Late last week at the Fox TCA, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly stated that Terra Nova's first season was being planned for 13 episodes only, and not the 22 it might otherwise get if it got good ratings, due to the complex production.
However, executive producer Brannon Braga told Blastr, "If they tell us they want nine more, it'll be incredible. But we're up to the challenge. I might have a nervous breakdown, but ..."
Braga admitted, though, that when it comes to the number of episodes in any given season, "those decisions are made by people far above ... the emperors. I'm just in the trenches over here. I have no idea ... We're designing it like the first season will be 13, but one never knows."
The show's rigorous production—involving the creation of realistic dinosaurs and shooting in Queensland, Australia—has cause delays which pushed the planned airing of the two-hour pilot from May to Monday, Sept. 26.
"It's a massive production," said Braga. "We're very far away from it physically, and we have a lot of special needs that no other show in history has really had in terms of scope and visuals and the kind of visual effects we're doing. And we've managed to pull it off. We're nearly done, certainly, writing the first season. And we're about over halfway done filming. "
According to Braga, their special-effects team has had to create new technologies to "do dinosaurs on a television schedule."
As for what Terra Nova is going to look like, I got a chance to see the first hour, and that initial hour is rich and awesome and takes the viewer from a dystopian far future to a lush and dinosaur-enriched past.
"Wait till you see hour two. Things get real scary. But [we didn't] want to lose the sense of spirited fun. And I think that's what we've been doing, and that's certainly what Steven Spielberg has brought to it. It's very Spielberg-esque," he said about the show's most high-profile producer.
With Spielberg (Jurassic Park), Braga (Star Trek) and several other talented producers behind the scenes, along with actors Jason O'Mara (Life on Mars) and Stephen Lang (Avatar) leading the cast, talk about the show's difficult production will likely vanish if Terra Nova performs well for Fox.
And if Terra Nova does hit big, when it comes to that 13-episode order, as Braga says, "One never knows."
Do you think Spielberg and Braga can pull off the next great sci-fi series?