Monday, October 3, 2011

Terra Nova "Instinct"

"Instinct" gives us loads of Dino action while staying light on character development, and I'm not complaining.  Some thoughts about tonight's episode coming at you after the break... but first let me go back and put some money on the Cubbies!

Last week I spent a lengthy amount of time knocking "Terra Nova", as I wasn't very impressed with the dynamics of the Shannon family (particularly the son), the not so creative names given to various things (OTG, Slashers, etc), and basically the writing in general.  Based on the nine million viewers the show brought in last week, I'd have to guess many passed judgment before watching even a minute of footage and new shows will typically take a hit in viewers from the first to second episode, which really isn't good for "Terra Nova's" future on FOX.  Before we jump to any conclusions, let's talk about the episode.

We start off with a scene that feels straight out of "Jurassic Park", as some soldiers are stranded in the jungle in the pouring rain, only to be attacked by an unknown dinosaur (if only the dinosaur spit).  Finally grabbing our attention from the start, the opening credits role and we want more! 

Added to our initial dino problem, we get a small story arc for Jim.  Seems Jim is still acclimating to life back with his family (not to mention living in another time period), having to cook, give parenting advice and most importantly, trying to get laid (he's only been locked up for two years)!  Everything gets in the poor guy's way from bird-like dinosaurs, a needy I want to sleep in mommy's bed child and of course, our new character Malcolm. It turns out, Malcolm is the reason Elisabeth was recruited for Terra Nova, as they were old college pals that dated for "half a minute".  I actually didn't mind the short time Malcolm was trying to wedge himself between Jim and Elisabeth as Jim's sarcasm towards him created a bit of comedy that was lacking in the pilot. 

Of course Malcolm and Jim ultimately have to work together to solve the problem of the dinosaur attack which we quickly learn are the flying dinosaurs that are keeping Jim from dancing the horizontal mambo.   Through a series of suspenseful attack scenes (all conveniently played right before commercial breaks), our characters fend off the dino's and lure them away using the creatures own pheromones.   Again great action throughout the episode with the dino's but little info is given to us about our characters.  Even the Sixers are only mentioned briefly, early on in the episode, along with nothing on Taylor's son or the strange writing on the rocks. 

As for the Shannon children, Josh and his agitating behavior were toned down this week.  Looks like Skye, whom I didn't mention much about last week,  is helping Josh cope with his broken heart and life in Terra Nova.  The Shannon daughters didn't have much to do, other than Maddy reiterating how smart she is and that she likes boys.

The one thing I can say about "Terra Nova" is the writers put a lot of time and thought into the science behind everything.  The explanation why no one in Terra Nova has ever seen these flying dinosaurs before was well thought out, my best comparison being to a sea turtle that migrates thousands of miles to the same beach every year to lay her eggs. Only it's not every year but every 9 years for these creatures (probably why they went extinct) and Terra Nova is right on their breeding grounds.  Also, the technology and medical advancements used in the fictional 2149 are fantastic (the healing spray, whatever it was that they used to create the pheromone, etc).

Some great, fun things tonight from "Terra Nova", even if it gave off a "monster of the week" feel but I'll take an episode like this over the pilot any day.  Oh, and Jim finally got laid!

A couple quick observations/questions to wrap things up:
  • Chicago won the World Series? - Who'd they beat? Miami?
  • Currency is called "Terra" - more great names
  • Survival Class is a nice look into how things work for new/young recruits
  • How did Jim become Taylor's right hand man so quickly?
So, what did everyone else think?  Were you happy with more dino action and less family drama?


  1. I can agree with most of what you said. Touche.
    I was happy with this as a side episode, but I would like to see more plot development. Alas, I must remember this isn't a book and I can't binge read it.
    Good post.

  2. Very nice blog post. Fun to read and I enjoyed the creative language mixed in with quick jokes.
    If you're interested, I have compiled a list of mistakes and plot inconsistencies from episodes one and two. I will begin work on a list for episode three as well. I think you'll find them interesting and fun to explore. Maybe blog post worthy. I've thoroughly researched each one to avoid making a fuss over something that is not a mistake. And don't get me wrong, I love the show. However, some of the mistakes are really obvious. So, what I'm getting at is you can have the list should you want.

  3. I would like to see more character and plot development as well, unfortunately when trying that in the pilot they came up short. So this was a nice episode to showcase the action and special effects, with hopes of attracting and holding on to casual viewers. Overall I have high hopes for "Terra Nova" and look forward to what they have planed for the future. Thanks for the feedback.