Terra Nova (2011)
4 user 10 critic

Genesis: Part 1 

The Shannon family joins the Tenth Pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first colony established in this beautiful yet foreboding land. Jim Shannon, a devoted father with a checkered ... See full summary »


Alex Graves


Kelly Marcel (created by), Craig Silverstein (creator) | 6 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jason O'Mara ... Jim Shannon
Shelley Conn ... Dr. Elisabeth Shannon
Christine Adams ... Mira
Allison Miller ... Skye
Landon Liboiron ... Josh Shannon
Naomi Scott ... Maddy Shannon
Mido Hamada ... Guzman
Alana Mansour ... Zoe Shannon
Stephen Lang ... Commander Nathaniel Taylor
Simone Kessell ... Lt. Alicia Washington
Dean Geyer ... Mark Reynolds
Damian Walshe-Howling ... Carter
Eka Darville ... Max (as Eka Darvill)
Sam Parsonson Sam Parsonson ... Hunter
Brooke Chamberlain ... Sarah Lawson


The Shannon family joins the Tenth Pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first colony established in this beautiful yet foreboding land. Jim Shannon, a devoted father with a checkered past, guides his family through this new world of limitless beauty, mystery and terror. Upon the Shannons' arrival, they are introduced to Cmdr. Nathaniel Taylor, the charismatic and heroic first pioneer and leader of the settlement. Taylor warns the travelers that while Terra Nova is a place of new opportunities and fresh beginnings, all is not as idyllic as it initially appears. Along with blue skies, towering waterfalls and lush vegetation, the surrounding terrain is teeming with danger - and not just of the man-eating dinosaur variety. There is also a splinter colony of renegades led by the battle-hardened Mira, who is vehemently opposed to Taylor and his leadership. Written by Fox Publicity

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

26 September 2011 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Queensland, Australia


Box Office


$200,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When the currency is shown near the beginning, one can see the portrait of President Barrack Obama on one of the bills. (Obama's portrait would also be seen on future currency in the movie Total Recall (2012)) See more »


Hunter says they're "80 meters down...", but when Josh takes hold of the radio to finish communicating with Commander Taylor he says "80 kilometers east...". See more »


Entering the Vortex
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User Reviews

An entertaining and well produced sci-fi TV blockbuster but nothing really more
27 September 2011 | by igoatabaseSee all my reviews

With Stephen Lang leading the cast and considering how much Avatar was flawed in many ways I worried that Terra Nova would just be a brainless blockbuster adapted for TV. Well it would be the case if it didn't have enough qualities to appeal hardcore sci-fi fans like me. But to go back to Lang the problem wasn't his acting in the film but definitely how his character Colonel Miles Quaritch was written. One dimensional, 99% evil, really dumb and just plain annoying. He's probably on the hate list, right after Jar Jar Binks, of the many people who were disappointed by James Cameron's work.

Comparing Terra Nova to Avatar is inevitable because they have a lot in common. First their respective budgets are insane and I don't even need to check how much it cost to produce Genesis. The CG futuristic city, designed after New-York if I'm not mistaken, is impressive and they made it so glaucous that it actually reminded me of Brazil and all these interesting dystopian productions. As for the past its production is nearly perfect in terms of immersion and exoticism. From the jungle to the bugs it really felt like Jurassic Park (1993) or King Kong (2005). Still the dinosaurs could have been well more polished considering their rendering isn't flawless and jars at times with the real settings. Comparing them to Steven Spielberg's film I would say that they're almost as good and it's definitely an achievement even if nearly 20 years have past so I was expecting something far much more convincing. Otherwise some scenes will definitely wow you. Their first appearance was intense and unexpected. Still like in Jurassic Park things are really taken to the next level at night ! So we should prepare ourselves for some really jaw dropping moments once they will decide to unleash their creative fury upon us.

An other element to mention is the environmental one. Like in Avatar it's really a cheap excuse, almost black washing, to fuel the story and point out the real issues we have to deal with. […] In fact if you think about it the story doesn't make sense because between saving our planet and creating a time machine the easiest and best solution is obvious. It's even more obvious when you consider they chose the Age of Dinosaurs instead of just going back right before our impact on the environment became irreparable. But it doesn't pretend to reinvent the wheel so let's not be too much picky. An other thing that will probably annoy part of the audience are the forced heartbreaking moments. At times it felt like if the director was raising a panel with "cry" or "smile" written on it. Overall it just lacked substance and emotional intelligence to make it work. Some questionable acting didn't help either and it seems we will have to wait for the characters to grow on us and the chemistry between performers to increase. The family that drives the story isn't authentic enough and I found it hard to relate to any of its members. What the show desperately needs are empathic characters like Hurley or Jack Sheppard (Lost). Commander Nathaniel Taylor could actually be one of them and that's why I mentioned Lang in the first place. Indeed his charisma is inspiring and the actor's performance was by far the best. A girl who broke the rules, the doctor and a few other characters like the black woman also have potential.

As for the story it was predictable and not twisted at all but I have to admit that the possibilities are endless and it could last for seasons if the writers keep surprising us. A few intriguing arcs were opened so let's just hope that it won't have the same episodic issues than Falling Skies. However the second part proved that the recipe can work if the script is well binded to the main story and exciting enough. Moreover it features many elements that should remind you of productions like Mad Max and Stargate. Such a diversity isn't necessarily a weakness because Genesis succeeded in establishing the show identity. Otherwise nothing should really blow your mind if you're not new to the genre. There's a reason why the smart Virtuality only remained a pilot. To content the majority, so to produce such blockbusters, you have to make compromises. And in the end I think they almost found the right balance between decent sci-fi and a simple popcorn seller. I have already listed some cons but others also deserve our attention. For example it's all about not making the same mistakes but the first thing they do are using weapons and locking themselves behind barriers. But as the survivalism topic was covered I suspect we'll learn more about what happened before as the Commander was the first man sent there. I don't expect a Lost featured character format but his story is definitely intriguing. Sadly the behavior of some characters will surely ruin your pleasure. You already know who they're. The pretty girl from some silly horror film convinced it's safer to split up. The guy who just heard a scary noise in a bush and checked it out instead of running for his life. We know them too well.

To sum things up my opinion is mixed but you have to consider that I'm not a heavy fan of blockbusters. It's just not challenging, moving or original enough. Moreover it's tainted with an endless list of flaws. Also I worry that the upcoming episodes won't be as well produced as the pilot. It would really be disappointing if they jarred with Genesis so let's hope the visuals won't be cheap for instance. However despite all that I'm still ready for an other session. It's specially true considering the upcoming episode is titled Instinct so if we're lucky it should be about the Commander first steps.

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