Baculoviruses, a family of large, rod-shaped viruses that mainly infect lepidopteran insects, have been widely used to transduce various cells for exogenous gene expression. Nonetheless, how a virus controls its transcription program in cells is poorly understood. With a custom-made baculovirus DNA microarray, we investigated the recombinant Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrosis virus (AcMNPV) gene expression program in lepidopteran Sf21 cells over the time course of infection. Our analysis of transcription kinetics in the cells uncovered sequential viral gene expression patterns possibly regulated by different mechanisms during different phases of infection. To gain further insight into the regulatory network, we investigated the transcription program of a mutant virus deficient in an early transactivator (pe38) and uncovered several pe38-dependent and pe38-independent genes. This study of baculovirus dynamic transcription programs in different virus genetic backgrounds provides new molecular insights into how gene expression in viruses is regulated.