Terranova time travel

With the fu­ture in jeop­ardy, terranova fol­lows a fam­ily’s jour­ney back in time.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By NEAL JUSTIN Terranova pre­mieres on Fox (Astro chan­nel 710) to­mor­row at 8.55pm. The se­ries will be tele­cast in dual au­dio lan­guages – English and Ba­hasa Malaysia, with Ba­hasa Malaysia voice char­ac­ters by Rosyam Nor (as Com­man­der Natha­nial Tay­lor), Vani

MANY years ago, I scoffed at the build­ing buzz about an up­com­ing the­atri­cal re­lease. “It might be good,” I told friends, “but kids aren’t in­ter­ested in di­nosaurs”. The movie: Steven Spiel­berg’s Juras­sic Park. Whoops. That les­son learned, let me pre­dict that an­other Spiel­berg project, Fox’s Terra Nova, will be one of the TV’S big­gest smashes this sea­son – and not just be­cause kids love di­nosaurs.

Although it may be tele­vi­sion’s costli­est se­ries ever, Terra works be­cause it’s more about flesh-and-blood char­ac­ters than com­puter-gen­er­ated crea­tures.

“It was far more chal­leng­ing find­ing a be­liev­able fam­ily that you can fall in love with,” said co-ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Bran­non Braga.

“For­tu­nately, that’s the thing that’s work­ing the ab­so­lute best right now.”

We meet that fam­ily, the Shan­nons. It’s 2149 and the environment has col­lapsed to the point where an out­side stroll re­quires a gas mask, and a fresh orange is cause for rau­cous cel­e­bra­tion.

Af­ter a se­ries of bad breaks, the Shan­nons are in­vited to board an exclusive time ma­chine to join colonists a mil­lion years in the past.

“This is a chance to start over,” says the set­tle­ment’s leader, Nathaniel Tay­lor (played by Stephen Lang, the tough-guy colonel in

Avatar). “This is a chance to get it right.” Yeah, as long as kids stay within the di­nosaur-pro­tected gates, which of course they don’t.

There’s also a rebel team with a mighty axe to grind, some in­no­cent flir­ta­tion be­tween teens and more than a few group hugs.

If that sounds an aw­ful lot like a Spiel­berg for­mula, that’s be­cause the Juras­sic di­rec­tor served as a prin­ci­pal ad­viser for Terra Nova, weigh­ing in on every­thing from vis­ual ef­fects to story lines.

“There were a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions where we were play­ing a scene and (co-ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer) Jon Cas­sar would say, ‘We’re go­ing to do it this way,’ and I would stupidly ask, ‘Why?’ And he’d say, ‘Be­cause that’s what Mr Spiel­berg wants,’” said Ja­son O’mara, who plays Jim Shan­non, the fa­ther who is fear­less about pro­tect­ing his loved ones. “His pres­ence was re­ally felt on the set and in the fin­ished prod­uct.”

Spiel­berg has yet to ac­tu­ally visit the set, largely be­cause it’s in South­ern Queens­land, Aus­tralia, a lo­ca­tion as lush and cap­ti­vat­ing as Hawaii in Lost. O’mara said the re­mote lo­ca­tion is ben­e­fi­cial, and not only be­cause it looks stun­ning on the small screen.

“We al­ready feel like we’re sort of dis- placed pioneer fam­i­lies,” he said. “It makes our jobs a lit­tle eas­ier as ac­tors.”

There is a price to pay for such ex­otic lo­ca­tions and ground­break­ing spe­cial ef­fects.

The two-hour Terra pi­lot was orig­i­nally sup­posed to air in spring as a teaser to the fall sea­son, a strat­egy that worked well for Fox with Glee.

But the vi­su­als proved too de­mand­ing to get done in that time frame.

Rene Echevar­ria, yet an­other ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, said they dis­cov­ered that they need six more weeks of post-pro­duc­tion work than most shows do.

These ef­fects have never been at­tempted be­fore in film or TV.

In fact, Echevar­ria said that five years ago no one thought the tech­nol­ogy was pos­si­ble.

The re­sults are worth the de­lays. If you don’t jump at the first sight of flesh-munch­ing di­nosaurs on a tirade, you’re cleared to join Bear Grylls on his next Man Vs Wild ad­ven­ture.

In­no­va­tion doesn’t come cheap. Ac­cord­ing to the Los An­ge­les Times, the pi­lot cost Us$20mil (Rm60mil), set­ting Terra on track to be­ing the most ex­pen­sive TV se­ries in his­tory.

Fox En­ter­tain­ment Pres­i­dent Kevin Reilly be­lieves it will be worth it.

“Is it a big bet? Yes, but that’s the busi­ness we’re in,” he said.

“Whether the show works or not, it’s not go­ing to come on qui­etly. It’s go­ing to get sam­pled and it’s go­ing to be dif­fer­ent from any­thing else on the air.” – Star Tri­bune/mct In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

Some­where in time: terranova is a sci-fi jour­ney with heart, star­ring (clock­wise from top) Stephen Lang, chris­tine adams, al­li­son Miller, Naomi Scott, Shel­ley conn, alana Man­sour, Ja­son O’mara and Lan­don Li­bo­iron) on an ex­tra­or­di­nary jour­ney to pre­his­toric earth.

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