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This part goes for the first season: E:FC was one of the most promising science fiction series I ve ever seen. The talons where so completely differnt from all the other alien races in other series. These were no humans with cheap makeup in the face (star trek anybody?), or the nasty nasty aliens from trash sci fi. This race were different. They had their goals, they had their owns definition of moral. But even though they have made "mistakes" in the first season too you always believed that they wanted to help the people. But not only the talons were good. The leading character (Boon), a spy working for the talons and the resistance at the same time. Wearing a alien life form as weapon, lost his wife due to the deeds of the talons, getting a good friend of Da'an. This character was really promising. So was Sandoval, who acted like he acted cause he had a working CVI. IMO the best story of the show was Sandovals freed from the CVI for a short time. Thats were you were able to see the real depth and tragedy of this character.
Now to the later seasons:
I hate them. They destroyed everything that was differnt about E:FC. Just take the new main character Liam. This guy got no past, no personality and he even loses his alien side! "Wheres your shakarawa liam? Oh, I lost it..." DOH!!! And on the top of this the talons became more and more the evil aliens we all know from thousand other science fiction stories...
I suggest you watch the first season of this series. Its really worth it. But then forget it. Dont watch the later seasons. They are destroying everything.
Year 1: near genius, entertaining, thought provoking.
Years 2-4: Mediocre, some nice short skirts from time-to-time but that's about all.
Year 5: Deus Ex Machina, and not in a good way. This season was a form of insanity. Watching the principles struggle through this silliness was very painful.
There are so many good TV shows today there's no point in watching this.
For older TV that blows away most of today's TV and movies check out:
The Prisoner (1967) The Singing Detective (1986) I, Claudius (1976)
It was clear from the beginning of the series that the story had been fairly carefully mapped out. The early ambiguous characterization of the Taelons became clearer as their motivations were revealed, and the righteous fear of the Resistance was confirmed; such gradual exploration of a complex storyline is one of the best elements of Sci-Fi television (I have no idea what semantic distinction is supposed to exist between "science fiction" and "SciFi"--fanatics are always inventing new layers of obfuscation to objectify their opinions). Unfortunately, E:FC has suffered from apparently unplanned cast changes: the departures of Kevin Kilner after the first season and Robert Leeshock after the fourth (though both have made brief return appearances) have plainly disrupted the story. The latter disruption has sapped the drama of its narrative drive, unfortunately; Jayne Heitmeyer's Renee was fine as a secondary character, but just doesn't have the stuff to carry the show. The introduction of the Atavus has the feel of last-minute scrambling too. The Taelons were a deft, sophisticated creation of a fascinating mind, while the atavistic hybrid that succeeded them would be more at home in a cheap horror story. If I'm wrong about the ad hoc storytelling, then Gene Roddenberry's bible wasn't as good as I had thought. In either case, the final season of Final Conflict has been a distinct disappointment.
The pilot episode written by Gene Roddenberry is excellent, but the show goes nowhere, all hugger mugger and no real story. Roddenberry's basic idea, that contact between humans and superior aliens will not be all black and white but will be filled with ambiguities, is a good one. Later writers, however, think in terms of good aliens and bad aliens. The use of female actors to play androgynous aliens was a good idea, but in later seasons everybody except Da'an overdoes it. In the third season, there are a number of scripts by Howard Cheykin, who is an excellent writer, and who wrote some memorable episodes of The Flash TV series, as well as some great graphic novels. However, he is unable to do anything here, because he is locked in to what is really not a workable story line. I have not watched the fifth season, but I have read that it throws out most of what was established in the first four. For scifi completists only.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I see I'm not alone in my opinion that this show started off with much
promise and lost it along the way. I've read a few of the comments and many
Instead of rehashing the same opinions and going where everybody's gone before, I will add a few of my own thoughts on the series. There are some spoilers ahead but since the series had run its course I will only give this sparse warning.
It's obvious Roddenberry's concept was fascinating as we can see in s1. What makes me wonder is just what WAS the original concept for the following seasons? What elements followed his concept and where did the show depart? It would seem that the concept of the Taelons' desire to use humanity to help them defend against the Jaridians was part of the original concept. So was the concept that humans had the potential to help but were not considered sufficiently evolved; the tension arising from the Taelons' differing views on what to do about it. It would also seem the ultimate resolution to this conflict was to be the joining of the Taelons and Jaridians with the help of the humans.
But what went awry? How detailed were Roddenberry's notes and where were the writers left on their own? What I noticed in general is that the series lacked CONTINUITY. One gets the feeling the writers were constantly changing their minds.
As has been noted, cast changes, starting with Boone's death, did not help keep the continuity. Liam's character was an example of this changing of direction and concept. First, his appearance was too "magical". He was too superhuman, in contrast to Boone's very human character. OK, fine. If you're going to have a superhuman character; then let him play the role and let the 'human' drama play around him. Yet suddenly we see Liam, this 'chosen being', acting more and more like an ordinary human. A change of direction. Then it's obvious the writers change their mind again and try to humanize him. They later even made him 'completely human', which completely contradicted his original concept. It became obvious the writers were changing their minds about what they wanted him to be. His character changes were symptomatic of the overall treatment of the series as it progressed.
Much of the overall concept and 'feel' seemed to keep changing as well. Most drastically in s5 when it's painfully obvious this was an ad hoc plot extension. Possibly because the show was supposed to end at the end of s4 but then they decided to stretch it out another season. Sorry - didn't work. s5 was an entirely different show from s1.
I don't believe I've ever seen a show decline quite the way this one did. I don't even consider s5 as part of the original concept... but even s1-s4 seemed to lose it after the original season. Which is too bad as it could have been one of the most interesting SciFi series ever.
Probably not enough of the mediocre typical TV viewing audience understood s1. One can only imagine that the forces of big-business media, which endlessly panders to the lowest common denominator, is the force which eroded what was initially an interesting concept.
There is no doubt Gene Roddenberry is a genius. Earth Final Conflict
deserves to be measured in the same greatness as Star Trek. Equally superb
vision and equally enjoyable.
What set EFC apart was it's amazing realism. The producers went to great lengths to fuse Taelon technology into earth's daily lives. The atmosphere alone is awesome. The characters are very human, even the Taelons. Despite their tranquil and sedated movements, they have their good and evil sides just like the rest of us. It is amazing how Gene Roddenberry was able to conceive that in a believable alien context. In the show, the Resistance is fighting as much against the Taelons as against humans. Every episode was filled with suspense. EFC is the prove that good story can win without huge SFX budgets. Mr. Roddenberry, YOU'RE THE BEST!
The consistent cast changes did hurt the show. But every thing was still in order: the Taelons with their hidden agendas, the humans still mixed with conflicting thoughts about their alien visitors. It's sad to see characters come and go, but the spirits were not lost. It is a little sad to see such a good show on a slow downward spiral. The realism is slowly taken over with special effects. Open land is replaced with Taelon-styled interiors, our heros' pistols are replaced with energy weapons, etc. But all were still in order......until the Atavus arrived.
That spelt the end of EFC (much like the marriage killed the Lois & Clark show). It took away a large part of what made the show interesting. The Taelons are gone, the humans no longer seem human, and the plot gets slower and slower by the episode. All the original characters are gone except Palmer. And the intelligence that was seen in earlier seasons are gone. I'm not going to get into details of why people didn't like season 5. It held together only long enough to give EFC a decent ending. I guess Mr. Roddenberry's notes were all used up by season 4. I bet this show would have excelled if he himself were here to steer it as it goes.
Despite its evident failure in season 5, EFC remained one of my favourites. It's a look into humans, and what we would have done if aliens do come. ("aliens" here refering to higher intelligence, not every other race of destructive monsters seen in other shows and movies)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
... but, keep an 'open mind'.
I was a teenager (about 17-18) when I saw the first season on my local TV (back in '98) and I was immediately obsessed with this "alien" series! I do not recall that any TV show had such a strong impact on my poor little SciFi soul since I was a kid (hint: Star Trek - The Next Generation). This was something completely different, deep and exciting at the same time. I do not recall if any SciFi show took the challenge portraying a possible human-alien relationship in a deep social & philosophical way except EFC. Forget naive, mediocre, cheap plots served in most SciFi series (well, including famous The X-Files saga) with unexplored/unexplained "conspiracy" in the background. This show had had "something", I cannot define exactly what, some secret chemistry which filled every part of my heart & soul. Outstanding visual appearance, genuine alien make-up (& voice altering technique) created truly realistic in-depth portrait of the Taelons aliens in such a fashion unseen ever before. Every SciFi fan's dream almost became reality. Until recent months I was unable to see rest of the seasons and all this years I was really building a great expectation for it.
Where's Boone? First half of the season 2 had some serious problems, actors struggled with lack of continuity, Lisa Howard (Lili Marquette) and Richard Chevalleau (Augur) had a hard task to accept Richard Leeshock (Liam Kincaid) as their new "true" leader (so, Boone was just "warming us up"). Stories were predictable, with not enough philosophical depth. In fact, I think that entire 2nd season was a repetition of the very same stories (in mixed order) from the previous season - with the only one difference - main character was switched! Second half of season 2 finally landed on it's feet and succeeded to establish new order (deal with it - or leave). Liam and Lili became a "team" against the Taelons, with help of Augur, off course, great finale of season 2 was brilliant and unpredictable. Okay, I forgive "them" for the Boon's dead, just leave the main crew intact, OK?
Wait, now Lili's gone, too!? Season #3 - new shock! I thought that no one will ever leave this show (with great potential and initial story), but devil's never asleep. Again, stupid storyline, whenever a leading character "has to leave", writers incorporate that cheap moral stuff like: "This is my destiny" or "I have to leave now... I feel it was meant to be". Anyway, season #3 was interesting in some moments, but not in original fashion that season 1 introduced. Introduction of Renee Palmer (Jayne Heitmeyer), actress that really has a potential but def. not in SciFi series (rather in some action/love genre) gave a hard effort to look as realistic resistance fighter. Later, in season #3 she manages to grasp chemistry with Liam, but that will never be the same as Lili had with Boone. Kevin Kilner was great, his face had so many layers - it looked as he was serious & smiling at the same time, it was mystical, same as show. Liam's appearance was so much simpler, naive, how should I say... straight forward ("I am a good guy, you can trust me"). Reccuring role of Lisa Howard as Lili Marquette at the season #3 finale was very poor and disappointing for me. I expected much serious approach, there was no trace of old Lili I've used to know, she changed a lot somehow... a warrior, a temperament mystic girl evolved to a soft 'mother'. (Personal observation: Lisa Howard was pregnant during the season #2 and eventually became mother in real life (daughter Sofia), so this was maybe the intended "parallel" writers used in the show, but that was so off-the-original-course I actually expected - a much serious real Jaridian invasion was in order).
And so the 4th season began... guess who's missing now? Frustration about Lili left a bitter taste in my mouth, now Augur left the series from this point (appeared later in 3 episodes as a guest star) and was "replaced" with some neurotic funny girl named Street (Melinda Deines). Perhaps casting personnel really discovered Melinda on the street and that's how she got her name "Street" in the show. :) First half of season #4 was pretty much the same thing as major episodes in season #3, even worse 'cause Augur wasn't there; constant drifting around the same plot variations (e.g. Taelon conspiracy & experiments on humanity), simple, one-dimensional characters and plot layering almost burned out all the efforts incorporated before. But suddenly there comes a breakthrough: from the episode 4.13 "Dark Matter" series finally finds new way, almost sound like the writers decided to get back on original course and from that point new hope reveals on dark horizon. Unfortunately, not for long
And now for something completely different: No more Taelons, no more Da'an (great Leni Parker and yes, she's a woman!), no more Jaridians... only beasts and Pam Anderson :) I really wasn't strong enough to watch entire last season. Complete disaster of anything was told from the very beginning, a rip-off version other mediocre shows like Buffy, Angel, poor elements of Alien (Sigurney Weaver). New faces came out of nowhere brings the show to the dead end. Even Boone's Awakening was done intensionally, probably to boost poor TV rating... for viewer's sake, why didn't awakened him few years earlier???
Final words: Conclusion is impossible for such a multi-dimensional series (after all), there's always a hope (as Da'an used to say): some day humanity will evolve to a new level (maybe) where those mistakes seen in this TV series won't happen anymore. Maybe there will be a remake some day, even full feature movie (who knows), but for me now only exists 4 seasons of this great show and I imagined my own version of the end. ;-)
Well, WHAT have they done to my favorite show?? Earth: Final Conflict used to be a wonderful series. In the first season, it was about a contact with a truly _different_ alien race, called the Taelons. Outwardly peaceful and benevolent, secretly altering the future of humanity. They weren't evil, just desperate (although we didn't know it). They weren't good, because they did bad things to us. Then came the second season. Lots of action. Little thought. Liam. Liam is a hybrid. Half Kimeran (another alien race), half human. He quickly became Mr. Superman-like-character. This was _BAD_ TV. Now we are presented with season 3. Pretty good, although Liam is as stiff as ever, Renee is his sidekick (both characters are so flat they could practically interchange lines at any point). Perhaps season 4 will be better. I doubt it though. There is something wrong with the writers on this show. Unless you are looking for disappointment when s4 gets here, don't get too involved.
When Kevin Kilner left at the end of the first season, the show lost it's heart. They killed off the principal character and his drive and the show shriveled up for a while. Leeshock and his character eventually adjusted but the story still suffered, with the Taelons having so many twists and turns that they lost all mystique; now Leeshock's character is presumably dead and now there's Heitymeyer and her character with an almost Buffy:the Vampire Slayer storyline. The show has lost it's direction more than once in 5 years-what else would you expect since Rodenberry's notes could only last so long and hack writers take over? and it's time that they brought things to a merciful end.
I'm shocked to see so many negative ratings. Earth Final Conflict
presents a storyline in which the concept of humanity is constantly
being challenged. Rather than focusing on a battle between "good" and
"evil", EFC focuses on the shades of gray in between. If you're looking
for a series with loads of scantly-clad alien chicks, explosions and
lightsaber battles then this is not the series for you. The strength of
this series lies in its social commentary and also in its exploration
of refreshing concepts: aliens that are weak and charismatic rather
than predatory; strong and unique female characters; cutthroat villains
that are somehow tragic and admirable.
As for EFC's weaknesses: William Boone is somewhat monotone in his delivery, yet by the end of the series he still comes across as a likable character. Liam Kincaid is the stereotypically perfect, morally righteous character. While every other character undergoes moments where their moralistic nature fails, Liam comes across as a Jesus figure, which may be accepted by some while scorned by others. It's true that Season 5 completely destroyed the series. It felt like a complex battle of wits and treachery was suddenly transformed into an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That said, Season 1-4 presents a science fiction that is fresh and captivating.
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