(1994-1995) was a TV series in The Nineties
, featuring human colonists who crash-land on a remarkably Earth-like planet and have to find their way to their originally-dedicated landing site. However, the planet contains surprises that the colonists could not have anticipated. Indeed, some information about the planet, like the fact that it's been used as a penal colony for dangerous criminals, and that it's populated by several native intelligent species, were deliberately hidden from the colonists by the government. And complicating matters further, the government has a mole among the colonists.
This show was notable for several things: a heavy message about ecological responsibility, its female lead protagonist, and casting Clancy Brown as one of the good guys
No relation to the 1971 made-for-TV movie Earth II
or the comic book of the same name
Contains examples of:
- The Ace: Alonzo Solace.
- After the End/Earth That Was: Earth is a shadow of its former self, polluted beyond repair, and most of humanity lives on space stations except for an underclass of miners.
- Bizarre Alien Ecology: The planet G889 is a superorganism, with various species of plants and animals performing symbiotic roles. The Terrians are the most obvious example, but other examples include polarized spider-like creatures whose webs regulate a series of natural electromagnetic teleportation tunnels that the planet "uses" to transport materials across its surface. There is also a flowering plant that uses other species as carriers for a catalyst to jump-start the spring season.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Grendlers aren't evil, they're just compulsive hoarders and traders, obsessed with collecting and bargaining. Sometimes this means they steal, but they're not evil, just weird. The problem is, they get drunk on human blood, and can easily be manipulated by the promise of blood. The Terrians are inextricably linked to the planet, as though the planet itself is alive and the Terrians are a part of that superorganism. They react with hostility to any perceived threat to their world. Again, neither they nor the colonists are evil. (Most of) the Terrians are willing to coexist, but make it clear that coexistence must be on their terms.
- New Mexico Doubling
- Cool Old Guy: Yale.
- Crapsack World: The space stations sound like this. The government is authoritarian and turns convicted criminals into brainwashed cyborgs. The stations are apparently run by the corporate aristocracies that built them, and indentured labor is a common way of buying one's family a place on the stations. Earth is polluted beyond recognition and the only people who live there are lowly miners that everyone else looks down on. The government also likes to experiment on unwitting civilians, deny the existence of a rare but deadly disease while families watch their children die, and sabotage attempts to colonize other planets because successful colonization would threaten their authority.
- Cyberspace: Used by the colonists to relieve boredom, and also for communication over long distances.
- Desert Punk: The show had elements of this, specifically the constant pressure to find water and other supplies, and the look of the weapons and vehicles.
- Dirty Coward: Morgan Martin.
- Does This Remind You of Anything? The humanoid but otherwise Starfish Aliens, the Terrians, are deeply connected to the land, share a mystical dream-state, and defend the planet against human colonial encroachment.
- Dueling Shows: Since Earth 2 was the first US Science Fiction TV series where the crew was led by a woman, it was seen as a dueling show with Star Trek: Voyager, which premiered a couple of months later and lasted much longer.
- Evil Laugh: Gaal does this a lot.
- Flash Forward: "The Boy Who Would Be Terrian King" episode.
- Government Conspiracy: Directed against the Colonists.
- Green Aesop
- Hollywood Cyborg: This show is filled with them. One of the main characters, Yale, is such a Cyborg, a reformed criminal given a new personality and used as a class of tutors for rich children on the space stations. Uly resembles a cyborg while inside his mechanical life support suit (and may technically count as one when in that state). Another type of cyborg, a military prototype with cybernetic and genetic augmentation, shows up later in the series.
- Human Popsicle: The colonists. Their ship either traveled at light speed or relativistic, near-light speed. The journey took over 20 years, so the colonists and the ship's crew were in cold sleep during this time. The show also explores the implications of this technology in the character of Alonso, the ship's pilot, who has spent more time in cold sleep on various missions than he has spent out of it, making him much older than he looks. Alonso says he's spent so much time asleep that he no longer dreams, until the Terrians use their dream plane to communicate with him telepathically.
- Ill Boy: Uly, afflicted with the mysterious Syndrome, theorized to be a result of the absence of a natural environment on the space stations.
- Littlest Cancer Patient: Ulysses is a particularly obnoxious example of the trope. Fortunately he's cured within the first four episodes.
- Mama Bear: Devon Adair.
- Meaningful Name: Terrians, from Terra, meaning "Earth"
- The Mole: the Eden Project's genetically-engineered medical officer turns out to be a spy for the Council. She got better.
- New Old West: The humans are settlers. The aliens are natives. The corrupt Federal government conspires against the rebellious colonists as well as the native aliens.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: Gaal.
- Obviously Evil: Being played by Tim Curry, Gaal is pretty obviously bad news the moment you see him.
- Odd Couple: A fussy station bureaucrat, Morgan, is married to Bess, a down-to-Earth miner's daughter
- Papa Wolf: Danziger.
- Penal Colony: The planet G889 was this before the colonists showed up. No one warned them, either.
- Product Placement: The rover, with HUMMER prominently displayed on its grill as it makes its way toward the camera.
- Psychic Dreams for Everyone: How the Terrians communicate.
- Robot Buddy: Zero.
- Screwed by the Network: The higher-ups didn't like having a female lead. They wanted the show to have more action and more sci-fi and fantasy elements. They wanted the show to appeal to a younger audience. Details for the second season included replacing Devon Adair with a new, male lead, and replacing Yale with a teenage cyborg character. Episode ideas included finding an ancient city and an alien spaceship on the planet.
- Settling the Frontier: The basic premise of the series.
- Starfish Aliens: Oh my. The Terrians have two arms, two legs, a torso and a head. That's where the similarities end. They're at various points said to resemble plants rather than animals, and even in one episode it's said the composition of their bodies matches the composition of the planet with which they share a symbiotic relationship. The colonists at one point even compared them to an insect colony, only that the planet itself is the "Queen." They burrow through the ground like a Sand Worm, and use a mystical dream plane to communicate with humans. They speak a trilling Starfish Language. It's also suggested their ancestors were more human-like than the modern Terrians, and may have been a technological civilization before they evolved in a race of ecotopians. The humans generally have a hard time understanding the Terrians' motivations.
- Time Lapse: Time-lapsed shots of clouds were frequently used to suggest the passage of time, as well as to make the New Mexico desert seem a little more surreal and alien, in keeping with the setting.