Terra Nova

Series opener


If Steven Spielberg’s name wasn’t attached to this latest attempt to recapture the gestalt of Lost, Terra Nova would seem to be just another Syfy channel rip off of a handful of other TV shows and movies, homogenized for the palates of 14-year-olds and other uncomplicated people. Almost 150 years in the future, Earth is being strangled by mankind’s filth so a bunch of pioneers take advantage of a time warp to escape to a patch of land many million years in the past. Or some such nonsense. All sorts of drama and conspiracy emerge, with a forecast of slight dollops of dinosaur. Overtly, Terra Nova reverse-engineers the premise of the Brit dino-action series Primeval and borrows liberally from its technical template, with driving music propelling even the talky bits and other signature motifs. But it lacks the edge of camp that made Primeval work when at its best. It feels like it’s being deliberately pulp, what with the neo-retro beginning and people pausing in the middle of intense situations to vocalize their internal thoughts, but it just doesn’t have the chops to pull it off. On-the-nose dialogue and by-the-numbers characterization weighs the drama down even further.