Terra Nova: "Genesis and Instinct" - First Impressions



Mr. Spielberg is back. With Dinosaurs!!
( Did I hear you squeal??!!!#@#$) – ahem no it ain’t Jurassic park-4. This time though, it’s a full fledged series. While some of you may groan since the diehard fans of the dino-movies kinda tuned out right after the first two movies, as the third had NOTHING new to offer us and going by the same argument, a full blooded series based on dinos running one hour prime time week after week might not be that hot!
Correct. I unfortunately tend to be part of that faction. Until of course I watched the first PILOT of this new series, Terra Nova. While this didn’t completely “blow me away” this certainly had me interested and wanting to watch where the series went.
This is going to be a mini-review – heck, more like what I LIKED and DISLIKED about the series.
First things first, for a mini-series to be about dinosaurs, it had better have something new to offer rather than winged reptiles creating havoc in your domestic life when you went for a vacation to an exotic island. That’s cliché. That is Michael Crichton ( One of my childhood favorite, May his soul rest in peace!) territory which we already covered. So the 90-minutes pilot that almost ran the length of a regular feature film sets the premise about a family of five living in a post apocalyptic Earth in 2149 where pollution and over –population has run the course – The opening scene has the dad, played by Jason O’Mara bring home a nice juicy orange to his three year old daughter, Zoey and teenager son, Jason. The fact that an orange is a novelty brings out the state of affairs the world is in today. And the presence of masks to presumably clean up air. Heck, they even invent a condition that is caused by an overdose of OXYGEN! Nice touch of imagination, I say.
So coming back to the story – the first thirty minutes is rushed – we are pitched headlong into the story where xxx gets arrested for having violated rules of “Not more than two kids per couple” – wifey, a super hot brainiac whos a doctor gets recruited in the meanwhile to go work in Terra Nova, a green planet set in  a parallel time-stream ( I didn’t really get this; not convincingly explained in the series ). The family break out the dad and they all land up in Terra Nova, after a few minutes of tense action.
Again – I felt they could have gone slow here and not done a rushed job of creating the premise – it was like the director and the cast were impatient to get to Terra Nova and didn’t really want to bother setting up the premise. After all, Terra Nova is what the series is called,Mulch-head! Anyways, till here, trust me,  I never connected to ONE SINGLE character. Dad has the most screen space till now and he commands a good screen presence.
Landing up on Terra Nova, we are introduced to the Colonel xxx, Good Old Stephen Lang, who has by now perfected his hamming and become a indispensable actor for all movies with aliens/dinosaurs. He leads the settlement. This was where action picked up and the story line takes the semblance of “Interesting”.  Mini-plots emerge – domestic disputes, the mysterious colonel’s own agenda, introduction of the baddies ( Another settlement called the SIXERS on the same planet), a T-rex wannabe dino called “Slasher” (LOL!), Jason ( the teenage son) who gets befriended by this orphan girl with the “wild streak” in her. But the most interesting and I think, the pivotal suspense plot was that of the SIxers and their mysterious connect to the colonel. Don’t wanna give away the plot here. But that would definitely keep me in on the rest of the series. The first pilot was termed, unoriginally, “Genesis”.
Second episode, “instincts” – definitely didn’t live upto expectations. Rife with clichés. And while complete in itself, the plot never went anywhere. The most interesting component of the series, sixers, barely get mentioned. Introduction of new characters, a former love interest of the doctor, I thought was a good twist in the tale. But it goes no where. Overshadowed by a cliché plot of the new inhabitants fighting migratory dino-birds.
All in all, a mediocre beginning. But has the potential to be a lot more. And that is why I would keep my tabs on this one.  Probably a 2.5 on 5 till now.

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