Monday, 8 p.m. on Fox
I'm not usually much for futuristic stories or dinosaurs, so "Terra Nova" is exactly the kind of show I shouldn't like, even if it is executive-produced by Steven Spielberg.
But. This has Jason O'Mara ("Life on Mars") who is irresistible, and the show's two-hour pilot is pretty exciting.
"Terra Nova" begins at the dawn of the 22nd century when the world is on the verge of environmental collapse. It's a grim, gray, totalitarian existence. No sunlight, no vegetation, no fresh food. The air is dirty and depleted of oxygen. The only hope for a future is the discovery of a time fracture which allows people to travel 85 million years into the past, to the Terra Nova Project.
The first glitch is our family, the Shannons, have violated strict population control laws by having a third child, and this lands Jim Shannon in prison. His prison-to-Terra-Nova path is the weakest part of the pilot. Luckily, that doesn't take up much time, so don't give up if the beginning drags for you.
The real fun begins when the family arrives in their new land, which looks like a dream compared to the 2149 world left behind. Not only is there sunshine and fresh air and plenty of food, families live in modern bungalows, powered by solar energy. The slightly ominous vibe comes from the security crew, which is constantly patrolling with machine guns, and the occasional shriek of some dino-creature. And then there are those high walls enclosing the colony. Are the walls and armed guards there to protect the people from dinosaurs, or from something else?
Speaking of dinosaurs, they're pretty cool. I'm no CGI expert, but they look convincing to me. The sweet ones and the scary ones.
But there is a larger mystery here.
Christine Adams plays O'Mara's wife, and Stephen Lang is great as Commander Taylor, the head of security for the colony.