September 27th, 2011
09:30 AM ET
It's been a very long journey for "Terra Nova," first announced by Fox in May of 2010, and then delayed a few times. It finally had its premiere Monday night with an episode that reportedly cost $10 to 20 million (later episodes are estimated to be closer to $4 million).
So, after all the hype, how was it? For starters, that money is definitely there on the screen. Terra Nova, the place itself, is breathtaking. In its own way, the dystopian future we see at the beginning of the show is as well. There's no doubt "Terra Nova" should be up for Emmys next year for visual effects and art direction. [The discussion on "Terra Nova" is continuing over on CNN's Geek Out blog.]
To my surprise, I found that I really cared for the Shannon family, who journey back 85 million years in time as part of a lucky group of settlers who get to "start over" and build a new society, since earth is on its last legs.
Jim ("Life on Mars'" Jason O'Mara), who was sent to jail for the crime of having a third child, ended up sneaking over there with his family (via some kind of time portal, in something of an homage to "Stargate") after escaping prison. But once they get there, "paradise" isn't all it's cracked up to be.
As promised by the promos, there are dinosaurs, looking every bit as good as they did in the "Jurassic Park" movies (this is a Spielberg production, after all), and the first tangle with a dino worked far better for me than the second. Quite frankly, Josh Shannon and his newfound teenage friends didn't give me much of a reason to care whether or not they were on the menu that night.
That being said, the fact that there is a splinter group, the Sixers, and weird geometric carvings on the stones at a waterfall (the closest thing this show got to being like "Lost") intrigued me. After all, Commander Taylor is played by Stephen Lang, and we know from "Avatar" that he might be bad news. The twist that his son has turned against him and is somehow involved in the carvings has me curious enough to watch the rest of the 13-episode season.
I'm just hoping the show will continue to deliver, not just visually, but plot-wise as well. So far, Lang and O'Mara have done a great job leading the cast, and haven't gotten buried in the spectacle of it all.
Even so, it's a crowded Monday night, so chances are that not everyone will stick around for episode two. Will you? Share your thoughts about the premiere on iReport or comment below.
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