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Terra Nova Makes Us Sick

Angry migratory pterosaurs? Memory-erasing viruses? Living in Terra Nova blows. The third fourth episode (counting the two-hour premiere) of Fox's big-budget drama created new problems for the citizens of pre-Earth and even more new problems for the series. "What Remains" used up Terra Nova's obligatory virus episode, and we're only four hours in. Is this show running out of ideas already?

When Terra Nova was first announced, we all had reasonable hopes that it would have some bite. We saw the jungle setting and fooled ourselves into thinking—just for a second—that it could be the next Lost. We saw dinosaurs and prayed for some of the wonderment we remembered feeling during Jurassic Park. Instead, we got a bland show with absolutely zero interest in pleasing sci-fi fans. As we've seen from the going-through-the-motions first episodes, Terra Nova doesn't seem to care about trying to please anyone (whoops). Are script rewrites more difficult because of the show's effects? Is the show trying to squeeze in effects just for the sake of having effects, and ignoring the importance of engaging stories in the process? Are the writers just settling on the first plot that comes to mind, in hopes that the setting will satisfy us? Whatever is going on here, it's obvious Terra Nova isn't even trying.

Here's what happened last night: A scientist at one of the colony's outposts was tinkering with the gene that causes Alzheimer's, with the intention of creating a virus designed to stop memory loss. Except the exact opposite happened. Oops! Forgot to carry the one, did we, Mr. Scientist? More like forgot everything. When the outpost stopped responding to communication, Taylor said the problem was a tech situation, not a science situation—so he set out to investigate with doctor/scientist Elisabeth? Okay, sure, Elisabeth and Taylor (Elizabeth Taylor, LOL). As you definitely guessed, they were both infected with the memory-wiping virus almost immediately after arriving! So Elisabeth and Taylor ended up losing the last 20 years or so and couldn't figure out where they were. Elisabeth thought she was back in University, and Taylor was convinced he was in Somalia. When Jim showed up, both Elisabeth and Taylor reacted by shooting him. Elisabeth couldn't remember Jim but did remember fellow scientist Malcolm, who she used to date back at school. So Jim dug into a piping-hot plate of jealousy, while Malcolm pawed at Liz. Taylor, suffering flashbacks of bad Somali times, headed back to camp, where he could have killed everyone, infected everyone, or some combination of both. There was more danger—dinosaurs ate some wires and cut the power—but eventually the day was saved because baby Zoe had gotten Jim sick with a cold that just so happened to stop the memory-eating virus. Obviously, Jim transmitted the cold to Elisabeth with a kiss. I'm assuming Jim then made out with the rest of the camp, too, so that no one else would lose their memories.

Meanwhile, on One Terra Nova Hill, Josh and Skye kissed to some sweet guitar-based adult contemporary background music, but Josh felt guilty about it because he promised his girlfriend Kara back in the future that he'd tear her away from her family and have her teleported 85 million years into the past to pursue a teenage love that, let's face it, will probably fizzle out by next semester. Skye told Josh that she could help make that happen, because she's either the most selfless person in the world or she just wants to be Kara's homewrecker in person. Skye introduced Josh to Terra Nova's bartender (Terra Nova has a bartender?), who didn't mind sharing super-secret illegal information with a couple of randy teens, one of whom is the son of Terra Nova's only cop: He's been smuggling supplies for the Sixers, who can relay information back to 2149, and can put in an order for a teenage chick. Oh, and Maddy is still smart and crushing on some guy named Mark in the series' most ill-placed and unnecessary storyline, while adorable little Zoe, who is by default my favorite character because she's not stupid, is spending most of her time playing with toy dinosaurs.

I don't usually like to spend time recapping the play-by-play of an episode, but I decided to run through the events of "What Remains" so you could relive its ridiculousness. It was just a string of things that happened, all of them meant to kill time until the writers could reveal the entirely convenient ending and give Jim and Elisabeth an excuse to make out. At least with last week's episode we got to poke fun at the lizard birds and the goofy effects; this week's episode was just bad in a torturous kind of way.

I saw a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel when the Sixers came back into play, and the series needs to return to that story as soon as possible if it's going to have any chance at redeeming itself. I know I'm more of a fan of serialized television shows, but I don't think anyone is interested in watching the Shannons overcome a new prehistoric problem (killer plants! Killer sandstorms! A killer meteorite!) each week. Thankfully, next week looks like a Sixer-centric episode. I just hope it's not derailed by a swarm of carnivorous slugs.

If I seem a bit angry, I'm sorry. It's just that I'm so disappointed in this series. Though it was billed as a big-budget sci-fi adventure, Terra Nova is obviously going the family entertainment route. I'm okay with that. But in trying to appeal to the broadest audience possible, it's forgoing any semblance of intelligence. It's not remotely science-fiction, because the science is entirely remedial and unimportant; instead it's non-threatening family fun with a fantastical backdrop, the television equivalent of bland baby food. It might keep you going, but you won't enjoy it.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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OMG I love terra nova best show ever made like its awesome as heck
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Well... if you're gonna be honest. Eureka is better but it's been canceled.

This show also has the disaster a week formula that the sci-fi channel has so successfully run into the ground. [or syfy as they prefer to be called now, as they refused to live up the name - WWE really?]

I'm cheering for Jason O'Mara but this show has the shark tank fully stocked and the Fonz water skiing up the ramp.

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Well... if you're gonna be honest. Eureka is better but it's been canceled.

This show also has the disaster a week formula that the sci-fi channel has so successfully run into the ground. [or syfy as they prefer to be called now, as they refused to live up the name - WWE really?]

I'm cheering for Jason O'Mara but this show has the shark tank fully stocked and the Fonz water skiing up the ramp.

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I have to admit, Terra Nova is becoming one of my guilty pleasures. Definitely not blessed with an abundance of brains, but it's popcorny fun.
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"Terra Nova is obviously going the family entertainment route."



Well Spielberg's involved - what the heck did you expect? I shudder every time that man's name is connected with anything which appears remotely interesting.
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It's Eureka with dinosaurs and really poor science. But Eureka is better than this nonsense.
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I said to my SO watching the Pilot that of course there will be a virus outbreak in the camp. An 85 million year old virus to which there is no cure. Now they did that bit already and it was not at all what I expected.



I still have my hopes up, I liked the Pilot and I believe they can come back from this.
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I dont understand how you would think shows get cancelled because people on the Internet speak their mind. If someone gets turned away from Terra Nova because he read a review. Then he never really was invested was he?



Anyway. As expected this episode was awfull. Thats all there really is to say about this episode. IT is clear that TN is sticking to the "familyf riendly Disney" concept. In fact i hope they stick to it. Untill the only people watching this show are families and some few followers.

Does anyone really think this show will survive a first season with only families and some kids watching?
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Well Tim, we have seen with SG-U that sci-fi with too-little of a family-entertainment level gets killed by the networks, and TV-com and other critics that got their panties in a twist over lighting, scripts characters they don't like (forgetting the bigger picture, there is other people that may enjoy what yet other, or you, don't). This show would most likely been a lot better if it had been on Showtime or HBO, giving it the budget and care it deserves, but for the current release it ain't half bad. We don't need despondent "critics" to "write it down" lowering viewer numbers of those, still believing the critics before even giving a show a chance. I can fully understand producers trying to give a show the tools (elements) to survive the first season and hopefully become a lasting venue. The network execs wield their axes with a trigger happiness that makes it hard enough for a show, let not help them axe shows before they got a chance to proof themselves by writing them in the ground after a few episodes, can we??
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Ive been enjoying Terra Nova. Its not amazing, but it beats most of what is on TV right now.. I wouldnt mind if they canceled it though and used the money to bring back Firefly.. If only Fox was into high ratings and mass amounts of money being made.
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If they don't improve by the end of the season we can hope Fox knows to cancel it
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The good thing about Tera Nova was it is nothing like Lost, found, lost, gone back in time there was so much stupid in the show is wasn't worth watching.
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Such a waste too. The show had so much potential.
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The show is very light. I wouldn't use Lost as a comparison - instead I'd say I wish it were more like Battlestar Galactica. Right now it's playing like Swiss Family Robinson.



I don't care about the teen subplots. I don't care about the relationship between the Mom and Dad. Cmdr. Taylor doesn't have any edge - he isn't menacing, we only have the comments of the Sixers and his protectiveness of the waterfalls area as a hint that he may harbor some secrets. All of the characters are too nice. Drama is missing from the show. The Sixers don't really do it for me. Secrets, lies, treachery, twists would be nice.



But as sweet, light family fare it's okay.
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I like Terra Nova. I must admit it was quite boring episode but hey, we are learning some new stuff also. Give it a chance to develop before jumping into decisions. Everyone makes mistakes.
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I could not even watch the episode because I'm on the East Coast and they aired a baseball game that was running long. My DVR did not adjust accordingly and I REFUSE to watch syndicated programming live. It's unbearable. So, do they rebroadcast? Nope. I'm out of luck, but apparently they just saved me the trouble. It sounds like they've jumped the shark already. Oh well.
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Lets face it, some of us tune in for Zoe and the dinosaurs!
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the best thing in this show is the soundtrack !

other than this , everything is stupid , dinosaurs are hanging around " first were interesting" now they are boring , meaningless mystery and really at this point i don't care what all the writing means .

GOD i miss LOST so much , i remember now how it was awesome whether u like the ending or not :P
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Writers, Take note: Anybody know a 16 yr old boy who would turn down a makeout session with a cute girl?

I hate all this sickly moral crap spewed from the marketing dept. of TV companies.

Get Real, take risks, show some believable interpersonal scenarios with all of humankinds failings, greed, treachery etc.

I'm usually the first to berate people for slagging off a show in its first few eps, but if the writers/producers can pull it back, I'll give it a chance.
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Tim, I would offer a cure, unfortunately I have amnesia but my buddy Brad catched a cold from his baby daughter, you think he might be of any help?
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For that money we could have 3 new seasons of SG: Universe
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I was also sad that SG finished. There was always a SG for years (it was total 14 years of run right?). I like Terra Nova. Give it a chance.
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Exactly. SG:U was only okay up against classic like SG1, but I think that series had some potential.
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Agreed this episode sucked...
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I think you expect to much. The show is lighthearted fun. Stop comparing every damn show to Lost from now on. Yes we all loved Lost or we did the first season anyway..



THIS SHOW IS NOT LOST



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Add a comment..CSI

CSI Miami

CSI N.Y.

Memphis Beat

The Elen Degenerate Show

The Rosie Show

The New Detectives

The Cold Case Files

Judge Joe Brown

Judge Judy

Reba

The King of Queens

Fridge

Hawthorne

Terra Nova

Against the wall

American Funniest Videos

Blue Blood

Hawaii-Five-O

48 Hours ID

The Glade.
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this show is beyond horrible - wake up fox - good writers make all the difference. looks like it lost about a third of its audience this week anyways. terra nova = the new Heroes. kiss of death.
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Even with the sixers coming back in the next episode (so we're told), the plot-line with them is still far too simple and not threatening. Like I said before, we need a REAL threat -- not just campy dinosaurs or viruses that kill nothing -- and I think that threat should be that they stumble across the fact that they've already failed, and hence could come back in the first place.



How about this: While engaging in a pretty heavy firefight with the Sixers one of the side fires a rocket or mortar that blows a big crater in the ground near the fighting and one soldier falls in. When another jumps in to get said soldier he sees that his comrade has fallen onto a pile of bones... HUMANOID bones, with the remains of one wearing one of their uniforms. Yep... they tried this before and failed way back when once more. This creates a momentary cease-fire (but does not end hostilities) and the camp investigates the entire area, finding proof that this has occured several times before. So now there's a REAL threat; they need to find a way to make it work. Supplement this main idea with the tensions with the Sixers (although there's a bit more team work), and the odd arc episode that still ends in the main story being fueled along. Too much to ask from these Disney writers?
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WOW, this would be interesting! They should hire you as a writer :)
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This is THE best critique Ive read in a LONG time. Definetely made my day. And yeah, this episode finished destroying the series, I expected this series to be awesome, unfortunately its just SH*T.
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Hummm weird, nobody in this week comments section has asked the eternal question : "Why did they choose to come back so far back when dinosaurs still exist ?"



Looks like we did our job, fellow commentators ! Yiha !
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They didn't choose, the time portal was discovered and it only goes to that specific point in time and no other. Not only that but it is also a different time stream, or alternate dimension if you will like in Fringe, so the Butterfly Effect couldn't happen. All of this was told in the pilot. But hey I think the eternal question is what if it turns out that it's not really a different time and them going back causes the Butterfly Effect and that is my the future is all going to hell.
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I know, thx. I was ironic (tried to be clear about that with the quotation marks and the final sentence) because that question have been asked dozens of time every week so far and it was a bit irritating.
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oh good I am glad somebody else noticed that. But what do you think of my question?
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Yeah about you're question, that's always the weak spot in the logic of time travel that always get on my nerves. Because if they are in the same timeline then they could do something that prevent the dude who discovered the fracture to exist then they wouldn't be terra Nova then they wouldn't do the thing that made the dude not exist then he discovers the fracture then Terra Nova exist then they do the thing that prevent the dude to exist then.... it's endless.

But here, I think it's way more simple. The meteorite thing is like a reboot so whatever they do in TN would not affect their future (unless they destroy the only thing that will/did survive the meteorite : bacteria of some kind).
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Disease always makes for a bad story because everybody gets sick and when you're sick you don't want to be reminded of it.
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This show reminds me a lot of last years non hit No Ordinary Family. Good idea bad writing.
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This episode sucked big time.
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The show's not really bad, just in the wrong time slot. Fox needs to put it on later, curb the kid romances and past lovers and get back to the science and the treachery of the Sixers. By trying to be family friendly (if you can really call it that with dinosaurs tearing people apart) they're wasting what could be a great drama with a lot of interesting conflicts. Bring on the dinosaurs and the futuristic weapons. Bring on the fight between the Novans and the Sixers. I'm not a soap opera fan and the way this is going it's turning into one.



On a side note: In the first episode they said that their original probe was not communicating with the future because the timeline was changed by the portal and things going back through it. If this is the case how in the world could the Sixers have a way of communicating with the original future timeline that still sends people back?
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oh and I bet this:



Skye is daughter of Taylor's son. which makes him his granddaughter.



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Nice one, and she would be the mole that Taylor is supposed to hate. That could be an interesting dynamic. Or, in the case of Terra Nova, probably not.
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"while adorable little Zoe, who is by default my favorite character because she's not stupid"



TRUE!!!!
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This show is less "Lost", more "Land of the Lost"



Seriously, in the premiere, when we saw the alien hieroglyphics around the pool, my first thought was "Sleestaks!" :)
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I still want to give the show a chance. We're all still looking for the next, "LOST"(and I'm a big of a "Lostie" that ever was), the writers are still trying to separate themselves. Thus, holding back on 'Taylor v Shannon', 'Settlers v Sixers', 'creatures in the forest' etc. Give it a chance, and let's reach a compromise with the writers. Lot's of potential here!
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I can only say, I suspected it was going to suck the moment a saw kids in the main cast. Nowadays, every scifi show must appease the teen demographic. That apparently means choosing dumbed down dialogues and (3D) special effects over a good script.
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Combining the virus episode and the amnesia episode together proves that two cliches are not better than one.
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But it does save us the trouble of suffering them in two different episodes.
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I've watched up to the third episode, the one with the bat/lizard man eating birds, or whatever.

I've not a clue where this series is going, it's a Disney, come soap opera, with a few creatures thrown in, supposedly to add interest, but fails miserably to grab the attention.

It's obviously aimed at the teen, and 5ish year old viewers, and should be shown at 5pm in the evening.

Being a tad older, I'm insulted by this garbage, which promised so much, but delivers zilch, I will be watching no more!
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I agree 100% with youre opinion mr. Suerrete. I think that the best way to improve the show would bo to focus it on cmd Taylor rather then on Jim and his boooring familly.
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Yep I called this one too,using dinosaurs in every scene and invoking Steven Spielberg's name in every breath in the promos at the initial ....oh let's not forget the hype! Was sure sign this was gonna suck...and big time too.

Truth be told the first 2 hours was underwhelming after all that. Will wait till the first season hits the bargain bin at local stores to watch the rest.











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Hi Tim, I am as frustrated as you by how disappointing Terra Nova has been.

All that money can't pay for some decent writers? This show has soo much potential, but they're just throwing it all away with "season fillers" instead of GOOD episodes.



Or maybe I'm just angry because Breaking Bad's season is done. Can you imagine the quality of Breaking Bad on a show with so much potential like Terra Nova? The leader of the Sixers being a Gus Fring like badass. The bartender being a Saul Goodman-like character. It would be epic. Maybe we all just had too high hopes for this show that obviously doesn't want to deliver. Or even try to.
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There was one scene that epitomizes my problems with the show--the scene when Josh and Skye kiss:



Josh: "Uh ya know that day by the falls when you showed me those calculations, or whatever they were? Don't you think we should, ya know, tell someone?"

Skye: Who?

Josh: "I dunno. I forgot what I was talking about."



Don't worry Josh, you're not the only that forgot, so did the script writers.
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It wasn't the best epi ever, but I still enjoyed it:)
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The whole storyline with the ring, the cold and the kiss between the shannons was so cheesy that I think I barfed in my mouth a little. And was it just me or is Jim the worse fake sneezer EVER!? And the writers need to give Maddie's lover a new line other than "I came to see if you were ok"...of course she's ok all her scenes are in her house. I must say the ending caught my attention and unfortunately I will be tuning in next week to know how it plays out. More sixers please!
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I don't understand why many people here don't like this show (or say so ti other) because it's relaxing, can be see "by all family" (hard to find these past years - well in a 'good' show), the family story good to follow, and most of the unknown actors, and the best special effects for TV (remember: it's a TV show...), are excellent.



Even if there are 2 or 3 good other shows these season, the entertaining effect of this one makes him my 1st place for moment. Just before Homeland (an other very good show but in another style !). Do not search a Homeland or Dexter like in all shows please, you are looking too much TV. Try to erase this one, there are not many left this season...



Some shows are here just for imagination and pleasure. I'm ok there can be/will be better episodes but these ones are entertaining and/or fun and each one we discover another part of the 'city'.



This episode was just too good with the "no way" expression of the commandant when he saw a Diplodocus ! ^^ (1 among some good/fun scenes)
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Ohhhhhh I get now... we are "looking too much [into] TV," that's why this show sucks! We should all just lower our expectations and the show will be much better! Yaaaaay, fun times for all!
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I was so embarassed for all involved in that episode, i just kept turning to my husband and rolling my eyes i had to actually exit the room i was that offended by the whole thing.



I see a big ol zero in that shows future what a waste of money, to think it could have gone to a remake of 'charles in charge' instead.
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Tim you are right to be angry because the writers are trying to sell us for fools.

It is one thing that in world full with Dinosaurs and other interesting creatures, circles on stones and a resistance group, they would use their 3rd appearance (very important week) to make a show about amnesia. It was done a billion times before but never that dumb.

The Malcolm character suggested that the wife was set back 20 years, which is where they started dating at college. Duh no no! What skin cream they got in the future? According to the actress real age she would have been 15yo coz she is 35. Let's just assume she is a well preserved 40yo just starting off at college. How does she know all the stuff? How does she know how to operate the computers. What does it make her when she leaves her unconscious boyfriend (in honeymoon phase) on the floor in order to make out with a man she never saw before but claims to be her husband? How does Captain Greybeard who thinks he is 35 years back in Somalia know how to operate all these gizmos?

It is like they have hired children to write this episode. This might have been rude towards children, i apologize! It is lazy writing, it is stupid writing, in fact the worst writing I have seen in years. I was defending the show last week, this week i hope it gets cancelled in order to make room for a good show. The writers are cocky, they believe that the hype, the huge network and the bad cgi Dinos would run the show for them. As I said, 3rd week is an important one, 4th week is the most important, if they fail the show will be cancelled.

And why is it so expensive to produce? 90% indoor studio shots and bad CGI can't be it.
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Arghh...I totally feel your pain, is a bit frustating when the writers try taking you for a fool; there are like a million holes in the plot, but I could easily oversee them if the stories of the week were at least exciting or interesting. When I fisrt heard about the series I was like Tim said expecting something like Lost-meets Jurassic Park-meets Waterwolrd... instead we got some cheesy soap opera set 85 mill yeasr in the past about a family full of members I can't stand (including the self invited ones: Skye & the soldier in love) but no one annoyes the s#*t out of me more than Skye and Josh, they're soooo like lame. The only interesting part of the show are the sixers and their relationship with Taylor and we have oly gotten about 10 mins of that in 4 eps... (facepalm) Cancel this crap already!
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I had a gut feeling when I first heard of the show that it would probably suck but gave it a chance. Not anymore I'm out, no more Terra Nova for me life is just to short for this kind of bad television.
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the same here. terra nova sucks
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theres far too many reflective lost like moments ( when some god awful twinkly instumental music is playing and eveyones just looking round gazing at something or reflecting on whats just happened) then throw in the boring storylines about not one but two teenagers with a crush, one of which you could happily spend 40 minutes battering his petulant face in makes this one of the most tedious shows ive seen in a while.

were in a jungle, theres guns, sixers, wierd markings, oh yeah and ruddy DINOSAURS! why the hell are we 3 episodes in and half the episodes are about hormonal teenagers. kill the kids, at least josh, please.... get more dinosaurs even if they look shoddy or just do something that isnt from the happy family hour. so so much potential but failing miserably. fix it before it gets canned please..
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let's not forget that these teenagers are completely irrelevant for a teenage audience
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