Tuesday, 11 October 2011

TERRA NOVA, 1.3 – "Instinct"

Tuesday, 11 October 2011
We're wading deeper into new TV season waters, and there are even more shows appearing on the horizon (The Walking Dead, Chuck, Spy, Misfits, Boss), so I've got to be ruthless about the extent of my coverage this year. Terra Nova isn't a series I'm going to be passionate about, that much was clear from last week, and it certainly isn't interesting enough to warrant episodic reviews. It's clear from "Instinct" that it's just a family-friendly romp with sporadic dinosaurs—and, while that's fun on a basic level for young 'uns, I'm going to struggle writing 800-words about it every week. For what it's worth, "Instinct" was less visually impressive than the pilot (although the swarms of pesky pterosaur were rather cool), but had a slightly more nuanced story by Star Trek veterans René Echevarria and Brannon Braga.

Jason O'Mara, Shelley Conn and Stephen Lang are good and work well together, I like how the writers find clever ways to highlight we're 85 million years in the past (the family paint their house a yellow hue that doesn't exist in the future), and there's an agreeable vibe to the show's crisp interior sets and gorgeous scenery. But am I keen on seeing more of the cutesy Shannon family? Not really, but they're pleasant folk. Do I care about the Terra Nova settlement and the splinter group of "Sixers"? Not especially. Is the promise of rampaging dinosaurs enough to keep me glued to my seat, despite all this? No, I outgrew that years ago.

I may keep watching the show at UK-pace on Sky1 (most likely recording it to fill a gap later in the week), but I see no reason to sit down and review this show every single week. It is what it is, that's unlikely to change anytime soon, and I doubt Fox will be renewing it considering the huge expense and so-so ratings. You either find pleasure in its high-concept premise, costly CGI animals, and the Shannon family's awfully clichéd dynamic, or you don't. It's probably far more appealing if you're under-12 or a parent who wants something the kids can watch for an hour, of course, but count me out.

written by René Echevarria & Brannon Braga · directed by Jon Cassar · 10 October 2011 · Sky1