Co-produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television, NBC's " Earth 2" is set 200 years in the future, when earthlings live in the sterile environments ofgiant orbiting space stations. A woman named Devon Adair (Debrah Farentino) organizes an expedition to an Earth-like planet that she hopes holds a better future for her physically impaired young son and others. What they embark on is very much a neo-westward movement, reminiscent of the settling of what is now the United States.
Big problems arise when the group crash-lands, destroying its high-tech equipment. When they're not bickering among themselves, Devon and her colleagues(other cast members include Clancy Brown, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Jessica Steen) worry about their well-being and the unknown surroundings.
"Something's out there . . . ," says Devon. Nothing that can release this plodding two-hour premiere from its lethal doldrums, however.
Filmed near Santa Fe, N.M., " Earth 2" has a nice, cinematic look, but ho-hum special effects and unimaginative aliens (technically, the Earth visitors are the aliens) that range from a cuddly little Yoda-like creature to lumpy, mummyesque palookas that are more comical than menacing.
Only when " Earth 2" belatedly plunges into a dreamlike realm of time warps and overlapping realities does it become interesting. Otherwise, the opening story is neither futuristic (wait until you see the clunky weapons) nor suspenseful. You don't worry even when Devon's kid vanishes, because aliens never kill kids. It's a rule.