I watched the 2 hour Terra Nova pilot episode today and for the most part I am impressed. It is visually stunning, and the story is very engaging, and it definitely has me interested enough to keep coming back to see how it answers some of the questions raised in the pilot. They definitely did a good job of making me care about a few of the characters enough to come back, and keeping me interested enough in the plot to come back. I would definitely recommend it, and I hope that this show is able to continue beyond just one season, and that it is able to keep furthering the plot and story without getting bogged down, or without slowing down. Momentum is the key to serialized shows like this, and lack of momentum is the reason so many other Sci Fi shows have failed recently such as V, and Terminator:The Sarah Connor Chronicles (most of the second season did nothing for the overall story).
The story line with the faction that broke off from the main group, known as the sixers was great and I’m interested to learn more about them, who they are, why they were sent there, who sent them. The story line with Taylor’s son who disappeared seems like it’s going to be an interesting one, especially if they reveal what the cave drawings that are supposedly done by him mean, and why they look so old. Also, why is Taylor trying to cover these drawings up? I am also enjoying the relationship between Taylor, the autocratic military leader, and Jim Shannon, the former cop/escaped convict. The story has a lot of great material, and if it is able to expand on these plot lines and keep the momentum going, I think it will make for a great show.
What I didn’t like about the episode is mostly Jim Shannon’s teenage son, Josh. It’s like they took the whininess and brattiness of Tyler from V and amplified him by 1,000. He is quite possibly the most annoying character I’ve ever seen on television. Not to mention the fact that his brattiness seems to come out of absolutely nowhere. The first half hour which takes place in the dystopian future and shows Jim and family being searched for an illegal third child and getting caught after hiding little Zoe in the air vent. Jim punches a cop and goes to jail. He then breaks out with the help of his wife, rescues Zoe, and manages to sneak his way through the time portal to escape the dystopian future. This whole time Josh is seen complaining that they can’t leave without his dear old dad, and he genuinely seems to care about him. As soon as they get to Terra Nova, and are shown to their new home, there’s a disgustingly heart-warming scene with Jim and little Zoe, with the whole family watching in the background lovingly. Overwhelming amounts of Spielbergian cheese in this scene, but it is touching, as much as it is annoying. Immediately after this however is when my first real problem comes up, Josh suddenly out of nowhere blows up and says “if dad didn’t freak out and punch a cop he wouldn’t have been gone, now I just have to act like nothing happened, and love him and blah blah blah?!?” …. BAD CHARACTERIZATION! Seriously… none of the writers got to this part and thought “wait, he’s been nothing but a loving son up til this point, why would he blow up out of nowhere like this?” This was terrible. Hopefully after this episode, which also featured Josh running off with some new friends and almost getting killed by dinosaurs only to be rescued at the absolute last minute by Jim and Taylor, Josh will drop this obnoxious, whiny brattiness. This character was terrible, and absolutely one of the worst in television history in my mind, but I was still able to look past it and really enjoy this pilot episode. I am excited to see where the series goes from here.