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Roddenberry’s Genesis II and Planet Earth Coming to DVD

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.     

 

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Horatio
October 2, 2009 1:39 pm

Its about time!! I love Genesis II. I thought Planet Earth was less well executed and I preferred Alex Cord over John Saxon.

BTW, Mariette Hartley with two navels was sexy in the day!!! (OK, I was 12!)

Glad to see these are making it to DVD. Any idea if Roddenberry’s other pilot, Questor, is coming out?

October 2, 2009 1:42 pm

Maybe this bodes well for The Questor Tapes!

Daoud
October 2, 2009 1:45 pm

There are YouTube clips of “Strange New World” out there too.

They may not have used Roddenberry’s names, but listen to all the sound effects!! Straight from Trek. :) (Not that they were all original to Trek, but really….)

Thomas Jensen
October 2, 2009 1:49 pm

Genesis II was a great pilot episode. It had a wonderful atmosphere to it. All wasn’t good in every city on earth. Planet Earth wasn’t as good as it was retooled and became somewhat commercial. I admire John Saxon, but as a scientist, Alex Cord was more believable.

These episodes incorporated the “many worlds” concept from Star Trek. The subshuttle would journey to different cities each week.

But Genesis II lost out to the Planet of the Apes series on CBS.

October 2, 2009 1:54 pm

I agree, who knows, maybe the Questor Tapes might be there as well. I saw all these when they were first aired a long time ago. It will be good to see them again.

HotStove
October 2, 2009 2:40 pm

Always wanted to see Genesis II. We need the Questor Tapes, too!

navamske
October 2, 2009 3:23 pm

“Genesis” allowed is not — is pilot forbidden!

October 2, 2009 4:01 pm

#7

Good one.

AnotherQ
October 2, 2009 4:11 pm

I’ve only heard of these projects in passing
and not very familiar with them. Looks like
something cool to catch up with while i’m
waiting for the next Trek movie.

Gregster
October 2, 2009 4:19 pm

I had such a crush on Mariette Hartley. I remember that she wore outfits with large areas of fabric…um…missing.

bill hiro
October 2, 2009 4:55 pm

Finally!

I’ve long agitated for a “Failed Pilots of Gene Roddenberry” box set with Genesis II, Planet Earth, The Questor Tapes, and Spectre, so this news is definietly a step in the right direction.

Sean4000
October 2, 2009 4:55 pm

#7, LOL!!!

Spockish
October 2, 2009 5:05 pm

I’ve got Earth II on DVD that I made from it’s AMC airing, and a few episodes from Strange New World, think Netflix has the series, but stopped using Netflix 19 month ago.

To bad Genesis never converted into a series, but then again if it had then Star Trek Phase II may have never started which became The Motion Picture.

And more NEWS, 50 years ago today The Twilight Zone Started it’s 5 year original run.

bill hiro
October 2, 2009 5:07 pm

And for the sake of airing a differing opinion, I much prefer “Planet Earth” and John Saxon to “Genesis II” and Alex Cord. Especially regarding Saxon, he was just a great guy on TV in the ’70s – tough, likeable, charismatic, and a very physical actor who could really mix it up on screen (and pretty ubiquitous – the guy was all over the TV screen in those days). Saxon had some very Shatner-esque qualities and its a shame he was never a bigger star. And generally, I think “Planet Earth” just had more energy as compared to “Genesis II”. It had some juice to it, due mostly to John Saxon and Diana Muldaur. In some ways, its not unlike the differences between the two TOS pilots, with “The Cage” being more of the brainy side with a quieter and more reserved leading man, and “Where No Man Has Gone Before” being a lot more brawny with Shatner bringing his unique energy. Regardless, its going to be a real trip to have these on legit DVDs.

Horatio
October 2, 2009 5:32 pm

Did you ever notice how Roddenberry seemed to have a thing for dominant strong women?

October 2, 2009 5:41 pm

Will these be making it across the Atlantic to the magical DVD Land known only as Region 2? Roddenberry has fans over here too you know!

We’re even getting Stargate Universe on Tuesday! Oh wait, wrong crowd…

SciFiMetalGirl
October 2, 2009 5:59 pm

They’ll not fool me again! I’m waiting for the Blu-ray this time!!!

Lord Garth, Formerly of Izar
October 2, 2009 6:04 pm

John Saxon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don’t F–k with Maskatron and Roeper!!!!

October 2, 2009 6:08 pm

They’re mining the Rodenberry property vault. I have mixed feelings of whether or not they’ll ever develop the one existing property that never saw fruition.

That of course….Assignment: Earth

Comm. Lohman
October 2, 2009 6:10 pm

15. Horatio – October 2, 2009
Did you ever notice how Roddenberry seemed to have a thing for dominant strong women?

Check out some of the episodes Roddenberry wrote for Have Gun Will Travel. It was a recurring theme even back then.

I'm Dead Jim
October 2, 2009 6:26 pm

Does anyone know why Roddenberry was so attached to the name Dylan Hunt across these shows, including Andromeda? Is there a story there?

Captain Otter
October 2, 2009 7:01 pm

Ahhhh Andromeda. After the first two seasons, I thought it might “grow up” into something good like TNG did. Alas, I was utterly disappointed.

SBC
October 2, 2009 7:02 pm

Been a long time since I’ve seen either of these. I saw each of them a number of times in the late 70’s and early 80’s. A local station in L.A. would often show old things like this during the middle of the night (they owned the rights to this kinda stuff but knew they didn’t have much chance at drawing enough viewers to show them in better timeslots). As a kid I’d stay up late, or set my alarm to wake up and watch (every Sunday morning I’d scan the new tv guide for late night watching opportunities); a lot of fun and good memories. It’s a shame, really, that today local TV stations fill up the night with infomercials instead exposing new people to old shows like this (just another reason to hate infomercials!)

I remember liking Saxon and Planet Earth better, but really almost the only thing I remember storywise was Diana Muldaur only allowing the men to eat gruel. :) I also seem to remember, in one of the movies, a gang of marauders who had the TMP Klingon spiny scalps.

Ken1w
October 2, 2009 7:24 pm

The character was called Dylan Hunt in Andromeda, because the overall story of Andromeda was similar to the story for those earlier pilots.

The hero is frozen in time, when there was “civilization.” At some much later time, the hero is revived to find that civilization (as he knew it) had fallen. It becomes his personal mission to restore civilization to the Earth/galaxy. I believe some of the other characters also had the same or similar names.

Andromeda was basically the third attempt to get the original Roddenberry concept produced as a TV series.

The Weary Professor
October 2, 2009 7:25 pm

These are not regular DVD releases, but are part of the Warner Archive program and are made to order and sold through WarnerArchive.com. I have a couple of their releases and although they come in regular DVD cases they are basically purple DVD-R type burned disks, not regular silver or gold DVDs. There are a number of concerns about the longevity and quality of the Warner Archive disks. You may want to check some of the old Home Theater Forum posts on this topic before buying.

October 2, 2009 7:31 pm

I want to see a movie where John Saxon is pitted against Michael Ironside. How awesome would that be?

Moonwatcher
October 2, 2009 7:57 pm

Another pilot turned into a short run series around the same time was Probe (aka Search). Not a Rodenberry show, but awesome none the less. The series featured secret agents that were wired for sight and sound which in turn were monitored by a Mission Control type crew, headed by the late great Burgess Meredith. Wish someone would pick that series up again! The show also had an extremely cool theme song.

Phasers On Stun
October 2, 2009 8:02 pm

14- Bill

I totally agree. While I like both versions, I thought Planet Earth with Saxon was alot more fun and would have had a better chance of success. I remember seeing the original airing of Planet Earth and was excited that it would perhaps become a series. Didn’t know at the time that Planet of the Apes was the reason it didn’t go to series. But as a kid I enjoyed the Planet of the Apes series. Of course I can’t stand it know.

Jim Nightshade
October 2, 2009 8:04 pm

yes Questor Tapes and Spectre both need to be on dvd too-blu-ray? I wonder if they were done on film or video tape only-but yes i will get the genesis2(not 1 number 7) dvd-i also loved roddenberrys women villains-and the bellybuttons-re andromeda-yeh hewitt used dylan hunt as the characters name it wasnt in the original andromeda treatment from roddenberry i think-lurch was also great in genesis2

Gorn Captain
October 2, 2009 9:30 pm

28. They were all shot on film.

I really want to see Spectre come out. (Especially if it’s the racy European cut I’ve heard legends of!) It was certainly a forerunner to the X-Files. Maybe Fox will release it one of these days.

Keep in mind these titles are coming out through Warner’s new burn on demand program. They are actually DVD-R’s which some people might have trouble playing. Warner’s has been getting flack for using old video masters for some of their Archive titles, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for these to look good!

toddk
October 2, 2009 10:14 pm

they both have the star trek TOS feel, I thought that the elevator door sound was from “i dream of jeannie” but the flashing light on the wall had TOS written all over it.

I have to admit that I watched the pilot to planet of the apes, and never watched the series after that, The show was missing key elements such as social change and apocolypse(like the movies) I also watched the cartoon of planet of the apes, didnt care for it.

On the other hand, I loved space 1999, especially the second season. But I find it hard to watch now because of the low production values.

There was a show that i would like to see again, I cant remember the name of it but it was about a neon hologram tron looking guy who had a cool neon car who would fight crime, It was on in 1981 or 1982…Inferman? perhaps….? anyways the show only aired a few times and was cancelled. anyways I’m rambling…

toddk
October 2, 2009 10:19 pm

never mnd..it’s automan! thanks wiki!

TheBigCW
October 2, 2009 10:53 pm

You know, all Gene did was “rip-off’ the basic concept of BUCK ROGERS.

bill hiro
October 2, 2009 11:31 pm

Gorn Captail – I have the “racy” version of Spectre on a bootleg DVD and its not especially racy. Just some random boobs. But its a fairly entertaining show. Not especially innovative since its very much in the vein of Kolchak The Night Stalker and The Norliss Tapes from a few years earlier.

spock
October 3, 2009 2:42 am

the real question is when is somebody going to pick up and reinvent the six million dollar man. and i don’t mean the same sort of treatment the bionic woman got

October 3, 2009 4:33 am

If you guys love post apocalyptic world so mutch then why haven’t you played Fallout 1.2 or 3

Captain Dunsel
October 3, 2009 4:54 am

#27 Moonwatcher – re: Probe/Search

Burgess Meredith was in that? During the control room scenes, I never managed to take my eyes off of Angel Tompkins! )

BTW, it also featured TOS vet Keith Andes (Akuta from “The Apple”) as “Dr. Barnett”, the higher-up head of “World Securites”

Captain Dunsel
October 3, 2009 4:59 am

In “Planet Earth”, the ongoing villains would have been the mutant “Kreeg Warriors”, who had ridged skulls – clearly the pre-cursors of the Klingon ridged foreheads as shown in Star Tre: The Motion Picture.

Dr. Image
October 3, 2009 5:37 am

Yes! Without question. The make-up was virtually identical to the TMP Klingons!
I too preferred the tone of Planet Earth over GII. Alex Cord came off as a big wimp and his voice bugged the hell out of me.
Still, I’ll probably get both. Roddenberry gets maligned, but the concepts of these shows indicate he always remained a forward- thinking and highly creative individual.
(Or maybe it was all the pot he smoked ;)

#27 Yes! With Tony Franciosa and two other guys rotating as the leads. Always hated that they changed the name from “Probe” to “Search,” though.
And that technology is now HERE. Time for a reboot, without question.

Dom
October 3, 2009 6:46 am

Given they were edited on film and (presumably) telecined-ed in HD prior to DVD encoding, you’d think they’d get a Blu-ray out there!

Imrahil
October 3, 2009 7:03 am

Man, I’m tired of seeing John Saxon’s package on the front page.

N
October 3, 2009 7:22 am

Why no Blu-ray? I never thought these would even come to DVD. I have old VHS transfers.

October 3, 2009 7:23 am

35

Yeah, I still have a soft spot for that show. I remember one cold Sunday night seeing a promo for it before it came on the air. Just a quick little spot that aired between whatever show my folks were watching. Seeing Lee Majors in a hospital gown standing in an elevator with the camera zooming in on a robot looking leg as the doors were closing.
“Next fall…the Bionic Man…. on ABC”…..I was hooked.

Capt Mike of the Terran Empire
October 3, 2009 7:24 am

I like Alex Cord better then Savage. I think he would have been a bigger star then he was if it can gone on to become a series. But at least Alex Cord did go on to be in Air Wolf and he did a great job there. Gene was a brilliant man and to bad the networks were not smart enough to either keep his shows on the air.(Star Trek) or give his new shows a real chance..

N
October 3, 2009 7:46 am

#14. I agree. I liked G2 better than PE. Even the set design looked better. Plus I like the Star Trek like uniforms that inspired ST:TNG uniforms. Even the Kreeg head bumps where reused by Roddenberry for the Klingons.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmmTqfVLw6c

N
October 3, 2009 8:13 am

#45. Sorry I meant PE better than G2.

Jeff Bond
October 3, 2009 8:24 am

I always liked the Planet Earth cast better–you can’t go wrong with Ted Cassidy! Janet Margolin was also sexy and cute and Saxon was just more fun than the dour Cord who looked like a seventies porn star. But the Genesis II story was much more interesting than the condescending amazon story for Planet Earth and the design work and gadgetry (plus Mariette Hartley) still makes Genesis II watchable.

There’s a great-looking bootleg out there of Planet Earth so I would think they should be able to have a fine transfer of that show; the boots of Genesis II are horrendous so I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing what’s done with that.

SB
October 3, 2009 9:10 am

FYI…

Genesis II and Planet Earth were both done for Warner Brothers. The Questor Tapes was, I believe, done at Universal. So unless Universal Home Video decides to follow suit, we won’t be seeing it on disc.

Spockish
October 3, 2009 9:32 am
#31. toddk I do not remember that show or even herd of it, but you could always search the net for the enclapedia of Sci-Fi TV shows. And I recall a web site that had similar data. I have the movie not TV version of the book. At the time it covered upto Movie 8 of Star Trek. I just viewed Star Trek – The Captains Summit (2009) last night. It was Whoopee interviewing Captain Kirk & Picard and First officers Spock and Riker sitting around a coffee table talking about TOS and TNG and Movies they did and shows & Movies Directed those that Stared in Star Trek shows as cast members. Lenard Nimoy even stated one of his best moments in history was his assisted Presentation of STS Shuttle 101 Enterprise in 1976 with the entire cast of Star Trek. I remember that and the minor slip of I think Sulu about plans for Star Trek Phase II that never was born but evolved into Star Trek The Motion Picture after Star Wars infused live into the Sci-Fi movie genera. The other fact is William Shatner acted Meek among the venue of Spock and the 3 TNG stars. Picard and Riker were more into other things and cared less about Sci-Fi, but after they got the jobs wanted to build a better base platform for the Original Enterprise Crew (they did not say Kirk or Spock but they were only looking right at them as they stated that.… Read more »
magnumpc
October 3, 2009 11:15 am

#7: L-O-L!! :) I even heard it in the proper voice as I read it!

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