Developed by Mitch Kramer
Country of origin United States
Composer(s) Brian Tyler
Final episode date 19 December 2011
Created by Kelly Marcel Craig Silverstein
Starring Jason O'Mara Shelley Conn Christine Adams Allison Miller Landon Liboiron Naomi Scott Rod Hallett Alana Mansour Stephen Lang
Cast Jason O'Mara, Stephen Lang, Naomi Scott, Shelley Conn, Landon Liboiron
Cancelled terra nova
Terra Nova (English: New Earth) is an American science fiction drama television series. It aired one season from September 26 to December 19, 2011. The series documents the Shannon family's experiences as they establish themselves as members of a colony, set up 85 million years in the earth's past, fleeing the dystopian overpopulated and hyperpolluted present of the mid-22nd century. The series is based on an idea by British writer Kelly Marcel and was executive produced by Steven Spielberg. On March 5, 2012, Fox announced that it would end the series.
- Cancelled terra nova
- Cancellation and motion comic
- Critical reception
- US ratings
- Awards and nominations
- Series DVD release
The series is initially set in A.D. 2149, when overpopulation and declining air quality threaten all life on Earth. When scientists discover a temporal rift permitting (one-way) human transmission, they initiate a series of "pilgrimages" to a parallel "time stream" resembling Earth's Cretaceous Period. The series focuses primarily on police officer James "Jim" Shannon, his wife Elisabeth, and their three children Josh, Maddy, and Zoë, as they join the colony there, named "Terra Nova" (Latin for "New Earth" or "New World").
Elisabeth Shannon is chosen to join Terra Nova for her medical expertise, and her two older children with her. Her husband, imprisoned for violating population control by harbouring a third child and assaulting an official agent to protect his young daughter, stows away to join them and eventually convinces the colony's leader, Commander Nathaniel Taylor, that his own police expertise is of use to the administration. The colony places nominal emphasis on environmental responsibility.
Opposing the colony and its leader Taylor is a group of separatists known as the "Sixers", so called because they arrived in the "Sixth Pilgrimage", working in concert with corporate industrialists to strip the Cretaceous Earth of its resources and transmit them to 2149, allowing for massive profits at the cost of environmental destruction. It is later revealed that Commander Taylor's estranged grown son, Lucas, is the mastermind of this operation. Toward the end of the series, Lucas perfects travel to and from the future, thus enabling the industrialists, with a private army called "The Phoenix Group", to invade Terra Nova. At the end of the series, Jim Shannon returns to 2149 to destroy the gateway permitting travel to the Cretaceous, whereupon the Phoenix Group retreats to the nearby "Badlands", leaving behind a wooden ship's figurehead apparently located there by another temporal rift.
Alex Graves signed on to direct the pilot. Brannon Braga and René Echevarria serve as showrunners. Australia was chosen after producer Steven Spielberg vetoed Hawaii because he wanted a different filming location from his 1993 film Jurassic Park. The two-hour pilot was filmed over 26 days in late November to December 2010. It was shot in south-east Queensland, Australia, with locations in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and the Gold Coast Hinterland, namely Bonogin. The shoot was plagued by torrential rain and additional material had to be shot in 2011, with a total estimated cost of US$14 million to be amortized over the season. More than 250 sets were constructed. An episode took from eight to nine days to shoot, like most television dramas, but six weeks in post-production, twice the television average at the time. The average episode budget was about $4M, not including Australian tax breaks, compared to an average of $3M for broadcast network dramas. Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly stated: "This thing is going to be huge. It's going to take an enormous production commitment."
In an unusual decision, Fox skipped ordering just a pilot, and instead immediately ordered thirteen episodes. This was partly due to financial reasons, as the large Australian sets are expensive to dismantle and rebuild. Despite this decision, the producers denied the production was over-budget, with Peter Rice explaining instead the show is "a very expensive ... very ambitious television show". Kevin Reilly continued: "We're not in completely uncharted territory here. The start-up cost for the series is definitely on the high end. But it's not some bank-breaking series." With only 10% of Cretaceous-era dinosaurs recorded in the fossil record, the producers decided to supplement the series with plausible fictional species; palaeontologist Jack Horner was invited to create realistic creatures for the period and different from those of the Jurassic Park film franchise.
In June 2010, the first cast member was announced – Jason O'Mara as Jim Shannon. In late August, Allison Miller joined the cast; playing the role of Skye Tate. In September 2010, Deadline Hollywood reported that Stephen Lang, who played a similar character in the 2009 film Avatar, signed-on to play a leading role of Commander Taylor.
An executive producer, David Fury, left the series as a result of creative differences. In September, Shelley Conn landed the female lead role. In October, Brian Tyler was chosen as the composer, Mido Hamada was cast as a security head, while Landon Liboiron, Naomi Scott, and Alana Mansour were cast as the three children. In November, Christine Adams was cast as Mira. In May 2011, Rod Hallett joined the cast.
The cast and crew returned to Queensland, Australia on May 20, 2011 to continue production on the first season. Filming commenced on May 25, 2011. With a long production process on the series, it was announced in July 2011 that the first season would consist of thirteen episodes to finish airing in December 2011.
Many of the weapons used in the show were reworked and repainted Nerf blasters.
Cancellation and motion comic
Shortly after the airing of the season one finale in December 2011, Fox Broadcasting stated that no decision would be made until 2012 regarding the continuation of the series. Fox announced the cancellation of Terra Nova on March 6, 2012. 20th Century Fox Television stated that it would try to sell the show to other networks. Following the decision 20th Century Fox entered negotiations with Netflix to possibly create a second season. However nothing ultimately came of this.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment set up a "video mashup" website where purchasers of the DVD can create a motion comic continuing the series. As of December 2013, the site was no longer active and redirects to Fox Movies.
Terra Nova was expected to premiere in the U.S. in May 2011 with a two-hour preview, but due to the time involved for visual effects, its pilot was moved to autumn (late September) 2011 to air with the rest of season one. In May 2011, Fox announced the series would air on Monday nights, and released a full trailer. Terra Nova premiered at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International on July 23, 2011. The Fox premiere drew 9.22 million viewers and 3.1 in the 18–49 demo in live plus same day results, rising to 4.1 in Live+3, the best result by a new drama. Terra Nova's high DVR gains were attributed to competition from Monday Night Football which, being a sports event, is less conducive to delayed viewing. In its second week on Fox, the show retained 100% of its demo rating (3.1), the best retention by a new series. Fox aired the entire first season consecutively on Monday nights, until its two-hour finale on December 19, 2011.
In Canada, Citytv simulcast every first season episode; the Canadian premiere drew 1.4 million viewers, the largest audience for a drama in Citytv's history. In 2015, reruns began airing on Telelatino.
In Australia, where the series was filmed, Network Ten began airing the series within days of its U.S. release. In the UK and Ireland, digital channel Sky 1 broadcast the show from October 3, 2011.
Early reviews indicated much promise in the series. In June 2011, Terra Nova was one of eight honorees in the Most Exciting New Series category at the Critics' Choice Television Awards, voted by journalists who had seen the pilots. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette compared it to Outcasts. The Los Angeles Times wrote: "Easily the most exciting show of the fall season, Fox's Terra Nova has such obvious, instant and demographically diverse appeal." The New York Post called it "Good family fun", while USA Today wrote, "What matters are the dinosaurs, who – particularly in the first hour – are as convincing and startling as TV has ever offered, roaming a gorgeous, CGI-enhanced terrain." The Wall Street Journal wrote: "Terra Nova leaves ye olde cheap-set series in the dust with production values that make each episode look cinematic." The Washington Post wrote, "Literally the biggest thing on TV this fall, Terra Nova has it all: time travel, misguided utopianism, 'Swiss Family Robinson'-style cohesion and lots of hungry dinosaurs. It's all pretty dazzling."
Mid-season reviews were highly critical. Mark A. Perigard of the Boston Herald said that the series was Stargate Universe by Dr. Seuss. Sam Wollaston of The Guardian stated that there was only one interesting character and that "A lot of the fault lies with what they have to say to each other. The script is as corny and cheesy as a family-sized portion of cheesy corn nachos." New York magazine reviewer Chadwick Matlin vowed never to watch the show again, saying "Sure, the premise had promise, but even masochists like us can only take so much." But by the finale in December things had turned around again where critics were mostly pleased and enthusiastic. Entertainment Weekly called the season finale "exciting". The series' first season received an aggregated score of 64% across 28 reviews from Metacritic.
The first season averaged 7.52 million American viewers and a 2.5 rating in the 18–49 demographic. The show was ranked the #2 new drama among adults 18–49, the #1 new show among men 18–49, 18–34, and 25–54 and was one of the top 20 regular programs among teens, as of January 1, 2012.
Awards and nominations
In 2011, the series was honored, along with seven others, with the Critics' Choice Television Award for Most Exciting New Series. Also, it won "Best Visual Effects in a Television Series" by the Visual Effects Society in 2011.
Series DVD release
The series was released on a 4-disc DVD set on September 11, 2012. The set contains deleted scenes; bloopers; and featurettes including "Director's Diaries – Making the Pilot", an extended "Occupation/Resistance" episode with audio commentary from Stephen Lang, Brannon Braga and Rene Echevarria, "Mysteries Explored", and "Cretaceous Life: The Dinosaurs of Terra Nova".
The series's original music was composed by Brian Tyler. La-La Land Records released a soundtrack album on October 9, 2012.