Earth Final Conflict: Season 1
One of the most popular themes in science fiction is the first contact between humanity and intelligent life from a planet other than ours. It provides an answer to one of the most persistent questions we have collectively asked as a species; ‘are we alone in this vast universe? After all there are literally an uncountable number of stars just in the small fraction of space we can see above us in the night sky; surely some are bound to have developed life. Many times stories of such meeting between us and them are intended to reveal some aspect of ourselves especially if it is highlighting one of our many foibles by either viewing them through alien eyes or reflected in their behavior. Many of these tales have become the basis for a television series. One of the most imaginative of the lot was ‘Earth: Final Conflict’. It depicts an alien race, the Taelons, who arrive on earth with promises of ushering a new era of peace and prosperity for humanity. They gave us amazing new technology including medical breakthroughs centuries ahead of us. Of course, any fan of the genre will admonish you to beware of aliens baring gifts. It doesn’t take long before at least some humans to discovery that these new ‘companions’ have more than one hidden agenda. The series was one of those that straddled the 20th and 21st starting its five season run in 1997. Some fan note that the series lost some of its focus after the first season but the show did manage to create and maintain a loyal fan bases through its run. The first and arguably best season, the first is now on DVD so all those fans with treasured video tape can start moving up to digital media. Hopefully Universal will not make us wait a year between season’s sets.
The premise for the series came from the talented and creative mind of a man who literally changed the face of Sci-Fi; particularly on television; Gene Roddenberry. As the creator ‘Star Trek ‘ he started a franchise that has grown to staggering proportions over the last forty five years and exhibits no signs of slowing down any time soon. ‘Final Conflict’ actually is a posthumous work for Roddenberry; it was based on extensive notes he made concerning a new idea for a series. The executive producer for the show was Roddenberry’s widow and ‘Star Trek’ alum Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. The basis for the original ‘Star Trek’ was western like ‘Wagon Train set in space. ‘Conflict’ comes across as a crime drama or perhaps spy thriller against a background of aliens on earth. This is where the first season is the strongest. It is the only season fully based on the original notes; the subsequent ones had the series’ writers taking over.
The series is set in the 21st century, three years after earth was visited by an extremely advanced race called the Taelons. They are a strange race with a type of cosmic spiritualism as a dominant part of their public affect. The seek refuge on our world in exchange for providing technology that will wipe away pollution, disease and war. The deal is attractive enough that the majority of the population and governments welcome the ‘companions’ but some humans had serious doubts about the true motives of our alien visitors and an underground resistance was formed. During a public appearance the companion delegated to North America, Da'an (Leni Parker) is almost assassinated. Ultra rich industrialist Jonathan Doors (David Hemblen) is wounded and thought to be dead but is actually part of the resistance. Boone is approached by the human head of security former FBI agent Ronald Sandoval (Von Flores) and offered the position of director of inter species affairs but initially refuses. After Boone’s wife is murdered he is taken to the side by Doors and asked to join the Taelons to gather information for the resistance. They have figured out a way to short circuit the brain implant that ensures devotions to the aliens and is mandatory for any human, like Sandoval, who works closely with them. The implant gives the human heightened senses, perfect recall and permits the use a living alien weapon attached to the wrist. Also part of the resistance is Lili Marquette (Lisa Howard), the pilot of the alien inter-dimensional shuttle craft and the ultimate computer hacker Augur (Richard Chevolleau) who can bend any computer or electronic system to hid will. The Taelons have an organically based technology growing what they need such as buildings and space ships. This does provide a visually fascinating backdrop for the action and a form of technology that is suitably just beyond what we have. The Taelons themselves are creatures of energy that take solid humanoid form for dealings with lower life forms such as us.
The series started off with a great deal of potential that fortunately was retained for this season. The character of Boone is a classic tragic hero whose personal search for the truth about his wife’s murder opens up to a larger realization about the true addenda of the Companions. The aliens have a sinister side, to be sure, but some like Da’an actually appear to like interacting with humans. Sandoval is very good as an antagonist but not purely evil enough as the primary bad guy. In this season the writers get away without a strong central villain since they are well occupied with the establishment of the back story and mythos vital to the plot lines. The episodes hold up very well a full decade down the line due to firm founding premise crated by a master of the genre. The full screen video is bright with excellent color palette that up converts extremely well on my Blu-ray player. The Dolby stereo is focused on the front but gets the job done nicely.