Terra Nova TV series: dinosaurs, time travel and Steven Spielberg

terranova20th Century Fox and Steven Spielberg are behind a new big budget science fiction TV show called Terra Nova featuring dinosaurs and time travel (two of my favourite things). According to the press release, the series focuses on the Shannon family as they join the tenth pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first colony of humans in a second chance for civilization. The main characters include father Jim, wife Elisabeth, young son Josh, teen daughter Maddy and Commander Frank Taylor.

Variety reveals that a family 100 years in the future will travel back in time 150 million years to the strange and inhospitable environs of prehistoric Earth. Each episode will cost a massive US$4 million. Because of the huge costs involved, the first 13 episodes will be filmed together to avoid extra start up and shut down expenses. The Terra Nova script was co-written by Craig Silverstein and British screenwriter Kelly Marcel. Brannon Braga and Steven Spielberg are two of the big name executive producers onboard. As you're probably aware, Spielberg is no stranger to dinosaur themed work, having directed and produced two of the Jurassic Park movies, Jurassic Park in 1993 and The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997.

Recently EW revealed that Alex Graves has been hired to direct the series. Graves' previous TV directing work includes episodes of The Whole Truth, Fringe and Journeyman. EW also obtained a copy of the script and reported that Terra Nova is set in 2149 A.D. and begins with "a large group of settlers 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."

All this sounds intriguing and it certainly looks like the writers and producers have the budget to give the story the best shot they can (I imagine there will be plenty of special effects). The only worry is that Spielberg will overdo the whole family element at the expense of intelligent scriptwriting and turn Terra Nova into some type of sentimental, modern day Lost in Space. I see a pet dinosaur, a teenage love interest (with the daughter and Commander Frank Taylor perhaps?) and plenty of merchandising opportunities. If Spielberg's influence is dominant, we're also likely to experience jarring happy endings too (think Minority Report and War of the Worlds).

Terra Nova will start shooting in Australia at the end of this year.

Steven Spielberg may go to another planet to find the star for his eagerly awaited Terra Nova TV series. Jason O'Mara, last seen in the short-lived (and quite controversial) U.S. version of Life on Mars, is in talks to star in Fox's midseason series, Deadline reported.

omara According to Deadline, Jason O'Mara, who starred in the US remake of Life on Mars, is in talks to play the father, Jim. Offers have been made to two other actors for various roles on the project, but these have yet to reach the negotiation stage.

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