The Badlands may forever remain a mystery following the news that FOX‘s has cancelled Terra Nova.
After months of weighing up a second season of prehistoric (non)adventure, the network has decided to pull the plug on the modestly-rated Terra Nova — news that will no doubt come as a huge disappointment the show’s rallying fans.
However, despite optimism that the network would bring the show back for a ‘second chance,’ FOX entertainment president Kevin Reilly made sure he was non-committal over the future of Terra Nova in January:
“It was an exciting bet to take. And it’s proven it was worthwhile. It’s the second highest rated [freshman] drama. We made money on it. The audience enjoyed it, they had amble opportunity to reject it and they didn’t. There’s a show there to bring back, there’s an audience to access. There were a lot of chefs in the kitchen. The show was hunting for itself creatively through the season. Creatively it was hunting. I loved some of the episodes.”
It looks like those holes will be filled elsewhere. Intriguingly, it was Reilly who made the call to cancel Terra Nova, while it was his boss, Peter Rice, who championed and bought the project exactly 2 years ago. It seems Reilly was not a fan of the show that favored spider songs over sci-fi.
The network pitched several new executive producers and story ideas for season 2, but none of them sparked enough interest, while the expense of the show didn’t carry in its favor. According to Deadline, a last minute effort was made by the studio to salvage a second season when a prospective showrunner was taken to the network to meet with Reilly. Despite the meeting reportedly going well, Reilly decided to collapse the time-portal.
As it stands, Terra Nova is extinct — however, the studio Twentieth Century Fox is currently looking for a new home on another network, with show lead Jason O’Mara tweeting:
“Bad news guys, Terra Nova has been cancelled by Fox. We’re gonna try and get another network to do it. Stand by.”
While it’s no shame to go big and miss, Terra Nova ultimately failed to deliver on its promise. Many viewers will point to the show’s seeming disregard for serialization and reluctance to utilise its intriguing premise and sci-fi ‘hook,’ as factors in its lack of creative success and viewer retention. While contrived storylines (mind-wipe, CSI Shannon, etc), and glaring lack of character development will also be put forward as reasons why it failed to resonate with many viewers. That said, the show did have a passionate group of fans who appreciated its ‘family-friendly’ approach or simply liked it for what it was and saw potential in a second season.
Can the show find life elsewhere? It’s a tall order, given its enormous expense (the 2-hour pilot cost $14 million and about $4 million for the subsequent episodes). You’d have to wonder which cable or broadcast network would take it on, all things considered?
With House closing its doors and Terra Nova cancelled, that leaves FOX with three more dramas on the Ratings Dragon Bubble – The Finder, Alcatraz and Fringe — the latter of which has been in negotiations over a shortened fifth season pick-up.
Terra Nova had to go big or go home. In the end, it went in meek like a Meekasaurus. And went home. The implications of Terra Nova‘s demise will surely be a talking point for months, if not years, to come.
What do you think of Terra Nova’s cancellation?
More to come on Terra Nova over the coming days. Stay tuned.