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Terra Nova: Instinct

"We built Terra Nova on their breeding ground."

And oops.

Definitely a good second outing. Maybe because they brought in the big writing and directing guns (Star Trek and 24. It's sort of scary that I know those names so well).

The opening scenes had me worried that we were heading in a soapy direction -- I want science fiction in my science fiction, not melodrama -- so I was actually relieved when the ptero-birdies started attacking. It was pretty effective, even though it was obvious early on what was responsible for killing those three Terranovans outside the gate.

And I actually laughed out loud when I realized that the B plot was about Jim and Elisabeth spawning, as well. The Shannons' marital connection problems were predictable, but I thought the little "cop" conversation was cute. And the introduction of Elisabeth's ex-boyfriend, Malcolm Wallace, actually gave us a workable explanation for why Elisabeth was chosen for the Terra Nova pilgrimage. I think Jim was right that Malcolm was expecting Elisabeth to arrive without her husband. If Malcolm is going to be a continuing character, it will definitely add tension to Elisabeth's working life. Although I expect Jim will easily out-macho Malcolm on a continuing basis.

The writers seriously walked Josh back from the edge of assholery and made him responsible, non-annoying and even somewhat heroic during the indoor Battle of the Ptero-Birds. I was miffed that Josh apparently didn't suffer for eating the food too soon, although I was pleased that he and Sky were assigned to muck out latrines and didn't just get away with their dangerous misbehavior in the pilot episode.

This week's homages slash ripoffs

The big one was Hitchcock's The Birds. There were shots I could swear came right out of the movie. Zoe under the bed being attacked by the ptero-birdy reminded me of Newt in Aliens. And the final denouement with the pheromones was very Pied Piper. Wasn't there a movie where they did something like this? Virtual lollipops if you can name it.

Bits and pieces:-

— The Shannon house appears to have sliding doors now. I could have sworn that it was all curtains. Maybe Jim recently installed the doors in hopes of some privacy with Elisabeth.

— The ptero-birdies swarmed like bats instead of flocking like birds, which I thought was a nice touch. But they only spawned every nine years? That's some long-lived dino-birdies. What sort of life span did pterodactyls have?

— Malcolmis Terrasaurium. :)

— Sky said she was going to buy Josh that guitar. You'd think a guitar in Terra Nova would be prohibitively expensive and rare.

— I was interested in the way Taylor's second was treating him. Is there something going on there?

— You'd think tires made in the future would be a bit tougher.

I was looking forward to the second episode, and I enjoyed it. I might even review this show for awhile, although I can't promise I'll take it on permanently. Two out of four vials of dino pheromones,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. I liked this one. Like last week's episode, it kind of wore its influences on its sleeve. I thought of The Birds, too. Maybe there'll be several different movie homages each week. This week it was The Birds and Aliens. Last week it was Blade Runner, Avatar, and Jurassic Raaaark! Maybe next week a massive space shark will start eating people, while Jim makes a mashed potato replica of a nearby mountain.

    But, despite the weekly rip-offs, I'm really enjoying what I see. It looks great, everyone's dazzlingly attractive, and the stories are fun. What's not to like?

  2. Exactly, Paul. Maybe it's just the lack of real science fiction on TV these days. Give me some time travel and dinosaurs, and I'm there.

  3. I think I must be too devoted to the Chekhov law of extraneous objects: I expected the primitive Venus Fly Trap that Zoe decided to adopt to be what was luring the scary birds to the camp.

    I'm curious about the fate of Maddie's soldier crush. Is he still passed out on the floor of the house when the parental Shannons come home? Perhaps he's dead in a bedroom, and that's why the kids are camped out on benches in the living room. :-)


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