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Earth II (1971 TV movie)

 
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 10:44 pm    Post subject: Earth II (1971 TV movie) Reply with quote

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Good special effects and a good cast make this TV movie worth watching, even though the story is a trifle dull.

It involves the mostly routine activities of a sizable space station with 2,000 inhabitants. One of the non-routine activities is the astronauts' efforts to deal with a drifting A-bomb that threatens the station.






The cast includes Anthony Franciosa (TV's "Matt Helm"), Lew Ayres ("Donovan's Brain"), Gary Lockwood ("2001: A Space Odyssey"), Gary Merrill ("Destination Inner Space", "The Power"), and Mariette Hartley ("Genesis II"). Directed by Tom Gries.
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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?


Last edited by Bud Brewster on Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:54 am; edited 2 times in total
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Pow
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember seeing this TV-movie that also served as a pilot & enjoying it & the wonderful cast.

I do question as to just how this would have fared as a weekly series.

Could the writing staff have created riveting stories each & every week that were entirely set on board a space station?

This appeared to be the kind of sf show that would try to remain close to reality as it could.

So no aliens,alien spaceships,time travel,parallel universes & all that phenomena.

Cool looking design for Earth II I must say.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
I do question as to just how this would have fared as a weekly series.

Could the writing staff have created riveting stories each & every week that were entirely set on board a space station? This appeared to be the kind of sf show that would try to remain close to reality as it could.

So no aliens, alien spaceships, time travel, parallel universes & all that phenomena.

I gather from this comment and others you've made that 95% of an interesting science fiction story must be comprised of the highly theoretical type concepts.

I like those kinds of stories too, but hard science stories are just as good if they're done right. They require more work, so they're rare, unfortunately.

Have you ever watched any episodes of the old TV series Men Into Space? The stories are terrific, and they're based on the speculations of the finest minds in the field of space exploration -- ten years before man landed on the moon. And they predicted many of actually events of the space program.

-- All done without aliens, alien spaceships, time travel, and parallel universes.

If you haven't seen these, give them a try. These are real science fiction -- not just space fantasy, which is how Georgia Lucas has always defined Star Wars.




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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud, I am not saying that intriguing sf stories must be comprised of "highly theoretical concepts."

Andromeda Strain, Colossus: The Forbin Project, & so forth are some of my fav films.

The TV-pilot Plymouth was also excellent & took a more realistic approach about what life would be like for a colony on the moon.

My point is you cannot ignore the enormous challenge of writing a weekly TV series utilizing these kind of premises.

I've read a large number of interviews over the years by television series creators/writers.

Even with what would appear as a concept with unlimited story potential,such as a star ship that can travel anywhere in the galaxy, it becomes tough to churn out new,innovative plots each week.

Star Trek (TOS) ran into that problem,among many others.

So when I see a sf TV-Pilot such as Plymouth which was very well written & had superb production values, I do question (but never say never) how they will pull such a sf show off facing limited budgets & the hell of getting out a new episode every 7 days within their concept.

Plymouth was a very credible TV-movie about humans living on the moon.This was not going to be a series involving aliens, other worldly space craft, time travel, & so forth.

I enjoyed P but wondered how will they keep our interest each & every week under the demands of a weekly show.

In contrast, Disney who did Plymouth also did a TV-movie pilot called Earth*Star Voyager about a star ship. Some good production values & sets & cast. It was nowhere near as well done as Plymouth.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
My point is you cannot ignore the enormous challenge of writing a weekly TV series utilizing these kind of premises.

I've read a large number of interviews over the years by television series creators/writers.

Even with what would appear as a concept with unlimited story potential,such as a star ship that can travel anywhere in the galaxy,it becomes tough to churn out new,innovative plots each week.

Ah-ha. Excellent points. It's easy to spin out ideas like we do here, but tough to make them real when you have to deal with a limited budget, a tight shooting schedule, and Morlocks in three-piece suits who sit in corner offices and cancel shows because they don't spit out money like a fire hose.

Still, your statement accurately describes the problem as being just as tough when producing shows that focus on "hard science" as it is for shows that deal with the more esoteric concepts. And I agree with that. Good writers can handle both.

Your comment points out that the problem isn't really with the writing of good stories -- it's the writing of good stories within the time and money constraints.

I guess that's why we now have fine series which have longer shooting schedules and offer a limited number of episodes per season -- like "Doctor Who" and (the best example of all) "Sherlock", with three episodes every two years!

These are examples of a trend towards quality being valued over quantity -- and a realization that in the production of movies and TV shows, the old saying "You get what you pay for," definitely applies.

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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, Bud, TV shows back in the 60s & 70s had small writing staffs. Many scripts were also done from independent writers not strictly connected to a particular show.

Nowadays most, if not all, TV shows have quite large writing staffs supporting a series. In addition they also solicit scripts from writers that are not a part of the show.

I believe that they must do this under the rules of Writers Guild.

I'm guessing that having a large staff probably is a major plus for a show as you have more fresh ideas churning out consistently. They also can be constructive critics of other staff writers plots.

Star Trek (TOS) had Gene Roddenberry & Gene Coon writing & editing. That was essentially the staff; the majority of the scripts were done by outsiders.
From what I've read about this kind of setup it was extremely intense & stressful for both Gene's to handle it all.

By the time ST:TNG came around the days of a small writing staff were ending & TNG had a fairly big staff compared to the original series.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Enjoy the trailer for this one. Very Happy
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__________________ Earth II - Official Trailer


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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Youtube has a surprisingly good version of this movie! I recommend you download it before they yank the plug on it like they so often do!
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________________________ Earth 2 (1971)


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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?


Last edited by Bud Brewster on Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:15 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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I watched Earth II today. Despite great sets and special effects, the "science" in this TV movie is absolutely awful! I won't bother to list all the screw ups here, you'll just have to watch it yourself (or part of it) to see what I mean.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And that's my point regarding productions that have bad science in 'em, Bud.

By doing so it takes me out of watching a movie or TV show & ruins my willing suspension of disbelief.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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I completely agree! A science fiction movie whose story falls apart because of bad science is not enjoyable to me, regardless of it's other virtues.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And there's no excuse for allowing bad science.

Any sci-fi television series can hire scientific experts to consult with regarding scripts.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Earth II" was first aired on November 28, 1971 as not only a TV-movie, but as a pilot for a weekly series.

It was written by the team of Alan Balter & William Read Woodfield whose credits include "The Outer Limits," "Mission:Impossible," "The Time Tunnel," & "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."

It was directed by Tom Gries who created the WWII TV series "The Rat Patrol."

The shuttles were from designs that were being tested by NASA.

The Earth II Space Station design was supplied by Rice University, Texas. And an excellent looking space station it is to this day.

I just re-watched this yesterday on good ole' Youtube which has a decent copy of the TV-movie.

I still find this an intriguing TV-movie with some marvelous scenarios and a fine cast.

One scene that I appreciate now more than ever was during a debate between residents on E II.

Whenever there is a need to have a discussion that will affect the inhabitants of E II, a "Debate and Decision" is called for.

The D&D takes place in a conference room and the discussion is shown station-wide to everyone in a television broadcast.

Every adult individual gets a vote.

During the debate a sophisticated station computer instantaneously analyzes the words & arguments that are used by individuals in real time.

The computer then puts up subtitles on the bottom of the screen in order to help better inform viewers.

Such phrases as "Emotional appeal," "No evidence of this conclusion," and "Argument presented in unbiased terms," appear on the screen.

A magnificent idea that certainly could be applied to the debates or speeches made by our politicians today.

We are getting there as the various news networks do fact checks after a political debate. Unlike E II where the facts are presented as the debate takes place, but it's still a long way from the days of the Kennedy-Nixon debates.

Author John Kenneth Muir found E II "An intelligent approach to dealing with global political issues and how they relate to mankind."

So did I. The movie had a realistic feel to it regarding how the E II people faced hot button political challenges.

This was not about firing phasers or photon torpedoes, no warp speed or invisibility cloaks could be employed here.

Not only because E II took place in our near future and there wasn't any Star Trek or Star Wars technology existing at the time.

But because the writers wanted to have an adult & mature examination of complex issues with no easy answers.

JKM further wrote "The conceit of E II is that conservative, progressive, hawk or dove we can all choose to work together for the common good of the human race."

"If we are ever to reach the Star Trek era of the United Federation of Planets and accept all lifeforms, we must first come to accept that even here on Earth, we do not think alike."

Muir's insightful writing really jumped out to me in light of the recent tragedy regarding the home grown terrorists who stormed our capitol last week.

Sad, disgraceful, infuriating to witness this, not to mention lives were lost.

I have no answers on how to bring individuals or political parties together for the common good that are deeply separated in their ideologies.

I only know that in order to go forward in any measurable way that we somehow have to find a way to work together for the betterment of all.

That will be hard because we unfortunately have those in power, be it political or corporate, who benefit by having a divided and hostile nation.

These powers-that-be use every method they can to maintain a population at war with each other.

We're going to have to expose them, rise above it and try and team up with one another.

Some would see E II as a idealistic utopia that is unattainable for humans.

My late brother-in-law, whom I loved very much, and I rarely agreed on anything political.

He once stated that I was too idealistic.

Perhaps. But tell me this, just how well is this world working nowadays with its non-idealistic approach to everything?

Endless wars, no universal healthcare, poverty, climate change unstopped, and a plutocracy in control.

If that remains our reality then we will never get to the future presented in Earth II let alone Star Trek
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