Fox's vacuous new time travel drama Terra Nova boasts some big-budget CGI and loud, occasionally eye-catching action sequences. But everything else about the show is a miss. Between cringe-worthy overacting and a Swiss-cheese plot, there is little to back up the pricey graphics. The lazy writing is laced with clichés and lacks the self-mocking charm that might make it work.
Most disappointing is the pretense of political relevance. The show's protagonists travel back in time to solve problems such as overpopulation, excessive police force, and illegal immigration. But while the show goes to awkward lengths to soapbox trite political quips, the thought-provoking punch lines never come. Fictional new worlds can serve as hypothetical laboratories for political discussion. But in Terra Nova, political problems conveniently solve themselves as fast as they crop up.—Seth McKelvey