Terra Nova: Inside the Making of One of the Most Ambitious, Challenging and Expensive Shows on TV

 Hugh Stewart

Fast-forward to the series' first real test when a handful of producers and Lang turned up at Comic-Con 2011. Until then, Terra Nova was little more than an untested concept with boldfaced auspices and the promise of dinosaurs. The studio screened the series' first hour for some 4,000 members of its core audience in Ballroom 20.

Recognizing the significance of the appearance, Braga admits to waiting with bated breath until the audience reacted to the opening credits at the end of Act 1. While the freshman effort, to be expected, didn't quite draw the same fervor as established genre hits such as the CW's The Vampire Diaries or AMC's The Walking Dead, the audience was audibly impressed with the dinosaurs.

The most fervent response during the hourlong session came when executive producer Jose Molina vowed that audiences would see "dino-on-human action," capitalizing on the crowd's enthusiastic response to a battle in which a dinosaur came out on top. Critics were impressed by the cinematic nature of the project; some, however, expressed frustration with plot holes and the similarity of Lang's Avatar character to that for which he is best known.

Now the cast, crew and execs will attempt to convince viewers that the wait has been worth it. "We're an expensive show, and you will see the money on the screen," Molina told the Comic-Con fans. "It's going to look badass."

Whether the series is ultimately too big for TV is a question that won't be answered until the fall. Is there an appetite for dinosaurs? For another multi-universe drama? For a family adventure? "The one thing I know for certain," Kaplan says, "is that there's nothing like it on television."

-- Pip Bulbeck contributed to this report.

 

TERRA NOVA BY THE NUMBERS

  • 4,000: Potential fans who turned up to see the series' first hour at Comic-Con.
  • 250: Crewmembers -- on the set and off -- including construction workers, the art department and production office staffers.
  • 150: Castmembers -- including stars O'Mara and Lang -- and extras on the Australian set each day.
  • 111: Million Super Bowl viewers who watched the splashy promo for Terra Nova's since-delayed preview.
  • 85: Million years between the two worlds featured on the series.
  • 9: Executive producers now involved, including Spielberg and Chernin.
  • 4: Acres of land where Terra Nova resides in Queensland.
  • 1: Minimum number of dinosaurs -- or Cretaceous-era creatures -- that viewers will see in every episode of the Fox action-adventure series.
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