Steven Spielberg is the production powerhouse behind the prehistoric sci-fi series, Terra Nova, so we’re surprised to hear that the show is suffering from an assortment of production-related issues.
Several members of the Terra Nova writing team were laid off this week and costs for the pilot – which has been delayed until Fall 2011 – are reportedly spiraling out of control (for a hour-long television episode, that is).
Show runner Brannon Braga is still onboard for the series, which will star Jason O’Mara and Stephen Lang as authoritative figures from the 22nd century who are in charge of a mission to time-travel back to prehistoric Earth and save the human race from extinction in their present (or, our future). The L.A. Times broke the story about the writers being (possibly only temporarily) laid off, while The Wrap is reporting that costs on the Terra Nova pilot may be around $10 million, not including future advertising and marketing-related expenses.
Terra Nova may follow in the steps of Glee and have its pilot premiere on Fox in Spring 2011, then go on hiatus until the beginning of the Fall 2011 TV season. The pilot is tentatively scheduled to begin filming in Australia over the next few months and looks to meet that deadline, in spite of all the behind-the-scenes drama with the show so far.
The premise behind Terra Nova has promise, though it does sound a bit familiar to the premises for a number of other sci-fi series. Lang’s character in Terra Nova is essentially of the same mold as his Colonel Miles Quaritch from Avatar, but he played that part in James Cameron’s epic well enough; he should be a proper antagonist for O’Mara’s character in the series, Jim Shannon, a father who has to both lead the mission to save humanity and struggle with more personal, family-related issues.
The FX and production values on Terra Nova should be quite good – what with Spielberg being behind the project – and the show should have little trouble attracting sci-fi fans looking for a new series to rally around. Here’s hoping that all the behind-the-scenes issues prove to be worth it in the end and that we get to see a cool show that mixes advanced human technology with ancient world creatures.
Terra Nova is still expected to begin airing on Fox by Fall 2011.