When the networks pulled the plug on "Firefly" and "Farscape" a few years back, sci-fi fans were up in arms. After all, with the airwaves clogged with tawdry reality fare, wasn't there room for one or two shows featuring character development and serial plot progression?

Had fans taken a look at TV history, they may have realized the futility of their reasoning. Forward-thinking science fiction always has had a hard time on network television. NBC's 1994 series "Earth 2," which finally comes to DVD on Tuesday, is an excellent example.

Starring Debrah Farentino, Clancy Brown, Antonio Sabato Jr., Rebecca Gayheart and Tim Curry, "Earth 2" tells of a time when human excess has finally taken its toll on Earth.

A group of men and women, tired of life in stations orbiting the dead planet, sets out for a new world 22 light-years away that seems to support life. Something goes wrong as they arrive, and they crash on the planet thousands of miles off-course. To make matters worse, they find they are not alone -- and the planet's residents don't seem entirely happy with their new neighbors.

While not groundbreaking, "Earth 2's" ideas were fresh considering the scope of sci-fi presented on network TV at the time. Its competition in the genre included the unfortunate "Star Trek" clone "SeaQuest DSV" and the cookie-cutter superhero program "M.A.N.T.I.S."

While some of the show's special effects are adequate, others -- especially creature effects depicting some of the planet's native life -- have not aged gracefully.

Unfortunately, "Earth 2" aired long before making-of featurettes were filmed in anticipation of the inevitable DVD release. However, the set does include extended and deleted scenes and outtakes.

The DVD might be too expensive for the casual sci-fi fan. But those who still mourn the loss of "Firefly" and "Farscape" may find it illuminating to see another decent show lost to impatient network expectations.

Earth 2

Universal Studios Home Entertainment;

DVD $49.98; not rated; available Tuesday

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