Fans mourning the loss of Terra Nova have been somewhat buoyed in recent weeks by the news of a motion comic to resolve the hanging storylines. But there’s no doubt they would have prefer ed the continuation of the show itself which was cancelled (perhaps unluckily based on hard, cold numbers) after one season. Which is why it’s interesting to hear series lead Jason O’Mara talk about cancellation and the missteps he believes the show made.
O’Mara, now starring on Vegas, spoke to the media at the CBS press tour where he stood by the notion that there was a lot more story to tell while conceding that they made mistakes regarding the serialized elements, or lack of:
“I think there was a lack of clarity in terms of when the mythology needed to kick in. The first few episodes were strangely stand-alone and there wasn’t much mythology. I think the mythology needed to be kicking in right from that second episode and onward. We needed to commit to the fact that it was going to be a Lost-like mythological series and not apologize for it.”
O’Mara hits the nail on the head. Whenever I think back to Terra Nova I recall the memory-erasing episode — I still struggle with the fact they did that in Episode 2, as if viewers could care for characters who were essentially shells for half the episode. It was difficult to see a show with obvious ‘serial DNA’ do so many standalone episodes with very little tie-in the central storyline.
We understand the ‘accessibility’ argument, but as O’Mara points out, TN took way too long to deliver the mythology, the deeper story that would have served the show well and helped viewer investment.
The thing with Terra Nova, and I’ll say the same thing about the upcoming Revolution and Last Resort; high concept shows like these are crying out for serial — for complex ongoing narratives and three dimensional characters, otherwise what’s the point? Why do you need to go back to a prehistoric setting (for ex.) to just do CSI: Jurassic?
Striving for balance, particularly on network (given the higher ratings pressure), is not a ridiculous idea but the focus needs to be weighted towards the ongoing story elements.
Having each episode connect back to the main storyline while developing the story and/or characters in some meaningful way is a start. There are enough creative storytellers out there who can and have made this work.
While I certainly agree that every show goes through growing pains (especially) in its first season, the unfortunate thing about TN is that it didn’t make every one of those 13 episodes count.
There’s no shame in failing with something so highly ambitious but at least go down with all guns blazing. Which may be easy to say, but at the same time I do think there’s a truth to that, to making a commitment.
That’s not to say TN didn’t have it’s fans or doesn’t deserve credit for trying in the first place, but it’s interesting to look at why it might not be on the air today to see what we can learn from it. Certainly it’s interesting to note that there’s a growing hunger and awareness for serial both from fans and those involved in the creative process.
O’Mara also reiterated that the showrunners had a “bible” containing their plans for Season 2, and that those ideas where under a state of change. As we reported, Netflix were eyeing Terra Nova at one stage, but ultimately they decided not to pursue that interest.
As always, we’ll keep you updated on significant Terra Nova news and chatter here at Seriable. It may be cancelled but you know our motto by now (right?).