Terra Nova may continue on Netflix

Fox recently decided against renewing Terra Nova for a second season, mostly due to the production costs associated with the show.

However, it should be noted that Terra Nova actually boasted high viewership numbers – it was in the top 10 DVR’ed shows its first season.

Since the show wasn’t cancelled due to ratings, the studio is currently negotiating with other networks in an attempt to find a new home for the dinosaur adventure serial.

Deadline reports that the studio is now in talks with Netflix about picking up the production – apparently building on previous successful negotiations to have Netflix snag Arrested Development.

While I was expecting 20th Century Fox to first approach cable networks like Syfy, the Netflix deal does make a certain amount of sense. Like a premium cable network, Netflix relies on subscribers, not adverts for its income, so if a show can bring on more subscribers to its streaming service, well, why not?

At only $10, it’s much more realistic to think that someone might want to subscribe to Netflix just to watch their one favorite show, than to sign up for other premium networks, which require that users first have cable TV service. In addition, most of those ratings numbers come from DVR, showing that the audience is already essentially streaming the show, and likely wouldn’t care about a switch to an online streaming service.

Netflix is a major player in the Internet streaming business, with Hulu+ its only real competitor in the paid market, and even then, the services have a wide success gap. YouTube, of course, blows both services out of the water, but it relies on advertising only for income, and doesn’t really produce original television format content.

One of the stars of Terra Nova, Stephen Lang, who plays Commander Taylor on the show, recently commented on the cancellation. According to Lang, the show’s second season offers quite a lot of potential, and won’t be as much of a risk as the first season. Taylor went on to compare the flaws in pacing and characterization the show suffered mid-season to the limitations of a recently launched space telescope.

“Terra Nova is analogous to the Hubble Space Telescope. Within weeks of a much-publicized and ballyhooed launch in 1990, the Hubble was found to have a serious flaw. Yet even with an improperly ground mirror the Hubble delivered extraordinary images. When the flaw was corrected the Hubble delivered images of transcendent beauty and value for many years. So too Terra Nova,” he told Deadline.

“Even in it’s flawed first season each episode was full of marvelous moments and beautiful images. With correction, and given the chance, Terra Nova can and will deliver seasons of transcendent images and storytelling. Failing to renew Terra Nova is shortsighted, as myopic as it would have been to scrap the Hubble. Terra Nova is the Hubble telescope of television.”

Apt, if not a bit dramatic. Unfortunately, unlike the Hubble project, television shows are required to turn profits, if they wish to stay on the air in the US, and Fox just didn’t see the profit in keeping the show. I’m willing to join the fans, however, in hoping Terra Nova finds a new home somewhere.