Earth 2 – First Contact

The show starts with what is essentially a movie (presumably meant to be cut up into two parts of syndication) that sets up the premise. It’s the future and humanity has ruined the planet Earth and have been living in space stations on Earth orbit for generations. Some sort of disease has been spreading among the populace cause by not being exposed to nature, so a group of about 200 families are making plans to settle on a distant world with an atmosphere and create a new home for humanity. The authorities on Earth don’t like this plan (because if it is successful, people will have somewhere else to go and won’t be beholden to them) and try to sabotage the mission. It doesn’t work and our intrepid explorers are off to another world.

But when they get there, the group (about a dozen people) are supposed to head down and set things up for the 200 families, but they crash instead. Not all of these are people who intended to colonize, some were just workers who were supposed to head back to Earth.

On the new world they begin to encounter the native lifeforms. Though the plant life there looks extremely Earth-like for PDR’s tastes, we do meet a small species of what I’d call little reptile-style monkey things. These ones are done with puppets. They do, I admit, conform to a humanoid body plan, but they’re small and look different. Better than most aliens on shows like this. But the more “intelligent” species on the world are called the Terrians. These ones are exactly humanoid with a bunch of makeup. They’d make it as better-than-average Star Trek aliens, but they’re still disappointing to me. But if they are too humanoid in form for me, at least they don’t just communicate like humans. As I thought I remembered before starting the show, they can only communicate to the cast in dreams, in scenes that have to have been at least partially inspired by the Prophet scenes on Deep Space Nine (but at least the Prophets could speak during their weird communication sessions, these Terrians can’t even do that). The Terrians rightfully fear the human aliens who have come to their planet and claim it has happened before. My prediction right now is that the government of Earth has tried to colonize this world before and were doing a bad job there as they had done on first Earth and the Terrians had to off them. I don’t know, we’ll see.

The human cast of the show is fine. The captain (or whatever her title is), Devon, is the mother of a child with that disease I mentioned, Uly. Clancy Brown’s guy, whose name I didn’t catch, is a single father who was just working on the ship, so he and his daughter shouldn’t even be on the planet. His daughter seems prone to getting into trouble. There’s Antonio Sabato Jr. as some other guy who slept through most of the pilot (at least he made contact with the aliens while he was sleeping). There’s a doctor who is young and not experienced but has to prove herself up to the task of being the only doctor for this group. There’s a regular Hateable Guy named Morgan in the group who is there to do all the selfish and stupid acts and to complain any time the likeable characters try to do anything. There’s also Morgan’s wife, who seems nice and you can’t help but wonder why she is with Morgan (she is played by Rebecca Gayheart and appealed greatly to Young PDR). There is also a guy named Yale who seems like a servant to the captain and I don’t know his deal yet. I don’t think he’s an android (there’s a much simpler robot around so I seen no reason they’d also have a human-looking one) but they talk about “the Yale series” as if he was a product. I have dim memories of liking Yale as a kid, but don’t remember what happened with him. The problem is Yale is one of only two or three Black persons in this group, and he’s the most prominent, so the fact he is some sort of product meant to serve the captain is a setup with issues. That’s all the cast I remember at this point.

So far, I’m on board. Going off my dim memories, I would have thought that the meeting with the Terrians happened many episodes down the line, so we’ve already made some progress. But with all this setup done, I’m intrigued to see the next episode and find out what the week-to-week sort of story for this crew shall be.

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