18

The TV show Earth: Final Conflict suffered from almost comical levels of cast churn. The main characters changed on an almost seasonal basis. Wikipedia has a handy chart showing which characters were around for each season. Wikipedia also mentions:

The show is famous for the unusually high turnover rate among the regular cast, partially due to contractual disagreements between the cast and the producers. Almost all of the show's major characters were killed or otherwise removed within a season or two of being introduced.

But the show ran for 5 seasons, and showed this problem throughout the entire run. Is there any more detailed information on why there was a constantly revolving cast on this show? Wikipedia credits the issue only partially on contractual disagreements, and doesn't have more information on the cause of this. In fact that section of the article is unsourced, so even the 'contractual disagreements' aren't confirmed.

3
  • 1
    They must have been following the BBC plan for casting, which apparently requires that 50% of all top tier cast members must be killed off or leave each season.
    – BBlake
    Mar 5 '13 at 18:18
  • 1
    It sounds like you've answered your own question
    – Valorum
    Jan 10 '14 at 21:40
  • 4
    "almost comical levels of cast churn" - while unusual for tv shows, I actually liked the slight feel of realism that came with that. At my workplace, there is certainly a similar degree of rotation among the set of people I work with at any given time, and we do not face life-threatening situations as members of an underground resistance against aliens on a regular basis. Jan 7 '15 at 20:33
14

According to Michael Hinman, Science Fiction Journalist (and co-founder of the sci-fi discussion portal "Airlock Alpha") there were a range of problems with "Earth : Final Conflict" almost from the start;

  1. After a strong first season the studio changed the show producer several times, resulting in an inconsistent vision for the second season
  2. Majel Barett (who'd been instrumental in getting the show off the ground) stepped away from the show after Kevin Kilner was removed due to a contract dispute
  3. The second season was hated by hardcore fans, many of whom wrote to the studios and Barrett complaining about the poor writing. This resulted in a decision to retool the show (again) for a third season.
  4. Plagued by changes from the studios and a reduced budget, the third season had improved ratings but suffered from frequent changes of staff, loss of characters and crew. The show started to get a reputation as a "problem child"
  5. The fourth and fifth seasons were filmed alongside Andromeda. Many of the effects staff, writers and crew were drawn over to the new series which had a more impressive budget and plenty of attention from both the studio and the media.
  6. The fifth season had a budget that was less than half of the previous season (and less than a quarter of the budget of the first two seasons). Unsurprisingly even more cast and crew left when the studio notified them that their salaries would be reduced.

On top of all that, it seems pretty clear that Gene Roddenberry's widow's direct involvement as a 'creative consultant' and 'script consultant' for the show only went up to the end of the first season. This would certainly explain the dramatic change of tone and quality in the later shows.

1
  • 1
    Roddenberry didn't have scripts for the first season, or any part of the show. He provided what could best be described as a rough outline of an idea, and it had minimal relation to even the pilot. Apr 20 '18 at 14:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy