Terra Nova TV Poster Image

Terra Nova



Big-budget supernatural thriller with family at its heart.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Both the old and new worlds are filled with problems, hinting that humanity is inherently flawed. But the ideals of Terra Nova seek to reverse the greed, war, and ignorance that destroyed planet Earth. Other important values in the new world include family, collectivism, and, to some extent, environmentalism/conservation.

Positive role models

The main characters stick together as a family to survive, and if they do something that's considered illegal by the powers that be, they're doing it out of sincere love for each other. Both male and female characters also have critical jobs within the colony, and the rebel faction is led by a powerful woman.


Some blood and sudden violence. A few characters carry weapons (guns, tasers, etc.), either for security/protection or to assault other people. The new world also houses meat-eating dinosaurs that attack and kill humans.


Some light kissing, caressing. Some romantic tension. Hints at sexual activity between a married couple. Potential for romance between teens.


Occasional cursing like "damn," "hell," "bastard," and "son of a bitch."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In one episode, teens make their own moonshine and drink it, but there are negative consequences to their actions. Rare social drinking among adults.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sci-fi drama drives home positive messages about the importance of family and working together, with a focus on both teen and adult characters. That said, there's regular violence (including shootings and bloody dinosaur attacks) that's likely too intense for younger viewers. You'll also hear low-level cursing -- from "damn" to "son of a bitch" -- and see a little light romance. There usually isn't much in terms of drinking, but in one episode, teens make moonshine and drink it, only to learn a valuable lesson.

What's the story?

In the year 2149, a family of five (Jason O'Mara, Shelley Conn, Landon Liboiron, Naomi Scott, and Alana Mansour) moves mountains to stick together when they're selected to travel to TERRA NOVA, an experimental community that's being built 85 million years in the past. But living in prehistoric times presents a brand-new set of problems, from carnivorous dinosaurs to a rebellious splinter colony with murky motives.

Is it any good?


Thanks to Steven Spielberg's backing, Terra Nova had plenty of buzz behind it well before it aired. And while hype like that can prove premature, in this case, it's surprisingly accurate, for in addition to mixing weighty themes, gripping action, and a well-paced plot with stellar production values, Terra Nova is largely family friendly, too.


It's particularly challenging to craft a series that will interest today's parents and teens. But Terra Nova rises to the occasion by giving adult and teen characters near-equal screen time, creating entry points for a variety of tastes. And if all else fails, well ... there's always the dinosaurs.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the show's sci-fi premise and whether some of its themes are really that far off. What are the real-life consequences of greed, war, and ignorance? What actions can you take to ensure that the world you live in remains safe and habitable?

  • How accurately does the show portray relationships between parents and their kids, particularly teens?

  • Is the violence you see on this show any less impactful simply because it takes place in the sci-fi realm? What forms does violence take on planet Earth vs. Terra Nova?

TV details

Cast:Jason O'Mara, Shelley Conn, Stephen Lang
Genre:Science Fiction
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old November 5, 2011


This is very cool. I like Commander Taylor. The actors are just great. I love the violence. This is for mature 10, 11, and 12 year olds. And totally okay for everyone above that.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byMovieReviewGuy September 28, 2011

Good for 13+ (and mature Tweens)

This is a great Sci-Fi show that most Tweens and teens will love. There are tons of positive messages; the entire show is based on positive role models and messages of sticking together, not being greedy, the love between a family, help others, saving the environment, watching out for ourselves, others, and the environment, and the list goes on and on. Basically, colonists are sent (with supplies) from the year 2149, where the earth is dying, back to the age of the dinosaurs to rebuild the human civilization. The story follows the Shannon's, who will do anything for one another. With an army officer (Stephen Lang) as one of their leaders, they seek to save the earth. There is violence related to protecting themselves and the colony from dinosaurs; characters carry guns, tazers, etc. Also, there are tanks and various intense scenes in which humans with big guns face off carnivorous dinosaurs. There is kissing between teens as romances blossom, and there is also minimal drinking. There is some moderate language; *ss, h*ll, d*mn, b****rd, and SOB are used in the show. They are used in scenes of fear, pain, frustration, anger, etc. This show is great for teens and up (and for mature Tweens).
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written bymore2watchandread December 15, 2015

Content on Terra Nova

Terra Nova is about a man and a woman who have more kids than they're allowed in a strict dystopian society (they're married, of course). The guy assaulted a cop and got put in jail. Violence is iffy, insanity is implied, and there's moonshine. A couple of curses but nothing too bad. It's a great show. It should not've been cancelled.


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