Earth 2 – tape 2100

Here’s the first few episodes of Earth 2, one of the many TV shows over the years with that same premise (several of them created by Gene Roddenberry, I sometimes think).

Here’s the pilot, though. I looked at some later episodes some time back, and they didn’t make a lot of sense, as there’s an ongoing story about the planet.

So here’s a chance to catch up. It starts on a space station. The narrator, Debrah Farentino, tells us about her son, diagnosed with “a disease our medical community even hesitates to recognise. Not caused by the presence of a virus, but rather an absence. An absence of what nature can provide. An absence of fresh air, of fresh water, an absence of Earth.”

This condition appears to turn the kids into little proto-borgs.

Proto borg

All their high-technology, and they can’t make a kid’s medical accessories in nice colours?

The Eden project is supposed to take a lot of families with children like him, and find a planet which would provide the missing natural environment for them. But it looks like the evil space government don’t want them to succedd – they find a news report, scheduled for release  an hour after they’re going to launch, that the entire ship was destroyed in an explosion.

So the race begins to launch immediately, but also to find whatever explosive device the government has placed on the ship.

I like the model work in this pilot. I don’t know if it’s physical models or CG, but it’s really good.

Model Work

While arguing with the government bigwig (the always reliable David Clennon) they do this thing that really annoys me with people talking to viewscreens – having the person on screen match eyelines with the person they’re talking to, which makes no sense at all.

Eyelines

After 21 years of uneventful flight in cryogenic sleep, as soon as they all wake up, the ship gets into problems, the everyone has to evacuate. I know they need jeopardy, but why not just show how difficult it is even when things go right?

There’s an obligatory cute creature.

Obligatory Cute Alien

And some outrageous product placement.

Hummer

There’s possibly intelligent life on the planet, contrary to all their previous information (which might have been filtered by the evil government).  Even the cute little alien shoots poison claws. The captain of the crew gets hit and dies, so they bury him.

There are also some mysterious other aliens who appear from afar. Naturally, an idiot in the group takes a potshot at them.

Looming Aliens

The aliens are trying to communicate with the colonists in their dreams. I am so sick of prophetic dreams. The Aliens have taken Farentino’s sick son, Ulysses (Uly) to learn about him, and when he’s found (by co-star Clancy Brown) he’s lost his Borg costume, and his pallor has improved significantly.

Ulysses Is Grand

They decide to try to find a spot to live in, and all set off travelling, but they’re watched ominously by Tim Curry as the episode swells to its conclusion.

Tim Curry

The next episode starts with Curry, who seems to have a chain gang of rejects from The Dark Crystal working for him.

Dark Crystal Rejects

What were they thinking with their title design? Yuck.

Earth 2 Title

Curry is found, injured, by the group, and tells them he’s been there for fifteen years. His ship was off course, and he thinks they’re a rescue team. He also tell them that the little rodents with the poisonous claws aren’t fatal, so they panic and rush back to where they buried the captain – and he’s no longer there. But he turns up safe and sound, and later unearths the truth about Tim Curry – his ship was a prison ship. But Curry kills him, and keeps his secret.

In the next episode, Curry sabotages the main vehicle, and they discover some cargo from the ship, some of which is a mystery. Until one of the metal vials in the box grows a horse. Strange that the people running the expedition didn’t know what kind of technology was sent with them.

Curry has fun manipulating the little kids in the group. But whiny kids and inactive parents aren’t my favourite thing in drama.

Farentino tells Clancy Brown she thinks the expedition is cursed. He replies “I’ve never been much of a believer in curses. I tend to think bad things happen for a reason.” Aren’t those statements slightly contradictory? Isn’t a curse a reason? Makes as much sense as ‘fate’ anyway.

 

After this episode, recording continues for a time, into an episode of Picket Fences. Oh dear. The actor Fyvush Finkel died 4 days ago, as I write this, and he was one of the regular cast of Picket Fences. I don’t think I can dodge responsibility for this one. I thought I’d dodged it when an earlier tape was down as Picket Fences but was actually the Diana Funeral, but here he is (in the credits, at least). I’m so sorry.

Fyvush Finkel

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