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.

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