This time, we are the aliens.
April 18, 2015 8:50 PM   Subscribe

Over a mere 22 episodes between 1994 and 1995, a rag tag group of adventurers, thrown together by a shadowy government conspiracy explored a strange new world, ruled by an underground government and populated with strange new creatures.

It was cancelled. This is the story of Earth 2 (promo clip). No, not that Earth 2, or that Earth II, this one.

A contemporary of Babylon 5 in serial storytelling (although some people see similarities with the much later Lost), in the spirit of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, Earth 2 set up a tapestry of future storylines that would never be resolved: cyberpunk body manipulation, penal colonists, a shadowy council, a rogue AI, secret implants, Terrians (and their future "king") in the series' obligatory time travel nod.

It is now largely forgotten, eclipsed by other '90s SF shows, there are still a fewfan sites, fan fiction and a TV Tropes page to mark to its legacy, if not popularity.

Despite being named as one of TV Guide's "four shows to save" the shows creators were fired and plans to "dumb down the show" for the second series stalled, and the existing promo for the "retooled" show makes one wonder how it would have fared, given the network ran the episodes out of order (a sin that carried over to home video release).

There was little to no marketing tie ins, and fans were forced to produce their own game books.

The future has never looked more 1990s, so of course it is on DVD.

There are full episodes on YouTube albeit in the wrong order (the correct one is here), but there are also clips to whet your appetite:
Intro.
Search for the bomb
Tim Curry's best performance ever
Bess bargains with a Grendler.
A random review.
Gag reel.
posted by Mezentian (30 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
The second series teaser is not SeaQuest DSV S2 bad, but somewhere beyond Andromeda Series 5 levels of bad.

Just a friendly warning.
posted by Mezentian at 8:51 PM on April 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I loved this show during it's brief life, but those underground alien things or whatever they were freaked me the fuck out.
posted by downtohisturtles at 9:03 PM on April 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


The second series teaser is not SeaQuest DSV S2 bad, but somewhere beyond Andromeda Series 5 levels of bad.

I like the precision, but I don't know if I like the fact that there can be such precision.
posted by pan at 9:05 PM on April 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I am utterly delighted by this link's ineptness at summarizing. "Then they get into a ship. Also Devon has brown hair. And, the ship leaves for the planet. But then, the ship lands on the planet.

ANYWAY i loved this show a lot and I am psyched to see the links! Did this air on Sunday nights? I have vague associations of this show with Youth Group, which possibly informed a lot of my religious outlook. Especially Tim Curry feeding his blood to aliens.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:06 PM on April 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Terrians do seem to be distant relatives of the much-loved Fluke Man.

Gaal (Tim Curry) does get the Grendlers hooked on his blood.
posted by Mezentian at 9:09 PM on April 18, 2015


"It's a city, not a yo-yo"

-Rodney McKay

(Great post!)
posted by clavdivs at 9:13 PM on April 18, 2015


I still remember the awful line that made me decide this wasn't the right show for me:

About ten minutes into the pilot, a little boy asks his mother, "Will there be beasts? Like in Virtual Reality?"
posted by Hatashran at 9:34 PM on April 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


This was a favorite show of mine, terrible cliffhanger series ending. Not that I'm still bitter.

I doubt it'd hold up but I guess there's only one way to find out...
posted by davros42 at 9:48 PM on April 18, 2015


This show is inextricably bound up in my mind with Space: Above and Beyond.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:56 PM on April 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wow, did I enjoy Earth 2. Farentino was great and she went on to star in EZ Streets, another amazing and critically acclaimed but short lived show. It was my into to Antonio Sabato, Jr, whom I found to be incredibly annoying.

I think it was John Varley who introduced me to the Gaia concept and seeing it on TV was pretty cool. The Terrians were mysterious and interesting. If I remember correctly, the penal colony bit and the E2 traitors were the few bits I didn't like. I even liked Uly.

Heh. Now I've just remembered E:FC. Goddamn network executives.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 9:57 PM on April 18, 2015


Space: Above and Beyond was fucking awesome. Thanks for the reminder, Ray.

Goddamn ignorant, short-sighted network executives.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 10:01 PM on April 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Goddamn ignorant, short-sighted network executives.

So say we all.

I doubt it'd hold up but I guess there's only one way to find out...

I've just - technically - finished a rewatch (with the cliffhanger, so I have a few episodes still to go, gah) which is why I ended up hearing a rumour of the "sizzle reel" for series two.

I don't think it holds up quite as well as Space: Above And Beyond, because so much of it has dated visually, but the acting is pretty solid (even if Morgan is basically Carter Burke), the child characters aren't that annoying, and aside from a few series one wobbles at its core it's a great series of Sci Fi ideas - albeit ideas without conclusions, because they cancelled the damn thing.
posted by Mezentian at 10:20 PM on April 18, 2015


Space: Above and Beyond was fucking awesome. Thanks for the reminder, Ray.

Is that the one with Chiggy von Richtofen? I loved that show.
posted by Justinian at 10:38 PM on April 18, 2015


I looved this show as a kid! I couldn't remember the name and posted an ask back in '07:

http://ask.metafilter.com/57377/Trying-to-remember-a-scifi-tv-show

I can still picture the murderous cyborg that was stalking them in an episode. He really freaked me out. I should definitely rewatch.
posted by meta87 at 11:05 PM on April 18, 2015


I looooved this show when it was first out, and was so sad when it was cancelled. One of the first shows I seriously thought about going to a single-show Con for.

The whole series is on Netflix streaming as well, if you don't wanna go the YouTube route. Assuming, of course, you have Netflix.
posted by tittergrrl at 11:23 PM on April 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I watched this show religiously, purely for the chance to watch Tim Curry. I have no regrets.

OK, some regrets, but not about the parts where he was onscreen.
posted by rewil at 12:03 AM on April 19, 2015


Despite being canceled this show was dubbed and shown on Italian tv, probably in the right order as I was wtf at the cliff-hanger.
I also remember it being one of the first times I used dialup internet and asked Yahoo if there was a second series.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 12:31 AM on April 19, 2015


Hatashran: "I still remember the awful line that made me decide this wasn't the right show for me:

About ten minutes into the pilot, a little boy asks his mother, "Will there be beasts? Like in Virtual Reality?"
"

There's a wild animal habitat in Peoria IL - think "zoo", where you travel through corridors between GIGANTIC expanses of fenced-in paradise for animals - with a multi-acre bison and antelope field. School kids day-trip the habitat from Chicago.

THIS is an actual question from a Chi-town schoolkid about those bison: "How do they power them?" He thought they were animatronic.

Your pullquote is less fantastic than reality. Sadly.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:26 AM on April 19, 2015


This had Rebecca Gayheart in it? The Noxzema Girl? You know, she was Inara for about a day on Firefly, but it didn't work out.
posted by valkane at 5:44 AM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Someone has been on Wikipedia.
She'd have been an awesome Inara, based on my watchin's.
posted by Mezentian at 5:54 AM on April 19, 2015


Langly: You look down, Mulder. Tell you what, you're welcome to come over Satruday night. We're all hopping on the internet to nitpick the scientific inaccuracies of Earth 2.
Mulder: I'm doing my laundry.
posted by cnelson at 6:36 AM on April 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


It is now largely forgotten

Not by everyone! Man, that series was interesting to younger me and I was really sad when it went into the hell of reruns and then cancellation. Sad times.

And that ending... only to be rivaled by the eff-ed up ending of Carnivale, another great series that died too young for dumb reasons.

The penal colonists and the intrigue. Man, I never thought about how it is a bit similar to Lost, not that I'd recommend that train wreck to any but my worst enemies that is.

I'm tempted to dive into the youtubes and rewatch this but, sadly, I know how it will leave me: all wound up and wanting more. Blueballed you might say.

*sigh*, *reblocks memory*, *closes tab*
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:47 AM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


THIS is an actual question from a Chi-town schoolkid about those bison: "How do they power them?" He thought they were animatronic.

I gotcha beat, it was not an unheard of question (as in it was asked to me and not a few of my friends while we worked in the park) for tourists in Yellowstone National Park, adult tourists mind you, to ask:

-- "At what altitude do elk turn into moose?"
-- "If the power is out, will Old Faithful still erupt/be on time?"
-- "Where do they put the animals at night?"
-- "[referring to the huge herds of bison] ... but those aren't wild/real animals right?"

These are fucking sad days for humanity, or at least America, let me tell ya.

posted by RolandOfEld at 6:52 AM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


It was a promising show until they left the ship.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:56 AM on April 19, 2015


If you're now in the mood for a good early Nineties sci-fi show (really more miniseries like), one that actually ends with its story concluded (and has a highly unusual story to boot), try Wild Palms.
posted by MysteriousMan at 8:19 AM on April 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Despite its flaws, I enjoyed Earth 2 when I first watched it (as a kid). I attempted a re-watch when it was first made available on Netflix streaming and ended up skipping several episodes and eventually stopped, but it still had good elements.

Just did some Wikipedia link surfing and discovered, sadly, that Sullivan Walker passed away in 2012.
posted by audi alteram partem at 8:34 AM on April 19, 2015


I never watched Earth 2, but I'd like to endorse Space: Above and Beyond most heartily.
posted by wintermind at 12:09 PM on April 19, 2015


Ahhh, Earth 2. I remember watching this as a child and being betrayed by the fact that it doesn't end so much as get cut off. It would take three more years before I'd let the X-Files into my heart (by that point it was clear that the series would have an ending which, hah).

I still hold a grudge against network TV. Good thing I never watched Firefly during its short-lived run on TV. What is it with network TV and sci-fi shows?
posted by librarylis at 7:18 PM on April 19, 2015


Just did some Wikipedia link surfing and discovered, sadly, that Sullivan Walker passed away in 2012.

And they were going to kill him in S2 and turn the cyborg into someone young and hip.
And Alonso would have superpowers.


J. Madison Wright ("True") died in 2006.
Which is damn sad.
posted by Mezentian at 2:02 AM on April 20, 2015


Haven't thought about this show in a long time, I really liked it as a teen.
posted by smoke at 3:39 AM on April 20, 2015


« Older The golden ratio has spawned a beautiful new...   |   I'm a man in a dress, and I'm not afraid to show... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments