Drawing comparisons to Avatar, Jurassic Park and Primeval, Terra Nova follows mankinds attempt to start life over again in the past after the future Earth becomes overpopulated, overdeveloped and polluted. When a portal to the distant past is created several members of the human race head back to the lush, natural environment of dino times to start their lives again in a new fresh environment, however a group of natives and an evil corporation seem determined to strip this new world of all it is worth leading to an ongoing battle with the new residents. With obvious input from Steven Spielberg, Terra Nova certainly has an interesting concept behind it that is sadly not explored to its full potential.
While the scale of the show is impressive and the story arc shows some promise, the show, sadly, focuses too much on the wooden and very dull characters of the Shannon family rather than the interesting ones (and there are several). In addition to this the show seems to take a story-of-the-week approach for the majority of the time, which is disappointing as it could be so much better than this! As well as this, the desolate future shown in the series opener and finale is not given enough screen time to make you care about the main narrative point of the show. It is also worth noting that the CGI dinosaurs, while impressive, are not up to the standard of Spielbergs Jurassic Park films. That being said, not everything about the show is bad. The locations and sets are stunning, the special effects are decent for TV, there are several interesting characters, there is a decent story arc when it does surface and of course it has a big name like Spielberg behind it.
Overall, the problem with Terra Nova isnt the concept, the production values or the story arc, its the fact that the show focuses too much on the Shannon family and their escapades both in the past and future and to be brutally honest none of the characters in this family are very interesting and at times they are very wooden. As a result the series becomes quite domestic and dull for the best part with the show just plodding along. That being said there are three interesting characters in Taylor (Stephen Lang), Lucas (Ashley Zuckerman) and Mira (Christine Adams), the production values are brilliant, the story arc with the Sixers, Lucas and the Badlands shows some promise and the two part finale is the best thing about the show! While this (first) series of Terra Nova is far from perfect there are certainly some promising signs of things to come should the show continue however if it does do then Id rather the writers and producers stuck more to the interesting characters, the developing arc and include more scenes set in the desolate future.