When the creators of Fox’s prehistoric sci-fi show Terra Nova cancelled their scheduled appearance at Comic-Con, it raised a few eyebrows. Many took it as a sign that there might be some serious setbacks occurring behind-the-scenes and as it unfortunately turns out – where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Originally scheduled to debut as a mid-season replacement this year, EW is reporting that Terra Nova will now air its pilot episode in May as a special one-night preview before its official debut in the fall of 2011. It’s the same strategy that the network utilized to build hype for Glee, which had a strong debut after its audience spent all summer talking about the preview episode. Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly explains:
“It was mainly due to the scope [Terra Nova] was going to take… We went into it knowing it was going to be ambitious. It really became apparent that we had to do this show right. We’ll have an enormous jump on the pilot, and on the marketing side, we’ll let people understand the show.”
Typically, a network will finance a pilot and then decide if they want to order additional episodes, but Fox committed to 13 episodes of Terra Nova right from the get go. Naturally, there were financial considerations involved with this decision (such as the cost of tearing down and rebuilding sets for a project this large), but it’s more likely that the talent involved played a part in securing the show’s spot on their line-up.
Terra Nova is produced by Steven Spielberg, Brannon Braga (24, FlashForward), and David Fury (Lost, Angel). Braga, who cut his teeth writing and producing several Star Trek shows, is also the showrunner. Back in June, Jason O’ Mara was confirmed as the series’ lead and with filming on the pilot scheduled to start in October, additional casting news should be forthcoming.
Set 100 years in the future, Terra Nova centers around a group of settlers who use a portal to travel back to the prehistoric era. They quickly discover there are forces inside their colony that are as dangerous as the creatures surrounding them.
I actually like the concept of the show and if Fox is simply making sure it’s at the highest level of quality it can be, perhaps it will be worth the wait. It’s unfortunate that we’re almost a year away from getting our first taste of Terra Nova, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it has a gigantic presence at next year’s Comic-Con.