Terra Nova Review: Son of a Son of a Taylor

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Anyone who has watched the first 10 episodes of Terra Nova knows that it is not brilliant television. The acting isn't all that great, the dialogue has been awkward and the series took a while to figure out just one kind of show it wanted to be.

All that said, "Within" was the third straight episode in which I have more positive things to say than negative ones. Sure, that may be because the problems with each outing tend to be similar week in and week out, and nobody would want to read about that time and time again, but if Terra Nova gets a second season by FOX, I think it's heading in a decent direction.

An Important Address

Let's start with the best of the best. Ashley Zukerman was fantastic this week as his Lucas Taylor finally got a bit more screen time. He was a pretty great villain in this hour, with his character proving to be creepy, funny, smart and emotional. Zukerman combined all of that into the best performance we've seen on this show to date.

Between constantly referring to Skye as "Bucket," wanting to take out his father for what happened to his mom and destroying all of those nobodies with a sonic wave, it's just a shame that it took until the 10th episode to introduce such an interesting character to a series so lacking in them.

The next major positive from "Within" was the pleasantly emotional scene between Skye and her mom. It was just a nicely acted, well-timed moment between a mother and a daughter. I would have been even more touched if this weren't the first time in 11 hours worth of television that there was a scene provoking any type of emotion other than anger.

It was too little too late, just like the plot leading up to the impending battle between Lucas' employers and Terra Nova. The past two or three episodes have done a good job at teasing this battle. The motives of Lucas and his employers have intrigued me a bit, but again, the first seven episodes were too poorly done - and all over the place creatively - to get me all that interested in how this season is going to end.

While many of my positive comments above have been a variation of the backhanded compliment, what I have to say about Jim Shannon's detective work could be categorized as no such thing.

Terra Nova has really failed at developing this character. Is he a good husband? I'm not sure. Is he a terrible father? I'm not sure. Is he a good cop? Again, I'm not sure. He seems to be, based on the fact that Taylor elevated him to Sheriff so quickly, but tonight's episode provides both cases simultaneously.

First, we witnessed Jim questioning a couple of suspects in the spy case. One of the suspects is Skye, to whom Jim asks one question: where were you during such and such time on a specific day? Well, thanks for coming in. That's it? That's all it takes?

Then the question becomes, why would Skye use Josh as her excuse? Why the detective's son? Oh, well, obviously as a way to keep Josh involved in the plot of the episode. That’s convenient.

So then, after Jim did no questioning of Skye at all, he's completely convinced it's her after seeing a video of her sneaking out at night? That's all it takes to be certain she's guilty?  

What made the whole thing so much more infuriating was that Jim figured out exactly what was going on with hardly any evidence or clues. When Patrick Jane solves the crime on The Mentalist, it is because he is an expert at picking up on people's reactions. When Rick Castle solves a crime, it's because his experience as an author allows him to see things creatively.

Terra Nova has given us no reason to believe that Jim Shannon should have solved this case... well, except for the fact that he IS the "Sheriff."

As frustrating as it can be, like I stated above, there are still some things keeping me slightly interested in Terra Nova. Zukerman's Lucas is now a big one. Hopefully he makes his way back through the portal with his employers to take on Terra Nova in next week's finale.

What about you, TV Fanatics? What did you think of "Within?" And are you looking forward to seeing how the first season is going to end in next week's double-sized episode?


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (81 Votes)

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


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I really love Ashley Zukerman as Lucas Taylor. He´s an amazing "bad guy". Hope he has more minutes in season 2, without Lucas, Terra Nova wouldn´t work at all.


I'd say it's an alrite show overall and I enjoyed watching it with my family. Slow at first but most new upcoming shows are that way hopefully building into a much satisfactory storyline. Only negative thing for me to say would be about the soldiers body armor. C'mon, it's 2149 and you're wearing paintball vests.. nuff said.. But I do hope for another season and best luck to the producers... God bless!


I disagree about Zukerman's acting (if you can call it that). He was absolutely horrible especially at the end where his performance was extremely awkward and insinscere. The only thing that could have saved this episode is if one of the main characters got eaten by a dino.


I guess the only thing I didn't like about the review was the positive parts. Thanks to some of you for reminding me this is a family show - my kids are all in their 30's and 40's. So I guess I'm watching this silly show for (a) the occasional glimpse of a dinosaur (although those are done much better on Primeval) and (b) something to bitch about. My favorite gag me moment in this one? Taylor saying something about standing shoulder to shoulder and the little Shannon family crowding together for the shoulder to shoulder family pic. But no, I don't want to see them blown away. I want to see them doing or saying something interesting. And I refuse to believe that "interesting" and "family fare" are mutually exclusive concepts.


When Maddy want to buy a core in the market, this show no longer mention about terra's currency, but barter/trading. At last, they corrected it. to long and to late the writer figure it out.


Terra Nova is fun to watch. I agree with your point that the producers should have eloborated more on the characters. But we must not forget that the context in which this story takes places is completely unknown to us (as an audience). The first series of episodes basically outline the context. It's not something they could have done in a few episodes. If TN runs for a second season, I expect it to be more detailed as far as characters. Since I did not have very high expectations of the first season, I have found the last ten episodes quite amusing. TN certainly is one of the best shows on FOX. No doubt.


Easy guy, it’s just a TV show. You’re getting hours of entertainment for free and you have the audacity to use terms such as “frustrating or infuriating� to describe this show? What kind of successful prime time entertainment have you produced/directed…


Shoot from NBC to Fox are taking off all the great show. Yes I think Terra Nova is a great show. Just because there is no blood or guts coming out on the show does not mean it is not good. I have watch it from the frist show and I will watch the last show. If Fox pulls this show then they better end it right and not leave it as a cliffy. Fox don't pull this show. It is a great show. A show where families can come together and watch and not have worry about the blood and guts.


I have to admit that I didn't read all of the review so if I go over ground you have covered I apologise but this is for 2 reasons, I haven't yet seem the episode (being in the uk) and the negative slant of the review was a little overwhelming. I personally agree with some of the later comments, this is a really enjoyable family show which would be ruined by too much hack em slash em bad guy action. Yes the story has been slow and the character building a little lost in places but this surely adds to the longevity of the show with the viewer having an affinity for the characters while giving the producers room to grow each character in later episodes/seasons. The show is highly polished with the backdrops looking amazing and every encounter with dinosaurs is Spielberg Jurassic gold! This isn't walking dead (another show I am currently loving every minute of), so to judge against this type of show is wrong (think a commentor did this). This is similar to stargate which let's face it, was never going to win any awards for acting but was a highly enjoyable watch which opened the imagination without resorting to unneccesary violence or bad language. Please Fox, don't pull this show!!

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Terra Nova Season 1 Episode 11 Quotes

How is the great Commander? Has he walked on water yet?


Skye: Have you always hated him this much?
Lucas: No, not always. It started in 2138.