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Terra Nova

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Terra Nova TV Poster Image
Big-budget supernatural thriller with family at its heart.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 19 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

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 & Representations

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."

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byalassandra November 13, 2011

Teenagers glorifying drinking alcohol? No thanks.

The first episode that drinking is shown is a group of kids go outside of the compound to hang out, and reveal they have made their own still,, which is so dang... Continue reading
Adult Written bydr dew October 2, 2011

will keep it around

i watched this alone on saturday night and i think i will keep watching it wasnt all that bad just A LOT of violence and some bad language is all but not bad... Continue reading
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 ev... Continue reading
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 mess... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love sci-fi

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