Jason O’Mara Talks TERRA NOVA Cancellation and What Went Wrong

by     Posted 1 year, 267 days ago

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After making what he referred to as a premature decision, with Fox’s cancellation of the ambitious sci-fi drama Terra Nova and the Netflix deal not going through, actor Jason O’Mara immediately pursued a role in the CBS drama series Vegas, starring Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis and Carrie-Anne Moss.  Premiering on September 25th, Vegas is a 1960′s period piece inspired by the true story of Ralph Lamb (Quaid), a cowboy turned sheriff of Las Vegas, and Vincent Savino (Chiklis), a Chicago mob fixer.

While at the CBS portion of the TCA Press Tour, Jason O’Mara shared some thoughts about the creative issues with Terra Nova, how he felt about the cancellation of the series, that the showrunners had plans for what they could do with Season 2, and that he would have definitely stuck with it, if it had moved to Netflix.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

How did you feel about the cancellation of Terra Nova?

JASON O’MARA:  We were just finding our feet.  I think we proved that, by the season finale.  There was a lot more story to tell and I think there was an audience to watch it.  Certainly internationally, the show went down extremely well with huge numbers.  Domestically, it didn’t quite get there.  Creatively, we probably could have made some slightly better decisions, half-way through.  But, that’s par for the course with such an ambitious series.  We needed more than 13 episodes, I think.  Honestly, we were on the bubble, and we were a show that they should have just gone with their gut on and taken another shot with, for another season.

What do you think the missteps were, creatively?

O’MARA:  They weren’t so much missteps.  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 onwards.  We needed to commit to the fact that it was going to be a Lost-like mythological series, and not apologize for it.

Do you think they were just too afraid to do a serialized sci-fi drama?

O’MARA:  Possibly, yeah.  I don’t know what the reasons were.

terra-nova-tv-show-poster-0For fans who are still mourning the loss of the series, did you have any discussions about what a Season 2 might have looked like?

O’MARA:  No.  The showrunners had that conversation with Fox and put together a bible for a possible second season, but I think that changed a couple of times and it was pitched a couple of times.  I wasn’t privy to the content of those bibles, but there were definitely lots of ideas floating around.

Would you have stuck with it, if Netflix has picked it up?

O’MARA:  Oh, sure!  I was under contract.  My contract with 20th Century Fox TV Studios only expired a couple months ago.  I took Vegas in second position.  My ass has been theirs until the end of June.

Michael Chiklis lost No Ordinary Family, Sarah Jones lost Alcatraz and you lost Terra Nova, all after one season.  Do you think you’ll have any fun on set, commiserating about your shows?

O’MARA: Sure!  As actors, we have that in common that we go for slightly out-of-the-box or genre stuff.  They’re great when they work, but they don’t always work.  Genre stuff is really hard to pull off, as any fans of it know.  So, we’ll probably commiserate about it with each other.  Even though this is a different period, and it’s slightly different to other stuff that’s on the air, it’s really solid storytelling.  It feels like less of a risk than the other shows. 

Are you resigned to bouncing around in time with your characters?

O’MARA:   There’s no time travel in this, but I haven’t done anything contemporary on TV, in quite some time.  I like to take a shot with things.  I like to take risks.  I’m attracted to things that are different than the average run-of-the-mill stuff.   

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  • sloan

    what went wrong with terra nova? awesome premise, terrible, family oriented (people living in bungalow’s?) direction. should have been more tense, maybe a group of the original scientists who discover time travel get stuck, Michael Crichton style, they have to learn to live together and get along, blah blah blah. Not, hey mom and dad, look, it’s a brachiosaur!

  • RunnerX13

    I lasted more than a few, and the show was boring, and the mythology they did intersect didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

    • good

      u are a dickhead

  • blueorangeny

    Oh well. I saw the premier and never returned. But it is funny how FOX continues to fail on these sci-fi/cb related shows. Every season they attempt to bring a show like that on their slate and it doesn’t even make it to season 2.

  • LEM

    The show was awful from the beginning. They tried to cram in every single show premise to try to appeal to everyone and in the end it appealed to no one.

    • desert dweller

      you are an idiot! this was a good show!

  • Matt

    Kyle Chandler had a shot at the lead, but passed – instead he did Super 8 and has Argo and Scorsese’s Wall Street picture coming up. Good move I’d say.

  • mark

    i know you lot don’t seem to like TERRA NOVA but i did like it and most family and friends i know did i was looking forward to season 2 i and lots of people out there liked it is better then this dam stuff on TV / sky better then the dam Sinbad that on at the moment you may or may not agree with me that up to you bye now take care

    • Marie

      As a mother of two I really liked it and it was family oriented so I could share my love of sci fi with my children without there being too much gore or sex. I think it was a great family show, my mom even liked it!

  • Greg

    Welcome to the Fox Network. If I were to come up with an idea for a show, I would never pitch it to Fox. They just aren’t loyal if it’s not a “safe” premise.

  • lob Taylor

    Am gonna go with the majority on this one. This show had great potentials and
    very superior( and hyped) lineage BUT the show to put bluntly sucked…and big time.
    From the acting, the plot, the story lines, the cgi,hell even the dinos sucked.

  • Mr Sunday To Sunday

    I think the problem was they decided to play it safe because of the massive budget they had which resulted in the show being incredible average.

  • Chris

    I can remember seeing Mr O’Mara at a Terra Nova panel at Wondercon in San Farncisco last year.

    Perhaps if he hadn’t spent most of the panel texting and looking at his phone, I might have been more willing to give the show a chance!

  • Gantz9

    I was done after the first episode. Really? The teenage son decides that his fresh out of prison dad is so bad that he can’t stand him even though he broke out of prison to go back in time (illegally I might add) with his crappy over populating family? So lets decide to be super rebellious and run off with the other “cool” kids and get surround by velociraptors that can’t even kill a single teenage girl that runs off into the night with no weapons. So painfully dumb that I just got mad typing that.

    • Anonymous

      U r HYSTERICAL!

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  • Sandra Marlin

    Everyone at my office are so upset that Terra Nova is not coming back.
    There is not much we watch on your station so now there is less. I wish Sci-Fi would
    pick it up.

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  • Darlene Ownbey

    I am very disappointed in Fox for dropping this show! Me & my family enjoyed it very much and we couldn’t wait for season 2 to start! Alot of my friends loved Tera Nova too! Why can’t they get rid of some of these stupid reality shows and free up some much needed space for good shows like Tera Nova! Please Sci-fi bring Tera Nova back! Thanks!!!

  • Darlene Ownbey

    I am very disappointed in Fox for dropping this show! Me & my family enjoyed it very much and we couldn\’t wait for season 2 to start! Alot of my friends loved Tera Nova too! Why can\’t they get rid of some of these stupid reality shows and free up some much needed space for good shows like Tera Nova! Please Sci-fi bring Tera Nova back! Thanks!!!

    • good

      1001% trru

  • BritOne

    What’s with the yanks all the great shows that come out after the first season it ends

    STICK WITH ONE!!! will ya?

  • digigal2156

    I am so bummed! I was so looking foward to season 2!!! I thought they had a good story going with potential for many more seasons *sigh*

  • digigal2156

    I am so bummed! I was so looking foward to season 2!!! I thought they had a good story going with potential for many more seasons *sigh*

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  • Goremong99

    My government, my society, and now my TV all suck! I’m ashamed to be an American. It’s all about production costs, and feeding crappy “reality” shows or crap sitcoms featuring no-talent wannabe actors to the sheep is much cheaper. TV executives don’t give a crap about the fans and whether or not a show will have another season..it’s all about creating initial hype then overcharging ad space.
    To all U.S. TV executives, I give you a BIG middle finger as I’ve stopped watching all of your crap and currently happy downloading all BBC productions and other NON U.S shows that have long runs thanks to the intelligence of their network executives.

    • Jordan

      Wow.. “A men”

    • xoxorose

      I agree, there is so much lack of creativity that when something good comes along they don’t know it. The networks use reality tv , you tube videos, they even advertise to send them our videos. Why pay real actors and camera crews, more profits less overhead. What a dissapointement. I am watching more BBC, SYFY and other non major network channels than ever. Other than a couple of the original reality tv series I am so tired of them all. They are not even reality any longer, they are people trying to break into show business without going to acting school. Reality tv is history, smithsonian, nat geo and discovery channels to name a few , not the bs so many are putting out now.

    • good

      DICK HEAD

  • Jordan

    Sign the petition! Keep season 2 talks alive!
    http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/terra-nova-season-2/sign.html#se

  • kelly

    The show had potential and I was interested when I saw the previews but my interest took a turn when I heard it was from the writers of Lost. Having a ton of back story and conspiracies that eventually lead nowhere or take forever to reach a conclusion was not and is not appealing to me. That’s why I stopped watching the show. As soon as they introduced the son, other colony, and the mysterious carved writings I turned my television off and read Jurassic Park again. The cgi also wasn’t very good and I don’t understand why they used made up dinosaurs based off of real dinosaurs when they could just use the real dinosaurs! I understand that they didn’t want to be too much like Jurassic Park but when you make a period piece stick to what people know is in the period otherwise it’s just confusing when one hears “slashers” and thinks “that looks like a velocirapter”. There was a lot of potential, they just never took advantage of it.

  • xoxorose

    I am so dissapointed this will not back this year. What a mistake fox made by not renewing it. I do think it could have been the next lost given another season, They should try pitching it to syfy, if anyone can appreciate it and make it work they should be able to.

  • Canadaguy

    Terra nova is a great show and very intriguing ! It’s too bad fox is being run by morons. The Netflix thing is a bit interesting, being that they decided not to pick up season two, yet season 1 is being played on Netflix right now in Canada!

  • Toni

    I loved the show. All shows start off slow until they find their footing. Lost was very slow in the beginning and had a weak story line until the second season. Reality tv is terrible because it’s not real. There are so many things behind the scenes we don’t get to see that they think makes it work but anyone who has a brain can see right through it. Even though I do enjoy police dramas and medical shows we desperately need something new and fresh and that’s what Terra Nova was. A new idea in a new direction. It was fresh and clean. No sex, swearing and no filth that young children see on regular tv. For those of us that do like the crime shows and medical shows Terra Nova had that and much more. I don’t watch sitcom tv because of bad acting and very weak plots out there. I hate the dating shows as well. Everybody having sex and crying “I really loved him” boo hoo. That’s irresponsible of the networks thinking they can show young people how to find love by dating 26 men or women at the same time. Shame on you. Bring back Terra Nova that has good solid family values and a good community togetherness. Terra Nova needed more than one season to show what it has. Bring it back.

  • Toni

    Terra Nova was a fresh new show that the whole family could enjoy. It had a little cop element, medical element and strong family values. It had a large following and was loved by many people. Reality shows have sex, swearing and manipulation of people and not good at all for anyone. Bring it back so the whole family can watch tv again.

  • Sereia

    It was a very nice show. Way better those awfull reality shows. I wish they bring this show back.

  • Pete

    Just got on the web to find out what happened to Terra Nova. Find out it was cancelled after only one season. The kids and I loved the show. Had a great cast and a story line that could have gone anywhere… What is sci-fi but ones imagination where anything can happen… In this case regarding the business decision to axe the show, no imagination at all. WHAT A SHAME. They should have given it a chance to develope and explored a second season.

  • desert dweller

    It is amazing…some of the freaking no brainer, idiotic shows on and they dump this one, A good one…THEY NEED TO DUMP SOME OF THEIR MORONIC EXEC’S!

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