Late-blooming ‘Terra Nova’ hopes past is its future
Having Steven Spielberg as executive producer on a new Fox show attracts attention. Then when the network announces it’s giving the show the “Glee” treatment and airing the pilot in May, expectations get a rocket boost.
But computer-generated dinosaurs only grow so fast, so the science-fiction drama “Terra Nova” actually premieres on Monday. Fox invited writers to see a cut of the first hour of the two-hour pilot, and the special effects weren’t quite done. Another viewing of a re-edited first hour weeks later revealed ... the effects still weren’t quite done.
With any luck, “Terra Nova” will hatch just in time for Monday, but executive producer Brannon Braga (with him and Spielberg, about 12 people have executive producer credits) says they’re moving right along.
Speaking in late August, he says, “We’re working on the final two scripts right now. We’re deep in post-production on six and seven, about to start post-production on episodes eight and nine. We’re filming 10 and 11. We’re in the thick of it.”
“Terra Nova” (or “New Earth/Land/ Ground” in Latin) begins in 2149, when the planet is blighted and overcrowded. Scientists discover a fracture in time, connecting the present with the age of dinosaurs.
So “pilgrimages” of humans and equipment are sent through the rift to establish a colony in the distant past in hopes of saving humanity and having a second chance for a better civilization.
But since the new land has the same old human beings, you can imagine how well that goes.
Jason O’Mara (“Life on Mars”) stars as Chicago police detective Jim Shannon, who busts out of the prison he was sent to because he and his wife, Dr. Elisabeth Shannon (Shelley Conn), broke their society’s two-child rule.
Elisabeth is recruited for the Tenth Pilgrimage, and Jim risks it all to get himself, her, their teenagers (Landon Liboiron, Naomi Scott) and their youngest daughter (Alana Mansour) through the rift.
Once there, he meets the colony’s imposing leader, Cmdr. Nathaniel Taylor (Stephen Lang), a lot of hostile (and nonhostile) prehistoric creatures and shockingly clean air.