to work out, firstly, how they managed to get so much ammunition back to this period, and why, if they are trying to change things for the better, they would need so much of it. Why go back to a period when there were building sized creatures dominating the planet. As for the dinosaurs, i'm pretty certain that in that there would have been more than two of each creature roaming around. Surely there would have been a LOT more of them than what this show is letting on. This show is a dud, and the sooner it is off the air, the sooner the concept can be taken up by those who may have a clue.


Good review, my thoughts were pretty much the same, hard to watch at some times; the older daughter and brother need to work on their acting. I'll probably come to this site next week to see what you have to say about the next episode.


I am so dissappointed in Terra Nova. Terrible acting, every cliche in the book, it should be on a 6pm on Sat evening for the kids. I sat there wanting the "dino birds" to kill everyone - that's not a good sign in only the 3rd episode. I won't be tuning in again, how can you cut shows like Flash Forward and put this rubbish on.......

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