Series: Earth: Final Conflict
They are the companions. Aliens come to earth on a mission of peace. Their true mission and the secrets they hide forever altering humanity.
— Season 2 introduction
"There are powers that you do not understand guarding you, Liam" Earth: Final Conflict
is a television series that lasted from October 1997 to May 2002, for a total of 110 episodes in 5 seasons. Like Andromeda
, this is not a show Gene Roddenberry
managed to create from his grave, but was produced by his widow Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. Everything that he demanded from Star Trek
(like a positive view on the future, no internal character conflicts, to make exploration and not war) are completely absent. The only Trek it bares the vaguest of resemblance to is Deep Space 9
for the prominence of properly masked dei ex machina, the everlasting feel that "it was all meant to be" and, in no uncertain terms, the multidimensional depth
of both the Villains
and the Heroes
. The name of the show was originally going to be Battleground: Earth
, but the producers wanted to avoid sounding too similar to Battlefield Earth
As the title might suggest, it takes place on Earth, a very lethal place as many characters die
swiftly after being introduced. It's also one of the few series to kill off its lead after the first season. The series starts by showing us it has been three years since a Sufficiently Advanced Alien
race called the "Taelons" arrived on Earth. They have since removed all hunger, war, and societal ills from our planet, but a human resistance movement
(known, appropriately, as The Resistance
) essentially wants to know the price-tag for all these benefits. Naturally, it turns out that the Taelons have a hidden agenda.
It takes Always Chaotic Evil
, tells it it sucks, and then throws it through a portal into space. The alien species in the show seem even more divided than humans in their political goals and even more so in how to achieve them. The Taelons aren't outright evil at all, the Taelon characters are as diverse in how evil they are as the human ones
. And it turns out to be a lot more complex as both species are intertwined into some extremely vague
purpose and need each other for survival. The second main character also was an alien hybrid
. In a lot of ways, it was like V
more complex and with no clear good guy, bad guy or motivations.
Infamous for its final season, which radically altered the show's cast (again) and very premise to the point of it being more like a Spin-Off
. A previous supporting character suddenly became the protagonist, and the Taelons were replaced with a much less ambiguously villainous species.
This TV series provides examples of:
- Action Girl. Lili Marquette, Renée Palmer.
- Alien Catnip: Bliss, based on a plant that was thought completely destroyed millennia ago.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: In one episode, a huge Jaridian fleet is detected on approach to Earth. Panicking, the Taelons get the hell out of dodge despite the pleas by the world governments to help. It was all a trick by Jaridian agents, who use a probe to generate ship signatures and try to render Earth uninhabitable before the Taelons come back.
- Alternate Reality: Liam and Augur end up on an alternate Earth where the Taelons are busy conquering humanity. Additionally, humans never built cities and remained in harmony with nature, which didn't stop them from building advanced weapons (it's not explained where they got the industry without cities). They find many duplicates of people they know, although some of them have different names (e.g. Alternate!Sandoval is called Jason).
- Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: Season two's "Dimensions".
- Anyone Can Die to a ridiculous extent; only one main character isn't killed off throughout its entire run, and hardly a lead character at that.
- An extension from this is that all of Renée's love interests end up dead at one point or another. Boone and Liam are the only ones who come back from the dead, but Boone is then killed off-screen.
- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Discussed in one episode, where Zo'or and T'than engage in the Taelon version of a duel to the death. Sandoval asks how this is possible, as Taelon mentality (and their psychic link) supposedly prevents them from killing one another. Da'an explains that they are playing a strategy game that requires a Taelon to use all his energy to try to win, even if that will completely drain him. Thus, the victor does not feel responsible for the death. Zo'or nearly loses, but he previously convinces Sandoval that his survival is essential to the Taelons, and Sandoval helps him cheat. An emergency stops the duel before T'than is forced to give up his energy. Subverted later when Zo'or murders T'than by completely draining him.
- Apocalypse How: Planetary and Species Extinction for the Jaridians, whose homeworld inexplicably implodes in Season 5. Renee briefly mentions this.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: A scientist in an early episode experiments with some Taelon technology and ends up jumping Evolutionary Levels to a god-like status. She chooses to leave rather than mess with either humanity or the Taelons.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy. Of course a lot of major events and people in history somehow relate to alien interference.
- Baby Factory: Not onscreen, though they're occasionally mentioned.
- BFG: In one episode, we get a glimpse of a project called Forge, which turns out to be a giant anti-space cannon, capable of firing through ID space. Its ammo? A cubic mile of lava from Earth's core.
- Child by Rape - Liam "Kincaid" - The Kimera Ha'Gel, Last of His Kind, essentially goes on a spree to try and procreate. His "mates" are not able to withstand the experience. Ha'gel ends up overpowering both Sandoval and Beckett to produce Liam, the hero of seasons 2&3. Liam doesn't seem to acknowledge his alien parent any more than he absolutely has to (to the point of considering Sandoval, the show's Magnificent Bastard as his "real" father), and gets to tell Ha'Gel off later.
- Child Of Two Worlds: Liam mostly identifies as human, but his alien ancestry does seem to give him a greater rapport with the Taelons.
- Coconut Super Powers. Apparently Liam Kincaid has the Shaqarava but he hardly uses it and it's finally explained by that he becomes more human over time.
- Continuity Nod - Because of season five's radically different premise, any reference it makes to the first four seasons seem like this instead of actual continuity. It's most extreme during the series finale; after an entire season of only hearing the phrase 'core energy' once or twice, down from it being an original, pivotol plot point and mentioned often, we are suddenly reminded of how important it was when the Taelon mothership itself nearly dies from a lack of sustinence. It probably says something about the quality of season five's new characters that the mothership being saved is a high point of the finale.
- Cool Star Ship : The Taelon Mothership. Appearing almost transparent in space, save for strings of light going through the ship, a living being capable of regenerating and indeed, growing or shrinking itself referred to as a "she" by the Taelons, and had firepower capable of devastating a planet.
- Data Pad: "Globals" were exactly like Real Life smartphones, years before smartphones appeared on the market.
- David Versus Goliath: A Jaridian Sokara-class cruiser is on its way through a wormhole to attack Earth. With no way out, Liam takes a tiny Taelon shuttle to meet it. Guess who wins? It helps that ID-portal cores explode quite spectacularly when ejected.
- Emotional Maturity Is Physical Maturity
- Energy Beings The Taelons, the Kimera. The Kimera however look to be entirely energy - except when they feel like it and pretend to be some matter based life form. The fact that the Taelons are energy based is a key part of the show's storyline too.
- Also a rare Deconstruction; beings made of energy have to contend with the fact that they expend that energy by living. The true, epic level of Zo'or's arrogance over their evolution into Energy Beings shows when we learn that they're actually an evolutionary dead-end; they have no way of naturally replenishing that energy.
- The reason they're an evolutionary dead-end is because they did not arrive to this state naturally. They started out as a cult of on the Atavus homeworld that performed a dangerous experiment to steal core energy from the majority of the race to extend the lifespan of the cultists at the expense of the rest of the species. Thus the Taelons and the Jaridians were created, the former living for millennia while the latter living for only a few decades before being burned alive by their destabilizing physiology. The Taelons were further changed by the Kimera who helped them to arrive at their current state. So, yes, there is nothing natural about either the Taelons or the Jaridians.
- Expendable Clone: After Zo'or and Sandoval put a tracker into Liam's body, Street has him duplicated using a specially-modified ID-portal and some quantum mechanics, keeping the original in an induced coma. She specifies that the duplicate will, soon enough, cease to exist due to his quantum nature. At the end of the episode, the duplicate performs a Heroic Sacrifice, giving Renee and Da'an time to escape.
- Expository Theme Tune / Opening Narration
- Expy: The mothership's look is a dead ringer for the underwater aliens' technology in The Abyss.
- Half-Human Hybrid in Liam Kincaid more properly Liam Sandoval-Beckett but no one calls him that, ever. He has three parents, two human and one Kimera and ends up with a kind of triple stranded DNA helix and a few special abilities. The entire manner of it is convoluted but the Kimera race were extremely advanced and had a demonstrative skill in genetic manipulation.
- Humans Are Bastards. A vast portion of humans are just as bad as some aliens are. Ronald Sandoval being a fine example. Even in this the show has non-trivial shades of gray, as in the first season Sandoval is being unwittingly controlled by an alien brain implant, and when that becomes defective, he maintains his appearance of being evil for the purpose of secretly destroying the aliens from the inside.
- Human Popsicle - a Roman guy Ma'el placed in stasis to be awakened every 100 years to see if the Taelons have disregarded his warning and came to Earth. Should that happen, the guy is supposed to ram the Mothership with Ma'el's ship.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: An assassin whose preferred weapon is a telescopic baton with Absurd Cutting Power, gets undone by his own weapon after Liam kicks him, causing the baton to extend through the assassin. Also, happens to Sandoval in the Grand Finale after Rene kicks him off a catwalk.
- Interstellar Weapon: One episode features a weapon that shoots lava from the Earth's core through ID space that can hit planets in other galaxies.
- I Regret Nothing: Sandoval says this as he dies.
- Kangaroo Court - In a fifth season episode, a radical judge kidnaps various people, including Renée Palmer, and tries them without a jury for "crimes against humanity" before executing them in a gruesome way. Luckily, the authorities show up just in time to spare Renée the same fate. The judge deliberately twisted the facts to prove his point, blaming Renée for things that others did.
- Laser Blade: An assassin makes those and uses them to kill people and frame others for the murders.
- Last of His Kind:
- Ha'gel, the last Kimera
- Ra'jel, the last Taelon in Seaon 5. He also claims to be the first, which might mean he was the first to be connected to the Commonality.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Zo'or is Da'an's child, which doesn't stop either from plotting against the other. To make matters worse, Liam is Sandoval's biological son, although the latter does not know.
- The Milky Way Is the Only Way: Averted. The Taelon-Jaridian war stretches over several galaxies. The Taelon homeworld is stated to be in the Ma'hu'ra'va galaxy, wherever that is.
- 90% of Your Brain : To explain the function of the CVI.
- Oireland: The Episode "The Secret of Strandhill" is set in an alternate Ireland where the Companions are responsible for the Tuatha de dAnnan myths and unifying the New United Republic of Ireland under Northern Rule.
- Organic Technology: The Taelons prefer semi-organic devices and structures. They look cool and can function on their own. The downside? They are subject to the same problems as living beings (e.g. disease, need to feed). The prime example are the Skrill, who are millipede-like sentient beings that were captured and genetically-altered by the Taelons to serve as weapons for their human servants. The Taelons fear them, as the Skrills' natural ability to emit energy blasts can kill them.
- Playful Hacker: Augur. Later, Juliet Street.
- Portal Network: ID-portal stations are set up throughout the world that allow nearly-instantaneous travel, pretty much eliminating the need for any other method of mass transportation. Initially, the process took some time, but it was actually a plot by the Taelons to experiment on the travelers on their Moon base. Even after the Taelons are gone, the portal stations remain, as the technology is well-known to humans by now.
- Product Placement: For the now-defunct MCI brand.
- Properly Paranoid: The Resistance
- Psychic Link: The Taelon Commonality. The link is important, as being cut off results in the Taelon reverting to a primitive, beast-like state.
- Ramming Always Works: The Taelon mothership is nearly destroyed when Ma'el's ship takes off and accelerates on a collision course.
- Recurring Character. Like DS9 the show had a ridiculous amount of recurring characters, some of which being on par or even far above main characters in screen time at certain parts.
- Secret Other Family: Lili finds out that her father had another family and meets her half-sister.
- The Starscream - Two big ones:
- Sandoval, the only character to appear in every single season as a regular, really doesn't like any of his bosses.
- Zo'or gets his position via scheming and manipulation.
- Sterility Plague: The Companions are sterile; Zo'or is the last one to have been born. One episode reveals that the mothership contains the energy-being equivalent to a hatchery, but the ship itself won't allow more Taelons to be born until the Core Energy problem is solved. Their fate when the few surviving Taelons Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence is not addressed.
- The Stoic: Doors, Sandoval.
- In a later episode, it's stated the Taelons have no emotions, although all one has to do is take a look at Zo'or who gets mad at the drop of a hat. Da'an also shows plenty of emotions.
- Story Arc: The entire purpose behind the Taelon's conquest of various non-space-faring species is a search for some sort of genetic missing link they lost when they converted into beings of energy; this deficiency leaves them without the ability to actually generate the energy they burn by simply existing. The human genome contains the solution, but by the time its discovered and used, nearly all of the species has died out anyway and the survivors Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, leaving a vacuum for Season 5's new villains.
- Subspace or Hyperspace: Used constantly both for FTL Travel and rapid intercontinental travel on Earth. A ship in ID-space looks like it's moving through a low-res version of reality. The Jaridians appear to have their own means of FTL Travel, which is considerably slower than ID-portal drives and are constantly trying to steal ID-portal technology.
- They Were Holding You Back: Boon's wife.
- Thirty Xanatos Pileup : All the time in the first four seasons, since just about every Taelon seems to have their own (sometimes violently contradicting) agenda, and many of the humans have their own agendas and the skills and resources to pursue them. It's quite astonishing how thoroughly at cross purposes the Taelons can operate, given they have a form of shared consciousness and memory.
- Transferable Memory: A device is introduced later that allows one to vividly relive certain memories, but is also capable of recording them and playing them back for anyone else (human or Taelon). This is used to blackmail a politician with the memory of his night with a prostitute. Liam accidentally receives memories of an SI War vet, who lost his legs in the fight. For a few hours after that, Liam is unable to walk.
- Twist Ending - The show wasn't afraid to reveal that characters two seasons old had secretly been plotting against what they seemed the whole time. The actual finale, however, is a relatively straightforward fight to stop Howlyn from regaining control of his starship and the hibernating army it contains.
- Unusual User Interface: Taelon shuttles are piloted using a hand gesture based system. However, the interface was specifically designed for humans.
- Vampiric Draining: The Atavus, as shown in Season 5, are half-energy beings that need to frequently absorb human energy to sustain themselves. They do so by extending energy claws and inserting them into the victim's body. It's claimed by an Atavus boy that this is not necessary on the Atavus homeworld, implying that Earth's energy field lacks a crucial component that the Atavus require.
- When It All Began - With the arrival of the Taelons
- Artistic License - Biology - With particular emphasis on Hollywood Evolution and No Biochemical Barriers.
- Every alien species is DNA based, even energy beings. Even robots. They are often created by “mapping DNA” onto robotic bodies.
- Liam's DNA is a triple helix, composed of two strands human and one strand Kimera DNA, presumably one strand from each of his three parents. In reality, each strand in a double helix is the precise mirror of the other.
- Evolution happens in one lifetime rather than over many. And it has a direction: life is a ladder rather than a tree. It turns out that forcing this, however, has consequences.
- At least on episode attempts to Hand Wave this. A human who has "evolved" past the Taelons makes an off-handed comment implying that what's happening isn't actually "evolution" in the sense humans understand it, but the English Language lacks appropriate terminology.
- You Look Familiar: Dean McDermott played the real Liam Kincaid in Season 2,the man whose name the hybrid Liam took. Near the end, he returned in a recurring role as Renee's army lawyer boyfriend.
- Beckett and Rho'ha were both played by Kari Matchett.