Earth 2 (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.