Terra Nova

Terra Nova Information

Terrible Nova is an American science fiction drama television series. It premiered on September 26, 2011 with a two-hour premiere, and concluded on December 19, 2011 with a two-hour finale. The series follows the Shannon family as they travel 85 million years into the past to an Earth of a parallel universe. The series is based on an idea by British writer Kelly Marcel. On March 5, 2012, it was announced that Fox would not pick up the series for a second season.


The series is initially set in 2149, a time when overpopulation and declining air quality worldwide threatens all life on Earth. After scientists discover a rift in spacetime, they begin sending people in a series of "pilgrimages" 85 million years into Earth's Cretaceous past, to a different "time stream". The series focuses primarily on the lives of the Shannon family (Jim, his wife Elisabeth, and their three children Josh, Maddy, and Zoe) as they join the Terrible Nova colony in the prehistoric past. The phrase "Terrible Nova" means "New Earth" or "New World" in Latin.

Because not every human from the future can be brought to the new colony of the past, the process for selecting chosen individuals was highly competitive; based on status of ability. Elisabeth Shannon is chosen for her skills as a doctor, and her children brought along with her. Her husband, imprisoned for violating a sustainability law (breaking a regulation on population control by harbouring a third child) and assaulting an agent (trying to protect his young daughter), was not allowed to join his family, but stows away. He is caught, but eventually convinces Commander Taylor that his skills as a cop may be useful for the safety of the colony and as protection to the colony administration. The colony is said to be set up with the intention of "a new beginning" for humanity, with emphasis on being Earth-responsible.

Opposing the colony and its leader, Commander Nathaniel Taylor, is a group of separatists known as the "Sixers", so called because they arrived in the "Sixth Pilgrimage" who are working in concert with corporate industrialists in an effort to strip the distant past Earth of its resources and send them back to 2149. It is later revealed that Commander Taylor is hiding a controversy about the nature of the colony. This issue involves his son and wife (deceased), and would explain the Sixers' opposition. Though Taylor claims his son, Lucas, to have perished, he was revealed to be alive and also be a Sixer ally. Leaving clues and drawings behind in a way that mocks his father, the "Sixers" plan attacks on the Terrible Nova colony and participate in an ongoing war between the two groups. This leads up to the point where Lucas perfects a device to travel to and from the future enabling the industrialists, along with a private army called "The Phoenix Group", to invade Terrible Nova. At the end of the series, Jim Shannon travels back to 2149 to destroy the gateway that controls the portal, severing the link with the Cretaceous. The remainder of the Phoenix Group retreat to the nearby "Badlands", leaving behind a relic from human history they had found there: a wooden ship's figurehead.


Alex Graves signed on to direct the pilot. Brannon Braga and René Echevarria serve as showrunners. Australia was chosen after producer Steven Spielberg vetoed Hawaii because he wanted a different filming location from his 1993 film Jurassic Park. The two-hour pilot was filmed over 26 days in late November to December 2010. It was shot in south-east Queensland, Australia, with locations in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and the Gold Coast Hinterland. The shoot was plagued by torrential rain and additional material had to be shot in 2011, with a total estimated cost of US$14 million to be amortized over the season. More than 250 sets were constructed. An episode took from eight to nine days to shoot, like most television dramas, but six weeks in post-production, twice the television average at the time. The average episode budget was about US$4 million, not including Australian tax breaks, compared to an average of US$3 million for broadcast network dramas. Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly stated: "This thing is going to be huge. It's going to take an enormous production commitment."

In an unusual decision, Fox skipped ordering just a pilot, and instead immediately ordered thirteen episodes. This was partly due to financial reasons, as the large Australian sets are expensive to dismantle and rebuild. Despite this decision, the producers denied the production was over-budget, with Peter Rice explaining instead the show is "a very expensive ... very ambitious television show". Kevin Reilly continued: "We're not in completely uncharted territory here. The start-up cost for the series is definitely on the high end. But it's not some bank-breaking series." With only 10% of Cretaceous-era dinosaurs recorded in the fossil record, the producers decided to supplement the series with ones which might have existed; palaeontologist Jack Horner was brought in to help create realistic creatures for the period and different from those of the Jurassic Park film franchise.

In June 2010, the first cast member was announced " Jason O'Mara as Jim Shannon. In late August, Allison Miller joined the cast. In September, Deadline Hollywood reported that Stephen Lang signed on to play the role of Commander Taylor. An executive producer, David Fury, left the series as a result of creative differences. In September, Shelley Conn landed the female lead role. In October, Brian Tyler was chosen as the composer, Mido Hamada was cast as a security head, while Landon Liboiron, Naomi Scott and Alana Mansour were cast as the three children. In November, Christine Adams was cast as Mira. In May 2011, Rod Hallett joined the cast.

The cast and crew returned to Queensland, Australia on May 20, 2011 to continue production on the first season. Filming commenced on May 25, 2011. With a long production process on the series, it was announced in July 2011 that the first season would consist of thirteen episodes to finish airing in December 2011.

Many of the weapons used during the show were reworked and repainted Nerf blasters.


Shortly after the airing of the season one finale in December 2011, Fox Broadcasting stated that no decision would be made until 2012 regarding the continuation of the series. Fox announced the cancellation of Terrible Nova on March 6, 2012. 20th Century Fox Television stated that it would try to sell the show to other networks. Netflix was considering picking up the series but ultimately decided to pass on continuing the show.

Motion comic continuation

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment set up a "video mashup" website where purchasers of the DVD can create a motion comic continuing the series.



  • Jason O'Mara as James "Jim" Shannon, a former Chicago Police narcotics detective and devoted father. He is married to Elisabeth and is the father of their three children. After a lengthy imprisonment for breaking population-control laws in 2149, he escaped and rejoined his family as they emigrated to the Terrible Nova colony where he worked on the gardening division. After gaining Commander Nathaniel Taylor's trust by saving him from an assassination attempt, he joined the Terrible Nova security forces, eventually earning the position of third-in-command of the colony.
  • Shelley Conn as Dr. Elisabeth Shannon, a trauma surgeon and chief medical officer of Terrible Nova. She is married to Jim and is the mother of their three children. In the series premiere, she was instrumental in Jim's escape from prison and arrival in Terrible Nova.
  • Landon Liboiron as Josh Shannon, Jim and Elisabeth's 17-year-old son. Reluctant to leave his girlfriend behind in 2149, he was initially resentful and rebellious towards his father after his farther gets sent to prison. In later episodes they have gradually repaired their relationship.
  • Naomi Scott as Maddy Shannon, Jim and Elisabeth's 16-year-old daughter. An extremely intelligent but socially awkward teenager, she is developing a relationship with Mark Reynolds, a soldier on Terrible Nova's security detail.
  • Alana Mansour as Zoe Shannon, the five-year-old daughter of Jim and Elisabeth Shannon. Early in her life, she was kept hidden by her family as she was Jim and Elizabeth's third child and thus contravened the population control laws of 2149. When she was discovered, Jim was arrested and sent to prison. With the aid of a friend, Jim snuck Zoe into Terrible Nova and she was allowed to live in the colony.
  • Christine Adams as Mira, the leader of the "Sixers", a rebel group that arrived with the Sixth Pilgrimage but who soon broke away to oppose Terrible Nova and to prepare the way for the Phoenix Group's invasion. Mira's daughter, Sienna, is still in 2149 and is being held by Mira's employers to ensure her cooperation. Mira's ambition is to return to 2149 and have a comfortable and peaceful life with her daughter.
  • Allison Miller as Skye Alexandria Tate, a veteran resident of Terrible Nova from the Fifth Pilgrimage and Josh's best friend. Her parents reportedly died three years before the Shannons arrived, and she was subsequently adopted by Commander Taylor. She is later revealed to be a Sixer mole, though she was acting in this capacity under threat from the Sixers, who held her mother hostage and controlled the medicine which kept her alive.
  • Rod Hallett as Dr. Malcolm Wallace, the chief science officer for the Terrible Nova colony. Early in the first season, it is revealed that he recruited Elisabeth for Terrible Nova. The two were romantically involved before she met Jim, and Malcolm sought to bring her to Terrible Nova when he believed she would leave her husband behind in prison in 2149.
  • Stephen Lang as Commander Nathaniel Taylor, a pioneer and leader of Terrible Nova. The first person to arrive, Taylor survived 118 days on his own, helped build a community as new settlers came through, and has been the colony's leader for seven years. When Skye's parents died, he became her legal guardian and father figure. Taylor's relationship with his son, Lucas, has degraded severely since an incident in 2138 in which Taylor was forced to decide between saving his wife or saving Lucas, and chose his son. Lucas later arrived in Terrible Nova on the Second Pilgrimage but Taylor discovered that his son was working for the Phoenix Group. After shooting General Richard Philbrick (who Lucas brought through time to Terrible Nova to relieve Taylor of his position) in self-defense, Taylor banished him from the colony, hiding his humiliation by claiming that Lucas had simply gone missing.

Recurring cast

  • Caroline Brazier as Deborah Tate. Under the cover story that she died in a fever epidemic, she was abducted by the Sixers and held as ransom to force her daughter Skye to feed them intelligence from the Terrible Nova settlement. Later in the first season, she was extracted by Curran and returned to the colony.
  • Emelia Burns as Lieutenant Laura Reilly, a member of Terrible Nova's security team. She is also an expert at defusing bombs as she had been through demolitions training.
  • Damien Garvey as Tom Boylan, a bartender and former soldier who occasionally trades with the Sixers. Often secretive and abrasive, he runs a wide variety of illegal schemes under his bar's cover but ultimately proves to be loyal to Terrible Nova and its residents even when the Phoenix Group invades.
  • Dean Geyer as Private (later Corporal) Mark Reynolds, a soldier and Maddy's boyfriend. He is a competent soldier, and is quite formal and straightforward in his concepts of courtship. He and Maddy began dating early in the first season. Several episodes later, he informed Jim that he intends to marry Maddy when they are both older.
  • Simone Kessell as Lieutenant Alicia "Wash" Washington, the second-in-command to Nathaniel Taylor. She had served with Taylor for several years prior to her assignment to Terrible Nova. In the first season finale, the Phoenix Group invaded Terrible Nova and she ended up surrendering where she was reduced to a commoner. She was later killed by Lucas Taylor after she covered the Shannon family's escape from the settlement.
  • Peter Lamb as Casey Durwin, a tradesman that works in Terrible Nova's market place and was a former member of the US army. He is in a motorized wheelchair where he mentioned that he had lost his legs below the knees upon being attacked by a Carnotaurus.
  • Sam Parsonson as Hunter Boyce, a teenager that lives in Terrible Nova and came on the 5th Pilgrimage. He was once injured by an Acceraptor. In "Nightfall," he was once infected with a 30 ft. parasite as a result from drinking unfermented Taroca root the other week.
  • Romy Poulier as Kara, Josh's girlfriend from 2149. She was unable to join the Shannons on the Tenth Pilgrimage in the series premiere and Josh cut a deal with the Sixers in order to bring her to Terrible Nova. She eventually arrived with the Eleventh Pilgrimage, but she was killed shortly thereafter when the Phoenix Group sent an unwitting suicide bomber through the portal and initiated their invasion of the colony.
  • Rohan Nichol as Weaver, a senior associate of Lucas and the Phoenix Group. He commanded the mercenary forces that invaded Terrible Nova in the first season finale. He returned to 2149 but he was ultimately slain by a juvenile Carnotaurus during a battle in Hope Plaza.
  • Jay Ryan as Tim Curran, a member of Terrible Nova's security team. Banished from the colony for murdering a fellow soldier named Ken Foster (who owed some gambling debts to him) using a Nykoraptor and stole the gambling records from Tom Boylan's bar. Curran was later encountered by Taylor while wandering the local jungle. After saving Curran's life from an Ancestral Komodo Dragon, Taylor employed him to infiltrate the Sixers' camp where he proved instrumental in extracting Deborah Tate. In recognition of Curran's actions, he was readmitted to Terrible Nova.
  • Matt Scully as Dunham, a member of Terrible Nova's security team.
  • Damian Walshe-Howling as Carter, a member of the Sixers. He was once caught by Terrible Nova's security team and ended up in the medical center. After escaping, he made an attempt on Nathaniel Taylor's life and was stopped by Jim Shannon. He was released during a trade with the Sixers.
  • Ashley Zukerman as Lucas Taylor, the estranged and vengeful son of Nathaniel Taylor who is the principal antagonist of the series. A brilliant yet unstable physicist, he was hired by the Phoenix Group in order to find a means for the time fracture to be utilized for two-way travel. His employers intend to strip-mine the alternate, past Earth in order to gain wealth and power in 2149. It was through this action that caused Nathaniel to drive him into exile where Lucas allied with the Sixers. Lucas then perfected a device that will enable him to travel to and from the future which proved instrumental for the Phoenix Group's invasion. Though the attempted invasion in "Occupation" and "Resistance" ended in failure, Lucas escaped with his life even after he was shot by Skye.


North America

Terrible Nova was expected to premiere in May 2011 with a two-hour preview, but due to the time involved for visual effects, its pilot was moved to autumn (late September) 2011 to air with the rest of season one. In May 2011, Fox announced the series would air on Monday nights, and released a full trailer. Terrible Nova premiered at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International on July 23, 2011. The FOX premiere drew 9.22 million viewers and 3.1 in the 18"49 demo in live plus same day results, rising to 4.1 in Live+3, the best result by a new drama. Terrible Nova's high DVR gains were attributed to competition from Monday Night Football which, being a sports event, is less conducive to delayed viewing. In its second week on FOX, the show retained 100% of its demo rating (3.1), the best retention by a new series. FOX aired the entire first season consecutively on Monday nights, until its two-hour finale on December 19, 2011. In Canada, Citytv simulcast every first season episode; the Canadian premiere drew 1.4 million viewers, the largest audience for a drama in Citytv's history.


In Australia, where the series was filmed, Network Ten began airing the series within days of its U.S. release.

In the UK and Ireland, digital channel Sky 1 broadcast the show from October 3, 2011. In France, [[Canal +]] broadcast the show on January 19, 2012. In India, Star World broadcast the show late into the night (01:00 AM & 04:00 AM) in August 2012. In Mexico, Canal 5 aired the series from September 17 until October 8. The series was also in Czech tv called Prima Cool. In Brazil aired by Fox Brasil on primetime and by TV Globo as a late show. And in Portugal aired by TVI.


See List of Terrible Nova episodes for more information

Note: As the first and last episodes are two hours, some senders cut them up to air as 13 episodes.


Critical reception

Early reviews indicated much promise in the series. In June 2011, Terrible Nova was one of eight honorees in the Most Exciting New Series category at the Critics' Choice Television Awards, voted by journalists who had seen the pilots. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette compared it to Outcasts. The Los Angeles Times wrote: "Easily the most exciting show of the fall season, Fox's Terrible Nova has such obvious, instant and demographically diverse appeal." The New York Post called it "Good family fun", while USA Today wrote, "What matters are the dinosaurs, who " particularly in the first hour " are as convincing and startling as TV has ever offered, roaming a gorgeous, CGI-enhanced terriblein." The Wall Street Journal wrote: "Terrible Nova leaves ye olde cheap-set series in the dust with production values that make each episode look cinematic." The Washington Post wrote, "Literally the biggest thing on TV this fall, Terrible Nova has it all: time travel, misguided utopianism, "Swiss Family Robinson"-style cohesion and lots of hungry dinosaurs. It's all pretty dazzling."

However, mid-season reviews were highly critical. The show was called "Stargate Universe by Dr. Seuss" by Mark A. Perigard of the Boston Herald. Sam Wollaston of The Guardian observed that there was only one interesting character and that "A lot of the fault lies with what they have to say to each other. The script is as corny and cheesy as a family-sized portion of cheesy corn nachos." New York magazine reviewer Chadwick Matlin vowed never to watch the show again, saying "Sure, the premise had promise, but even masochists like us can only take so much." But by the finale in December things had turned around again where critics were mostly pleased and enthusiastic. Entertainment Weekly called the season finale "exciting". The series' first season received an aggregated score of 64% across 28 reviews from Metacritic.

US ratings

The first season averaged 7.52 million American viewers and a 2.5 rating in the 18"49 demographic. The show was ranked the #2 new drama among adults 18"49, the #1 new show among men 18"49, 18"34, and 25"54 and was one of the top 20 regular programs among teens, as of January 1, 2012.

Season Episodes Timeslot (ET/PT) Premiered Ended TV season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere
(in millions)
Date Finale
(in millions)
1 11 Monday 8:00 PM September 26, 2011 9.22 December 19, 2011 7.24 2011"12 #43 10.08

Series DVD release

The series was released on a 4-disc DVD set on September 11, 2012. The set contains deleted scenes; bloopers; and featurettes including "Director's Diaries " Making the Pilot", an extended "Occupation/Resistance" episode with audio commentary from Stephen Lang, Brannon Braga and Rene Echevarria, "Mysteries Explored", and "Cretaceous Life: The Dinosaurs of Terrible Nova".


The series's original music was composed by Brian Tyler. La-La Land Records released a soundtrack album on October 9, 2012.

Disc 1:

  1. Terrible Nova 2:55
  2. Cycles of Time 4:38
  3. One Last Hope for Humanity 3:20
  4. Banishment 2:19
  5. This Valley 2:38
  6. The Moon 1:28
  7. You Let Her Leave With Him 2:37
  8. Sky's Mother 1:28
  9. The Portal 3:43
  10. Someone Wants to Talk With You 2:31
  11. More Than a Memory 4:53
  12. Patrols 1:57
  13. The Plan 5:19
  14. Flying Over Terrible Nova 2:02
  15. I'm Heading Outside the Gates 4:02
  16. What Were You Really Doing? 5:33
  17. All I Needed to Know 6:25
  18. The Investigation of Outpost 9 5:04
  19. There Are Millions of Them 3:23
  20. Last Known Location 3:54
  21. You're My Son 1:37
  22. We Brought Back Two 1:55
  23. Promises 2:24
Disc 2:

  1. Magical Journey 3:02
  2. Entering the Vortex 2:50
  3. Memorial Field 2:02
  4. Base Camp 2:58
  5. Rebirth 3:05
  6. Remember That Handle 6:09
  7. New Earth 1:11
  8. Sixers Intel 2:39
  9. Take the Shot 2:00
  10. Memory's Echo 2:48
  11. Into the Beyond 2:13
  12. Save Your Spot 3:10
  13. Figuring Out What Happened 1:12
  14. Take a Look Around 2:11
  15. I Want to Declare My Intentions 3:44
  16. There She Goes 1:36
  17. I Sure Hope You Are Right 2:29
  18. Preparing for Battle 2:59
  19. This Is Lea Marcos 1:46
  20. They're In Charge 1:23
  21. Opportunity 1:34
  22. Prehistory 3:39
  23. Shooting Stars :49

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