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July 23, 2011

Comic-Con 2011: ‘Terra Nova’ fans thirsty for dino action

Posted in: Comic-Con,TV

Jason O'Mara as Jim Shannon in 'Terra Nova." (Fox)

When Fox screened a portion of its new epic sci-fi series “Terra Nova,” — on which Steven Spielberg is an executive producer — at Comic-Con International Saturday, one thing was very clear: people dig humans getting eaten by dinosaurs. In fact, the fans practically begged the producers to give them more in future episodes — that is, if the series, which premieres Sept. 26, makes it a full season.

“Of course we like to kill people,” said executive producer Jose Molina, answering the plea. “Yeah, you’re going to see some pretty good dino-on-human action.”

In the time-travel epic, humans in the 22nd century — specifically the Shannon family — go back millions of years to prehistoric Earth in an attempt to save the human race from extinction. There’s dense tropical forest, an enigmatic commander Taylor (Stephen Lang, who played a similarly brazen character in “Avatar”), guns, weird fruit, a so-called group of bad guys known as Sixers, and, of course, the dinos.

Lang, who was the only cast member to appear on the panel after the screening, said that the crowd’s excitement from a scene in which a dinosaur chomps off a human head might compel network executives to mandate one eating per week.

Such an undertaking, though, would require a lot of  visual effects, which might seemingly pose a problem. The big-budget sci-fi series was originally supposed to get a splashy two-hour premiere in May, but that got pushed back to the fall mostly due to the show’s elaborate special effects. When asked whether those delays would influence what sorts of shots are incorporated in future episodes, producers said they were confident that they’ve created a system that would service the show.

“Doing dinos on a TV schedule is a challenge,” said Kevin Black, visual effects supervisor. ” I think we’re getting better as we go.”

The portion of the two-hour pilot screened was not heavy on the prehistoric creatures — scenes included docile herbivores munching on leaves and the cheer-inducing head-crunching. But producers assured the dino-thirsty fans the ancient beasts will get their due time.

“It’s a dino show,” Molina said. “You will see dinosaurs. We’re an expensive show. You’re going to see the money on the show.”

– Yvonne Villarreal

Twitter.com/villarrealy

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