PRESS TOUR: Trips to 'Terra Nova' finally begin this fall

Friday, 05 August 2011 07:50 PM Written by 

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Fox's "Terra Nova" (Sept. 26) only feels like its been 85 million years in the making after plans to sneak it in May fell through due to long-gestating special effects of rampaging dinosaurs.

The drama series has gone through multiple iterations and some people have seen an earlier version that they say was better than the most up-to-date version I saw and liked OK. I tend to trust their instincts. My biggest complaint about what I saw was that "Terra Nova" gets off to a slow start and there's an obvious plot twist. The previous version of the show began much faster and the plot twist was not obvious. Maybe producers should use the backstory in flashbacks instead?

Read more after the jump. ...

"Terra Nova" stars Jason O'Mara (ABC's "Life on Mars") as Jim Shannon, who travels with his family back in time from 2149 when the Earth's atomosphere is decaying. In a newly-added prologue, his journey happens after he has been in prison for two years for punching a cop after it's discovered that the Shannons have violated a two-child-only law and Elisabeth Shannon (Shelley Conn) has given birth to a third child. Elisabeth helps Jim escape from jail just before they transport to the past.

The new prologue sets up a more emotional journey for the episode, said executive producer Rene Echevarria. "If she helped him escape, they weren't that estranged. We recalibrated that a little bit. Why have a third child and break the law is still out there." (The original version ditched the arrest and jail plot and just begins with the family going through the time travel portal.)

"Our proudest accomplishment and luckiest accomplishment is assembling the cast we've assembled," said executive producer Brannon Braga ("Star Trek: Voyager"). "That's far more challenging to do than any dinosaur -- finding a believable family you can fall in love with."

"We're also cheaper than the dinosaurs," O'Mara joked.

Producers promise the 13-episode first season will be prepared to debut and run as planned this fall, explaining that they are shooting episodes eight and nine and are in post-production on previous hours. So far critics have only been shown about 55 minutes of the 90-minute premiere (with commercials it will air as a two-hour premiere).  

Dinosaurs will be "a complicating factor each week in some sort of way," Braga said, before adding that there's no mandate for how much screen time the dinosaurs get. "It's not like the Hulk where he hulked out twice per episode."

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