Terra Nova – get set to go prehistoric with Spielberg’s dinosaur TV series

Posted on 12 September 2011
By Matt Barden
  • Share:

TV has come a long way. Long gone are the days when huge budgets were reserved solely for the small screen’s bigger, better looking older brother – film.

Case in point, Steven Spielberg’s Terra Nova; or the most expensive television show ever made.

In a market which is now increasingly competitive, ‘Most Expensive Ever’ is a lofty title to hold. Shows like Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and (cancelled) Flashforward, have already pushed the boundaries of production costs to new heights.

But Spielberg has never been afraid of a challenge. So what does a show that costs $200,000 a minute of airtime have to offer?

Bloody huge dinosaurs, of course. From Jaws to E.T, the super-director has always loved bringing the fantastic and impossible to the big screen, and now looks set to up the antes for small screen fans.

T-Rexes and Velociraptors are of course no mystery to the silver bearded filmmaker. Jurrasic Park first roared its way into cinemas in ’93 and spawned two more films (with a fourth reportedly coming).

The original was a lovingly shot movie that, 18 years on, still looks impressive. But now those special effects are just as affordable for a television series as a Hollywood blockbuster.

But Terra Nova is not Jurrasic Park made for TV. For starters the writers have not brought our extinct pals into the future, instead they are sending humans back in time to live among the scaly skinned flesh-eaters.

The show focuses on the Shannon family from the year 2149, as they are transported from a dying Earth 85 million years into the past to join Terra Nova, a colony tasked with building a better civilisation and saving the planet they left behind.

Mix in some prehistoric playmates and it should all make for some engrossing TV.

Spielberg and co have had $4m per episode to play with, bringing in 24’s producer Jon Cassar, Star Trek’s most prolific writer Brannon Braga and West Wing director Alex Graves to shape the series.

Whether it all comes together remains to be seen but usually when you add one part Spielberg to one part out-of-control dinosaur, you get great results.

Terra Nova will air on Sky 1 on October 3