Will Fox’s ‘Terra Nova’ be the ‘Avatar’ of TV?

“Terra Nova” bowed at the Television Critics press tour Tuesday with a compelling sneak preview clip that evoked comparisons to “Lost” and “Avatar.” And as far as viewer impact, the goal is much more the latter.

“This has nothing to do with ‘Lost’ for one major reason – it’s so made for a massively broad audience, I can’t even tell you,” exec producer and director of the “Terra Nova” pilot Alex Graves said.

The series, whose wall-to-wall attractive cast is toplined by Jason O’Mara and “Avatar” antagonist Stephen Lang, premieres on Fox with a two-night, two-hour presentation May 23-24, to be followed by the remainder of the 13-episode (initial) order beginning in September. With Steven Spielberg among the 12 (!) listed executive producers and a production budget rarely seen in TV annals, the attention to the series figures to be huge – leaving it to the show to prove it can live up to it.

The philosophical crux of the show, according to exec producer Brannon Braga, is “can utopia be rebuilt?” The premise takes a small number of citizens from an irreversibly dying Earth in the year 2149 back 85 million years through a portal to build a colony and essentially start over: “to give humanity a second chance,” Braga said.

“Terra Nova” claims to be neither too complicated nor too frightening to limit its viewership.

“It’s not a scary show; it’s an adventure snow,” Graves said. “I have young kids and they’ve seen it, and … they’re not scared in that way. It’s adventure-scary, not scary-scary.”

Though Spielberg was not at the panel, he was said to be involved in very aspect of the show.

“Lets put it this way – every idea this guy comes up with, and I’m not just blowing smoke, is ingenous, and we wait for his feedback on all aspects of the show,” Braga said.

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