Thoughts on Terra Nova
Now that I have watched the first episode of Terra Nova (thanks to iTunes), I have a few thoughts about what I saw.
WARNING: SPOILERS WITHIN
First, I really like how the episode focused on the Shannon family. Keeping the series focused on characters and not cool special effects will keep this series alive (I have not seen the ratings for the first episode’s airing yet). In the Shannons, we see the typical American family, a husband, wife and 2 and a half children. it is also through this family tha we see exactly what type of world they are living in. It is a world that’s pretty much ruined. In 2149, an orange is a wonder to behold, and the very existence of their youngest daughter, Zoe, is a criminal act which Jim Shannon pays for with a prison sentence he has served two years of.
I found myself willing to suspend some of my concerns about the time travel issue, though a lot of them still remain. The eldest daughter, Maddy Shannon, advances the theory that an alternate timeline was created by the very act of sending a probe through the rift in time that allows them to create Terra Nova. This, of course, still has me asking questions, some of which I’ve brought up in a previous post. If they did create an alternate timeline, how are they able to send multiple groups back to the same location. The Shannons journey back in what is called the 10th Pilgrimage. Even Commander Nathaniel Taylor sites that he was in the past for 140 some odd days before the next group was sent back.
What buffers my questions about time paradoxes and alternate timelines is the very notion that a pilgrimage to Terra Nova is a one way journey. This would placate a lot of my concerns about damaging the timeline that led the Shannon family to Terra Nova.
Along with the Shannons, we are also introduced to Commander Taylor, played by Stephen Lang. As head of Terra Nova, it is his job to make sure that everything runs smoothly in this new old world (a lot of one liners deal with future/past issues). Taylor is tough, willing to put his own safety above that of Terra Nova. He also realizes that it is a new world, and that the rules of the old do not always apply, most notably in regards to Zoe, the Shannons illegal third child.
Naturally, in a show that is set in the distant past, it will feature dinosaurs. Thankfully, dinos are not over used, as Terra Nova focuses on the people and not the animals. Of course, one of the storylines of the first episode deals with a dinosaur attack. But, as with any good story, it still focuses on the people dealing with the attack and not the dinosaurs attack itself.
Most importantly, there is mystery in this new world. First up are the Sixers, the human antagonists of Terra Nova. The Sixers, so-called because they were a part of the 6th Pilgrimage to Terra Nova, are a group of rebels. The only real problem is that no one, not even Commander Taylor, is sure how they became a part of the Pilgrimage, or who sent them back. He is distrustful of the government of 2149, which leads him to confide in Jim Shannon, the patriarch of the Shannon family who has had his own issues with the government in 2149. The Sixers, led by Mira, have become a bit of a thorn in the side of Terra Nova, stealing what they can, and bartering for what they can’t steal (they end up controlling some vital resources).
There is also the fate of Taylor’s son, lost in the wilderness that is the past. Taylor remains hopeful that his son is alive. And, as we learn at the end of the episode, his son is alive and communicating through mathematical equations left in a “forbidden area” of the jungle. What the equations mean is still unknown, though Mira implies that Taylor’s son is working on trying to explain the past they live in.
As it stands after one episode, I am very curious to see what the future… er, past will hold for the Shannon family and Terra Nova.
- ‘Terra Nova’ Reviews: Must-See TV Or Soon To Be Extinct? (moviesblog.mtv.com)
- Terra Nova Episode One: Humanity is doomed! [Video] (io9.com)
- TV Review: TERRA NOVA Episodes 1.01 – 1.02 (geektyrant.com)
- ‘Terra Nova’ Offers a World of Possibilities (Review) (popmatters.com)