Even ultimate toughs like Stephen Lang’s Commander Nathaniel Taylor find it difficult to conceal vulnerability in the world of Fox’s series “Terra Nova.” But Lang, one of the stars of the weekly adventure mystery that centers on a family sent from a dystopian future to a more optimistic human colony set in the prehistoric age, had no problem letting loose in front of a critical New York audience.
The actor, best known for his grit in both “Avatar” and “Tombstone,” was joined Saturday by fellow lead Jason O’Mara (“Resident Evil,” “Life on Mars”) and executive producer Brannon Braga to confront questions about missing dinosaurs, typecasting and the conventional comparisons to past hits “Lost” and “Avatar.”
Noting a lack of dinosaurs – better known on the series as Carnos, Nykos and Slashers – in the New York Comic-Con exclusive preview of Monday’s episode, Braga said he feels that what separates “Terra Nova” from other similar programs is depth of family and civic tension. Even the portrayed villain Mira, played by Christine Adams, is not so different in her motivations from the Shannon family. “She just wants what’s good for her family [too].”
The episode also adds further tension between Taylor and Jim Shannon, with Lang’s commander not realizing how much O’Mara’s newly appointed cop knows. “I like [Monday’s episode] because I got to smile,” Lang said. “That’s definitely some character development.”
Although Taylor’s leadership mistakes are made with the best of intentions, “Terra Nova” fans won’t have to wait long to find out whether the grizzly vet will play manipulator or victim. Both Lang and O’Mara adored the surprises they found in the script, adding that, unlike “Lost,” the mythology will be wrapped up by the season’s end to introduce a whole new set of questions.
“Expect [at least] two big explosions in the final episode on Dec. 19,” Braga promised.
Some more tidbits from New York:
– One fan asked about the log fences surrounding Terra Nova. “If [the fence] was anything else, how could we get it through the portal?” O’Mara responded. The logs were also designed to make it easier to shoot laser cannons outside the barriers, Lang said.
– While fans have a right to measure up the leading pair with their more notable roles, the “Star Wars”-fond O’Mara would have no problem taking on another space-travel time cop if the project’s big enough. Lang was also sprightly content in defining his own career path, dubbing himself a “charismatic, silver fox macho old guy.”
– Besides their work with CGI dinosaurs, the crew has their “Jurassic Park” moment in a later episode in dealing with a tangible dinosaur hatchling. Lang spent a lot of time chasing a giant dragonfly lawn ornament around the gulf coast of Australia. “It’s hard to look scared or in awe at a man like that,” O’Mara said.
— Travis Walecka
RECENT AND RELATED: