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They are the companions. Aliens come to earth on a mission of peace. Their true mission and the secrets they hide forever altering humanity.
—Season 2 Intro.
"There are powers that you do not understand guarding you, Liam"
Like Andromeda, this is a show Gene Roddenberry managed to create while being in his grave; it was actually more an effort of his wife. All things Gene Roddenberry demanded from Star Trek, like a positive view on the future, no internal character conflicts and make exploration, not war, are completely gone. The only Trek it bares the vaguest of resemblance to is DS9 for the prominence of
spiritual blurry lights properly masked dei ex machina, the everlasting feel that it 'was all meant to be' and in no uncertain term the multidimensional properties of both the Villains and the Good Guy.
The series lasted from October, 1997 to May, 2002. A total of 110 episodes in five seasons. As the title might suggest it takes place on Earth, a very lethal place as all characters seem to die off very swiftly after being introduced. One of the only series to kill of its lead after the first season. At the start it has been three years back since a Sufficiently Advanced alien race called the Taelons came to Earth who quickly proceeded to remove all hunger, poverty, illness from the human populace and win the admiration of the public at heart. Naturally it turns out they have some form of hidden agenda.
It takes Always Chaotic Evil, tells it it sucks and then throws it through an ID-Portal into space. Most alien species seem even more divided than humans in their political goals and even more in how to achieve them. The Taelons aren't outright evil at all, the Taelon characters are as diverse in how evil they are as the human ones. And it turns out to be a lot more complex as both species are intertwined into some extremely vague purpose and need each other for survival. The second main character also was an alien hybrid. In a lot of ways, it was like V only much more complex and with no clear good guy, bad guy or motivations.
And then came season 5. Season 4 ended on an extremely vague and ambiguous cliffhanger with all the fans hoping it would finally reveal the big purpose the show was building up to. But no, giant let down and season 5 was more like a Spin-Off, considering the shows turbulent character roster, it dropped most of the roles from the last season too and introduced new ones.
The cast included:
- Liam Kincaid, alien hybrid, despite being born in the second season with the rest watching has a Mysterious Past. Also a Deus Ex Machina incarnate, but it serves to elaborate upon said past. He is also the Last of His Kind. Stuck in the middle with divided loyalties between himself, La Résistance, The Taleons, and one particular Taelon, Da'an.
- William Boone, and main character that dies too soon, for whom It's Personal, as his wife was murdered to convince him to serve the Taelons. Acts as a double agent between La Résistance and the Taelons.
- Action Girl Lili Marquette, Ace Pilot, generally a Foil to Augur and his hinted romantic interest. Originally The Lancer to Boon and then Kincaid. Eventually ends up in an Interspecies Romance with a Proud Warrior Race Guy.
- Equally Action Girl René Palmer. Also an Executive With A Gun and Kincaid's lancer.
- Jonathan Doors, The Captain, kind of strange because no one really likes him and The Chessmaster.
- Ronald Sandoval, Magnificent Bastard and Token Asian. Also a Bad Cop. First Da'an's The Dragon, then Zo'or's.
- Da'an, antagonist (and parent) of Zo'or and alien. Eventually grows more sympathetic of humanity. His knowledge of Kincaid's nature and willingness to keep the secret leads to a lot of Enemy Mine situations.
- Zo'or, antagonist (and child of) of Da'an and alien. Pretty much self-serving and as close to evil as the show gets.
- Augur, Bohemian and super genius, also a hacker, mechanical genius, exobiologist, astrophysicist, theoretical Applied Phlebotinum expert and general technical plot device incarnate.
- Juliet Street, replaces Augur after he quits, essentially Augur in the form of The Chick, and has a Strange Gift.
- Action Girl. Lili Marquette, Renée Palmer.
- Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: Season two's "Dimensions".
- Anyone Can Die to a ridiculous extent, only one main character isn't killed off throughout its entire run, hardly a lead character.
- An extension from this is that all of Renée's love interests end up dead at one point or another. Boone and Liam are the only ones who come back from the dead, but Boone is then killed off-screen.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy. Of course a lot of major events and people in history somehow relate to alien interference.
- Baby Factory: Not onscreen, though they're occasionally mentioned.
- BFG: In one episode, we get a glimpse of a project called Forge, which turns out to be a giant anti-space cannon, capable of firing through ID space. Its ammo? A cubic mile of lava from Earth's core.
- Child by Rape - Liam "Kincaid" - The Kimera Ha'Gel, Last of His Kind, essentially goes on a spree to try and procreate. His "mates" are not able to withstand the experience. Ha'gel ends up overpowering both Sandoval and Beckett to produce Liam, the hero of seasons 2&3. Liam doesn't seem to acknowledge his alien parent any more than he absolutely has to (to the point of considering Sandoval, the show's Magnificent Bastard as his "real" father), and gets to tell Ha'Gel off later.
- Coconut Superpowers. Apparently Liam Kincaid has the Shaqarava but he hardly uses it and it's finally explained by that he becomes more human over time.
- Continuity Nod - Because of season five's radically different premise, any reference it makes to the first four seasons seem like this instead of actual continuity. It's most extreme during the series finale; after an entire season of only hearing the phrase 'core energy' once or twice, down from it being an original, pivotol plot point and mentioned often, we are suddenly reminded of how important it was when the Taelon mothership itself nearly dies from a lack of sustinence. It probably says something about the quality of season five's new characters that the mothership being saved is a high point of the finale.
- Cool Starship : The Taelon Mothership. Appearing almost transparent in space, save for strings of light going through the ship, a living being capable of regenerating and indeed, growing or shrinking itself referred to as a "she" by the Taelons, and had firepower capable of destroying a planet.
- Emotional Maturity Is Physical Maturity
- Energy Beings The Taelons, the Kimera. The first seem to be primarily energy based but not entirely in the glowing squid squad as yet. The Kimera however look to be entirely energy - except when they feel like it and pretend to be some matter based life form. The fact that the Taelons are energy based is a key part of the show's storyline too.
- Also a rare Deconstruction; beings made of energy have to contend with the fact that they expend that energy by living. The true, epic level of Zo'or's arrogance over their evolution into Energy Beings shows when we learn that they're actually an evolutionary dead-end; they have no way of naturally replenishing that energy.
- Expository Theme Tune / Opening Narration
- Half-Human Hybrid in Liam Kincaid more properly Liam Sandoval-Beckett but no one calls him that, ever. He has three parents, two human and one Kimera and ends up with a kind of triple stranded DNA helix and a few special abilities. The entire manner of it is convoluted but the Kimera race were extremely advanced and had a demonstrative skill in genetic manipulation.
- Humans Are Bastards. A vast portion of humans are just as bad as some aliens are. Ronald Sandoval being a fine example. Even in this the show has non-trivial shades of gray, as in the first season Sandoval is being unwittingly controlled by an alien brain implant, and when that becomes defective, he maintains his appearance of being evil for the purpose of secretly destroying the aliens from the inside.
- Human Popsicle - a Roman guy Ma'el placed in stasis to be awakened every 100 years to see if the Taelons have disregarded his warning and came to Earth. Should that happen, the guy is supposed to ram the Mothership with Ma'el's ship.
- Interstellar Weapon: One episode features a weapon that shoots lava from the Earth's core through ID space that can hit planets in other solar systems.
- Kangaroo Court - In a fifth season episode, a radical judge kidnaps various people, including Renée Palmer, and tries them without a jury for "crimes against humanity" before executing them in a gruesome way. Luckily, the authorities show up just in time to spare Renée the same fate. The judge deliberately twisted the facts to prove his point, blaming Renée for things that others did.
- Last of His Kind Liam Kincaid from whose proper name would be something more akin to Liam Sandoval-Beckett son of Ha'gel is an example of this. Whilst also a Half-Human Hybrid he's also the last of the ancient Kimera race who were killed by the Taelons eons back. He's the son of Ha'gel, probably the original Last of His Kind in the show died just after Liam was conceived which was one of his two functions.
- Luke, I Am Your Father - Zo'or is Da'an's child, which doesn't stop either from plotting against the other. To make matters worse, Liam is Sandoval's biological son, although the latter does not know.
- Metaphor Is My Middle Name: A quarter of the way into "Subversion," shortly after Renee quips, "Careful is my middle name," she is ambushed by extremists who put her on trial (they can be seen running behind her as she says it).
- 90% of Your Brain - To explain the function of the CVI.
- Oireland - The Episode "The Secret of Strandhill" is set in an alternate Ireland where the Companions are responsible for the Tuatha de dAnnan myths and unifying the New United Republic of Ireland under Northern Rule.
- Product Placement
- Properly Paranoid - the Resistance
- Psychic Link: The Taelon Commonality.
- Recurring Character. Like DS9 the show had a ridiculous amount of recurring characters, some of which being on par or even far above main characters in screen time at certain parts.
- The Starscream - Sandoval, the only character to appear in every single season.
- What about Zo'or?
- Sterility Plague: The Companions are sterile; Zo'or is the last one to have been born.
- The Stoic. Doors, Sandoval.
- Story Arc. Probably one of the most convoluted overall plotline in any science fiction show. The writers setting up a major progression towards a climax which never comes.
- To be fair, the end of season four did end the original story arc, but it was extremely vague and served as a non-event segue into season five's radically different direction. To wit; the entire purpose behind the Taelon's conquest of various non-space-faring species is a search for some sort of genetic missing link they lost when they converted into beings of energy; this deficiency leaves them without the ability to actually generate the energy they burn by simply existing. The human genome contains the solution, but by the time its discovered and used, nearly all of the species has died out anyway and the survivors Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, leaving a vacuum for season five's new villains.
- They Were Holding You Back: Boon's wife.
- Twist Ending - The show wasn't afraid to reveal that characters which were two seasons old to secretly been plotting against what they seemed the whole time.
- Unusual User Interface: Taelon shuttles are piloted using a hand gesture based system.
- The Virus: The CVI.
- You Fail Biology Forever - With particular emphasis on Hollywood Evolution and No Biochemical Barriers.
- Every alien species is DNA based, even energy beings.
- Even robots. They are often created by “mapping DNA” onto robotic bodies.
- Liam's DNA is a triple helix, composed of two strands human and one strand Kimera DNA, presumably one strand from each of his three parents. In reality, each strand in a double helix is the precise mirror of the other.
- Evolution happens in one lifetime rather than over many. And it has a direction: life is a ladder rather than a tree.
- Every alien species is DNA based, even energy beings.
- When It All Began - With the arrival of the Taelons