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TCA sound bites: 'Terra Nova'

Beverly Hills --  "Terra Nova" is a new drama from Fox about a family that goes back 85 million years to save humanity.

Long story. I'll get to it later in my review.

But here's the more important thing: "TN" is the most ambitious series in the recent history of TV. It's trying to accomplish something that would have been unthinkable even last season -- which is to embed in each episode a series of highly stylized, energized, conceptualized dinosaurs. It takes major films years to accomplish this. "TN" has weeks. 

The creators are talking here, and both are certainly up to the task -- Rene Echevarria ("The 4400") is an accomplished TV sci-fi producer, as is Brannon Bragga -- one of the best known sci-fiers in the business, and deeply embedded in the "Star Trek" franchise, spanning the big screen and TV. He brought in Jon Cassar from "24," where he was also a producer.

BRANNON BRAGA: Well, the story you’re referring to is "A Sound of Thunder," the great dinosaur Ray Bradbury short story. And the answer is it probably wasn’t possible totally until we got a visual-effects team together that has literally created new technologies to make it possible. They’re doing extremely advanced things with motion capture dinosaurs, motion capture animals; motion capture’s been limited to people for the most part and new forms of software to create digital set extensions and vistas that weren’t possible before. So we’re creating things as we go along to make it possible, to make the show look just as expansive as it did in the pilot.

RENÉ ECHEVARRIA: It’s true. A lot of visual-effects houses that were approached about the project said, “Can’t be done. Not on time, not on the schedule you’re looking for, no matter how much money you have.” But Kevin Blank, our visual effects supervisor, and Pixomondo, the visual effects house, as Brannon said, have some cutting-edge things that have made it possible. Even five years ago, this show would not have been possible.

RENÉ ECHEVARRIA: We are shooting Episodes 8 and 9 now. We are in post-production on multiple episodes, on Episodes 3 and 4 and 5, as well as some finishing touches on the second hour of the pilot because when we went back to Australia, we shot some additional material when we went back.

BRAGA: There will be dinosaurs. And, remember, it’s not "Jurassic Park." This is an entire ecosystem of all sorts of different, weird creatures. But it’s not like the Hulk where he hulked twice per episode. It’s never about the dinosaurs. These animals are a complicating factor every week in some unexpected way. They will be there. They are always there. They are always present.


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