FOX's Terra Nova was a bold experiment. Beginning in the pollution-ridden future, groups of men, women, and children travel back in time to settle the past. There is adventure, action, conspiracy, and pretty good looking CGI dinosaurs. Sort of a family-friendly version of Jurassic Park, with a preachy twist, it should have provided viewing fun for years. Except, most of the episodes weren't very well written, which led to its quick cancellation after a mere 13 episodes. Now, the entire series has been released on a four-disc DVD set.
In the premiere, "Genesis," Dr. Elisabeth Shannon (Shelley Conn, Mistresses) is recruited as part of the "10th wave" sent back in time to the settlement, but she is only allowed to bring her two eldest children, Maddy (Naomi Scott, Life Bites) and Josh (Landon Liboiron, Degrassi: The Next Generation). This is because, in 2149, having three children is illegal, leaving out Elisabeth's youngest, Zoe (Alana Mansour). So Elisabeth helps her husband, Jim (Jason O'Mara, Life on Mars), break out of prison, where is serving a sentence for assaulting the police officers who discovered Zoe's existence. Together, all five Shannons make it through the rift.
Once the family has arrived at the new settlement, Commander Nathaniel Taylor (Stephen Lang, Avatar) allows the Shannons to stay together, since he needs Elisabeth, and doesn't care about laws that have not been invented yet. Jim, a former cop, is assigned to the agricultural team, but soon proves himself more than capable to join Taylor's security force. This comes in handy when Josh, upset at his father for being gone all this time, meets an attractive girl named Skye (Allison Miller, Go On), who leads him outside the compound gate. The teens are attacked by dinosaurs and robbed by members of The Sixth, rebels who have split away from the main group. Jim sets out to rescue his son.
Each episode after that is mostly stand alone, with a few broader arcs. There is mystery in why The Sixth split off, and why Taylor's son draws pictures on rocks. The leader of The Sixth, Mira (Christine Adams, The Whole Truth) seems devoted to some cause. Skye and Josh have the beginnings of a teen romance, and dinosaurs aren't always predictable. Trying to add a more procedural element to some episodes, Taylor and Jim solve crimes, while Elisabeth faces medical cases.