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Old October 18 2013, 09:52 PM   #1
ZeNd
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Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

This show is one of my hidden gems that I love that no one else knows about. Such a great show, except season 5, but I feel, like Sliders, it could of been much better if it has a stable cast.

Anyone know the backstory of why this show had so many cast shakeups? I though sliders was bad, but this is 10x worse.
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Old October 18 2013, 09:57 PM   #2
Guy Gardener
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Re: Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

No one knows about it?

HA!
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Old October 18 2013, 09:59 PM   #3
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Re: Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

There are several threads on this forum about it already. Long story short, the producing studio wanted lots and lots of changes after the first season, starting with getting a younger lead actor. I *really* liked the first season of E:FC but IMO the revolving door of cast changes gutted it.

This wasn't the first or last time this particular studio had forced changes on a sci-fi show. Notably, they did the same thing after the first season of Andromeda.

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Old October 18 2013, 10:38 PM   #4
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Re: Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

Tribune Entertainment was notorious for meddling in its shows -- firing producers and actors, imposing storyline changes, just micromanaging their shows to death. Andromeda showrunner Robert Hewitt Wolfe was dumped after a year and a half, and I think that was a record survival length for any of Tribune's show developers. The developer of BeastMaster: The Series, Steve Feke (IIRC), was let go after the first year (though I think he had some story input on early season 2), and the developer of Earth: Final Conflict, Richard C. Okie, was let go halfway through season 1. You can see the retooling beginning around the same time, when the Zo'or character is introduced as a more clear-cut antagonist and Da'an begins to become more of a clear-cut good guy, a change from the original premise in which Da'an was so alien and morally ambiguous as to be both protagonist and antagonist at different times.

Generally this was done simply to cut costs -- cast and crew members get raises the longer they stay on the show, so firing them and hiring new, less experienced people to replace them helps keep the budget down. But on the two Roddenberry shows, a key factor is that Tribune wanted something fundamentally different than what Majel Roddenberry and her handpicked show developers, Okie and Wolfe, wanted. She hired them to make smart, sophisticated, thought-provoking science fiction with a genuine sense of the alien and extraordinary; but Tribune wanted lowbrow, conceptually simple action-adventure because that sold well in overseas markets. (Complex ideas and philosophical conversations can be tricky to translate across cultures, but people punching or shooting each other is more universal.) So basically the show developers were let go and their ideas changed because their ideas were just too smart for Tribune's purposes.
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Old October 18 2013, 10:58 PM   #5
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Re: Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Tribune Entertainment was notorious for meddling in its shows -- firing producers and actors, imposing storyline changes, just micromanaging their shows to death. Andromeda showrunner Robert Hewitt Wolfe was dumped after a year and a half, and I think that was a record survival length for any of Tribune's show developers. The developer of BeastMaster: The Series, Steve Feke (IIRC), was let go after the first year (though I think he had some story input on early season 2), and the developer of Earth: Final Conflict, Richard C. Okie, was let go halfway through season 1. You can see the retooling beginning around the same time, when the Zo'or character is introduced as a more clear-cut antagonist and Da'an begins to become more of a clear-cut good guy, a change from the original premise in which Da'an was so alien and morally ambiguous as to be both protagonist and antagonist at different times.

Generally this was done simply to cut costs -- cast and crew members get raises the longer they stay on the show, so firing them and hiring new, less experienced people to replace them helps keep the budget down. But on the two Roddenberry shows, a key factor is that Tribune wanted something fundamentally different than what Majel Roddenberry and her handpicked show developers, Okie and Wolfe, wanted. She hired them to make smart, sophisticated, thought-provoking science fiction with a genuine sense of the alien and extraordinary; but Tribune wanted lowbrow, conceptually simple action-adventure because that sold well in overseas markets. (Complex ideas and philosophical conversations can be tricky to translate across cultures, but people punching or shooting each other is more universal.) So basically the show developers were let go and their ideas changed because their ideas were just too smart for Tribune's purposes.
Good info and good assessment. I appreciate it. It's really sad that back then (maybe now? who knows I don't want TV anymore) that studio's meddled into so many shows. Think of how much better these shows could of been, although I still do like S1-4 of EFC.

...with that said, whose idea what S5? It should of just got canceled. It reminds me of S5 of Sliders....same thing... seriously I loved Rembrant and all but WTF was the point of that show after Quinn left?
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Old October 18 2013, 11:25 PM   #6
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Re: Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

ZeNd wrote: View Post
Good info and good assessment. I appreciate it. It's really sad that back then (maybe now? who knows I don't want TV anymore) that studio's meddled into so many shows.
Tribune has been out of business for a while now.

..with that said, whose idea what S5? It should of just got canceled.
E:FC and Andromeda both got retooled, cheaper 5th seasons in pursuit of the 100-episode "magic number" for syndication. The conventional wisdom is that it's easier to sell a show for syndication if it has 100 episodes or more, so they were willing to invest a modest amount in a trimmed-down fifth season of each show in order to get them over that limit and make more profits in the long run.

Which is kind of odd, really, since the reason they screwed up their shows so totally is that they had no sense of long-term investment -- they were more concerned with cutting costs in the short term than with making something good enough to have lasting popularity and be more profitable in the long run.


It reminds me of S5 of Sliders....same thing... seriously I loved Rembrant and all but WTF was the point of that show after Quinn left?
I don't understand the attitude some people have that Sliders had no reason to exist without Quinn. It was always an ensemble show, with all four leads equally important.

Anyway, I like seasons 4 & 5 of Sliders far better than the disaster that was season 3. The back half of season 3 has some of the most inept, insulting writing I've ever seen on television. The writing staff at that time thought that writing science fiction meant doing lazy ripoffs of old SF, fantasy, or horror movies and that writing character conflict meant tossing in a lot of gratuitous petty bickering. The third-season finale was so awful that it should be a war crime to make someone watch it. But the fourth and fifth seasons, despite their cast changes, actually had smart, competent, SF-savvy writers like Marc Scott Zicree and David Gerrold. The writing wasn't on a par with the first season, but it was better than it had been for a while. And the fifth-season cast was more effective overall than the fourth-season cast, since they didn't have Charlie O'Connell dragging down the average talent level. They had a very good chemistry, I thought, and were well worth watching even if they did only have one member in common with the original cast.
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Old October 19 2013, 12:10 AM   #7
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Re: Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

I stopped watching it after first season because they got rid of Boone.
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Old October 19 2013, 12:55 AM   #8
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Re: Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

I didn't mind that they replaced Kevin Kilner, who always bored me as an actor. But I didn't find his replacement much of an improvement. The actor was okay, but the character had a ridiculous origin and wasn't very interesting in the long run. Personally I would've been happier if they'd just let Lisa Howard take over as the lead character.
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Old October 19 2013, 01:38 AM   #9
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Re: Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

He was the space Jesus super baby accelerated to adulthood in a couple days with a whole bunch of magic super powers.

However... Then he got frosted tips.

Then his third helix was stripped from his DNA chain.

Then he just wandered off.

Meh.

Rene and Street should have fell in love.

That sisterhood BFF lark was for the birds.
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Old October 19 2013, 07:26 PM   #10
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Re: Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

Christopher wrote: View Post
I didn't mind that they replaced Kevin Kilner, who always bored me as an actor. But I didn't find his replacement much of an improvement. The actor was okay, but the character had a ridiculous origin and wasn't very interesting in the long run. Personally I would've been happier if they'd just let Lisa Howard take over as the lead character.
Read an interview with her once talking about her departure from E:FC and her comment was by that point in time it wasn't the show they'd all signed on for so it sounds like the cast wasn't overly happy with where things went (but then again a steady paycheck is a steady paycheck).

The story also goes that Kevin Kilner didn't know he wasn't coming back until the S2 scripts failed to arrive and given his character's appearances in S5 it would have been better had he not returned.
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Old October 20 2013, 02:31 AM   #11
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Re: Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

Marc wrote: View Post
Read an interview with her once talking about her departure from E:FC and her comment was by that point in time it wasn't the show they'd all signed on for so it sounds like the cast wasn't overly happy with where things went (but then again a steady paycheck is a steady paycheck).
I'm not sure I'd jump to that conclusion by that statement alone. After all, by the end of season 2 EFC was a very different show and stating so doesn't mean they are unhappy about it.

Now, I don't deny the possibility that some of the cast were unhappy. Indeed, I would be very surprised if there weren't a few disgruntled actors by the time season 3 rolled on. I'm just saying that comment on its own doesn't necessarily mean anything.
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Old October 20 2013, 03:33 AM   #12
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Re: Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

^Except he said that Howard was talking about her departure, so that probably means she said that the show not being what they'd signed on for was part of the reason for why she left.
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Old October 20 2013, 06:07 PM   #13
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Re: Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

Truthfully, I was OK with Boone's replacement, didn't bother, and didn't excite. Lisa Howard's departure though, I actually preferred Renee's character to Lisa Howard's, so, I think that was a good thing.

S5, I think the idea of achieving what they wanted (The merger of the two species) and having it become a nightmare (Out of the frying pan into the fire), could've actually worked out really great and was a pretty bold move, but, sadly the execution of it was horrible, as much as I liked Street, Augur was a pretty big loss for the show on a character level.
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Old October 21 2013, 04:46 AM   #14
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Re: Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

There was a Seasons 2, 3, 4 and 5 of this show? Why, I was completely unaware of that.
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Old October 21 2013, 05:01 AM   #15
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Re: Earth Final Conflict - Why all of the cast changes? Backstory?

That Roman Senator woke up from stasis should have taken over the Earth.

Truly, he was fantastic.

A 2000 year old man, who had glanced at the rise and fall of empires under the mentorship of a benevolent Alien, in command of a ship with the weapons enough to lay waste to the planet.

He was a gamechanger.

Dead by the end credits.

Fuck.
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