As sci-fi goes, this one was terrific. Much as I like spaceships, I've had my fill of military-based action sci-fi. I've just rewatched Earth 2 on DVD, after never forgetting its run in the 90s, and it has dated pretty well.
The show focuses on character conflicts and strange happenings on an alien world as the Eden Advance team of 16 adults and children, who have crash-landed off-course, make a 9-month journey to New Pacifica. I love the characters as they struggle to get along (half of them weren't even supposed to be there, but are now stuck 22 light years from Earth). Most of them grew up on space stations, because Earth is barely habitable, so they are ill-equipped for traversing an alien continent on foot. They've never even seen rain before.
The native Terrians are one of the most "alien" aliens ever created for TV, with their plant-like biology, their organic connection with the planet, their rituals and beliefs, their creepy method of travel, and of course the dreamscape. The Grendlers are more typical beasties, mostly malign. Interestingly, there were no real "monsters" on the planet. The dangers mostly came from Earth adversaries such as penal colonists, the Council's killer android, and implanted biochips. One thing that did consistently annoy me was the number of humans that our team keeps running into on this supposedly uninhabited planet, but I guess that was the writers' way of developing a richer fictional universe full of conspiracies and competing interests. Humanity is definitely the bad guy here.
The characters are varied and interesting, very flawed, sometimes acting stupidly or selfishly, but in the end coming to realize they have to pull together. Julia and Alonzo's romance was curiously underplayed rather than having the sexual tension drawn out for two seasons or more, but that mainstay of episodic TV was left to Devon and John's relationship. The child actors were stand-outs.
I was so disappointed when the show was canceled after one season, on a cliffhanger no less. I would love to have watched the Eden team make base at New Pacifica, welcome the incoming 250 families and their "syndrome children", and establish a new community from the ground up. I dread to think of the production nightmares involved with filming a weekly show that was almost exclusively out-of-doors. Earth 2 is gone for good, but I would love to see a new show based on the colonization premise.
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