Terra Nova Review: When The Lights Go Out

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Although it is still not living up to preseason expectations, at least Terra Nova reverted back to the type of show I though it would be, and the sort of show it has the best chance of excelling at, in "Nightfall."

These people are living in a world that is both hundreds of years in the future and millions of years in the past. It is a perfect opportunity to keep the audience intrigued by mysterious storylines. That's something it has failed to capitalize on since the pilot, but did a much better job here.

Jungle Meeting

The meteor shutting off all power at Terra Nova became a nice opportunity for Mira and the Sixers to go looking for the box that Taylor and company could not open. Because they found it so easily after distracting the Commander with a giant dino, it was once again clear that Mira has someone on the inside.

Although it's a plot that may be a bit played out, there being a mole for the Sixers inside of Terra Nova is at least interesting.

Even more interesting is what happened after Mira retrieved the box. She gave it to the only man that could open it, Lucas. Lucas, who we all could have guessed was Taylor's son, had to overtly let it be known who he was because apparently we're not smart enough to figure things out.

What Terra Nova did not make as obviously clear was what the heck those equations and symbols from the box were all about. The equations on the rocks from the series premiere was one of the things that had me most intrigued, so finally bringing them back into play is a very good thing.

Whether or not the series can capitalize on that, and make sure that this mystery goes somewhere in the future, is a question for another day.

Another aspect of the show that Terra Nova has the possibility of excelling at is sprinkling in a bit of the Shannon family dynamics. We witnessed the good and the bad of the Shannon family in "Nightfall."

Let's start with the good. Jim and Zoe together are great. Jason O'Mara works best with Alana Mansour, and she is just too adorable not to be taken by her every second she is on screen.  Watching them during that brief history lesson/trip to the amusement park was just fantastic.

Then there was the bad. Everything that happened between Maddie and her boy toy was simultaneously unbearable and ridiculously boring. I'm not quite sure if I could care less about what goes on with this girl, or if I care enough to say that I don't want her on my screen anymore. I came into the season thinking Josh was going to be the teenage kid I couldn't stand, but at this point it has turned out to be Maddie.

While we are on the bad, how awful was the entire hospital sequence with Elisabeth and Skye? Not only was she incredibly dumb for handing off such a huge responsibility to a girl with no experience, but it was completely out of character. This woman is unbelievably serious about her work, how short staffed could they be that she is just handing things over to Skye?

"Nightfall" was another less than stellar hour of television, but for Terra Nova, it had some of its better moments since the premiere. What do you all think? Did you see some reasons to have more hope for the rest of the season?


Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (92 Votes)

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


I love Terra Nova...great show...I can't wait until next week...and finally we know or at least from Taylor's view what the sixers are there for and why his son is there. It is quite clear he knows more and so does Boylan. I love the mystery and intrigue part. Finally a family show that our entire family can enjoy. Thank you FOX!


One obvious hole no one mentions is the box. If the circuits were fried in everything at Terra Nova, why were the chips functional in the box?


Apparently I am the only one who likes this show. I doidn't pay attention to any preseason hype so I really had no expectations, maybe that's why I enjoy it. What did everyone expect? Non stop action or something along the lines of Lost? It reminds me some of Falling Skies, a group of people trying to survive in a new world with enemies that are bigger than them and groups of renegades working against them. IMDB.com's storyline says "Centers on the Shannons, an ordinary family from 2149 when the planet is dying who are transported back 85 million years to prehistoric Earth where they join Terra Nova, a colony of humans with a second chance to build a civilization." Where does it say anything about mysteries and such? I personally love Maddy and Mark together but think there needs to be more Jim and Maddy interaction. I think Malcolm or Hunter (not Skye) is the mole and Lucas is working on creating another portal between the past and the future.


As with most weekly shows this one has holes in the story, too. It's real people in a make-believe place with make-believe things. Do we believe the world to be, or was, so racially imbalanced at that time? Let's use our imagination and become a part of the story. This is not to say we shouldn't expect the best from the resources we have and just settle for anything that's thrown at us. No. Constructive criticism encourages improvement. Let's see if the writers read these comments and incorporate the suggestions.


Another really lame episode. Where to start? Why is there no shielding against the EMP? Current military have protection against it. Surely in 150 years they have developed other methods of shielding everything, especially the weaopons. they said they have been victims of an EMP in the future. Then we have this silly setup. Shannon and Zoe are trapped in "The Eye". The only manual escape is on the outside, none on the inside?!?! The Access panel is only big enough for a five-year-old child. What happens if there were a fire,any adult in there would be dead unless they have a child under glass for emergencies. Lazy, silly writing. Why hasn't this been cancelled yet?


Why are some of you people even still watching this show? If you think it is so bad week after week why keep watching? I thought this weeks show was good. I personally would like to see more interaction with the dinosaurs and other "wild things" out side of the city walls.


@Commander Taylor "The best yet"? None of them have been good since the first one. This is just another "Case of the week" dramas with the occasional dinosaur thrown in, except this had bad acting and horrible cgi.


I so have to agree with Jenny's review. This show is just lame. Writing is horrible. As the action goes on you can clearly see what is going to happen. No twists or turn, let's just trudge straight through. Perfect example is the soldier by himself going to open a door in the middle of nowhere and he hears scratching inside and thinks it is a drunk buddy out there by himself. On cue, as soon as the door opens a dinosaur jumps out. Wow. Didn't see that coming. As Jenny said, if it is so dangerous between the dinosaurs and the sixers, why do people wander off alone? Nothing about this show makes sense. Horrible. Done watching it. Gag.


I'm surprised that some people weren't finding this episode amazing. This was the best yet and with people saying it was a "yawn worthy" episode makes me wonder what were you expecting from a Dino based family drama. So I think the show is good, has been good, and lives up to what it was meant to be. You know. Because it's a Family friendly drama. So welcome to Terra frickin' Nova!!! And enjoy the f'ing show damn it!!!!! Or stop saying it sucks! If you don't like dinosaurs, don't watch it!!!!


This episode worked for me and refreshes my opinion of the show which was hurting after the last one. My main point of contention with the show is the female roles. This show, as it is setup, has a chance to really have some realistically strong female characters but chooses to keep them from getting involved in the plot. For example, Maddie is the smart Shannon who takes after her mother but has no stomach for medical. Why not have Maddie walk in on a discussion between Taylor and Jim where she notices some of the high tech symbols and says she can figure some of this stuff out then joins the tech group thus entering the plot. I would love to see Maddie being Jim’s tech advisor and further exploring the father-daughter relationship. Elisabeth needs to become the CMO just under her former beau to flush out some of her character instead of just being a gloried mother. While the Shannon women are overtly feminine, the two other females (Mira and Alicia) could be could be interchanged with male characters and no one would notice the difference. Yes teens in this scenario can take an active role in the village because everyone is needed for survival. TN feels like it is at a camp ground with a camper on very nice grounds with the sixers in the primitive section on nice grounds. I can suspend belief but at least have the characters act like their life is in serious danger. Throw in some survival instincts for good measure. I think Skye is feeding the sixers information but is not a traitor. I.e. Josh may have to confront dad when he closes in on whatever Skye developes into.

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Terra Nova Season 1 Episode 7 Quotes

Sonic WAVEEE!!!!!!!


I have an idea that might help us even the odds.