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Earth 2
1994 - PG - 1260 Mins.
Director: Scott Winant
Producer: Tony To
Written By: Michael Duggan, Carol Flint
Starring: Debrah Farentino, Clancy Brown, Rebecca Gayheart, Antonio Sabato Jr., Tim Curry
Review by: Harrison Cheung
Official Site: www.earth2dvd.com/earth2.html
   
Take a solid special effects budget, a good cast and some strong writers from other hit TV series, and you’ve got a good shot at creating a good science fiction television series, right? ‘Earth 2,’ which aired in 1994 for just one season, had a good pedigree. The cast included Debrah Farentino (‘NYPD Blue’), sci-fi fave cult actor Clancy Brown (‘Highlander’), Rebecca Gayheart (‘Urban Legend’), Antonio Sabato Jr., and Tim Curry as the villain!

Director, Scott Winant previously directed ‘thirtysomething’ and ‘My So Called Life.’ Screen writers Michael Dugan and Carol Flint cut their teeth on ‘LA Law’ and ‘E.R.,’ and went on to ‘The West Wing.’ Great team, a shame they didn’t know anything about science fiction.

‘Earth 2’ suffered from the standard formula of sci-fi TV series. The great quest for something, be it Sanctuary, Earth, Eden or some special destination, science fiction TV series from ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ ‘Logan’s Run,’ to ‘Farscape’ have always had some unattainable destination in mind. How well a story plays with convention depends on the ability of its writers to think out of the box – the best example today is to compare the old and new ‘Battlestar Galactica’ series.

The ‘Earth 2’ story in a nutshell. A group of colonists flee polluted Earth on a quest to make a new home on Earth 2, a supposedly uninhabited, clean planet. The colonists head there to save their children who are suffering from some disease that is a consequence of living in bubbles and space stations all their lives. Clean, fresh air will do a kid some good!

Our fearless leader is supermom, Devon (Farentino), who defies orders and prematurely sends their ship into space. Her 10-year-old son, Uly, is suffering from the space disease. After being asleep for 23 years, the colonists awake to find something wrong so they evacuate in a number of life pods and head for the new planet. But not all is well on the planet. It is, in fact, inhabitable with mysterious kinds of creatures. Uly squabbles with a little girl, True, who’s every cranky girl move seems to bring disaster. And in the famed sci-fi mold, the most evil alien is…. a human, Gaal, portrayed with flamboyant flair by Tim Curry. Since the pods have landed all over the planet, the survivors slowly make their way by foot and by slow-moving vehicles to New Pacifica, the designated location for their new city.

To make the show kid friendly, the two adorable Spielbergian kids hog screen time with their hissy fits among each other. Throw in a cute, big-eyed alien pet for good measure. And add some conspiracy theories and the rocky inability of the survivors to get along with each other, and you get a TV series that’s sort of like ‘Lost’ except it’s a talky soap opera that moves at a glacial pace.

Special effects are good; though the outdoor scenes tend to make you wonder what part of the country did they film in. The funniest thing is to see the giant exploration vehicle they ride in – the Hummer logo is featured prominently on the grill – perhaps some early marketing?

The entire and lone season is now available on DVD. For fans, there are lots of extras, but for the uninitiated, ‘Earth 2’ is a slow-moving drama that’s an exercise in lost opportunity.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better. Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better.
  2 out of 5 stars

 
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