If you are at all dialed into the television world, you have been hearing about the new television series TERRA NOVA for nearly two years. But like fermenting wine, it takes time to create as detailed and magnificent a visual creation as TERRA NOVA. Having been invited to a special advance screening of the pilot of TERRA NOVA at Fox Studios in Los Angeles, I can say one thing for certain: TERRA NOVA is a feast for the eyes. All the time, money and passion poured into this show is evident from the first time you see it across the screen, and in a word, it is extraordinary. The creators and talent behind the show have created a world that looks real. It brings to life both a dystopian future and a dinosaur-infused past.
From the first moments you see a future in which Earth is so smog-ridden that the air is poisonous to breathe; and that world is over-populated and in desperate need of basic resources like food, water and air. So when a miraculous discovery is made opening a portal into the past, humankind is quick to exploit the opportunity to go back in time and preserve the planet for future generations — getting humanity and the planet itself a second chance.
TERRA NOVA is a two-fold story: it is a story of our future and a story of our past, seamlessly woven together to create a tale of how one remarkable family makes that journey together and what they find there. As seen through the eyes of a family struggling to stay together, TERRA NOVA is not only a second chance, it is their last chance. Jim Shannon, played by Jason O’Mara, is a cop who finds himself on the other side of the law, is willing to do anything to save his family. When an opportunity arises to give them a fresh start if they voyage to the unknown world of Terra Nova, neither he nor his family hesitates. So in the midst of this larger than life story, we get to experience what it is like to travel into the unknown, back in time and to come face to face with dinosaurs.
The one small wrinkle is mankind’s own duality. A select group is sent back in time with one mission: preserve the planet. Yet, with an open wormhole to exploit, those that want to save the planet are not the only ones who can slip through. Somehow a rebel faction is also sent back and a small war is brewing — or at least a battle for the limited resources in Terra Nova, such as medicine, food, fuel and weaponry. With an indigenous population of dinosaurs, not all of which are friendly, weaponry and fuel are precious commodities.
So TERRA NOVA sets up a large array of stories to follow: the challenged Shannon family, the divergent groups of settlers vying for occupation of old Earth, and the murky politics and agendas of the world of the future. The heroes of TERRA NOVA are the Shannons and they try to align themselves with the one man who can keep them safe in the strange new world, Commander Taylor (played by Stephen Lang). Alliances are just as important as having a useful skill in a community that needs every person it can get in order to keep the balance in their mission.
TERRA NOVA may look and sound like a science fiction series, and it is based on solid sci-fi concepts, yet the true foundation of the show is the family drama. To make the experience more real, gripping and relatable to the audience, the story focuses tightly on the Shannons. It would be impossible to appreciate the beauty of TERRA NOVA if it were only seen through a military or science perspective — to grasp the wonder of it all, it must be seen through the lens of a family. It is only then that one can take the time to gawk at the sheer magnificence of each and every dinosaur, cringe at the simplistic living conditions and understand how daunting it is to make such a trip risking their lives and everything they have known just to be together. For everyone else in the Terra Nova world, they were selected and chose to go back in time. For the Shannons, it was their only hope.
But like any answer to prayer, there can be a cost. Terra Nova may be their salvation or it may be the one thing that destroys them all. Leaping into the unknown is risky. TERRA NOVA is at its heart a story of one family taking that leap of faith and both the joys and danger their encounter once they reach the other side. You will root and cheer for them as they face each new challenge — and you will sit on the edge of your seat with each ferocious dinosaur encounter. TERRA NOVA may be beautiful, but it can be vicious and dangerous as well.
You are invited into the world of TERRA NOVA and see for yourself what compelled the Shannons to take on such an adventure and how they survive once they get there. There will be moments of joy and moments of terror, but in the end, it is about their ability to stand together and the love they share for each other in the face of it all. Join the Shannons and see where the journey leads. TERRA NOVA airs its 2 hour premiere on Monday, September 26th at 8 p.m. on Fox.
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