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

     July 29, 2012


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.