I might as well place a spoiler warning here, before letting you read this post. Every comment so far has complained about it, but I really wouldn’t consider what I disclose a major spoiler warning… More like information to encourage you to watch and to give you an idea of what to expect. If you’re already truly planning on watching it, and you want it to be a complete surprise, then don’t read this. But if you still haven’t decided if you want to or not, then go ahead!
Inaugural post in the TV review category! This will be where I put my thoughts on any TV shows I think I want to talk about… I can see me using this to try to introduce off-mainstream shows more than blabbing about something as popular as Heroes or LOST, and this is a prime example! Behold:
Quite possibly one of the most under-rated shows I’ve ever watched. I say this because in all my internet escapades, I have never once seen a mention of this show without specifically looking for it. New(crappy)BSG and other pop-culture shows are plastered all over the place. Clearly they are (somehow) popular. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention, but the lack of a Wiki for Earth: Final Conflict seems to only help prove my point. It’s not a show people currently watch and it wasn’t memorable enough for them, either.
Basically, the story of the series is the arrival of an alien race that carries the promise of helping human kind with any and every problem they have, in exchange for nothing. The aliens, called the Taelons, help humanity out of the goodness of their collective hearts… Or so they want Earth to believe.
The pilot episode drops you in the middle of everything, which I’ve always enjoyed more than having a story unfold from its very boring beginnings. The energy-based Taelons have been on Earth for around 3 years and have cured all manner of diseases, converted deserts into farmland and by their mere presence, stopped all war. Pretty much, the Taelons are perfect and everyone is enthralled.
I won’t spoil anything, but the series begins with the assassination of Jonathon Doors, a human who was about to announce a major corporate alliance with the Taelons, with the plan to help facilitate the spread of Taelon technology to aid Earth. The assassination is pinned on an anti-Taelon movement called “The Resistance”, and, in the wake of Doors’ death, the Taelon Companion of the United States seeks to increase its security by enlisting the aid of William Boone, who was partly in charge of security at the assassination. (Apparently, the security plan Boone suggested was far better than the one actually put in place, and the Companion wanted to give him more authority to get things done properly.)
And by the Indianapolis Colts helmet on Boone’s desk, you can clearly see that he’s the perfect candidate for a series starring character, since has an awesome taste in football teams!
Hmm, let’s see… How can I put the story in a nutshell without spoiling a whole lot? Let’s say that the Taelons aren’t all about helping humanity just because they feel like it. As the series plays on, you start getting the idea that they have a plan… You don’t know what it is, but you know there’s something going on. At one minute, you think the Taelons are amazing, with their technology and aid without asking for anything in return… But then the next minute, they do something so ghastly that you can’t understand why people still support them… That is, you can’t understand until they turn around and do something really incredible again.
The show is very… Political. The core of each episode always somehow revolves around the Taelons manipulating humans for some sort of personal gain, and the characters will discuss the best methods for doing such a thing. Some characters just want the Taelons to leave, some want to profit off of them, some want to ally themselves with them… There’s always some scheme going on that you’re never sure what to think or who to trust, and none of the characters do, either. I guess some people could find that boring, but I think it’s interesting. And while all this is going on, the majority of humans are willingly blinding themselves to the obvious.
I could almost see how this show might not be as huge a hit as it could be… It’s deep and it makes you think, and a lot of things aren’t answered for a very long time, if at all. I would have to say that the majority of people watching TV don’t want to watch something that makes them think… I guess that’s why the trillion reality shows and million sit-coms are regurgitating the same things over and over. So brainless…
To me, the story is far more important than visuals, but sometimes visuals can be distracting from the story. I would have to say that E:FC has a stellar story and nominal special effects, with nothing really exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. It’s just good ol’ run of the mill. Especially in the first season. If you can get through the early 90s looking visual effects of the first season, the second season clearly got a higher budget to work with and they almost completely redesigned all the visuals. Taelon mothership, the Taelons themselves… The first season was passable, but the second season seals the deal… Especially for TV shows.
There really wasn’t much to say about the visuals except that. I’ve had some people comment about the old look the pilot episode had. Trust me, it gets a lot better. (Not that visuals are supposed to be that important, mind you!) But come on, there’s something cool about seeing the organic Taelon Embassy built almost in the backyard of the White House:
CHARACTERS AND ACTING:
The acting is amazing. Well, for the most part. The Taelons are awesome. I really can’t explain it… They’re supposed to be these serene, spritual, energy-based beings who think they know everything and they pull it off perfectly.
I would have to say the strongest point of E:FC would be the character development. Sure, there’s an over-arching storyline, but they take every chance to develop characters along the way… Some more than others, but the main characters are definitely propelled along quite nicely. Da’an, the American Taelon Companion is probably the clear example here. His character matures so much through the episodes that by the third season, he’s a far different character than he was in the first season.
I would have to say, though, that my favorite character is a computer entrepreneur/hacker/millionaire who goes by the name of Augur. I don’t think E:FC would quite be as good as it is without him. I really can’t explain him… You’ll just have to watch him. His character goes up and down so much that, while you can’t help but love him, you sometimes have to wonder what he’s ultimately up to… Actually, that goes for just about everyone. Even the showcase “bad guy”, Agent Sandoval. He’s one of those baddies who is somehow really awesome, while, at the same time, is really evil. Or maybe he just lacks emotion and knows what has to be done… I haven’t quite figured that out yet. So far, though, I have to pin him as a bad guy.
Also, according to Wikipedia, E:FC was plagued by regular contract disagreements… Which means that actors didn’t like how much they were getting paid, more or less, and decided to quit. Which means… People die. A lot. Or they go off and don’t quite die, but also aren’t seen again for a long time, if at all. That being said, one of the things that keeps making this series so good is the fact that you are never quite sure who’s going to die and when, simply because you know E:FC had tons of contract problems. On the up side, this adds an element of unpredictability that’s had me on the edge of my seat many a time, sometimes cheering at the outcome, or having a “OH MY GOSH this can’t be happening!!” moment. On the down side, this means that NEW characters are constantly popping up! While, so far, this hasn’t been a real issue, I have finally met a character I don’t think I like… She just doesn’t seem to fit in with the mood of the entire series. I think she’s getting a little better, though… It might have even been the character profile… A sort of haughty “I know exactly what I’m doing so buzz off” character. She’s been blasted into her place a few times lately, and she seems to be fitting into the mood of the series a little better now.
Oh, and even better? Majel Roddenberry is a recurring character throughout the season, but predominantly in the first. I haven’t seen her in the third season, though. But she’s there! I think it’s cool how she plays even a small part in Gene Roddenberry created stuff. I didn’t even recognize her until I heard her voice. (After watching the entire series of Star Trek: Voyager, it wasn’t difficult to go “hey, that’s the Voyager’s computer voice… HEY, THAT’S GENE’S WIFE!”) Also, Marina Sirtis (otherwise known as Deanna Troi in Star Trek) guest starred in an episode in season three. That was also really neat.
I have to mention the music! Man, the music is great… I managed to get the soundtrack and I listened to it for a few days. The theme and credits music are, by far, the best. The theme is so distinctive and simple, but somehow really nice. The music definitely helps set the mood of the series as being a kind of… sad, yet exciting story. Not many times do I say music stands out in a movie or show, but I think it does in this. Like, say, when you can watch a movie and it impacts you so much that you buy the soundtrack to relive the experience. That’s what it’s like with Earth: Final Conflict.
In conclusion, this is definitely high on my list of favorite TV shows. The story is amazing, the depth and complexity of the plot… The characters and everything. Yeah… This is definitely a personal favorite and I honestly can’t understand why there isn’t more information out there. Even Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica have their own high-profile sites for harvesting information! Stargate SG-1 is like… DUH, of course there’s going to be a site. I’m almost tempted to go back and watch each episode of E:FC and make a note of EVERYTHING to put on a Wiki I’ve set up. You know, dumb things like Da’an’s family ties and the Taelon interdimensional technology concepts.
I haven’t even scratched the surface of the storyline, either, by the way. I can’t tell you much because each episode is tied together and it’s extremely easy to spoil a lot of episodes. It is definitely something you don’t want to jump into random re-runs with… You should start at the beginning and watch it IN ORDER. It is imperative that you watch it in order or you’ll either be very, very confused, or very, very spoiled.
And last, but not least, they even had a story about a town the Taelons recovered from a nuclear incident! Originally named “Silent Falls”, the citizens renamed the town “Taelonville” after Da’an led a project to clean up the radioactive fallout. Can you guess which state the town’s in?
Indianapolis Colts on the desk of William Boone, and now Taelonville, Indiana? Someone on the writing team has got some pretty good taste, if you ask me!
So, in a nutshell: You need to watch Earth: Final Conflict.