Thing is though, eventually they would HAVE to answer the question of whether or not the Taelons were good or bad for Earth.
Why would they? In real life, few things can be so easily cubbyholed. Most major changes have both positive and negative impacts. The Taelons genuinely meant well for us, but they were so alien in their values that their ideas of what was good for us were very different from ours and went against a lot of our core values. It was the ambiguity of the situation that made it so intelligent and compelling.
I don't know if the Jaridians were part of the original arc, but assuming they were, establishing the Taelons as the lesser of two evils would have been natural.
The Taelons were trying to protect us -- and themselves -- against something; that was clear enough. But I'm sure it was meant to be something more complex and interesting than the Jaridians.
On the Ex Isle BBS, we once managed to get E:FC's developer Richard C. Okie to post and talk briefly about his experience with the show:
Hi guys, it's Rick Okie, and yes, I was involved in creating the first half of the first season of EFC, though other forces won out after that. I would agree that the series took off in different directions than were originally intended; I would agree that Tribune's preferences had much to do with the change; I am not surprised that Robert Wolfe experienced a similar left-turn on Andromeda.
As originally conceived, the creators were going for some ground-breaking elements in the creation of Da'an and the Taelons -- based though they were on the original Roddenberry creation. We tried to challenge everything -- worldview, gender, goals and missions - if we could make it alien, we would make it ALIEN.
There was one unforgettable conversation in the Tribune offices where we fought for the concept of Da'an's gender/sexuality as utterly ambiguous and capable of mutation depending on the situation. Who knows how many genders the Taelons have? Five? Six? We were told that if there were to be any sexual undertones to the Da'an-Boone relationship, then Da'an was female. Period.
Enigma and mystery were the original goals...and the earliest casualties. I'll try to dredge up more painful memories for future posts.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, he never posted again. But it's clear enough that nothing about the Taelons -- or their ancient enemies -- was meant to be straightforward, formulaic, or clear-cut. The goal was to raise questions and challenge expectations rather than give simple answers.
And that's why it saddened me and turned me off when the later producers simplified everything. The alien enemy is just a bunch of Star Trek
baddies with rubber foreheads. Da'an is a full-on good guy. Zo'or is a full-on bad guy with a lust for gold. And so on.