Terra Nova Review: Who Has Skeletons?

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I'm not saying that Terra Nova has all of the sudden become quality television, but "Vs." easily created the most intrigue the series has seen since the pilot.

Did a majority of the interesting aspects derive from the final 10 minutes of action? Yeah, but that's a trick TV writers have been using for all of time. Leave a great taste in viewers’ mouths and they'll be excited to come back for more.

Jim and Family

The sequence in which Taylor detained Jim - revealing what in the heck was really going on with him, the Sixers, his son and the recently discovered General Philbrick - piqued my interest big time.

Over the past couple months I have grown accustomed to watch Terra Nova with the excitement of a comatose 80-year old, but all the talk about what the Sixers are really doing, and what Lucas was up to got me to the edge of my seat... just barely.

So the Sixers have been sent to Terra Nova to pillage this new world for resources, essentially attempting to make the Powers That Be rich with goods and such. That's about what we were expecting from them, but what really got my blood pumping was all of the stuff between Taylor, Philbrick and Lucas.

That flashback sequence was intense, and I love every second of it. Taylor killing his mentor, and then being begged by his son to kill him, too, was pretty awesome.

Now that we have learned about the Sixers, and what happened to Commander Taylor back in the day, I worry that any suspense we had about the series will be lost going forward. Thankfully, Lucas and his efforts to make the portal a two-way street are still alive and kicking.

Hopefully that's the focus and major foil for Jim and Taylor as we head down the final stretch of what we all assume will be the lone season of Terra Nova.

Realistically, though, these issues will probably be sidelined for more procedurally styled one-off episodes where a giant tarantula comes into Terra Nova, and Zoe fights it off with a special crayon. Well not that, but something as ridiculous as that.

While my interest topped out with the final moments of the episode, the rest of it was pretty much paint-by-numbers. There was a crime to solve (this time it involved a skeleton), Zoe did something cute (specifically playing a fantastic Commander Taylor) and every teenager in Terra Nova was annoying.

So before anyone lays claim - myself included - that Terra Nova is fantastic television, don't be a prisoner of the moment and remember how pedestrian the first two thirds of "Vs." was.

What did you all think? And how fake looking was that gigantic dragonfly?


Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (73 Votes)

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


@lunar eclipse I forgot about the episode where the Broadway caliber production designers and art directors came through the portal and talked about helping the adorable kids put on an adorable play that would be so adorable that the adorable parents and adorable siblings would all smile adorably as they watched their adorable kids performed on the professionally designed stage... Oh wait that storyline never happened. Maybe they talked about it in the episode where the government used scare resources to send the large scale color printers through the portal along with the ink and technicians to run them just in case the compound needed some large scale color printing done - like say for an adorable play... Oh wait that never happened either. Or maybe the kids made all the stage props themselves because they are - along with being absolutely adorable - genius art prodigies who can conceive, paint and construct the professional grade sets. Ahh yes, that must be it. I forgot about those scenes where the kids were all prepping for the play - sawing and painting and constructing and rehearsing, and the parents were all proud of them for sawing and painting and constructing and rehearsing. Like the scenes where the daughter - who played host for the play - was rehearsing... Oh wait. Those scenes never happened. The stage and the show just magically happened. Instead of rehearsing the daughter she was out in the forest all night with a beefcake military kid who acts as if he is from the 1950s. Your right plays actually happen in the real world. And those plays and the reactions in the audience are identical to what was shown on this show. Yes plays happen in the real world. People sit on the toilet and read popular mechanics for 20 minutes. They just don't show that on TV


@Luna286: They *did* use the DNA analyzer...that was the whole point, that the DNA did not match any known pilgrim...in addition, the "pilgrimage dating" technique revealed that the victim had come over *between* the 2nd and 3rd pilgrimages. @Jenny: Yes, school plays *are* part of the real "adult" world...and the audience reaction varies widely according to the demographic (just being real here)...the folks in Terra Nova represent the best of the best, and they have plenty of resources, so no surprise that the production values of the school play are a little bit higher than average...the school play actually helped illustrate a big part of Commander Taylor's motivation (at least as he stated), creating an environment where people can live, breathe, and grow as family and as community.....


If you do not like the show then do not watch it. I am tired of people bashing every single television show and or movie. If you don't like it no one is forcing you to watch it. The plot of this series seems genuine and is actually complex, although i do agree the cgi is pretty bad and there could be more suspense. This show is not for everyone so if you are one of the ones hating it then don't watch it. I just hate how everyone is a critic these days and has to put in their two cents. To be perfectly honest i don't give a shit about your pompous arrogant opinion, if you are such an expert then why don't you become a writer or come up with your own show.


A school play? A friggen school play? What I don't get is why these producers create (and market), a show in a world of adult violence and intrigue and then write it for an early elementary school audience. Makes no sense. It should have been conceived as an adult show. Speaking of audiences, they can't even get the audience at the play right. Ever been to a kid's school play? Never in the history of school plays has the entire audience sat in rapt attention smiling ear to ear. The people in the audience are people who have to be there - parents - and they are all bored to death, yawning, asleep, checking their phones, etc. Afterwards they smile and fib, telling their child "You were wonderful honey." It did look like the play cost about $2 million to produce as someone else said.


Still so much wrong with this show. Why did they not use the DNA analyzer from last week to check the ID on the corpse? No, instead we are forced to sit through a children's play. It's so obvious that Malcolm is the mole. And what about that ambush? Do the soldiers not know how to lock their doors? I say the Sixers have the probe and that is how they are communicating with the future.The show is soooo predictable. The writing is on the wall and with the ratings starting to drop like a stone, get ready to say Bye-Bye to Terra Nova.
It is currently the second lowest rated scripted show on Fox, only Fringe is lower in the ratings.


This show is crap.
This show is supposed to be SciFy, not a "fun" show.
SciFy fans don´t want stupid kids spoiling the episodes.
SciFy fans don´t want dumb plots to fill the season.
SciFy fans don´t want mindless crap.
SciFy fans don´t want family shows. And I agree with Jay, that plot of future "bad men" that want all the resources from the past is so idiotic that it is insulting.


This is TV not a full length movie that I need to pay to see, and while I expect good TV as well this show is good. It's good because of the family connection which makes it a show for the whole family. I find it fun, entertaining and good escapism. Why can't a show just be fun? Terra Nova is refreshingly new. I would also prefer that they stay with the dinosours and methods of survival rather than bringing politics and money making into it. The interactions of the characters/family is entertaining enough for me.


Dan, I meant that comment to be tongue-in-cheek. Re-reading it, the comment missed the mark. Mea Culpa. Guess I need to enroll for another semester of writing for clarity. PS: The producers obviously aren't sending out swag. They're far too busy writing storylines where the greedy people of 2149 want the folks in Terra Nova to send back resources so they can be really rich when the world collapses in an environmental tsunami that wipes out all human (and other forms) of life. Luckily they throw in plots where the kids produce off Broadway caliber plays for the entire compound to lighten things up.


Jay, the things I enjoy about Terra Nova - and those I stated in this review - are not disingenuous. I decided to pick out the one aspect of the episode that I enjoyed to write about this week. It is not all that interesting to bash on a show week after week. As you can note from my grade, and a number of comments throughout my review, this is still not good television, but this week there were a couple things I enjoyed. And I wish I received stuff for being positive about a show. I would have boat loads of Homeland swag from Showtime, but that is definitely not the case. -Dan


BTW this "reviewer," must be getting secret under-the-table payoffs. The accolades he is spewing are so glaringly disingenuous, it's clear he believes nothing of what he is writing. He knows it's terrible to promote a show he knows is terrible... but oh does he love that Terra Nova swag. I have proof. I'll show it to you all as soon as I can get this dragonfly wing surgically repaired.

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Terra Nova Season 1 Episode 9 Quotes

You're a traitor. There's no place in Terra Nova for you. I never wanna see your face again.

Taylor (to Lucas)

Without all of you, I'd have nothing.