'Terra Nova' star Jason O'Mara on when to expect answers; Plus, a new clip from tonight's episode

If you became a fan of the new Steven Spielberg-produced sci-fi saga Terra Nova last week, you should know that as you’re watching tonight’s second episode (Fox, 8/7c), Jason O’Mara will be in Australia shooting the season finale. “There’s one moment in particular that’s particularly mind-blowing,” says the actor, who wraps filming on the rookie drama’s 13-episode first season this week. “I’m pretty excited for people to see it and react to it, too.”

Might that moment have something to do with the mysterious chalk diagrams near the waterfall? Or will that moment clarify the degree to which  the so-called “Butterfly Effect” might be at work in the show — i.e., the time-travel idea that even a small change in the distant past could change all of history? O’Mara told us the answer, then used that chilling technology from last Friday’s episode of Fringe to extract the memory from our brains, just because he’s mean that way. Okay, he told us nothing.

However, the Life On Mars star did note that viewers will be getting more intel on those aforementioned bits of Terra Nova mythology sooner rather than later. “You won’t have to wait around the whole season for answers,” says O’Mara. “And what I like best about those answers is that they are tied to the big theme of what this show is all about: Family.”

Terra Nova decided to resolve one ongoing mystery linked to that big theme before last week’s premiere even aired. You might recall that the opening sequence of the pilot showed how hot-headed Chicago cop Jim Shannon (O’Mara) was sent to jail for two years for resisting arrest after authorities discovered that he and his wife had a third child — a big no-no in the overpopulated future of 2149. That revelation wasn’t in the original version of the pilot. It was one of several new scenes shot this past summer and added to the two-hour launch episode. (Other new beats elaborated on how life is lived in the Terra Nova colony, including the humorous business with O’Mara whacking weeds and getting slimed by a mammoth millipede.) As a result of revealing exactly what Jim did to produce the tension that defines his relationships with every member of his family, including his doctor wife Elisabeth (Shelley Conn), the show neutralized the potential for audiences to assume the worst of Jim and not invest on him. “The sense of estrangement caused by his absence has produced issues that will carry forward,” says O’Mara. “But originally, you may have thought that the show was going to present a darker take on the marriage. That didn’t really work for the tone of the show.”

In tonight’s episode, Jim must screw on his action hero again and help Terra Nova honcho Taylor protect the colony from a swarm of pterosaurs. Check out the sneak peek below:

Whatever you think of the quality of Terra Nova’s dinosaur effects, O’Mara says he’s proud of the show’s ambition and hopes audiences will appreciate the audacity of “a sci-fi epic that’s produced on a weekly basic.” As for acting opposite dinos, O’Mara says he has had great fun “working with something that isn’t there,” and even participating in the creation of the dinosaur’s performance by producing a gesture or expression that gives the dino-making f/x guys something to react to. Still, he says he can’t get too creative: “Sometimes, I’ll do something, and they’ll say, ‘Jason, that’s great, but don’t do it again, because that little thing you did will cost us an extra $10,000.’”

If you watched Terra Nova last week, do you plan on making a return trip tonight? If you didn’t see the premiere, catch up with James Hibberd’s recap, then check out our review by Ken Tucker.

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  • Mosun

    I Love Terra Nova already

    • jmo

      Me too. I’m glad they had the background from 2159 added. It’s the first show in a very long time that had me thinkin’, “hey, it’s monday night….Tera Nova’s on!!”

      I hope the season is as strong as the first two eps. If not…. oh well, on to the next new thing.

  • Dana

    I will watch tonight’s episode, but I really don’t think this show will see a second season.

    • MattS

      I wouldn’t write it off so quickly. DVR viewership for a18-49 added over one million viewers to the premier episode and week 2 was almost even to the premier. I love this show and am optimistic. I’ve missed Jason O’Mara, too, ever since Life on Mars ended. He is a great “tv hero.”

  • Melissa in CA

    I did not become a fan and I already deleted the series recording from my DVR. The characters just didn’t grab my attention.

  • W

    This show was terrible. The story was mildly interesting but the dinosaurs were downright laughable. It’s amazing that it has been 18 years since “Jurassic Park” and they still cannot make these dinosaurs look anywhere near as realistic as Steven Spielberg did in 1993. When the show is based on the promise of kick-ass dinos, and you deliver the CGI crap that was shown in the premiere, well…let’s just say I didn’t finish the second hour last week and have no intention of tuning in again.

    • Sara

      Seriously! I had to go online to confirm that Spielberg was behind this as I started doubted that he could be have approved the horrible CG. Not to mention, I find NO chemistry between the family members and the additional cast is poorly slapped together. The moments the show shines is when it reminds me of Lost. What a shame. I was really needing a new sci-fi show to get me over my Lost separation anxiety!

  • Actions have Consequences

    I hated the premeire, of a show I wanted to like. The theme is apparently that actions do not have consequences. Spoiler alert: Jim escapes prison, assaults officers, takes a limited resource opportunity from all of society, takes a hostage and – gets rewarded with a new job. Kids sneak out (apparently regularly) and receive no punishment. Sixer sneaks in, takes hostages, attempts an assassination – gets released for ore. Doctor wife takes a bug off a guy’s back without asking someone in the know – everything is fine. Nevermind my incredulity of the choices people make (wife wants the husband she helped escape from prison to sleep on the couch?) or the plausability of the results (wife is able to help husband escape prison with a mini-lightsaber?), I can’t get pass the fact there is no consequences. Geeze, they could at least have had an extra with those kids so SOMEONE we thought was a main character would be eaten by a dinasour. Jim could have spent SOME time in the brig before people somehow recognizing his usefulness (which I still question). I see now that things were added last minute – that explains some of it, but not all. SS has some explaining to do. Maybe episode two will be better? I hope? Cause I won’t watch 3 if no.

  • endo

    Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t care about all these Lost-ian mysteries. I just want to see people from the future fight dinosaurs. How hard is it to mess that up?

  • Eshia

    I like the show, but for some reason the guy who plays the son really annoys me. I do hope the show lasts a while. I really look forward to seeing lots of people eaten by dinosaurs.

  • joesmom

    I know the 13 episodes are already filmed but they need to re-edit or reshoot scenes involving the Teens. Those idiots need to die or get left on the cutting room floor. We don’t want another tyler!!

    • Rick

      Haha I was thinking the same thing about Tyler from V. These sci-fi writers really don’t know how to write a realistic or appealing teenage boy.

      Some of these storylines seem like they were last minute additions and feel forced. I did like the dad and the Taylor character, though. Overall, I thought the show was watchable.

  • B

    I’m watching for O’Mara at this point, which is enough reason to give the show a chance to settle in. I hope FOX will give it some time as well.

  • Greg

    I loved the show, but I wish at least one of the teens had gotten eaten.

    And Jeff Jensen, they explained why there’s no butterfly effect. They are in an alternate timeline.

  • scorpio9094

    The effects in the BBC series Primeval are also not that great, but the characters are interesting. Give Terra Nova a chance and just remember these are not real dinosaurs, they are images made for your entertainment. Lighten up.

  • waya

    I’m giving it another watch tonight. It IS interesting but I hope they tone down the useless teen son, and don’t fall into soap opera territory.

  • Lynne

    I’m cheering for this show to make it my kids so far are enjoying it.

  • Big D

    This show is awesome! Best new show to launch in the last several years. Season Pass set!

  • Queequeg

    I wouldn’t ordinarily watch, but my kids love it, and it’s nice to have something to watch together. Jason O’Mara is always terrific, so it’s not hard to keep my attention in that respect.

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