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The Wayback Machine: Earth: Final Conflict (1997)

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Posted by: Byron Brewer, Contributing Editor
created 11/10/2013 - 11:39pm, updated 11/11/2013 - 1:30pm

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Let’s face it: What wise Trekker wouldn’t like anything by Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek and inspiration for a generation or two of science fiction fans.

Earth: Final Conflict was a Canadian series based on story ideas created by Roddenberry and produced under the guidance of his widow, Majel Barret-Roddenberry … that’s right, Nurse Chapel! It was not produced, filmed or broadcast until after his death. It ran for five seasons between October 6, 1997, and May 20, 2002.

So let’s walk down to the ol’ Wayback Machine, dial up 1997 and see what you might have missed!

The original title for the show was Battleground: Earth, but the producers changed it because it sounded too much like L. Ron Hubbard’s novel, Battlefield Earth. Barrett appeared in some early episodes as the character Dr Julianne Belman. Barrett was in possession of notes Roddenberry kept of story and series ideas; after his death, these notes provided the basis for this series.

The show takes place early in the 21st century, when a race of aliens, the Taelons, arrives on our rock. In exchange for being allowed to take refuge on Earth, the Taelons offer the people of Earth access to their advanced technology. As a result, disease, war and pollution are nearly eliminated. Despite all these advances, there are some people who think the Taelons are not as benevolent as they seem. As humans are wont to do, a resistance movement is organized. (They must have watched "To Serve Man" on Twilight Zone!)

Ultimately, it is discovered that the Taelon aliens are not purely evil, nor are they actually trying to "conquer" the world (except Zo'or, the main antagonist in seasons 2–4). They can no longer reproduce: Da'an was the last Taelon to have a child (Zo'or was the last child to be born but Zo'or is barren) and are on the verge of extinction. Their initial goal is to see if they can use humanity to extend their lives. However, they do have a hidden agenda: to bioengineer the human race to help fight their mortal enemy, the Jaridians (who are of Taelon origin). In doing so, they have no problem violating human civil liberties to reach their goals.

(Humorous aside: The Jaridians believe that the Taelons' inability to reproduce is psychological.)

The show is famous for the unusually high turnover rate among the regular cast, partially due to contractual disagreements between the cast and the producers. Almost all of the show's major characters were killed or otherwise removed within a season or two of being introduced. In fact, the only character to appear as a regular during all five seasons was FBI Agent Ronald Sandoval (Von Flores), the show's main antagonist.

The fifth season of the show was a radical departure from the storyline of the previous seasons, with the Taelons being replaced by a new and more openly hostile alien race, a group of energy vampires called the Atavus.

The series was first shown on CTC in 1997 and ran for two seasons until the network decided to cancel it due to low ratings. The show was, however, resurrected by Chum Limited and was moved to their New Net network for the remainder of its run. The series was broadcast in syndication here in the U.S.

Roddenberry’s touches are everywhere in this series, but frankly it didn’t deserve the five season run it had. 

 
 

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