• Network: FOX
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 26, 2011
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Sep 28, 2011
    50
    Nothing in this pilot is as compelling as the idea for the show, which begs philosophical and ethical questions that Spielberg and company (for now, at least) aren't interested in addressing.
  2. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Sep 26, 2011
    50
    The slowdown of the show's pace is one thing, but the real issue here is that the family element often feels inauthentic and just isn't up to the quality of the CGI-fueled action sequences.
  3. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Sep 26, 2011
    60
    Indeed, it is hard to knock Terra Nova overall, such does it succeed on its own terms, which involve working over the pituitary brain and the sympathetic soul.
  4. Reviewed by: Mikey O'Connell
    Sep 26, 2011
    70
    Terra Nova is another vehicle for a familiar story. It's one we're happy to watch, just maybe not with the fervor FOX is hoping for.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Lechevallier
    Sep 26, 2011
    50
    It's no mystery how the overproduced Terra Nova managed to turn out so drastically underwhelming.
  6. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Sep 26, 2011
    67
    So long as the dinos roam, Terra Nova has a future.
  7. Reviewed by: Jonathan Storm
    Sep 26, 2011
    40
    The show lacks important elements that have been available to storytellers for 2,000 years, most notably compelling character development.
  8. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Sep 26, 2011
    70
    Terra Nova walks a fine line and how well it manages to stay on that path will likely determine its ultimate success or failure.
  9. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Sep 26, 2011
    60
    The idea that in the long-ago past there were differing versions of how to reinvent humanity's future could make for compelling drama, and those kind of story lines are more likely to be more intriguing than what will transpire among the Shannons, unless this bland family's character development takes a great leap forward very quickly.
  10. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Sep 26, 2011
    75
    Good family fun--providing your family doesn't include little kids who are scared to sleep. Ever.
  11. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Sep 26, 2011
    75
    If they keep the cute at bay for more dinosaurs and dirty dealings, this should be a great ride.
  12. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Sep 26, 2011
    60
    After you've suspended about a 10-year supply of disbelief, Fox's new epic drama Terra Nova turns out to be an okay adventure story.
  13. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Sep 26, 2011
    80
    Terra Nova manages to introduce a panoply of narrative threads and themes while telling a remarkably clean story, both in terms of plot line and tone; Terra Nova is whole-family friendly.
  14. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Sep 26, 2011
    70
    In the good-news department, Terra Nova is big, noisy and wildly cinematic, and Fox has pulled out all the stops with an Allosaurus-sized campaign to ensure the series opens--all the things that ought to generate sampling in a big-screen HD era.
  15. Reviewed by: Marisa LaScala
    Sep 26, 2011
    60
    There's a lot of clunky setup, a lot of piece-moving to send the main characters back to Terra Nova, and a lot of explaining of rules once they get there.
  16. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Sep 26, 2011
    60
    The question is what they'll be given to do going forward, beyond generic relationship material, domestic comedy and the occasional action set piece.
  17. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Sep 26, 2011
    30
    By the end of a couple of episodes, most viewers will be wishing Spielberg and his henchmen had spent more time on scripts and less on special effects, even if it meant splicing old outtakes of Barney and Friends into the action sequences.
  18. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Sep 26, 2011
    75
    Luckily for Terra Nova, fans of the genre are often at least temporarily willing to overlook bad writing and performances if the battles are exciting and special effects convincing, and they are. That should buy the show time to improve.
  19. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Sep 26, 2011
    75
    The opener is marred by a conventional plot. The producers--who include Steven Spielberg--show almost complete indifference to science (or sci-fi). That said, TV's most ambitious new series has some promise.
  20. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Sep 26, 2011
    75
    The Shannons overall are about the last reason I would recommend this show, after the cool visuals, some effective action set pieces and the expected strong supporting performance by Stephen Lang.
  21. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Sep 26, 2011
    58
    Terra Nova certainly doesn't lack ambition and scope, which is a plus. But its first two hours fall short in the storytelling department.
  22. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Sep 26, 2011
    70
    If you can make it past the exposition, and the earnest family cliches--a rebellious teenage son, an awkward brainiac daughter--there's plenty of satisfying dino action. And it all looks gorgeous.
  23. Reviewed by: Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Sep 23, 2011
    70
    Terra Nova stakes out its own universe, and the fact that we have been on such journeys before may enhance the experience of this one.
  24. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    Sep 22, 2011
    75
    Now that the premise of the show has been established, it would be nice to see more shades of gray and less black and white.
  25. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Sep 22, 2011
    60
    There is a lot of potential in this series. It's just a shame that it appears to be veering away from something completely different--something darker and more sci-fi and ambitious, and settling into the feel-good, be-safe vibes of both Jurassic Park and Avatar.
  26. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Sep 21, 2011
    83
    As a weekly series, the effects need to remain impressive and the writers need to avoid falling into "Lost" and "Walking Dead" band-of-survivors rehash.
  27. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 21, 2011
    75
    Even with a lavish two-hour premiere, Terra Nova could stand to slow down and admire the world it has taken us to--Earth, 85 million years ago. Still and all, it's a dazzling debut, with a variety of compelling mysteries to get itself going.
  28. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Sep 27, 2011
    63
    Even with Steven Spielberg listed among the executive producers, this distant world doesn't inspire much awe. [3 Oct 2011, p.45]
User Score
6.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 284 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 107
  2. Negative: 39 out of 107
  1. Sep 27, 2011
    1
    Incredibly awful writing. Inconsistent characters and annoying out-of-the-blue emo son who suddenly, inexplicably blames his dad. Poor production value on the sets. Wooden acting. No subtlety to the story. Really, really, really bad. It's like George Lucas wrote it. Full Review »
  2. Sep 26, 2011
    2
    A 65 average critic score for this debacle of a show? Are you serious? I just wasted 2 hours of my life that I can't get back. I was hoping for way more of a sci-fi/adventure type story but this ended up being a soap opera in the prehistoric days. Awful, really really awful. Do not waste your time with this show as it will be canceled during the first season. Full Review »
  3. Sep 27, 2011
    7
    Terra Nova was a very entertaining show. As with most pilots, the groundwork is laid for what may be a fantastic ride. Some questions answered, many more left for us to discover during our weekly visit. The production quality (i.e. FX) are pretty decent for a TV show, I didn't walk away with that cheesy feeling you often get just after watching a program that tries to pull off too much. All in all, I think the pilot did a good job of filling us in on what we need to know while giving us a reason to return, and I will be returning. Maybe I'm a sucker for anything Sci-fi, but I like the premise, the actors and the stage that has been set for future content. Now they just need to keep it up. Full Review »