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A scene from "Terra Nova"

Brook Rushton/Fox

With a reported $20-million (U.S.) price tag, Monday's premiere of Terra Nova – Steven Spielberg's dinos-and-time-machines drama – will be the most expensive episode of television ever produced.

Anticipation is high, but so are the stakes: A peek at pilots proves that big spends don't always buy a hit.

LOST: $10 to $14-million

Story continues below advertisement

A realistic dramatization of a plane crash isn't cheap, but the makers of what will probably go down as the defining show of the decade more than made their money back – and they got to live in Hawaii while doing it. Six seasons, umpteen award wins and one of the most devoted (read: unnaturally obsessed) fan bases ever.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE: $18-million

Set in a realistic recreation of prohibition-era Atlantic City, season one of the fact-meets-fiction drama was both a critical and commercial success – more than 10 million viewers per episode and multiple Golden Globe wins.

ROME: $10-million

The show – a recounting of ancient history with staggering sets and a smattering of soap opera – earned some acclaim and a devoted following, but ended up its own worst Brutus. Ever-ballooning production costs forced its cancellation after only two seasons.

THE FUGITIVE: $6-million

Though based on the super successful movie, it turns out TV audiences weren't terribly interested in a fugitive who wasn't Harrison Ford. The show (which CBS hawked as the can't-miss series of the new millennium) limped through its first and only season before earning its inevitable cancellation. And cautionary tale status.

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