Ignored by most as inconsequential when compared to the behemoth that is the Star Trek franchise, Earth: Final Conflict was one of several Roddenberry TV projects that deserve a second look.
Do you remember the dark days of Television? The days before Catch Up TV & On Demand content, the convenience of Netflix, when If you wanted to watch a show, you had to actually be watching the TV screen when it aired. (Or at least have sussed out how to reliably program the VCR to actually record the right channel at the correct time…), I remember those days.
It’s the late 90’s. (The nineteen nineties for those future Data Archaeologists reading this!) China is now back in charge of Hong Kong, Fear and hysteria are beginning to spread across the parts of the world that use computers (Y2K* was coming ever closer and the world would END!), The song 1999 by Prince (released in the 80’s) is getting more and more popular. I of course am miserably failing most of my A’ Levels. (Please note, these events did not occur at the same time)
On TV, Babylon 5 has ended (although Crusade was yet to come), Star Trek Deep Space Nine is nearing its end whilst Voyager is in the middle of its run. But there was other Sci Fi on TV to be had.
There was Earth: Final Conflict, developed in part by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry (who would appear in the series playing a minor character) using the background material and notes left behind by the late Gene Roddenberry for a show he had dubbed “Battlefield Earth”. The show was developed in Canada and was later renamed to Earth: Final Conflict (mainly because of the only movie I have EVER walked out of a cinema on before the end, of the same name**), it would run for a total of five seasons.
In E:FC, It is the early 21st Century, An advanced Alien race (The Taelons) have come to Earth. Over three years they have worked with Humanity to solve annoying things like poverty, disease and conflict. A small number of people have serious doubts over the motivations of Humanities benefactors and start a small resistance movement to try to uncover the Taelon secret agenda and reveal to the world the danger that humanity faces.
The show was ahead of it’s time in many respects. The Alien technology in the show used a form of interactive Holographic Projection/Gesture controls//Smart Glass that you’ll recognise as familiar in the movie Minority Report. Personal “smart” communication devices that acted like video phones with flexible screens (Smart Phones?). Spectacles that not only correct your vision, but also act as an interface with the internet (Google Glass?). E:FC had all of these and more.
When E:FC aired on TV here in the UK I was lucky enough to have noticed some of the little promotional activity around it and watched it from episode one.To this day I cannot remember which UK TV channel E:FC aired on originally, but it was later picked up by Bravo who then re-broadcast it. But even they didn’t exactly promote the show very well either, here’s proof;
If you’ve seen E:FC you’ll probably agree with me when I say that was a dire promo for an excellent show.
I’ve looked back fondly at this show for many years, despite never watching past season two. But it’s high time I finished watching it – Indeed I’m starting over and I’m currently re-watching this lost classic from the very begining. I’m planning on doing a series of blog posts over the next few weeks, charting my thoughts as I work my way from the first episode – right through to the very end. I hope someone out there appreciates this show as much as I do! It will be interesting to see If the show stands up to my own fond memories for it. It will also be interesting to see what happens later in the show, as I mentioned already, I stopped watching it somewhere in season two because of life.
Until I follow up with my thoughts, season by season – here’s a promo pic of the season one cast in character.
*Y2K aka The Year 2000 computer bug, not to be confused with Y2K The wrestler.
**Battlefield Earth was an appalling movie, if you don’t believe me find it on Netflix!