Terra Nova – Episode 1 – 1/2 – Review – “Genesis”

The hype and delay for Terra Nova was so great that anything short of spectacular would fall short. And indeed, it’s falls short in all aspects–plot, characters, ratings, even CGI at times. You gotta wonder what the producers did with the extra time. Surely they couldn’t have been content with their scripts… or maybe they were, and Brannon Braga spent his free time thinking up more Star Trek ideas that sounded cool and original.

I’ll be tuning in to Terra Nova each week, because it’s a show I have to watch despite the quality or lack thereof. With Steve Spielberg pushing that sentimental family aspect of the show (which was the worst part of Falling Skies) and Braga, who hasn’t done anything good since TNG, stinking up the place, the show will head downhill soon. But if we’re going to judge the pilot by itself, then, yes, I liked it. It’s obvious the episode cost a boatload of money, with an elaborate set, and lots of CGI, though it’s not really that great. The show is visually pleasing, so I liked it (because a new sci-fi show is like a new toy on Christmas morning).

Besides the visual aesthetic, Terra Nova doesn’t have much going for it. Stephen Lang is excellent as the leader, but that’s it. The family is boring and the drama between the members is hardly exciting. The father went to prison for years, his wife is resentful of his old job (reminding him a billion times he’s not a cop anymore), and he doesn’t have a good relationship with his son either. Rote characterization at its finest. Still, it feels more alive than that on Falling Skies, if that counts for anything.

And now that the ratings are in, they’re not pretty either. 3.0 adults 18-49, good for most shows, but bad for a show costing so much in both production and promotion.

Score: 8.4/10