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TCA Press Tour 2011: 'Terra Nova' brings out the dinosaurs

January 11, 2011 |  4:00 pm

Be still our "Lost" hearts.

Even though the producers of the new, expensive, awesome-looking "Terra Nova" don't want us to compare the new Fox drama with the dearly departed ABC show, we can't help ourselves.

Fox showed a three-minute clip of the two-hour pilot at press tour Tuesday, and what we saw was beautiful: Australian landscapes, jungles, a rain forest and good-looking, talented actors.

No smoke monsters in this tale, but there are dinosaurs.  So it also reminded us of "Jurassic Park." Sue us.

Seriously, we're not trying to say the show is a knock-off. It really does look spectacular. We're just using references, you know, for the regular folks out there, outside the freezing Pasadena ballroom, where we have been living for seven days.
Production on the pilot wrapped recently, so the only footage Fox has offered critics is the clip shown Tuesday. The Steven Spielberg-produced epic (no, he did not appear on the panel) is the story of how humans from 2149 travel to prehistoric Earth in an experiment to save the human race. In that year, the planet is overdeveloped and overcrowded, and the world is dying. Scientists discover a fracture in time that makes it possible to construct a portal into primeval history and the idea of rebuilding civilization emerges.

The show centers on the Shannon family as they arrive in Terra Nova, the first colony established in the new land.  Jason O'Mara plays the father, Shelley Conn plays his wife, Landon Liboiron is their 17-year-old son, Naomi Scott is their 15-year-old daughter, and Alana Mansour is their 5-year-old daughter. 

Although rain did not factor into the scenes in the clips, Fox executives told the press Tuesday morning that it rained every day during the six-week production. In fact, there were flash floods that put a security guard at risk.

"It was challenging, but it always fantastic," executive producer Alex Graves said.  "Every time we'd say 'action,' something incredible was happening."

One of those incredible things is Stephen Lang (who knows you all hate him from "Avatar" and is fine with it) as Commander Nathaniel Taylor and welcoming the "immigrants."

"Together, we are at the dawn of a new civilization. Welcome to Terra Nova, folks. Welcome home!"

Not exactly "Live together, die alone," but we'll go with it.

"Terra Nova" will get a special introduction May 23 and 24 after "American Idol" and then join the Fox lineup in the fall.

— Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo: Jason O'Mara, left, Landon Liboiron, Naomi Scott, Alana Mansour and Shelley Conn as the Shannon family in "Terra Nova." Credit: Brook Rushton / Fox.