The future is bleak. Having more than two kids is against the law. The Jim & Elisabeth Shannon (Jason O’Mara & Shelley Conn) have made their bed and now they have to lie in it, though it’s Jim who takes the fall. Elisabeth has been conscripted into the Terra Nova project and with Jim in jail and their youngest with the authorities, she’ll take her older two Josh (Landon Liboiron) and Maddy (Naomi Scott) to start a new life in the past as a part of the 7th shipment of lottery winners and conscriptees… but will Jim be able to join them?
Thus commences Terra Nova, the big budget dinosaur drama filmed in Australia. With Steven Spielberg as executive producer, the comparisons to Jurassic Park are obvious though undeserved. This is indeed it’s own story, full of drama and intrigue, with the only common element being the existence of dinosaurs. It’s also pretty enjoyable, though given the dinosaurs are far from tame this is not a tale for younger kids.
This new settlement is run by Commander Nathaniel Tayor (Stephen Lang), one of the first to establish the colony that is Terra Nova. He’s in charge, and he runs a tight ship. All who come to Terra Nova have a chance to start over, as once they go through the portal there’s no going back. Not everyone is happy about it either, as we learn through the first two episodes.
The primarily American cast play it very straight and very well. Aussies pop up from time to time (Damian Walshe-Howling and Dean Geyer in these first episodes), though with the exception of Conn’s british accent everyone else including the Aussies are of American descent. The location choices of the Gold Coast hinterland accentuate the digital long shots, drawing the viewer in and delivering a completely believable environment (though the digital matting is a little obvious at times). The digital dinosaurs deliver their cutest and freaky best, so be prepared for some surprises/shocks.
This first episode “Genesis” packs enough background to get you up to speed without revealing all the over-arching plot. While in part predictable it’s very easy to be consumed by the new world that Terra Nova is established in and follow the Shannon’s and the others as they all build a new life in a new time. Control the past and you control the future.
Terra Nova – Sun 8:30pm, Ch10.