In the early 1970s Gene Roddenberry developed a number of sci-fi TV series to be his big follow-up for Star Trek, but none of them got past the pilot/TV movie stage. Next week Warner Bros will be releasing two of them on DVD for the first time: Genesis II and Planet Earth. We have details and clips below
Roddenberry’s post apocalypse: Genesis II & Planet Earth
1973’s Genesis II was Gene Roddenberry’s first attempt at a TV show following Star Trek. The story was about a NASA scientist (Dylan Hunt, played by Alex Cord), who due to a failed suspended animation, ends up awakening in a post- apocalyptic Earth in 2133. Hunt is discovered by the ‘PAX’ team, some of the last remaining scientists in the devastated world.
Warner Bros. has provided TrekMovie with this clip of the Genesis TV movie.
Roddenberry produced a pilot and developed the first season’s worth of scripts for a potential pick-up at CBS. In the end CBS only aired the pilot and decided to pick up a TV version of Planet of the Apes, which was itself cancelled after only 13 episodes. Roddenberry spoke about the potential of the show, saying:
GENESIS II had the makings of a very exciting show. It had one thing in common with STAR TREK and that was that you could bring in a good writer and say to him, ‘What bothers you about the world?’, then go and invent a place in this new world and have it happening there.
The cast of Genesis II contained many Trek vets, including Ted Cassidy, Marriette Hartley (with two belly-buttons), and Majel Barrett Roddenberry. A couple of the script ideas for the series that never was were reworked into Star Trek Phase II, with one idea morphing into a kernel of Star Trek The Motion Picture (for more on that see 1999 article "Life After Trek" by Ed Gross).
Roddenberry’s "Genesis II" coming to DVD next week
A year after CBS turned down the show, Warner Bros. and Roddenberry reworked the idea into Planet Earth. In this version, Dylan Hunt is now the leader of the PAX team, who do surveys in the post-apocalyptic world. Much of the cast returned, but John Saxon replaced Cord as Dylan Hunt. The pilot TV movie have them discovery a society run entirely by women.
WB has given us a clip of that as well:
ABC aired the pilot as a TV movie, but did not pick up the series. Warner Bros. and ABC also developed a third TV movie called Strange New World, using many of the same concepts and also starring Saxon, but Gene Roddenberry was not involved. The names of the characters were all changed to avoid legal issues with Roddenberry.
Roddenberry’s "Planet Earth" coming to DVD next week
Both Genesis II and Planet Earth will be available next Tuesday.
UPDATE: You can pre-order both titles in a value-pack for $29.99 at the WB Shop.
For more on Genesis II, Planet Earth and Strange New World at fan site Pax Team 21.
Dylan returned in Andromeda
DS9 veteran Robert Hewett Wolfe reworked some concepts from these shows, including the character name Dylan Hunt, into the sci-fi series "Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda", starring Kevin Sorbo, which ran for five seasons in syndication and the SciFi Channel from 2000-2005. All five seasons of Andromeda are available on DVD.