The term "first contact" which provides the title of the
two-part pilot episode, is one used frequently in
science-fiction to denote the first meeting of humans and
extraterrestrials. The term was first used in the 1945 short
story "First Contact" by Murray Leinster.
The characters take turns being the "narrator" of individual
episodes. Devon's voiceover is heard through "First
Contact" parts 1 and 2.
The episode opens in the year 2192.
It's a nice touch, given the limited supplies the Eden
Advance group has after the crash-landing on G889, to see
throughout the episodes of the series that the characters'
clothing becomes ragged and worn as time passes, with first
holes seen and then patches covering the holes in subsequent
A less realistic touch is that none of the tents used by the
colonists on their cross-continent trek have floors in them.
They are all open-ground on the bottom. Most modern day
survival tents have a fabric or plastic flooring, which
helps to keep heat from leaching into the ground and keep
small animals from burrowing in.
Devon's fantasy image of her young son running toward her
across a plain is a foreshadowing of what she will see on
G889 after the Terrians have healed Uly in
"First Contact" Part 2.
In her opening monologue, Devon reveals to the viewer the
condition known as the Syndrome is not officially
recognized by the medical community. The Syndrome effects
only children and some people speculate that it is caused by living in
the non-natural environment of the space stations, with a
lack of fresh air, fresh water...a lack of Earth. (The
novel suggests that the theory is largely Dr. Vasquez's.)
The space stations and spaceships of Earth must have some
kind of artificial gravity device since we do not see them
rotating to generate a centrifugal force type of artificial
At 3:09 on the DVD, the display on Devon's headset
communications gear not only identifies the caller
(Commander Broderick O'Neill), but where he's calling from
(the flight deck).
Notice that at 3:31 on the DVD, the
console behind Devon shows a global
graphic of Earth and the logo of the
Eden Project is in the bottom left
corner. At 4:34 we get a more close-up
instance of the Eden Project logo on
the pre-recorded news report
intercepted by the expedition in
orbit; notice the font design of the
word "EDEN" in the logo is the same
as the one used in the Earth 2
logo of the TV series itself.
The news network seen above seems to be called GNN, probably
short for Global News Network.
Planet G889 is in the G8 system. The system is said to be 22
light years from Earth. There is no star with the name G8 to
my knowledge, though the term G8 is used to describe some
types of stars (a G-type star is similar to our own sun; the
8 is an indication of surface temperature).
At the time the
series was made there were no known planets at 22 light
years distance, but in February 2012, an Earth-like world
was found at just that distance! It orbits the M-class star
At 5:30 on the DVD, notice there is
a pair of dice hanging above the
flight console of the ship (above
Alonzo's hand). We get a better
shot of the dice later on at 13:50. The hanging of fuzzy
dice from the rear-view mirror of an
automobile was popular in the U.S.
from the 1950s-80s. The appearance
of dice on the spaceship is probably
a nod to that fad and may also be an
homage to the pair of dice hanging
in the cockpit window of the
Millennium Falcon in the
Star Wars films.
When she sees that government liaison Morgan Martin is still
on board the Eden Colony ship, Devon remarks, "...I assume
you have no idea what your friends on level 6 have planned
for us tomorrow." Presumably "level 6" is where the
government high mucky-mucks are located on the station.
While arguing with Blalock, Devon remarks that no Syndrome
child has ever lived beyond the age of 9 and Uly is 8.
After the ship has escaped the space station and the bomb,
Yale informs Devon that the head doctor, Dr. Vasquez, was not
on board. The novelization reveals that Vasquez was the lead
researcher into the Syndrome and Devon's partner in getting
the Eden Project started.
The workers aboard the ship all have code numbers on the
backs of their clothing. At 15:23 on the DVD, we get our
first clear look at Danziger's number, VA-1587, which seems
to be on the jackets and backpacks of all the ship's
crewmembers. This is a reference to the real world English
colony in the Americas, Roanoke, the so-called Lost Colony,
which is referenced in numerous ways in aspects of the
Roanoke was a colony
founded in what
would later become
the Virginia Colony
in 1587, hence
- One of the
founders of Roanoke
was Ananias Dare,
who arrived on a
boat from Plymouth,
County (hence, our
- The script of
refers to one of the
two Eden Project
ships as the
this does not appear
in any obvious
manner in the episodes or
the novelization. At
38:19 on the DVD,
the jacket that True
has draped over her
shoulders is seen to
have a patch that
(Mary is given this
same jacket, or a
similar one, to wear
- The series
overall can be seen
as a futuristic
retelling of the
arrival of Europeans
to the New World and
and expansion across
the frontier of the
about their new
home, meeting native
exchanges with them.
"A Memory Play", Devon even
compares the group's
journey across G889
to that of the
Devon tells Danziger that the hazard pay clause has been
invoked for all ship's personnel.
We're told that the main colony ship will take about 24
years to reach G889 and the Eden Advance ship reaches it in
22. Since the planet is said to be 22 light years away from
Earth, this indicates that the two ships are capable of
travelling at roughly the speed of light, though we never
hear any of the characters speak of light-speed propulsion
technology. If it took the Eden Advance ship 22 years to
reach G889, then the year on the Gregorian calendar when
they arrive is 2214 (assuming they have some form of
hyperspace propulsion that does not compress time for the
passengers as genuine light speed travel would according to
Einstein's theory of relativity).
At 18:15 on the DVD, we see a red, metallic water bottle
floating in the weightlessness of the advance ship's bridge.
The bottle was seen sitting next to Alonzo at his pilot's
chair during the prep and escape from the station.
The weightlessness in the scene above suggests that the
crew shut off the artificial gravity while in stasis,
possibly to conserve power. The computer screen and voice
that activates at 18:31 on the DVD indicates that artificial
gravity is being restored as the crew is reawakened at the
end of the 22-year journey through space.
The scenes of the ship's computer reactivating the consoles
on the bridge, powering up the lighting, and reawakening the
passengers from stasis is reminiscent of the opening scene
of the 1979 film Alien.
As Dr. Heller takes Danziger's readings with her diagnostic
gauntlet after he stumbles out of stasis at 21:11 on the
DVD, notice that he playfully pushes one of the buttons on
the gauntlet and she walks away with a look of irritation on
her face. This is an early indication of Danziger's
stubbornness about people fussing over each other.
It's amusing that the first thing Uly says to his mother
after waking up from stasis is, "Are we there yet?" just
like most kids on a long trip.
Notice that at 22:41 on the DVD, Danziger tells his daughter
she has to "buzz her teeth" and the device he hands her
looks like an electric toothbrush without the brush tip. I
guess buzzing your teeth is an improved way of cleaning them
At 26:42 on the DVD, we get our
first look at G889 from space. The
most prominent land mass seen
through the clouds appears to be
that of New Pacifica, judging from the map on
the back cover of the novel. Most of
the oceans and landmasses seem to
have Romanesque names. We get a
closer look at New Pacifica as the
advance communication dish is
launched seconds later.
It's hard to hear what people are saying as the ship
suddenly starts to shudder and shake and alarms start
blaring. Commander O'Neill asks what is going on and Alonzo
tells him the cargo pods that were to be ejected down to New
Pacifica won't release and they're dragging the ship down.
The numbers on the interior airlock door at 28:31 on the DVD
seem to tell us that the evacuation pod taken by Morgan and
Bess is Pod 1. But after they've disengaged from the ship
and Danziger turns angrily away from the airlock door, it now shows
2! It seems it really was Pod 1 because we see (and hear the
computer voice confirm) that the second pod to disengage was
Pod 2 (the one that is too full to take Danziger and True).
We won't see Pod 2 again until
"A Memory Play". Pod 3 is the
one taken by most of the characters we will become
familiar with through the series.
From the angle of descent into the planet's atmosphere, it
appears that Pod 3 will impact in the area called Sacatosa
Mesa on the map above. (The last letter of the mesa's name
is actually off the edge of the border, reading "Sacatos_",
but is likely "Sacatosa" since there is a mountain called
Mesa Sacatosa in the Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico,
where most of Earth 2 was shot.)
When Pod 3 lands, Commander O'Neill is concerned when Baines
finds the exterior sensors have failed and won't deliver a
reading of the atmosphere outside. But why should they be
worried? Shouldn't they already have known that the air is
breathable from the past probes that identified G889 as
Earth-like in the first place? Don't tell me Devon and
O'Neill rounded up 200+ people for a 22-year trip to a
planet they have no idea is livable?!
At 35:10 on the DVD, Julia's diagnostic glove does not have
the usual wires and contacts on it. In fact, it looks like a
simple linen glove with drawings from a black Magic Marker
Julia indicates that the colonists had all taken a "bone
healer vaccine" that would allow them to heal fractured
bones within 24 hours. After the pod's crash landing, Alonzo
has to heal the old-fashioned way, having not taken the
vaccine because he wasn't supposed to be coming down to the
planet's surface at all.
Commander O'Neill gives Uly a Buffalo nickel to bring him
good luck on their new world. Maybe it worked, because the
boy gets cured of the Syndrome by the Terrians in
"First Contact" Part 2. The U.S. buffalo nickel was a five-cent
coin struck by the U.S. Mint from 1913-1938.
True notes that Uly doesn't seem to enjoy the semolina he's
given to eat. Semolina is a type of wheat flour. In this
episode, the food appears to be in the form of some kind of
nutrient bar, perhaps a kind of hardtack.
Notice that the small creature befriended by True (later
called a koba) purrs like the cat the girl wishes she could
Notes from the novelization of "First Contact",
by Melissa Crandall
(The page numbers come from the 1st
printing, paperback edition, published December 1994)
cover the events of "First Contact" Part 1.
The cover of the book shows the main characters standing in
front of the looted cargo pod found at the end of the
The book opens with a prologue not seen in the episode,
taking place in 2184, eight years before the colony ship
leaves Earth. The prologue describes the day Devon learned
that her infant son had the Syndrome.
Page 1 reveals that Devon was the foremost designer and
developer of the space stations in the solar system from
Venus to Neptune. This is how she became one of the
wealthiest women in history. Presumably she was not the
designer of most of the Earth-orbiting stations since page
27 tells us that Earth's population moved to the space
stations six generations ago. (In
"Church of Morgan", Bess
remarks on Devon's father having designed the stations that
are in Earth orbit.)
Page 3 reveals that Devon was 25 years old when she had Uly.
No mention is made of the father.
Page 4 reveals that the suit Uly must wear to prolong his
life is called an immuno-suit.
Pages 6-7 reveal that Devon's parents took her on a trip to
Earth when she was 7 years old. She remembers seeing the
Statue of Liberty, only the feet and the hem of the gown
remaining due to disintegration from acid rain.
Page 14 reveals that Devon's parents tended to ignore her
and she was closer to their hired Teacher, Yale.
Page 17 reveals that the stations have zoos of virtual
reality extinct animals of Earth's past, everything from
dinosaurs to beagles.
Page 18 suggests that even real grass is gone from Earth.
Also on page 18, Devon murmurs, "Quoth the Raven,
'Nevermore.'" This is a line from the 1845 Edgar Allen Poe
poem "The Raven".
On page 19, thanks to her wealth and notoriety, Devon is
able to enjoy real alcohol (whiskey).
Page 24 reveals that Devon and Dr. Vasquez decided to work
together to find another Earth for the children afflicted
with the Syndrome.
Page 25 suggests that Earth's seas now look like grayish
On page 26, Yale tells Uly that the proposed colony of New
Pacifica on G889 is bordered on the west by the Sea of
Antius. However if the map above is accurate and north
is at the top, then the Sea of Antius is to the east of the
proposed colony location. Notice also on the map that the
Sea of Antius is an inland sea.
Page 30 reveals that Commander O'Neill was ex-military.
The newscast on page 33 reveals that the Eden Project has
been in planning for the past six years by the time of the
departure of the colony ship.
Page 38 reveals that True is 10 years old.
Page 41 reveals that the colony ship's pilot (as opposed to
the Eden Advance ship's pilot, Alonzo) is named Shelia
Page 50 hints that pigs are extinct.
On page 53, Blalock warns Devon that he doesn't think she's
going to like what she finds on G889. This may be an
indication that he knows that G889 was used as a penal
colony by the Council, as revealed in
Also, in "Water", Reilly claims that Blalock alone was
responsible for orchestrating the sabotage of the Eden
Advance ship that caused the malfunction and subsequent
crash onto G889.
Page 70 refers to New Pacifica as a continent rather then
just a location for a colony.
Alonzo is the first to
be automatically reawakened from cryosleep when the Eden
Advance ship reaches the G889 system and on page 71, he
decides to set both Julia and Danziger to wake up next. But
"A Memory Play", he
tells Yale that Julia, as medical officer, was the
first to be automatically reawakened from cryosleep.
On page 72, Alonzo sings reveille as Danziger awakens from
stasis. "Reveille" (French for "wake up") is a wake-up call
usually associated with the militaries of many countries
around the world, usually just an instrumental version on
bugle or trumpet. Most have a lyrical version that can be
sung if needed. The one sung by Alonzo here is one version
of the U.S. military's reveille.
Page 79 indicates that True loves to eat.
As Morgan is lamenting to Bess his agreement to travel to G889 as
government liaison on page 80, he remarks that
they'll stake themselves a mining claim on the planet and
then catch a ride home on the Colony ship and sell the
rights. This is a foreshadowing of Morgan's attempt to
landlock a stretch of ground full of the so-called Morganite
in "Better Living Through Morganite" Part 1.
Page 82 suggests that Morgan was the government's top
negotiator, though that may just be from his own
Page 86 reveals that all of the Yale series of Teacher Class
cyborgs had been recalled except for the one employed by
the Adair family.
After the advance communications dish successfully makes
touchdown on New Pacifica, Commander O'Neill uses it on page
96 to send a message back to the Earth stations that they
made it and they can kiss his "star-spangled butt".
Also on page 96, O'Neill references a station or place
called Pluto Six.
In the televised episode, O'Neill appears to use a standard
lighter to light his celebratory cigar. In the novel, it is
said he uses the flame from his Swiss army knife.
Pages 97-98 reveal the cigar O'Neill attempts to smoke is a
genuine Earth cigar bought on the black market.
Page 114 reveals that, after Yale is unable to accept the
proffered handgun from O'Neill due to his weapons aversion
programming, the Commander gave it to Baines instead.
Page 120 reveals that Bess was born on Earth, from one of
the few families left "on the wrong side of the tracks" in
the view of the inhabitants of the space stations. This fact
about Bess isn't revealed in a televised episode until
On page 122, True sees a flash of lightning in the distance,
but hears no thunder. She muses on how her father had once
taught her how to gage a storm's distance by counting the
seconds between lightning and thunder. It seems unlikely he
would have taught her something he had no reason to think
she'd use, having never been on the surface of a planet!
Page 134 reveals that the hike from the escape pod's impact
site to the impact site of the cargo pod was 27.8 kilometers
On page 136, Danziger has noticed True's brief absence when
she stops to check on the koba she has smuggled along in
her knapsack. To explain her absence away, she claims she
dropped to the back of the march to stop and remove a stone
that got into her shoe. Since she has no experience on a
planet before this, it seems unlikely she would think of
such an excuse. Maybe she saw someone else do it earlier or
experienced it earlier in the trip herself and found it a
convenient excuse now.
there were no survivors.wav
in two generations we may all be extinct.wav
I will not watch him die.wav
the key to healing humanity.wav
are we there yet?.wav
stop the world, my son is sick.wav
we're not alone.wav
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