Some little time ago, just last month as a matter of fact, a dream of mine came true. It wasn't what you'd call a monumental thing though it seems it to me: Earth 2, the short lived scifi series which ran from November of '94 to May of '95, was released in a comprehensive, complete series DVD set. While it lacked EPK (electronic presskit) material, it does include both deleted and extended scenes and a blooper reel, both of which I wouldn't have even dared to wish for!
You see, Earth 2 affected me profoundly when it first aired and does so even more now that I've lost my parents. Earth 2 was the first and only show in my lifetime that became a "family event" to watch; we all were sat down every Sunday night at 7 (though football was usually running over into its timeslot!) to see what was going to happen next! I was devestated when word came down that it had been canceled and I cried. Yes, I cried for a tv show, something I had never done and have not done since, because it had become such an intregal and exciting part of our otherwise mundane lives. Turns out there was bloody great reason it was canceled, which I didn't know at the time, but suffice it to say, if it had gone on, it would have been as great a travesty as the second season of SeaQuest DSV (see the greatest fansite for the show on the web: http://www.earth2tv.com/
for i8nfo on what would have been a disasterous second season!)
So, the question was: would the show still have the same impact on me now, 11 years later? The answer? No. It had a completely different though no less potent impact! I was able to understand some of the emotions I hadn't before, appreciate what they were doing with the storyline and characters. Characters I didn't care for previously, I've warmed to and episodes that I've held the most viscious rancor for for these long years don't seem quite as bad now as I can isolate the elements that bother me and appreciate it as a whole. It is no longer a wham-bam scifi show (with a brain) that I watched back in the mid-90s but a carefully plotted, character-driven scifi piece that was far ahead of its time.
It's no small wonder that Browncoats (fans of Joss Whedon's Firefly/Serenity for the uninitiated) in general have fond memories of this show as it definitely comes across as a forerunner for that sort of adult scifi. It uses elements and metaphors of the Old West as the pioneers on G889 make their way across a continent to their brave new world; the American West would also provide inspiration for Firefly. Earth 2 contains a running story arc, something very rare at the time and a dangerous choice as "mythology" was generally being blamed for X-Files not nabbing enough viewers as critics believed it deserved. As a matter of fact, that would have been eliminated from a second season all together, so frightening was the idea of establishing a weekly audience who kept coming back to see the advancement of a simmering, well-developed story instead of 'Ooh, shiny special effects!'
And the F/X, well, as this was done before the digital revolution (Jurassic Park was only a year before the series debuted), its ambition has to be admired even if some of the opticals are, to our modern eye, now pretty cringe-worthy. Again, it's scope, its granduer, was far ahead of its time!
Something that is not cringe-worthy are the characters, especially the females, who seem ahead of their time now, in 2005. Beautiful but not glamorous mature women, their complex relationships with their children, their fellow pioneers, always seemed so real to me but now that I've matured more, I can appreciate it all the more! Jessica Steen as Julia as she struggles with the emotionless life she's supposed to lead (it's in her chromosomes!) while falling in love with beefcake Alonzo (Antonio Sabata Jr.), making some of the most Gawdawrful decisions as she's backed into a corner and her ultimate redemption remains to me one of the most interesting and complex female scifi character arc!
The series isn't without it's rocky bits, as a matter of fact, after a ganbusters pilot episode, the following three episode storyarc is rather dreadful and I can just picture viewers slowly turning away as it developed each week. It hits its stride immediately afterwards however with a bit of awkwardness for an ep or two but that doesn't matter in the long run. And the long run was a mere 21 episodes with one helluva cliffhanger!
So, why, with all of this going in its favor, no season 2? NBC wanted to renew, UPN wanted to pick it up after NBC ultimately passed but again the ball was dropped. Why? Stupid fucking Universal who, unhappy with the ratings it was getting, brought in a new producer who wanted to change just about everything about it. And both networks knew the proposed ideas were shite as both balked when they saw the document. In the end, it wasn't the networks' fault but the actual makers of the show; they were its ultimate downfall.
Devon and Julia were to be taken out of their leadership roles and both of their romances would have come to a halt. They would have become more "caring, warmer" whilst Yale and Morgan were to get the ax. Bess was going to sleep with anything that moved and a cute widdle Grendler was going to join the party as well as a know it all teenage cyborg. The party would get a new, male leader and all story arcs would be gone. Nothing spiritual would remain and Alonzo would have super strength. What. The. Fuck?!
So, yes, in the end, I'm happy I didn't get THAT season 2 though my heart will always be a little sad for the season 2 I could have, should have gotten. And I still have the DVDs to pop in whenever I need my Earth 2 fix which seems something of a small miracle to me!