The real reason we haven't seen Spielberg's dinosaur saga Terra Nova on TV yet

Illustration for article titled The real reason we havent seen Spielbergs dinosaur saga Terra Nova on TV yet

Time-traveling dinosaur drama Terra Nova just can't seem to get off the ground. It's already been delayed twice, supposedly due to laborious special effects work. But digitizing dinosaurs isn't the real reason this series is stuck in production purgatory.


At least not according to one new article, who claims the problems go much deeper.


Terra Nova follows one family, and a band of scientists, who travel from a polluted 22nd century into the dinosaur-populated past. Sounds great — so why haven't we seen it yet? The Hollywood Reporter's article pulls the velvet curtain back on the production of Terra Nova,, and portrays it as a bit of a disaster. Right now the pilot (with a budget estimated between $10 million and $20 million) doesn't have enough footage to make up the planned two-hour premiere. And there are still no scripts for the episodes after the pilot!

How did this happen? Well, the production's 12 executive producers couldn't have helped. The THR article portrays a production with a lot of behind-the-scenes departures, and possibly a few too many cooks seasoning the same broth.

Plus, it seems like there was a lot of hemming and hawing over the length of the pilot (and how much money they could make off of it):

As production drew near, Fox was still weighing how long the pilot should be. The initial script had been too lengthy to fit into an hour, so the question was whether to cut it down or build it up. Sources say no decision had been made, even a month before filming started in November. But two episodes could be sold overseas as a movie — a Spielberg fantasy, no less — and TV veterans say that would command big dollars. (A top executive at a rival network says such a movie might sell for as much as $8 million.)


Stretching the pilot to two hours a month before production is risky business. Couple that with the location's never-ending rain, and you're barely scraping together enough on-set time to burn through a bit of film, let alone shoot an action-packed two-hour pilot. After realizing the finished product was running way too short, Fox brought in editor Ken Horton (The X-Files) to help tape and glue together a pilot. Thankfully THR's sources say that it's starting to look better already. But two delays, and hours of potential filler writing has the deck stacked against Terra Nova.

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I don't think we've even read a good synopsis of what the show's even supposed to be about. It's all been very vague and undetermined, and I think it's clearly because they don't even know themselves.

Sometimes television shouldn't be about making a profit. Occasionally it should be about entertainment. I think that side has been foolishly overlooked in the last couple of years.