Earth 2 was an SF TV series that didn’t last past its first season, but it seemed to make an impression on those who watched it. Like most SF series, you either loved it or hated it. Either way, you now have a chance to rediscover why. Earth 2 was released a couple of weeks ago. Read More for a review.
In 2192, the children of the stations are dying in orbit. They suffer from the Syndrome – not from a virus, but the lack of one caused by the sterility of the stations. They can’t go down do to the polluted, crowded Earth. So Devon Adair, who’s son Ulysses suffers from the Syndrome, begins a mission to take 248 Syndrome families to planet G889 – a near-Earth-like planet – but it seems the government doesn’t want he to go. When she learns the Council has plans to for an “accident” to occur after departure, she leaves early, and begins the long journey to their new planet – Earth 2.
Of course, it doesn’t go that smoothly. On arrival, something happens to their advance landing ship, and they are forced to make a crash landing. With supplies spread out over a continent, and their landing side clear on the other side, they need to first survive, then plan for the arrival of the families in two years. And it turns out there are plenty of mysteries on G889 – like they aren’t the first humans to arrive, and a native species called the Terrians already inhabit the planet, and may not want them to stay.
When I first watched this show in 1994, I had mixed feelings. A good premise certainly, but the execution was uneven, but I still watched. My opinion probably hasn’t changed. It seems that consistency wasn’t paramount to the story they needed to tell, so plot holes would come up from time to time – like if it was a penal colony, where were the rest of the prisoners? And although there were some plot threads that ran from show to show, they also seemed inconsistent and slow moving.Would you really leave behind your only doctor when you can barely survive as it is?
Beyond the plot and writing in general, the series was reasonably well done. Shot primarily outdoors, the visuals are generally nice, and appropriate. I can’t think of landing in a bleaker location. Rocky terrain, cold weather – not exactly and egrarian paradise to start off a new colony. The special effects, at least in the two part opener (they aren’t needed as much in the rest of the series) were pretty good for the time as well.
I found I liked the music accompaniment, but I began to notice some Raiders of the Lost Ark theme in the last few episodes.
This DVD set includes all 21 episodes of the series on 4 double-sided DVDs. They are packaged in a standard-size DVD folder with two double-disc holders where the discs overlap (somewhat annoying of the disc you want is the bottom one – if you want to be careful of the discs, you need to remove the top one first). It has a textured half-sized slip case to hold it together that meets with the theming of the set, allowing the artwork of the folder to be partially seen.
The episodes seem to be in a strange order – they appear to be in airing order, but if I remember right, the last few episodes were aired out-of-order, with two episodes airing after the cliffhanger (“All About Eve”) – this seems to retain that order, with “Natural Born Grendlers” (which I believe should have been much earlier) and “Flower Child” afterwards. Usually the DVD sets offer a chance to correct the order of episodes, but apparently that wasn’t done.
Plot/Story: As mentioned, a bit weak, but passable. too bad it ended in an unresolved cliffhanger – I hate that. At least let them finish the story. 2/5
Characters/Acting: I was not a fan of the actual actors, except for perhaps Clancy Brown. It did mark bring to the forefront Antonio Sabato Jr. (a fave among the female fans) and Rebecca Gayheart (for the men), and featured Jessica Steen as the torn-in-two-directions Dr. Heller (she went on to pilot the role of Dr. Elizabeth Weir in Stargate SG-1, a role later given to Torri Higgenson). I think she did well here. But in general, there was little change to the characters over the course of the show. There were some well-known and genre guests: Notably Tim Curry, who appears in the first three stories following the debut (and which was heavily advertised from memory), Terry O’Quinn (now starring as Locke on Lost), Roy Dotrice, and Christopher Neame. 2/5
Effects/Visuals: Nice, although limited through most of the stories which require little special effects. Locations were appropriate. 3/5
DVD Extras: The Extended Scenes were brief and difficult to place where some of the went. The Outtakes were typical, and also brief, with a few that were actually funny. the “bonus” episodes were merely advertisements. No commentaries. No animated menus, but they do include episode descriptions. 2/5
Overall: A nice compilation, if a bit scattered. 3/5
Total: 2.4 out of 5.
I’d like to see them dig deeper and pull some older short-lived series out of the vaults and clean them up. Obviously there is a market for these things (otherwise Earth 2 and Cleopatra 2525 wouldn’t see the light of day again – except if the SCI FI Channel brings back the old format that showed such series.)