Terra Nova the Complete Series
Expected to be one of the biggest shows of 2011, Terra Nova hit
our screens with a bang, but by the end of the thirteenth episode the
critically lambasted series limped off our screens forever. Now, with
the release of the complete first season, you can come to your own
conclusions as to whether the plug was pulled prematurely.
2149 and the world is in a bad state. Ravaged by environmental disasters
and quickly dwindling natural resources, humanity teeters on the brink
of extinction. Scientists discover a rift that can be used to travel 80
million years into the past to a land dubbed ‘Terra Nova’. When we come
into the show, nine expeditions have been sent to Terra Nova and our
main protagonists, the Shannon family, have been chosen as the tenth;
well some of them have, anyway.
due to having Totalitarian population control in place to curtail the
use of resources, people are only allowed to have two children. The
Shannon’s broke this law and when their third child, Zoe, was
discovered, father Jim was arrested for assaulting the discovering
officers. Languishing in prison, his wife Elisabeth stages a risky break
out and the entire family absconds through the rift to start a new life
together in Terra Nova. Despite being fugitives, the commander of the
settlement, Nathaniel Taylor, allows them to stay as Elisabeth’s medical
expertise is needed and the law that they’ve broken technically doesn’t
exist yet. Chuck in a group of rebels who have splintered away from the
settlement and, of course, the dinosaurs and you have an intriguing set
up for the remainder of the season.
the series off strong, the pilot episode moves at a vociferous pace and
really draws you in. Unfortunately the quality takes a bit of a nosedive
afterwards, suffering the same issues currently hampering another
Spielberg production Falling Skies – Lacklustre writing, high
production costs and a confused identity.
is, in essence, a children’s show playing dress up as a contemporary
adult Sci-Fi series. It’s much too family friendly and this hamstrings
any attempt to create a sense of danger and tension, which is the bread
and butter of a series such as this. In a misguided attempt to cater to
a variety of demographics, the show awkwardly shoehorns procedural crime
solving and medical dramas into the series rather than focusing on the
real draw of the show – The dinosaurs.
not to say that the show isn’t enjoyable, only that it falls short of
its potential. The premise is quite unique and at times the show really
capitalises on it, but all too often it descends into a soap opera that
happens to be set in the past. Trying to satisfy everyone led to the
show lacking its own identity and a cohesive story; however, what it
does get right works extremely well. After a dip in quality throughout
the middle of the season, by the last few episodes the quality picks up
again and reaches the lofty heights of that promising pilot.
Unfortunately there is no resolution by the end of the series due to its
abrupt cancellation, so don’t go into the series expecting everything to
be tied up into a neat little package. Ending on a cliff-hanger, the DVD
has a code for a downloadable motion comic that closes out the story, a
bit of fan service that shows the creators really care about their fan
Occupation/ Resistance Part 1 and 2
Video & Audio Quality
Unsurprisingly considering the budget, the show looks great, falling
just short of HD quality. Contrast is consistent and the image is clean
and crisp. Colours are portrayed vividly, with the lush greens of the
jungle really standing out. Sometimes the CGI can appear a little dodgy
but for the most part it is of high quality; I only wish that we had the
opportunity to see some more dinosaurs. Yep, I’m just a big kid, really.
There are no visible signs of compression or bleeding at all.
presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and is suitably powerful. Lending
presence to the scenes featuring dinosaurs, the sound positively shakes
the foundations. Dialogue is clear and the soundtrack works well, adding
credence to emotive scenes just as deftly as the action scenes. Top
marks in all areas, this transfer is of the utmost quality.
Despite Terra Nova’s early cancellation, the set comes with a
veritable smorgasboard of extras, including deleted scenes, audio
commentary on the episode ‘Occupation/ Resistance’ and some featurettes
focusing on the production and the real stars of the show, the
dinosaurs. As mentioned above the DVD also includes a code for the
motion comic that serves as the true finale to the series, with
branching choices that affect the outcome so you can tailor the finale
to your own desires.
List of features:
Deleted Scenes – Disc 1 (9:15) Disc 3 (1:06)
Directors Diary – Making the Pilot (33:06)
Mysteries Explored (8:37)
Cretaceous Life: The Dinosaurs of Terra Nova (9:45)
Audio Commentary on Occupation/ Resistance
Gag Reel (3:01)
from a few underwhelming episodes, Terra Nova is an enjoyable
series, even if it is a bit of a guilty pleasure. I can understand why
the show wasn’t the smash hit it was expected to be, but it was still
going through a period of adjustment and I really think a second season
would have served it well, possibly even enticing some new viewers to
give it a chance. As it is, we’re left with this comprehensive DVD set
to revisit the world of Terra Nova at our leisure and lament what
may have been.