Caught up to watching Terra Nova, the much promoted new series from Spielberg, on Fox. After watching the first two episodes my reaction is a bit mixed. Terra Nova is new series that deals with future Earth in the year 2149 where pollution and over-crowding has reached all-time high. Healthy grown food is scarce and people must wear "rebreathers" to clean the polluted air around them. Those that live in the cities face a daunting life. Earth is dying. Scientists of the time find a "crack in time" that allows them to transport goods & people to 85 million years into the past. Yes, the age of dinosaurs. To date 10 expeditions have made the one-way journey back in time to start a new colony, Terra Nova, with the goal of starting humanity over in a clean environment. The first episode was pretty good and reflected a future 2149 that felt possible if many of today's issues continue. The Shannon family, Jim who is is narcotics police officer & his wife Elisabeth who is a doctor, have three children. Having three kids is in violation of the population control act. Billboards shown in city proclaim that "Four is a family" and it is enforced. Acting upon a tip, population control officers pay a surprise visit to the Shannon apartment and find their third illegal child. Protecting his family Jim acts out against the officers. For his actions he is sentenced to prison. Two years later his wife reveals that she has been nominated & selected for the Terra Nova project. She and their oldest two kids will be allowed to make the trip but Jim and their youngest daughter, Zooey, will not be allowed to go wtih them. While visiting Jim in prison she smuggles in a laser cutter to allow him to escape. On the day of the "10th Pilgrimage" to the past Jim has escaped from prison and is following a plan set out by his wife to allow him to get their youngest daughter and himself snuck past the security checkpoints of the portal so that they may join his wife & other kids. He succeeds and the whole family is able to stay together 85 million years in the past. As a whole I liked the first episode. The writers immediately dealt with some issues that sci-fi viewers were likely to find fault with, such as explaining that the travel to the past was actually into an alternate time stream (and thus avoiding the time travel paradox). They even covered why Elisabeth, a highly trained doctor, ended up living a gritty city life instead of making more money & living in a house within a domed area like some of her peers. After arriving in the past they introduced a few twists to set up the arc for the first season and immediately introduced the real stars of the show, the CGI dinosaurs. There were a few things that I would have liked to have seen expanded upon a bit, in particular Jim's escape & break-in to the portal. The writers even pointed this out with a line of dialog from his son when, in response to his mother being worried about Jim being able to make it, points out that it should be no problem, after all Jim just had to break out of one high security area and then break into another high security area. The details of that adventure were not revealed. There is a scene with Jim on a subway on his way to the time portal where he cuts into his own skin to pull out some type of device but it is never explained what the device is. Was it a tracking device from his prison? If, wouldn't that have been one of the first things he did and far away from his destination? Was it some type of embedded ID chip that gave his real identity to authorities? We'll never know. We just know it looked painful to remove. But I was able to live those things and go along with the story. It is the second episode however that I had fault with. In short, whenever a new sci-fi/fantasy/horror series comes along there is a bit of a guessing game as to whether the show will be able to keep up it's originality, much like the re-imagined Battlestar: Galactica was able to to, or whether it soon falls prey to story lines that we've seen over & over again. The second episode of Terra Nova did not give me any warm & fuzzy feelings that we'll be seeing a lot of originality. In short, the second episode was a take on Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. Not much more to add to the description other than The Birds. If you've seen the movie than you have the general plot of the entire second episode. Sure, technically they were flying reptiles & not birds, as one scientist made a point of clarifying, but the result was the same. First a few birds, then a few more birds, and then millions of birds. Angry birds. In the end it is figured out that the colony was built on top of the angry birds breeding grounds and they breed in about 7-10 year cycles. No problem. The scientists, and of course Elisabeth because, you know, she is a doctor and therefor knows about this kind of stuff, whips up a big can of angry bird pheromones so that the colony commander and Jim (I mean, who else would it be besides Jim of course) can drive it over... over... well, over somewhere that isn't the colony... to draw the attention of the birds. The plan works perfectly and life in the colony is once again peaceful. Oh, and the commander & Jim come back from their travels all bloodied and obviously were in a battle with the birds but, like events in the first episode, we don't actually get to see any of that nor get the full details as to what took place. It... just... happened, go with it. The upcoming third episode will about a virus that wipes peoples memories. I can't wait. :o On a side note... has anybody seen both the Terra Nova first episode and the movie Millennium with Cheryl Ladd & Kris Kristofferson from 1989? If so, did the the time portal seem familiar to you or was it just me? It has been a few years since I've seen Millennium.