Terra Nova Review: A Problem With Procedure

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I'm having a tough time reviewing Terra Nova because it's not the show I thought it was meant to be. I'm not even sure it knows what it is, or wants to be.

The series seemed to start out as some version of a serialized science fiction drama. Then, for a couple episodes it tried to be a family drama wrapped in a dinosaur-filled world. Then there was "The Runaway," which seemed to be some sort of spy thriller, and this week's "Bylaw" felt very much like a police procedural.

On the Murderous Case

I don't watch a lot of cop shows (The Mentalist and Hawaii Five-0 are the exceptions), but it didn't seem like this was a terribly bad episode of this genre. They did a decent job at keeping the identity of the killer under wraps until the end, and the setup by Jim and Taylor was nice, but early on it was blatantly obvious that it wasn't going to be the dude who confessed.

I'm not a procedurals guy due to their structure alone. I watch the the programs above for Simon Baker and the Alex O'Laughlin/Scott Caan duo, respectively. If the overarching story isn't going to be all that compelling, I need the characters I'm watching to keep me interested. But Terra Nova is yet to exude those type of compelling, or even just humorous, individuals.

Thankfully, the show has kept one intriguing long running storyline going. The fact that it deals with the teenage angst of Josh, and his goal of bringing his girlfriend to Terra Nova, concerns me, but at least it's something to grab a hold of.

It's something to keep me interested while I watch generic murder stories. Well, I guess generic is a stretch seeing as that this man was killed with a dinosaur! But I'm still interested, and the Mira and her Sixers are a big part of that.

Mira and her Someday I'll ask something of you and you'll comply without question was very reminiscent of every mob boss in every gangster movie ever, but that doesn't mean I'm not still curious about what she'll ask of Josh at some point in the future.

I am. But even more than that, I'm always interested in viewing a good old fashion dinosaur chase, and that's what we were treated to in "Bylaw." That chase, and Taylor's speech to the colony about banishing the man that confessed, were my two favorite moments of the episode. I haven't been a very big fan of Stephen Lang's Taylor thus far, but he nailed the emotion there.

Now if only Terra Nova could nail everything else, we might have a better show going on here. For now, it's still intriguing enough. Just enough. What about you? What has worked? And what hasn't?


Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (93 Votes)

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


And lastly this is just more proof that the masses are always getting fooled by the same boring scorcery of old ..get a clue morons ..watch zeitgeist might be a good place to start your awakening!!!


i mean seriously ...you take a story back 85 million years ago and you see the same dumb sh@# that we see here and now on television this is really really bad ..not an adventure im going to take..i thought this was going to be brilliant ,,damn i guess i can just watch reruns on grans tapes of days of our lives and let firecrackers off in the loungeroom and get the same boring effect ...shame on the writers..clones in my opinion ..get another job you dont belong in this time ..NEXT !!!


Oh please i watched the first episode and thought ...omg something new..wasnt long before i seen the same ole same ole rerun of anything done up to be something new..seriously get a job writers you suck at your compliance to the masses


I don't understand, how small isolated society 85 mil years ago, can support modern financial transaction, like: money (terra currency), money valuation, goods/service pricing, wiring transfer money. Is there any central banking, financial banking, state treasury? How they printing money? How they value and pay public goods/service, for instance: who and how they pay military operation (Taylor and his army)
In begining episode, Josh interested in a guitar 60 Terras. In this episode a murder because money motivation, gambling problem.
Josh take work in a bar to earn some money ? or just a writter to create daddy issues


Virg, there is no news at this point on whether Terra Nova will continue after its initial 13 episode run as of yet, but it's not looking good. Negative critical reviews, falling ratings by the week, and the cost of creating the show, make it unlikely to continue after 2011.


Brannon Braga and Rene Echevarria should step down as show runners. This show is a disaster :(


I wish the 'critic' on here was able to find out if shows are going to go away or get picked up. This is another I wanted to like but has far to many people in it that you can't get interested in one. All the kids on the show should go.


This wasn't a bad episode I didn't notice the procedural until it was over.
And is it me or are all of the Shannon children grating; Josh is an idiot for agreeing Mira's term, Maddie is a clutzy know it all who is not in the least bit intersting, and I know Zoe is supposed to play the role of hope and sunshine but she has to be the most annoying of all next ep they need to have a dino attack with Zoe as the only causality


I enjoy Terra Nova every week, because of the fantasy....so I expect there will be improbabilities; yea, Josh is so screwed. If evrybody made good choices, there would not be much of a story. Love all the characters/actors, good/evil...and the dinasaurs are fun. And of course, I want to see love win out in the end.


Seriously, how stupid is Josh? I get that he wants to see his girlfriend again, but agreeing to Mira's condition is going to bite him in the butt on day. What if she asks him to betray his father? His mother? What happens when her favor threatens Terra Nova. His character is just entirely stupid right now, and I hope we see him grow up.

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Terra Nova Season 1 Episode 6 Quotes

How do you kill a man with a dinosaur?


Mira: You're the cop's kid.
Josh: Or Josh.