Earth: Final Conflict
One of CTV’s early successes with U.S series programming was Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. It enjoyed far better ratings in Canada than in the U.S., largely because NBC chose to schedule it at 8:30pm for the first two years, and then at 10pm in its third and final year. CTV, on the other hand, scheduled it at 7:30pm and then at 7:00pm (this was in the days before cable, when simulcasting was not an issue). This smart move gave them a big family audience, and the network was very disappointed when it was cancelled by NBC.
It was fitting, therefore, that when a 20-year-old pilot sci-fi script by the late Gene Roddenberry script came to light in the late 1990’s, it was CTV who jumped in to license the U.S./Canada series co-production that resulted. It dealt with an alien visitation to earth by a nation of people known as the Taelons, who professed to have come as friends, but had many hidden agendae.
Unfortunately, Earth: Final Conflict had very few of the script and performance values which had characterized Star Trek, and while the new series ran for five years in syndication in the U.S., CTV only hung in for two seasons before dropping out. The plots were confusing, characters came and went with alarming frequency, and although the series gained some degree of cult status, it was in all a major disappointment. Robert Leeshock, Kevin Kilner Anita La Selva and Lisa Howard were among the many actors who tried to make it all work.
Gene Roddenbery’s Earth: Final Conflict played on CTV on Fridays, 10:00pm – 11:00pm, in the 1997-98 season, moving to Saturdays, 7:00pm - 8:00pm in 1998-99. This time, however, the earlier scheduling didn’t help.
Written by Pip Wedge - February, 2003