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A Look back at 'EARTH 2' 1994-95

Science Fiction series were peaking in the mid 90's, thanks to series like STAR TREK: TNG and DS9, THE X-FILES, SLIDERS and BABYLON 5. Most successful series were in syndication or on FOX. Not a lot a traction was being had on ABC, NBC or CBS. But, that didn't stop them from trying.

In 1994, NBC premiered EARTH 2. The series follows the journey and settlement of a small expeditionary group called the Eden Project, with the intent to journey to an Earth-like planet called G889 in an attempt to find a cure to an illness called "the syndrome".

About EARTH 2:
The year is 2192 and most of the human population live on large orbiting space stations as the Earth’s surface as become mostly uninhabitable.

A fatal disease called "the syndrome" has infected Billionaire Devon Adair's eight-year-old son, Ulysses. The "Syndrome" has a condition whose existence is not acknowledged by the government and medical community. It is theorized that this disease, which affects only children, is somehow caused by the lack of an Earth-like environment. Most children who are born with the disease do not live past the age of nine.

Desperate to save her son, Devon puts together a group who will pioneer and settle on a planet 22 light-years away from Earth. The eventual colonization of the planet, however, is opposed by the government. Secret monitoring and agent infiltration threaten the creation of the colony of New Pacifica. A bomb is discovered, set to explode the hour the ship would leave, but The Eden Project leaves immediately, jettisoning the bomb before detonation. The bomb was planted by the Council to stop the ship from leaving.

Twenty-two years later, the ship crash lands at G889, but on the side of the planet opposite of the original plan. With her group scattered on the planet and supplies missing, Devon begins heading west to the planned site of New Pacifica.

During their travels, Adair and her companions learn that the Council wants to gain control of G889 for resettlement. Through their various experiments, they have learned that they cannot remove one of the planet's native species — a race called the Terrians — without killing the planet. This complicates matters, because Devon's son, who has been healed by the Terrians and who had begun to exhibit some of their unique characteristics, has become the key to the Council's plan for the planet.

EARTH 2 was one of the better produced sci-fi series at the time. It premiered on Sunday, November 6th at 7:00pm to very strong ratings. 25.2 million viewers watched that first episodes, winning its time period and ranking 15th for the week. Before its holiday break game in mid December, it had already lost about half of its audience, averaging about 14 million viewers per episode.

When original episodes returned in early January of 1995, ratings had rebounded to nearly 19 million viewers. This was helped in part by its NFL playoff football lead in. Once NFL football was done, the ratings fell back to the 13-14 million range. By spring, less than 10 million viewers were watching EARTH 2.

EARTH 2 was not renewed  by NBC for a second season and on June 4th, at 10:00pm, the series finale aired to 8 million viewers.

EARTH 2 is typical of most sci-fi series that are not of an established property. Most want to like it, but it eventually becomes a niche program and only die-hard sci-fi fans wil watch it on a regular basis.

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