In the two-hour premier, a lot of stuff happened. Jim got arrested for having a third kid when only two are allowed. Liz and the remaining kids got picked for the Terra Nova project, a chance to go back in time and start over 85 million years in the past, where there aren’t too many people, and where the air is still breathable and the climate is pristine. Except for all those dinosaurs. She doesn’t want to leave Jim to rot, so she helps him escape, he basically kidnaps their third kid, and he fakes his way into the colony with them. Liz immediately goes to work as a doctor, but they have no use for stowaways, so Jim is given manual labor–until he stops a criminal Sixer (from a splinter faction) from killing the commander, and gets promoted to security.
Meanwhile, the older daughter Maddy develops a crush on a young soldier, Zoe doesn’t remember her father, and Josh, the oldest, is rebellious. He sneaks off base with a girl named Skye and her friends and they get attacked by Slashers, pack-hunting dinos with sharp blades in their tails. Several of the kids get almost-killed, and Jim has to go out with the team to rescue them, because Sixers have taken their powercells. Lots of exciting fighting ensues, and everyone gets back to the camp, but we learn that Skye is an orphan and that the Commander has been taking care of her since it happened, there are mysterious markings on the waterfall rocks that were apparently made by the Commander’s missing son, and there’s a secret other purpose to the colony.
Still as good as it was when I reviewed the first hour. There’s a tenseness in the background of the show that most of the characters don’t have a clue about just yet, though Jim is starting to see some of it. There’s a lot of people not telling each other what they know about several spooky events. And there is a lot of dinosaur action in the second half. It feels a little like pulling punches that none of the kids actually did die, even though they probably should have in that attack, but there’s now fodder for several different reactions to the event. And there are mysteries that fee a little like the ones from the first season of Lost, which, so far, no other show has managed to replace.
And there’s a lot of interpersonal drama cropping up. The fallout of Jim having been in jail for two years is starting to happen: Zoe doesn’t remember him, Josh is angry the way only a teen boy can be, and there’s a little tension in his relationship with Liz. All we need now is something from Maddy, and we’re good.
A lot of thought has gone into gonstructing this show, and it’s been done the right way: just the right balance of mystery and family drama, and an idea that the writers believe we can figure things out on our own and keep track of storylines. It’s starting to feel like it could be addictive, if Fox gives it a chance.
– Dinosaurs are always a pro.
– The characters are proving to be pretty well-rounded, and to have a lot of complications and interactions with each other that we’ve barely started to hint at.
– There is a lot of story-fodder in this one.
– The action all makes sense and is super-exciting.
– It’s already likable enough that I fear for its safety.
– Can it keep up this level of cohesion?
– If the Sixers are controlled by someone back in the home timeframe, that means there’s more going on there than we know, and we’ll hopefully get to see more of that dystopia they all come from.
– The fact that they’re in the past can’t be as free of consequences as they’re led to believe.
– There’s probably already another intelligent presence there, which Taylor’s son is involved with in some way, though whether it’s other people or something else is still totally up in the air.
– The time bridge isn’t as steady as they want everyone to believe it is, if Taylor had to wait 118 days before the people right behind him in line came through.
Watch Terra Nova, Monday nights on FOX.
Follow Samantha’s tweets about TV and more @pirategirljack. What was your favorite scene in this week’s episode?