Many expectations are riding on the scaly backs of the dinosaurs of 'Terra Nova' (8PM ET Monday, Fox). The two-hour pilot for this action-adventure series encountered more than its share of production hiccups and the entire enterprise chomped a whole lot of Fox's money.
The good news is, most that money is up on the screen (the cash that's not going to Steven Spielberg and the show's other 11 executive producers, that is). 'Terra Nova's' expansive vistas and action scenes look spiffy, and if you like to see humans battle dinosaurs in HD, you're likely to be satisfied by the workmanlike but effective story told in the pilot.
But the long-term future of 'Terra Nova,' which is set 85 million years in the past, hinges on which of two very different questions it's going to answer. If it chooses to focus on whether the generic Shannon family can rebuild itself, all the dino antics in the world probably won't save it from falling into a tar pit of predictable, sub-Spielbergian sentimentality.
The most interesting question 'Terra Nova' could answer is this: What problems and baggage does a society bring to its efforts to reinvent itself?