Sci-fi 'Final Conflict' has a familiar ring to it At a glance

October 11, 1997|By Chris Kaltenbach

A question to the creative team responsible for tonight's premiere of the series "Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict" (12: 35 a.m.-1: 35 a.m., WMAR, Channel 2):

Ever think there's a reason Roddenberry's script sat around untouched for 21 years?

Baltimore native Kevin Kilner plays William Boone, a cop recruited by an extraterrestrial race (the Taelons) to provide security. The aliens, we are constantly reminded, are here only to help: end famine, cure cancer, the usual stuff. But Boone doesn't quite trust them and so ends up playing both ends against the middle: He works for both the Taelons and an underground movement that insists they're evil and dangerous.

Kilner and his fellow actors -- including Roddenberry's widow, Majel Barrett, as an M.D. also playing both sides -- do what they can, but they're saddled with a script that's so deadly serious, you half expect Charlton Heston to show up in a supporting role. And the idea of aliens with an ulterior motive has been done before and done better, as far back as "To Serve Man," an episode of "The Twilight Zone" in which an alien book that seems to confirm the otherworldly visitors' good intentions turns out to be a cookbook.

The similarities don't end there: The aliens of "Final Conflict" look and act like the aliens of "To Serve Man" after going through sensitivity training. It's all extremely derivative, and not all that interesting.

You want good Roddenberry? Stick with "Star Trek" and its various incarnations.

Pub Date: 10/11/97

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