In the year 2149, humankind seeks escape from the polluted Earth by travelling to the past to establish a new colony.
Or: a group of very pretty actors (plus Avatar‘s brilliant Stephen Lang) travel back in time to colonise Earth 85 million years ago in the Fox TV adventure series.
It could have been Mysterious Island, The Lost World, Jurassic Park; instead we got obsessive conspiracy theories and modern day corruption in the long, long shadow of Lost. With the occasional CGI critter.
No wonder it got cancelled after only 13 of the contracted 22 episodes.
Production values were high, special effects were good, but as a weekly series, the characters were bland stereotypes and the writers fell into Lost and Walking Dead rehashes, with grand conspiracy theories thrown in.
Fox, what’s the matter with you?? You’ve got dinosaurs, early mammals, volcano’s, things to explore, medical stuff, time travel – so instead you make some beige, boring tosh about corruption and ‘rebel insurgents,’ enemies within and the obligatory dark past of the senior characters. Tucked inside a Wild West fort with a stack of technology that works or doesn’t according to the convenience of that week’s plot.
And our lead character, Jim Shannon (Jason O’Mara) is a tough cop from the mean streets of 2149. Which would have been great if they had spent more than 30 seconds on the ‘fish out of water’ idea, but no, two episodes and we all fit right in. Like the various British and Aussie accents.
Terra Nova teetered on the edge of family-friendly (cute and/or hungry dinosaurs!), with the Shannon family so sickly it was almost Little House on the Jurassic Plain, while the writers wanted to produce something on the darker side of HBO fare. Seventeen committee meetings later we got Avatar-lite with Fern Gulley. Bleeaacchh!
Britain’s own Primeval managed to do this better for less. For five seasons. Terra Nova was another promising idea that went wrong chasing the advertising dollars. RC
Cast: Jason O’Mara, Stephen Lang, Shelley Conn, Rod Hallett, Christine Adams, Landon Liboiron, Naomi Scott, Alana Mansour, Allison Miller
Related: Stargate Universe