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DVD Review: EARTH 2

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PHOTOGRAPHY

EARTH 2 the Complete Series

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS:  21 episodes, deleted and extended scenes, outtakes, and two bonus episodes.

STUDIO:  Universal

RELEASE DATE:  7-19-2005

DISC 1, SIDE A:   FIRST CONTACT PART 1 & 2, THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (TWO)

DISC 1, SIDE B:  LIFE LESSONS, "PROMISES, PROMISES", A MEMORY PLAY

DISC 2, SIDE A:  WATER, THE CHURCH OF MORGAN, THE ENEMY WITHIN

DISC 2, SIDE B:  REDEMPTION, MOON CROOS, BETTER LIVING THROUGH MORGANITE PART 1

DISC 3, SID A:  BETTER LIVING THROUGH MORGANITE PART 2, GRENDLERS IN THE MYST, THE GREATEST LOVE STORY NEVER TOLD

DISC 3, SIDE B:  BRAVE NEW PACIFICA, AFTER THE THAW, THE BOY WHO WOULD BE TERRIAN KING

DISC 4, SIDE A:  SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, ALL ABOUT EVE, NATURAL BORN GRENDLERS

DISC 4, SIDE B:  FLOWER CHILD, deleted and extended scenes, outtakes

ANALYSIS:  When I first watched EARTH 2 back in 1994 (and 1995), I was a little disappointed by it.   However, when I watched the show for the first time in 10 years, I found EARTH 2 to hold up better than I remembered.   The show is like a Western as people set forth to settle a new frontier (which here means colonize a very alien planet).   The planet isn't entirely friendly to our fellow colonists.  They are forced to evacuate from the ship when an act of sabotage occurs.  The big reason for this colonization of an alien world is due to one reason: billionaire Devon Adair (Debrah Farentino) wants a healthy enviroment for her sick son Ulysses and other kids with the smae illness (which may be caused by living on the space stations for generations).

Other members of the cast include Clany Brown (John Danziger) playing a father/hero instead of the tougher/badder roles some may know him better for, Rebecca Gayheart, Antonio Sabato Jr. (as a pilot forced to deal with being stranded with the colonists on a journey to the other side of the continent), and Jessica Steen (as the doctor).   Two alien races inhabit the planet: the Terrians who are aprt of the planet (and communicate to people through dreams) and the scavenger Grendlers who cause many headaches for the colonists as the Grendlers have claimed the material out of some of the ship's scattered cargo pods.  EARTH 2's writing is sci-fi at it's very best (which they went about focusing on character instead of letting plot drive the episode), but sometimes it stumbles with episodes like FLOWER CHILD and sudden revealtions in ALL ABOUT EVE.  Guest stars for the show include Tim Curry, Terry O'Quinn, and Patrick Bauchau.   Many fans wanted EARTH 2 to last longer than a season, but I'm glad the show didn't return due to the horrible changes that were in store.   My favorite character was John Danziger, a working single father who didn't always agree with Devon (he's even willing to sacrfice himself in one episode).  Every character had their flaws like Morgan with his greed and look out for himself (and his wife) attitude.  Bonus points for including "previously on" bits (and even next episode promos at the end of several episodes).

BEST EPISODES:  FIRST CONTACT, THE ENEMY WITHIN, MOON CROSS, SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, ALL ABOUT EVE

NATURAL BORN GRENDLERS and FLOWER CHILD are shown out of order.  The first should have aired after FIRST CONTACT, but NBC decided to air it after the series finale, ALL ABOUT EVE.  FLOWER CHILD was the last episode to air and it should have come right before ALL ABOUT EVE.   I wish Universal put teh show in it's proper order instead of following the original NBC air order.

VIDEO:  1.33:1 Full Frame

For the most part, the video is top noptch, but you do see little things like the yellow patterning in the sky at the end of FIRST CONTACT and one scene being too dark (and grainy) during an episode on side B of disc 1.

AUDIO:  English 2.0 Dolby Surround

Subtitles:  English, French, and Spanish

Audio is also good most of the time, but other reviewers have noted that some audio drop outs and audio being out-of-sync in a few breif moments here and there.

SPECIAL FEATURES:  Universal usually don't include many or zero extras on their TV on DVD releases, but this time we get 7 1/2 minutes of deleted and extended scenes (which are all timecoded and in very good quality) and 6 minutes of outtakes (line flubs, breaking out into laughter, and practical jokes).  Then we have a Bonus episode of CLEOPATRA 2525 and the first season 3 episode of SLIDERS.  Too bad we don't have any featurettes or audio commentaries for EARTH 2.  It would have been worth the effort to interview the casts and creators, or even get the old NBC episode promos.  

FINAL ANALYSIS:  EARTH 2 fans will be happy that this classic sci-fi series has finally reached DVD.  If you haven't watched this series, give it a try.

this DVD Review is (c)8-9-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia