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Details Revealed About Steven Spielberg's Terra Nova!

May 13th, 2010

details reviled for Steven Spielberg's Terra Nova

In a story from Entertainment Weekly, Steven Spielberg could be helping Fox on Monday when the network announces its fall 2010 lineup in New York.

According to sources, Steven Spielberg, who is producing Fox's Terra Nova, has taped a special introductory message that is going to "be presented to advertisers if the network orders the show to series."

Terra Nova focuses on a family 100 years into the future that goes back to the prehistoric era.

It also looks like Fox is going to commit to 13-episodes of the show. It should shoot in Hawaii later this summer.

Entertainment Weekly also picked up a script for Terra Nova which starts off in 2149 A.D. Here is what they wrote of the opening:

The scene: a large group of settlers are preparing to leave the apocalyptic world they live in to time travel back millions of years via a massive, high-tech contraption. Their goal is to see trees, enjoy a blue sky, eat real food - basically, to start over in this so-called Eden. But what they find is unlike anything they were expecting.

Pity about the typo on the third line...

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Some more info from FOX's 2010 Upfronts press release:


From executive producers Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin, Brannon Braga (24, “Star Trek: Enterprise”) and David Fury (“Lost,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) comes an epic family adventure 85 million years in the making. TERRA NOVA follows an ordinary family embarking on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a massive experiment to save the human race. In the year 2149 the world is dying. The planet is overdeveloped, overcrowded and overpolluted. With the majority of plant and animal life extinct, devotion to science has brought mankind to the brink of destruction, but has also provided its only hope for salvation. Knowing there is no way to reverse the damage to the planet, a coalition of scientists has managed to open up a fracture in the space-time continuum, creating a portal to prehistoric Earth. This doorway leads to an amazing world, one that allows for a last-ditch effort to save the human race…possibly changing the future by correcting the mistakes of the past. The series centers on the Shannon family as they join the tenth pilgrimage of settlers to TERRA NOVA, the first colony of humans in this second chance for civilization. JIM SHANNON, a devoted father with a checkered past, guides his family through this new land of limitless beauty, mystery and terror. Jim’s wife, ELISABETH SHANNON, is a trauma surgeon chosen through a global lottery as a new addition to Terra Nova’s medical team. JOSH SHANNON is their son, mourning the girl he left behind, as he’s torn between two role models – his father and the charismatic COMMANDER FRANK TAYLOR, the leader of the settlement, and the heroic first pioneer through the time portal. MADDY SHANNON, Jim and Elizabeth’s teen daughter, is as independent and adventurous as her parents, but her distrust of authority soon leads her on a dangerous path. In addition to blue skies, rolling rivers and lush vegetation, TERRA NOVA offers new opportunities and fresh beginnings to its recent arrivals, but the Shannons have brought with them a familial secret that may threaten their citizenship in this utopia. Additionally these adventurers soon discover that this healthy, cptfc vibrant world is not as idyllic as it initially appears. The areas surrounding Terra Nova are filled with dangerous dinosaurs, and other prehistoric threats, as well as external forces that may be intent on destroying this new world before it begins. But perhaps even more threatening than what lies outside the protective walls is the Shannons’ realization that something sinister may be happening inside TERRA NOVA as not everyone on this mission has the same intentions of how best to save mankind.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: 20th Century Fox Television, DreamWorks Television, Kapital Entertainment, Chernin Entertainment

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin, Craig Silverstein, Kelly Marcel, Brannon Braga, David Fury, Aaron Kaplan, Katherine Pope, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank

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  • 8 months later...

I posted this in the pilots thread, but it's worth posting here.

Here's a report from the Press Tour from Alan Sepinwall (a TV critic I really rate).


FOX's "Terra Nova" is more than four months away from premiering, and we have more than eight months until the second episode airs. Between the long lead time and the amount of special effects involved in creating a world where humans have traveled back in time millions of years to live among the dinosaurs, it's understandable that FOX didn't have much to show the critics at press tour beyond a three-minute sizzle reel.

Still, I have some absurdly preliminary thoughts on the footage (and you can see some early publicity stills of the show), but mainly on what was said at the press conference afterward, coming up after the jump...

As many critics observed afterwards, you could see a lot of money on the screen in those three minutes we saw. Not so much special effects, but simply high production values in terms of sets (the prehistoric colony the humans have built), location shooting (in an Australian rainforest) and action set pieces (the dinosaurs unsurprisingly don't like the people). It was a very impressive-looking piece of work - not a surprise given the pilot-directing track record of Alex Graves ("Fringe," "The Nine").

But those three minutes of course provide little sense of how interesting the show's central family dynamic will be, whether patriarch Jason O'Mara will be able to carry the show or get acted off the screen by co-star Stephen Lang (the bad guy from "Avatar"), or all the other pieces of a series that are necessary to maintain interest once the, "Whoa! Dinosaurs!" magic wears off.

On that score, I'd feel a lot more confident if the man in charge wasn't Brannon Braga, whose tenure on the various "Star Trek" spin-offs was... polarizing, to put it kindly. Braga's sci-fi shows - not just "Voyager" and "Enterprise" and whatnot, but CBS' short-lived "Threshold," and even "FlashForward" (Braga co-wrote the pilot, then left to work on "24") - have generally been short on well-rounded characterization and long on technobabble and endless discussion of the rules of various worlds. (I swear, there's an episode of "Threshold" that opens with a scene where Carla Gugino explains that the fate of humanity rests in part on her team ordering lunch from a different restaurant every day.)

And Braga's performance during the "Terra Nova" panel didn't really change my impression of him.

When a reporter opened with the not unreasonable question of whether these time-traveling colonists might erase the people who sent them back into the past, Braga winced and said, "Oh my god. I feel like we're at a 'Star Trek' convention," then gave a vague answer about how they'd have to deal with that down the line.

(Stephen Lang, of all people, seemed more engaged on the subject of time travel theory than his producers, though when I asked him when he first became interested, he said it was via the Mr. Peabody and Sherman shorts from "Rocky & Bullwinkle.")

Braga talked about how much research they had at their fingertips about the dinosaurs of the period, and then with the next breath said, "But you get to make up your own dinosaurs as well." And he said of the show that "philosophically, it's the closest thing to 'Star Trek' I've worked on since I left that show years ago. There was just a part of me that really wanted to gravitate back toward a science fiction premise with big humanistic ideas. It's so visually stimulating."

The producers were also inevitably asked to compare their show to "Lost," and Graves said, "This has nothing to do with 'Lost' for one major reason: It’s so made for a massively broad audience, I can’t even tell you. 'Lost' was for that great 'Lost' audience, and you would say 'the "Lost" audience.' 'Terra Nova,' more than anything I’ve ever done in my life, is for everybody."

Of course, once upon a time, "Lost" was for everybody, too, as the first season drew ratings around the 20 million viewer mark each week. It wasn't until the show got deeper and deeper into science fiction concepts - including, yes, time travel - that the crossover audience went away and the hardcore fans stuck around.

Now, all the "Terra Nova" advertising is going to trumpet the name of producer Steven Spielberg, who has a long track rechord of getting people who don't give a toss about sci-fi to watch movies with very geeky premises. But even though everyone on the panel swore that Spielberg was heavily involved in casting, hiring behind-the-scenes personnel, production design, etc., he's not the one executing the vision day-to-day.

With the marketing blitz FOX is sure to give the show, and with a roll-out plan that will see the two-part pilot airing after episodes of "House" and "Glee," I'm sure "Terra Nova" is going to get a good tune-in come May. We'll just have to wait and see how many of those people come back with the show in September.

Needless to say with Brannon Braga running the show I'm not exactly optimistic.

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4 months between the first and second episode? What?

Same technique as Glee and that worked out alright. Think of it as a preview rather than the official start of the new series. They'll rerun the first ep prior to the start of the season anyway.

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I love the concept of this, but the interview with Braga is worrying. If the temporal mechanics are off it'll really annoy me. It certainly looks suitably big budget, but they'll need Lost-calibre writers to make it work, not Flashforward-calibre writers. Brilliant idea for a show, though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm starting to wonder if Braga is stuck in a temporal anominaly himself, endlessly churning out scripts about someone/something going back in time. Whats even worse is that when somebody asks a perfectly reasonable question about characters potentialy changing history, he gets all stroppy and moans that is like 'being at a Star Trek convention' :facepalm:

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The premiere of Steven Spielberg’s time-traveling Fox dinosaur adventure “Terra Nova,” originally targeted for midseason then delayed until May 23, has been delayed again.

The premiere is now headed to autumn.

Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly blames the series’ ambitious special effects.

Jason O’Mara (the ABC version of “Life On Mars”) and Shelley Conn (Princess Pondicherry in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) star in "Terra Nova" as the Shannons, a couple who take their three kids and use a hole in time to escape from Earth’s ecologically ravaged future into the dinosaur era.

“Terra” also stars Alison Miller (“Kings”) and Stephen Lang (“Avatar”) as a pair of humans who have been living in the Cretaceous era longer than the Shannons.

Brannon Braga, co-creator of “Star Trek: Enterprise,” “Threshold” and the TV version of “FlashForward,” is series showrunner.

Spielberg, who also has TNT’s sci-fi drama “Falling Skies” this year, is one of "Terra Nova's" many executive producers.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 months later...

But if they go back in time doesn't them being there mean the future is changed and therefore they could possibly change the chain of events that sends them into the past in the first place? :huh:

The whole concept of this show just sounds STOOPID.

All depends on whether they choose to go with the single timeline (Twelve Monkeys, Lost) or multiple timelines (BTTF, Terminator, most other time travel stories) approach. I prefer the former, but it's much harder to write.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well this starts tonight on Sky.

In other news, the other leader of the show (the decent one) has jumped ship, leaving this as an entirely Brannon Braga joint. :facepalm:

A family's trip to prehistoric times not only is delayed, but it's now missing a member of the expedition.

David Fury has departed from Fox's upcoming "Terra Nova," citing "creative differences." The executive producer of the pilot, who had been working on the first batch of episodes for the Steven Spielberg vehicle, paves the way for Brannon Braga to lead both the show itself, and the writer's room, according to Deadline.

Braga and Fury had worked together on another Fox series "24" where Fury was not only a co-executive producer, but he also wrote 21 episodes of the Emmy-winning series. Fury was part of the producing team for both "24" and "Lost" when they won their respective Emmys in 2005 and 2006. Fury himself was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for his popular "Lost" episode "Walkabout," that helped established the norm of twists and turns throughout the entire run of the popular ABC series.

Fox decided not to replace Fury, and instead, put Braga in control of the writers room. Braga, of course, is no stranger to this role, having done it for "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Voyager" and "Star Trek: Enterprise." He was involved in the writing of 49 episodes for "Voyager," and 16 episodes of "24." He also wrote the screenplay for the popular 1996 film "Star Trek: First Contact" as well as the not-so-popular "Star Trek Generations" in 1994.

Braga was part of the production team that was nominated for the Outstanding Drama Series nod for "Star Trek: The Next Generation" in 1994.

Braga's most recent outing, the ABC series "FlashForward" with "The Dark Knight" scribe David S. Goyer, was cancelled after a single season.

"Terra Nova" stars Jason O'Mara from ABC's "LIfe on Mars." The pilot will be directed by Alex Graves, who worked in the past on "The West Wing" and Fox's "Fringe."

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It's starts next week doesn't it? :)


On: Sky1 (106)

Date: Monday 3rd October 2011

Time: 20:00 to 21:00 (1 hour long)

Genesis (Part 1 of 2). Series 1, episode 1.

Steven Spielberg's epic adventure has arrived. It's the year 2149, the world is dying and the only hope for survival lies in the distant past...

(Stereo, New Series, Widescreen, Subtitles)


Marked By: 'New Sci-Fi Series' and 'Category: Science Fiction' markers


Excerpt taken from DigiGuide - the world's best TV guide available from http://www.getdigiguide.tv/?p=1&r=8627

Copyright © GipsyMedia Limited.

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Just finished the first two parter with the GF and we both enjoyed it. It's a bit easy to suss plotlines etc etc but it's good and we've both agreed we'll watch the rest of the show if it keeps the pace.

I did think the whole plot-line around the commanders missing son and the equations was really easy to predict.

And with the ending explaining they are trying to control the future by manipulating the past makes me think that this will end up with a whole, who's right who's wrong ethics dilemma.

I assume this will be backed up by the "sixers" joining up with "terra nova" against an unknown and more powerful threat.

Plus the cg was pretty good too :D

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Thought this was utter shit...full of annoying American teenagers with teeth so white they could use them to blind the dinosuars chasing after them...the worlds gone to shit, envoiremental collapse, starvation, poisonous air, but hey, we must still have perfect teeth.. :rolleyes:

I predict a swift demise for this one..

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Outside of the the dino action sequences I thought it was pretty forgettable, lots of blandly pretty actors furrowing their brows at each other and breaking the show don't tell rule. Your man from Avatar was the best character by a country mile. Maybe I'm spoiled by the raft of excellent cable stuff pumped out from the US, but network stuff always feels so neutered. I didn't think it was possible but they've managed to create an even more hateful angsty teenage prick than that twat from the new version of V.

What do you know, on his very first day he manages to run into a Manic Pixie Dream Girl to boot. I was praying the pair of them would be disembowelled by a velociraptor the entire time they were beyond the walls.

Special effects were all over the place, most of the time they were good and the dinosaurs were mainly decent, but the cityscapes looked like they were rendered in the Unreal Engine (complete with exaggeration depth of field).

From what I've read, they spent a hefty chunk of the season's budget on the premiere so the danger is that the rest of episodes (apart from sweeps and finale) are people schlepping about in the forest Lost style, which could be a major problem as I suspect I'll mainly be watching the next few episodes for the prospect of hot dinosaur action and certainly not the adventures of Rockjaw O'Milquetoast, his wooden wife and his awful teenagers.

The mystery hooks could make for interesting storylines, but then I remember that Brannon Braga probably has as much idea of where it's going as me (Enterprise's Temporal Cold War anyone).

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And with the ending explaining they are trying to control the future by manipulating the past makes me think that this will end up with a whole, who's right who's wrong ethics dilemma.

Thing is though they're in an alternate timestream so whatever they do there will have diddly-squat effect on their future. I wonder if that line was a holdover from an earlier version. Apparently originally it was supposed be straight up they were just sent back in time, but in the various chops and changes to the pilot since then (seriously this is something like the 4th distinct version that has been screened for critics) they decided to go with this explanation instead - presumably because the first reaction from most people when given the premise of the show was "Erm, wouldn't their mere presence their have the potential of wiping out history as we know it?".

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