Terra Nova

We all know the whole “end of the world, human wasteland” story: Humans have pushed Earth to its limits, and now they are paying the consequences. It’s 2149, and this the case. It’s a downtrodden, sullen planet, with depleted oxygen.
In the two-hour series premiere of Terra Nova, airing on FOX, the Shannon family is offered the opportunity to escape their desolate lifestyle and head for a new land by the name of Terra Nova (which means “new land;” get it?). However, it is not a new land, but a different time period on Earth. By stepping through a time portal, every member of the family is taken back 85 million years to a fertile land, with abundant oxygen as well as some pretty cool-looking dinosaurs.
The show starts off in an attention-grabbing way. In the futuristic world, where families are only allowed two children, a group of population control officers show up at the Shannons’ door looking for their illegal third child. The suspense builds, and even though I hadn’t even had time to connect with the little girl, I already was crossing my fingers in my mind and hoping that they wouldn’t find her.
After that the plot got really confusing. I didn’t really know what was going on, but that turned out to be a good thing. I was so intrigued by the concept that I couldn’t look away. I actually couldn’t look away because if I missed something, I would just dive deeper into confusion.
The acting in Terra Nova was mediocre at best, which may be because some of the main characters are not very experienced as actors. The main protagonist Jim Shannon, played by Jason O’Mara (Resident Evil: Extinction), was so completely unconvincing in his performance that I just couldn’t take his character seriously.
However, his wife, Elizabeth (Shelley Conn: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, How Do You Know) was exceptional in her role. She was believable, and her character didn’t seem forced at all. I really felt like she was the mother of those children and the wife of Jim Shannon.
The family is complete with an adorable 5-year-old daughter (Alana Mansour), an awkward, but not naturally awkward middle daughter, Maddy (Naomi Scott), and an angsty teenage oldest son, played by Landon Liboiron (Degrassi: The Next Generation). He was the one that really bugged me. He is the stereotypical defiant teenager, but to the point that it got annoying.
Some of the smaller effects were extremely weak. The weapons are not well created, and the way the effects were placed over people in the shot were simply ridiculous. However, the landscapes, which didn’t include people in the shot, were really great.
Terra Nova was a lot of different genres. It was a pretty good action show, mixed with poorly conveyed drama and not-so-funny comedy. It was a decent variety, just awful delivery.
I hope that these flaws will erode after a couple episodes because the show has a good concept and great potential. It’s just not quite there yet, which is why I’m still undecided as to whether or not the show will survive.

3 out of 5 stars