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Genesis II in an alternative reality

In the early 1970s, Great Bird of the Galaxy and Star Trek revered creator Gene Roddenberry attempted to launch a new science fiction TV series entitled Genesis II. Today, this program is something of a legend to thirty-something genre buffs. Myself included. I for one have often wished that a clever producer would inherit this promising property and remake it today as a new series.And remake it worse,without allot of silly,pointless changes.

So little has been written about Gene Roddenberry’s work outside of Star Trek, and yet the guy produced a movie and four television pilots in the ten short years between the original Star Trek and The Motion Picture. On this, the fiftieth anniversary of his most renowned creation, it’s time to reconnect with Roddenberry’s lost productions and see how they laid down the blueprint for Star Trek’s Next Generation.

Starting us off is Roddenberry’s first attempt at a TV show after Star Trek, 1973’s Genesis II which, despite the odd roman numeral at the end, is not a sequel to anything previously produced. Genesis Ii refers to Earths Second Genesis,which would have have been Dylan Hunt and the Pax Team trying to put things back together again. For those whose memory banks have failed, the Genesis II pilot basically filled in a period of Earth "future" history, post 20th-century (and post-World War III, or in Genesis II terminology, "The Great Conflict") but pre-Star Trek Age.

In other words, the proposed series would have depicted Earth's adolescent struggles as man emerged from a deadly childhood (consisting of war and lust...) and became -- in the words of of Gene Roddenberry's teleplay -- a "grown up." Roddenberry commissioned twenty hour-long scripts for Genesis II, and they're all still out there, even in 2011: a veritable first season's worth of adventures ready to produce right now. One of those stories, by Alan Dean Foster ("Robot's Return") even became the basis for Star Trek: The Motion Picture and "V'Ger."

Despite a library of twenty scripts ready to produce, despite a fascinating premise about future Earth's evolution, CBS passed on Genesis II in favor of a TV version of Planet of the Apes (1974). Refusing to surrender, Roddenberry re-fashioned elements of the Genesis II premise and produced a second (more colorful and action-packed) version of the material called Planet Earth. If you're a fan of the 2000 - 2005 syndicated outer space series Andromeda, you may also recall that certain elements of that Kevin Sorbo series (including the name of the Genesis II hero, Dylan Hunt), were incorporated from this 1970s TV movie and pilot.

Genesis II commences in the late 1970s with a Buck Rogers-style premise. American scientist Dylan Hunt (Alex Cord) takes part in a suspended animation experiment deep inside a NASA facility inside Carlsbad Caverns (and adjacent to the Continental Defense Command). As Dylan is put to sleep in a pressure chamber, there is an inconveniently-timed rock fall and the facility is permanently buried, destroyed. Hunt is left for dead. Abandoned.

In voice-over narration, Hunt reports "My name is Dylan Hunt...and my story begins the day on which I died." It sounds a bit similarly to John Carter s opening of a Princess of Mars.I always thought,that was one of the more coolest opening lines in a movie. He then reports (accompanied by flashbacks...) how he served as the chief of the suspended animation project (known as Ganymede) since 1979, and how he arrived at the Carlsbad facility (from Washington DC) on a highly-advanced "sub-shuttle" which could travel 1135 kilometers an hour. The plan was to connect every nation in the world with these sub-shuttles, thus "bridging" continents. The sub-shuttles were necessary because surface and air travel had grown too vulnerable to attack (apparently, according to the prescient dialogue, China was on blazing ascent).

Apparently the pilot film did extremely well, ratings-wise, and was green-lit with several story outlines ready to be filmed. Unfortunately, CBS decided Genesis II allowed is not and went with a Planet of the Apes show instead.CBS m must have thought,we would watch a television series about two actors,playing characters Harper and Burke,who were leftovers of Taylor and Brent from the first two Planet of the Ape movies and Roddy MCDowell playing Galen,who another desguised Cornelius as Caesar was,being chaed by General Urko played by Mark Leonard,with dull action series retreat plotlines.We didn't and show failed.It might have been better if they went with Genesis II instead.I

find the Genesis II pilot’s reported popularity very interesting because it’s not particularly great.  The pilot has a very memorable openings bit of dialogue. "In the year 2133 AD -- some 154 years after the cavern accident -- Dylan Hunt is awakened by team members of an organization called PAX (Latin for "peace.") Pax's leader is a stoic, impressive black man, Primus Kimbridge (Percy Rodrigues), and he is accompanied on the rescue mission by a feisty human a cute woman named Harper-Smythe (Lynne Marta) and a gorgeous half-Tyranian mutant, Lyra-a (the foxy Mariette Hartley).I n Genesis II, Dylan Hunt, a NASA researcher, and all-around bad boy, tests suspended animation on himself. The goal for suspended animation is to assist deep space travel. Well, we all know what happens when you test suspended animation on yourself. You are ‘frozen’ for way too long.  Somewhere within the Carlsbad Caverns, he was leading a team of scientists on a mission to achieve suspended animation. As fun would have it, the pressurized chamber holding Mr. Hunt forces the unknown fault lines above to shift and buries he and his team for over a sesquicentenary.

In fact, Dylan Hunt awakes 154 years later after a nuclear world war. Luckily, the test was done deep in Carlsbad Cavern. In this future post-apocalyptic world, the NASA personnel and scientists in Carlsbad Cavern have morphed into the peaceful PAX society. PAX hopes to rebuild the world. In a scene demonstrating Gene Roddenberry's finely-developed penchant for kinkiness, Dylan Hunt's physiological revival nearly fails (his skin has actually turned blue...). To survive, Hunt's body needs to "want to live." Yes -- as Dylan reveals in voice over -- there is apparently a deep connection between "the will to survive" and "the need to reproduce." It is that connection that spurs metabolic revival post-suspension. The Subshuttle system, which extends around the word, is still operable, so PAX can explore all the new civilizations that have arose since “The Great Conflict”. After PAX revives Dylan, he agrees to assist the Tyranians with their nuclear power reactor. No doubt swayed by their beautiful double-navel ruler Lyra – r (Mariette Hartley). I don’t blame him. Of course, he realizes that the Tyranians are a fascist society up to no good. Did the name which is so close to “tyrant” tip him off. Anyway, cut to sometime later (*ahem*) and Lyra-a is still nursing the recuperating Dylan Hunt back to health. She promptly asks if Dylan remembers how she "cared" for him and then strips down to a bikini and shows off her double-belly button. Okay: best post-apocalyptic TV pilot ever,

As Lyra-a flaunts her fetching twin navels, she also provides some critical story exposition. Tyranians are apparently mutants with two hearts, and vastly superior strength. And they need Dylan's help because their nuclear reactor is malfunctioning. Lyra-a also claims that the people of PAX are militaristic plunderers ,looting various c

Despite a library of twenty scripts ready to produce, despite a fascinating premise about future Earth's evolution, CBS passed on Genesis II in favor of a TV version of Planet of the Apes (1974). Refusing to surrender, Roddenberry re-fashioned elements of the Genesis II premise and produced a second (more colorful and action-packed) version of the material called Planet Earth. If you're a fan of the 2000 - 2005 syndicated outer space series Andromeda, you may also recall that certain elements of that Kevin Sorbo series (including the name of the Genesis II hero, Dylan Hunt), were incorporated from this 1970s TV movie and pilot.

Genesis II commences in the late 1970s with a Buck Rogers-style premise. American scientist Dylan Hunt (Alex Cord) takes part in a suspended animation experiment deep inside a NASA facility inside Carlsbad Caverns (and adjacent to the Continental Defense Command). As Dylan is put to sleep in a pressure chamber, there is an inconveniently-timed rock fall and the facility is permanently buried, destroyed. Hunt is left for dead. Abandoned.

In voice-over narration, Hunt reports "My name is Dylan Hunt...and my story begins the day on which I died." He then reports (accompanied by flashbacks...) how he served as the chief of the suspended animation project (known as Ganymede) since 1979, and how he arrived at the Carlsbad facility (from Washington DC) on a highly-advanced "sub-shuttle" which could travel 1135 kilometers an hour. The plan was to connect every nation in the world with these sub-shuttles, thus "bridging" continents. The sub-shuttles were necessary because surface and air travel had grown too vulnerable to attack (apparently, according to the prescient dialogue, China was on blazing ascent).

In the year 2133 AD -- some 154 years after the cavern accident -- Dylan Hunt is awakened by team members of an organization called PAX (Latin for "peace.") Pax's leader is a stoic, impressive black man, Primus Kimbridge (Percy Rodrigues), and he is accompanied on the rescue mission by a feisty human woman named Harper-Smythe (Lynne Marta) and a gorgeous half-Tyranian mutant, Lyra-a (the foxy Mariette Hartley).

In a scene demonstrating Gene Roddenberry's finely-developed penchant for kinkiness, Dylan Hunt's physiological revival nearly fails (his skin has actually turned blue...). To survive, Hunt's body needs to "want to live." Yes -- as Dylan reveals in voice over -- there is apparently a deep connection between "the will to survive" and "the need to reproduce." It is that connection that spurs metabolic revival post-suspension.


Cutting through the techno-jargon, what this means simply is that Lyra-a must make love to Dylan to restore the twentieth-century scientist to health.

And did I mention that Lyra-a has two belly buttons?

So, from the haze of a half-coma, Dylan begs Lyra-a: "make me want to live." She happily obliges. Note to self: if I am ever in suspended animation for 154 years, I would like Lyra-a to be present to revive me.

Anyway, cut to sometime later (*ahem*) and Lyra-a is still nursing the recuperating Dylan Hunt back to health. She promptly asks if Dylan remembers how she "cared" for him and then strips down to a bikini and shows off her double-belly button. Okay: best post-apocalyptic TV pilot ever,

As Lyra-a flaunts her fetching twin navels, she also provides some critical story exposition. Tyranians are apparently mutants with two hearts, and vastly superior strength. And they need Dylan's help because their nuclear reactor is malfunctioning. Lyra-a also claims that the people of PAX are militaristic plunderers (looting various c

In other words, in a world ruined by war, the greatest wrong imaginable is killing...even the "justifiable" killing of an enemy. If the human race is to grow up, it must eschew violence totally. The people of PAX will not sacrifice their ideals for security; not murder other people in the name of "peace."

"I hope I'm up to it," says Hunt, committing to a bold, and perhaps difficult future.

I've written above, perhaps a bit too snarkily, about the sexual aspects of Genesis II, but in fairness, this pilot also boasts Roddenberry's penchant for intelligent social commentary. Not merely in terms of the anti-war, pro-peace message, either, but in terms of gender and race equality. For instance, the attentive viewer will notice immediately the "unisex" and integrated nature of PAX. Blacks, and whites, men and women, hold the title "Primus" and work together to build the future. There's also great (and highly-amusing) scene here in which Harper-Smythe complains bitterly that the world was destroyed by "lust" (lust between the sexes, lust for property, lust for power...), and it rings true enough that we recognize the concern.

And even though Genesis II occurs post-holocaust, there is room for hope (Roddenberry's famous, trademark optimism) in this troubled world. The Earth survives, and has been gifted with "a second chance."

On the other hand, this message is muddled by some of the visuals. For instance, much of Genesis II occurs underground, in dark, unpleasant caves. True, some caves are decorated with art; and there's also a garden in evidence, but the visual reveals the truth: the peaceful (good) people of PAX have been relegated to living in a basement. They wear rags that look like potato sacks. Though the citizenry are idealistic, though they have hope, their "home" looks pretty grim. This is one element that is changed in Planet Earth. It infuses PAX's world with spiffy uniforms (recalling Star Trek) and vibrant, upbeat-colors (more Star Trek). Genesis II is probably more intellectually honest about what a post-apocalyptic state would look like; but Planet Earth is definitely more palatable in terms of visuals.

Other visuals are a mixed bag on Genesis II. The Tyranian City is a perfect example. It is depicted with a great matte painting (from a distance.) But up close, the city looks just like your friendly neighborhood community college campus. Likewise, some exterior vistas are impressive (like Hunt's first view of the outside world), while other locations look suspiciously like Southern California ranches. And, there's some clumsy insertion of stock footage here too. When Lyra-a and Dylan ride to the Tyranian city, the episode cuts to stock material of squirrels and raccoons gallivanting.

So, how is one to assess the pilot overall? Well, the climactic action in Genesis II is pretty darn uninspiring, truth be told, and the overall tone lacks Star Trek's joie-de-vivre. Also, there's little sense of esprit-de-corps between the protagonists. (Again, this is understandable, given the grave circumstances...) However, the set-up of the series (it's just one sub-shuttle ride to new civilizations and new life forms...) and the powerful ideals of the PAX characters (their evolved view towards violence and war) certainly held great potential. Also, the idea of a man like Hunt - who embodies both the best and worst of the 20th century - dealing with a "brave new world" seemed to promise so much.

I still think this would have been a great series and I mourn the decision not to green light it. The pilot offers the Roddenberry touch (and his writing style) in spades, and is immensely entertaining. Also, you can't deny Genesis II was ahead of its time. Just a few years later, the short-lived Logan's Run TV series would adopt a familiar formula. That series involved hover-craft (not sub-shuttle) trips to various post-apocalyptic cultures-of-the-week.

If you think about it, Roddenberry nearly accomplished the impossible here: he excavated a second great series formula, one that held for the possibility of so many exciting and diverse stories. I don't know that there is any Mr. Spock-style break out character in Genesis II, but Lyra-a, with her philosophy of "self-interest" and her inability to "feel love" as humans "understand" it, could have made for some very interesting moments and dynamic character interaction. Also, the idea of Earth getting a new beginning - a second genesis - is one of enormous optimism, something that over time (and some brighter photography...) might have resonated with audiences the way Star Trek's spirit of universal brotherhood did.

So why isn't anybody remaking this as a series, using the 20 original scripts as foundational material?ivilizations for ancient treasures), descendants of the very soldiers responsible for the "Great Conflict" in the first place.

Lyra-a helps Dylan escape from PAX in a still-functioning sub-shuttle and escorts him to the grand Tyranian metropolis (located in old Arizona). There, Dylan learns the truth: Tyranians practice deceit as "a virtue" and believe that "self-interest is the natural order of life." The Tyranians also enslave human beings, whom they euphemistically refer to as "Our Helpers."

Furthermore, the Tyranians control human beings with technological wands called "stims," devices which can deliver eight degrees of pain...or eight degrees of pleasure. Again, this is incredibly kinky when put in practice (what with all the wand touching and all...), but frankly, that's the patented Roddenberrian touch I missed most in the modern incarnations of the Trek franchise. Bring on the double-belly buttons and the pleasure sticks. Please.

The remainder of the TV-movie involves Dylan learning that PAX is actually a noble organization, one committed to "preserving the best of the past" and "letting the worst of it be forgotten." With the help of a PAX team, including a Native American named Isiah (Ted Cassidy), Dylan stages an insurrection to free the Tyranians' human slaves. He also learns why Lyra-a really brought him to the city: they have a nuclear missile aimed at PAX's headquarters, and need Dylan's help making it functional.

Genesis II ends with a nuclear detonation at the Tyranian nuclear facility (far from the city). Dylan has double-crossed the Tyranians and removed their weapons of mass destruction permanently. Interestingly, the pilot then ends on a strongly pacifist, philosophical note. The men and women of PAX, though facing annihilation, are angry that Hunt has killed Tyranians. "Did you take lives?" They ask with disapproval. Of course, he has ("I saved everyone!" he says), but the people of PAX believe his choice was immoral, and don't just talk the talk. They walk the walk. "You must swear to give your life rather than to take another," they insist.

Genesis II is now available on DVD, courtesy of the extensive Warner Archive In other words, in a world ruined by war, the greatest wrong imaginable is killing...even the "justifiable" killing of an enemy. If the human race is to grow up, it must eschew violence totally. The people of PAX will not sacrifice their ideals for security; not murder other people in the name of "peace." Anyway, of course our hero saves the day and returns to PAX.

Gene Roddenberry’s idea was tried several times. Dylan Hunt showed up again in Planet Earth (played by John Saxon) and used University of California, Irvine as a location. John Saxon showed up again in Strange New World (Roddenberry not involved). Finally, in honor, Kevin Sorbo’s character in Andromeda was named Dylan Hunt.

University of California, Riverside’s Carillion Mall area from Olmstead Hall to Rivera Arches to the Carillion Bell Tower provided the futuristic architecture landscape needed for Tyrania. If you visit check out the Eaton collection in the Rivera Library – a must-do for sci-fi fans.

The opening is a mixed up jumble of scenes and narration, some of the concepts are downright laughable, and the hero flip flops so often between allegiances it can be hard to keep up. Dylon Hunt tries explain show a sub shuttle system covers half the world and was supposed to bring the world together if not certain unspoken troubles on Earth.In Carlsbad Caverns,the life suspended animation project was being tested due to the underground being the best place to test such an experiment.

To be really frank, nothing Roddenberry produced outside of Star Trek was flat out amazing, but it’s all still worth watching because they have a very Roddenberry quality about them that’s both familiar and comforting no matter how goofy things get.

Genesis II is the story of contemporary NASA scientist Dylan Hunt, here played by Alex Cord, getting trapped inside his own suspended animation experiment for 160 years. If the name Dylan Hunt sounds familiar to you it’s because it was later used for Kevin Sorbo’s character in the 2000 series Andromeda.I perfere Alex Cord as Dylan Hunt over John Saxon and certainly better than Republican Conservatard Asshole Kevin Sarbo.How,this jackass came off as likable in Hercules the Legendary Journeys show how much an actor can fool us.

Hunt sleeps in his stasis chamber until the year 2133. The earth, at this point, has experienced a massive nuclear war and is only now starting to rebuild. Hunt is accidentally woken up by a group of underground dwellers called the PAX. They are amazed to find what they believed to be a dead body still barely breathing. Why would they automatically,assume the body was dead,when Dylan Hunt must have some sort of life signs.Like Spock telling McCoy how to replace his own brain, a half-conscious Hunt attempts to tell the PAX, through barely audible grunts, how to revive him; however, the PAX have no knowledge of medicine and can’t comply.Gee,besides collecting art and music,no one thought to preserve medical technology ? This was a silly retreat repeted sort of Buck Rogers ten years later on NBC.People of the future,after an atomic wars are stupid and they needed the current world hero,trapped in the future to set them right.

Fortunately one of the biological concepts that makes the xenon gas-based hibernation work is – I’m not making this up – the “need to reproduce”. Hunt grabs the shoulder of a leggy blonde PAX, Lyra-a played by Mariette Hartley (Zarabeth from “All Our Yesterdays”), begs her to make him “want to live”, and he soon recovers. Yes, folks, Dylan Hunt survives because he’s horny.He give the hermonal excelle rant contained within the same chambers.

Hunt himself is a fury chested, mustachioed sex god, the like of which can be seen in the previous year’s Deep Throat and Roddenberry’s own 1971 film Pretty Maids all In a Row. He’s the very embodiment of a man willing to screw a brave new world into submission. It’s no secret that Gene’s expression of sexuality had all the poignance and complexity of kid peaking at his dad’s Playboys. It’s splatted all over his 70’s and 80’s work including Lt. Illia’s bizarre vow of chastity in The Motion Picture, and the various sex-comedy tweaks Gene made to first season Next Generation episodes like “Justice” and “The Naked Now”.

-2 Because of this it should come as no shock that Hartley’s Lyra-a drops her robe the moment she’s alone with Hunt revealing her twin belly buttons of doom. Why she needs two belly buttons is never explained .Does she have two hearts like Doctor Who and that's why ?The legend Roddenberry created around this aesthetic decision was that NBC wouldn’t allow him to show Hartley’s single navel on Star Trek. So when he got his chance he stuck two on her Genesis II character. This, of course, seems like nonsense considering there were many, many, many, many belly buttons on Star Trek. Many. Hartley, herself, can’t remember the incident, so I’d chalk it up to Gene creating another fantasy about his war with the censors.

-3 Like the crew of the Enterprise, the PAX leadership, headed by Percy “Commodore Stone” Rodriguez, is a rainbow coalition of ethnicities and accents. Roddenberry’s belief in a future of racial harmony and cooperation was definitely a legitimate and heartfelt one. It’s a shame, then, that the PAX’s first issue of business is discussing whether Lyra-a can be trusted due to her being a half-breed cross between a PAX mother and a mutant from the city of Tyrania (as in “tyranny”, get it?). There’s an actual genetically reductive discussion about how her twin-naveled evil might override her human purity. “An oath means nothing to a mutant!” exclaims the Greek one. ”Her people practice deceit as a virtue!” says the Asian one. It might have been if Lyra-a were the conflicted weirdo of the group,that Leonard Nenoys Mister Spock was.She could have been character cause between two worlds Tyrania and Pax. In 1973, producer Gene Roddenberry was looking for another sci-fi concept that would outdo his Star Trek success. The pilot program, Genesis II, featured a "PAX subshuttle" (shown behind Roddenberry, first photo) that allowed the characters to zoom at tremendous speeds around the planet in a pod-like vessel inside a vacuum tube.And Roddenberry wasn't breaking new TV ground. George Jetson famously traveled by tube years before.But again Gene Roddenberry didn't invent the interstellar star ship.Rocky Jones kind did that years before .too. Still,it is an impressive concept to introduce in the series.Obviously,it was a cheaper series plop than the USS Enterprise.You can redress the main location of the shuttle station,as they must have did in the two pilot movie for station closes to Tyrania.That redressed station,would have been seen over and over in the series. The premise made use of a vehicle called the subshuttle, essentially an underground bullet train system started in Dylan’s time (when fear of war had made aboveground transport seem too vulnerable) and expanded in the decades before the war. The system has survived and been maintained by Pax, serving as the means for Pax’s operatives to travel the world. (And it couldn’t possibly have worked as depicted. With so little clearance between the shuttle and the tube walls, with no evident vents, and with the tubes clearly not in vacuum, air resistance would’ve kept it from going as fast as it was shown to travel.) Of course,maybe the shuttle is in a vacuum belond the sub shuttle station area,but we are given nothing to note otherwise.

-4 Later on Ted Cassidy’s character Issiah , who’s violent stoicism is an obvious prototype of Lt. Worf, will be referred to as a “White Comanche” who’s very heritage makes him an “ideal warrior”. That description may work ok for you when applied to a bumpy-headed alien, but when it’s pointed at a white guy with a head band playing a Native American it just seems icky. These are some embarrassingly mixed messages from the guy whose more ardent fans consider him the most racially progressive writer to ever grace Hollywood. Gene, no doubt didn’t mean to be so tone deaf and, for me at least, his dedication to racial harmony is nothing but sincere. But if you’re going to talk about a man’s vision you’re going to have to eventually bring up his myopia.Still,Ted Cassidy was always a welcome face on tv.The only problem here is,was he also a Tyranian or he Genesis II' s version of the Yangs in the Star Trek episode Omega Glory.

Worst of all, Lyra-a really is an evil, mutant temptress in the same vein of many female antagonists in the Original Series. She convinces Hunt, almost solely with the power of her bare midriff, that the PAX are the villains and that he needs escape with her to the mutant’s city. Much of the discussion of Lyra-a is similar to that of Spock’s dual genetic/cultural nature, but with a lot less nuance. Her mutant side apparently drives her to trick and seduce Hunt into helping her people, but her human half just wants the love, strange love, a well-groomed NASA mustache teaches. It’s all the pain and frustration of a mixed race individual condensed into a good girl/bad girl trope.

-5 What really sets Hunt against the PAX, however, isn’t Lyra-a’s arguments but the fact that the PAX have abandoned all their “animal lust” which they blame for the war that leveled the planet. Their civility stems from their gender egalitarian nature where men and women dress the same, talk the same, and do the same work. All this equality somehow precludes serious boning. This, unfortunately, is a common misconception that still exists today – women are sexless by nature and only through the prowess of a man will there ever be physical love. By extension, a society in which the sexes are equally respected will be bland and passionless as the male libido will be automatically repressed. So when Hunt can’t seduce his pure PAX caretaker he immediately makes a run for the mutant city of Tyrania. Again, the plot literally revolves around Hunt’s fickle pickle. To his credit, Roddenberry, with the help of master designer William Ware Theiss, was as interested in sexually objectifying men as he was women. While the PAX have their sexless, brown jumpsuits, everyone in Tyrania, including Dylan Hunt, struts around in barely-there togas that would make Zardoz blush. While the original Star Trek’s miniskirts and overly revealing dresses are impossible to defend, it should be acknowledged that William Shatner’s clean shaven chest was on display as often as could be rationalized. This attitude would continue into Next Generation where both the guys and the gals wore short skirts and skin tight spandex. It’s interesting to note that in Next Gen’s third season, as Gene’s influence waned, the skants disappeared, the alien costumes became more conservative, and only the women continued to wear tight uniforms. The problem is Tyranian are supposed to be genetically altered supermen like Khan Noonian Sing,but we have two old farts in bad womens wig,who remind us as the Council of Idiots in Battle star Galactica,dressed up in blue togas.Those are supermen ? Just the balding actors,in the first episode of the 1950's Superman playing Kryptonians,one wonders what happened ?Obviously,unlike Khan states mankinds technology has improved,but not man himself.Obviously the Tyranians and Kryptonians technology improved,but not themselves.

-7 After a few happy days lounging in retro-futurist Roman splendor getting his mustache trimmed and being hand fed by white-clad nymphs, Hunt starts to realize Tyrania is not all it’s cracked up to be. There is a rigid caste system and institutionalized slavery is rampant. When Hunt refuses to fix the Tyranian’s aging nuclear plant one of their luxuriously coiffed leaders attacks him with a sadomasochistic weapon called “the stim” which is capable of delivering pleasure as well as pain (again, shades of Spock’s Brain).This could have a reused prop Pax should be using like the Federation did with Phasers on Stun setting. He’s rescued by undercover PAX agents Issiah who are there to foster a slave revolt. Hunt agrees to help them, makes a magic weapon-sensing device, gets captured and freed again, and finally convinces the slaves to rise up and flee. In the end Hunt tricks Lyra-a into expressing love for him by claiming his “weapon detector” is actually a “truth detector”. Hunt bashes her over the head with a stone wrapped in a blue cloth.Dylan escape s with his Pax people,but decides to allow the team to leave on the sub shuttle back the PAX Mountain headquarters. Because he sees Lyra-a,her feelings are real and “human” he finally agrees to abandon his new PAX friends in order to fix the Tyranian nuclear reactor. Days go by and the PAX consider Hunt dead until he shows up at their base asking if they saw the nuclear blast he set off. Apparently, in one last act of deceit, the Tyranian actually wanted him to fix a left over nuclear warhead that was aimed at the PAX. Several technicians were killed in the blast, much to the disapproval of the PAX leadership who abhor the violence of the olden days.

Pacifism is another of Roddenberry’s core beliefs and it’s the only one that is completely immune to criticism and cynicism. When Hunt insists he did what he had to to save their bacon the PAX tell him they are all willing to give their lives before taking the lives of others no matter what the reason. The discussion is ended when the nuclear shock wave finally hits the PAX base, blowing everyone over and terrifying a group of children. The sight of the PAX children huddling in fear of what Hunt has done convinces him to only reconstitute the best achievements of his time and abandon the violence of the past for this new way of peaceful coexistence.

This is a really well earned and completely earnest moment as well as a very interesting turn for a Roddenberry hero. Kirk and Picard are civilized men who almost always have answers to the big questions. Their pontifications on humanity are legendary. Hunt is a different breed. He is the kind of savage who destroyed this world. Despite all his advanced technical knowledge it is he who will need to be civilized.

Almost all pilots are sloppy affairs. They need to create new characters, worlds, and antagonisms and often, as is the case with Genesis II, in only one hour. This final moment tells me the show, no matter how flawed, would have had real potential to do something different: teach the world Roddenberry’s utopian views by learning with the lead character instead of by being preached to by him. That’s a show I’d happily watch the crap out of.

Of course, Dylar Hunt ruins the entire mood in the closing shot by trapping a PAX woman in an elevator and making a really gross pass at her with the line “I bet you have a great pancreas”. Nice one, Gene. Obviously,Harper Smythe was Roddenberry s second attempt as the Jim Kirk/Janis Rand romance. Lyra-a should have returned with Dylan Hunt and Pax,showing she had abandoned the Tyranianx for Pax.But we get is obscurity.How did Dylan get away from Lyra-a ? Did she let him go ? Did he simply escape the Tyranians ?How ? Did the two old farts simply dance about ,so happy,that they have a working nuclear reactor and nuclear missle ,as Dylan Hunt runs off in a horse for the sub shuttle station ? Unanswered questions.Gene Roddenberry never let us know.


-9 Here’s some of my stray, uncategorized thoughts and observations:

• Majel Barrett is part of the PAX leadership. She doesn’t do much, but it’s great to see her.

• “Women’s Country” is alluded to. This will come up again in the second pilot attempt for this series, Planet Earth.

• The hyperloop style “subshuttle” that can take characters across the world in minutes is a very cool effect that must have cost a lot of the budget. You can be sure stock footage of it would have been used the same way the Enterprise was in future episodes.

• The PAX have no knowledge of medicine or medical equipment. Intravenous needles are alien to them. Percy Rodriguez is utterly shocked that Hunt wants them to “inject an alien substance into his body”. Yet their only hand weapon is a hypodermic needle that delivers a knock-out drug. This is an inconsistency that would have become harder to explain in a long running series.

• It’s also odd that the PAX are so unwilling to take a single life to protect themselves, yet they’re ok with unleashing thousands of armed, blood-thirsty slaves on the Tyranians.

• The show’s opening title font is Rude Extra Condensed Black if you’re the kind of person who cares about such things. Planet Earth The next year, undaunted by his failure, Roddenberry returned, again with his protagonist, Dylan Hunt, and his new friends at PAX. This time, portrayed by the great character actor, John Saxon (Enter The Dragon, Nightmare on Elm Street), we get a better sense of what all could be done with this world in a TV series. I personally,did not care for John Saxon was Dylan Hunt.He always looked to me,if he had a serious headache all the time and just didn't have the charm Alex Cord had in the previous movie. Genesis II ended with such a sense of finality, that it might have felt like the entire story was over before it had hardly started. In Planet Earth, Dylan Hunt is now leading a team of PAX-onauts in exploring their new earth. Basically, it’s a small-scale Star Trek. They discover there are many societies all over the post-apocalyptic earth, including a matriarchy that has enslaved men.The Pax team,how have yellow costumes

The movie has a lot of fun with this idea. Maybe too much fun is had, including a rather outdated view of the politics of women’s lib. This is the seventies, after all, and although his intentions were good, Rodenberry’s teleplay (co-written by Juanita Bartlett) can’t help but condescend a bit. After being captured by the female confederacy, Hunt must find a way to seduce his mistress. He romances her as they drink (don’t worry, it doesn’t go date-rapey) and he muses, “Women’s lib… men’s lib… how about people’s lib?”. The story comes off,as a bit of stupid ly over reaction to women's lib and the proto ridge Klingon Humans are a bit too much to believe.Once again,it might have been better to re-introduce the Tyrannians as the villians instead of the John Quade Want to be Klingon s driving jeeps.They just don't come off as fright,but as stupid as Quades Black Window biker gang in those Every Which Way Clint Eastwood movies later on. The costume department had a lot of fun making wacky, but appropriate attire for these powerful women. Plus, the cast rather naturally affected their performances with a great deal of power and stature within the matriarchy. They great Diana Muldaur (from both Star Trek TOS and DS9) takes the lead role among her co-stars with a particularly impressive realization of her character. She is strong, even brutish, but still somehow feminine and graceful. Watching her, one has to ponder what features and characteristics can be considered specifically masculine or feminine, and whether or not any of those characteristics matter (they don’t, of course). That should have been the central theme of this film all along. Without those useless physical distinctions, Patriarchy collapses.

Strange New WorldEdit

Another year later, finally giving in, Gene Roddenberry sat out when Ronald F. Graham and Robert Butler took some of the concepts and imagery from Roddenberry’s two previous attempts and created Strange New World (a sly reference to the opening monologue from Star Trek). This time, John Saxon returned to do more dropkicking, but not as Dylan Hunt. Now, he is Anthony Vico, saved with two other astronauts in a cryo-sleep in outer space while asteroids pummeled the earth they knew. They return 180 years later to find a secret society which harvests organs from clones in order to live eternally. The movie devotes the majority of its time to exploring that world and when the team makes its exit, after what feels like the climax of the script, only to discover another world, it is hard to find the energy to stay focused. The two acts are shockingly uneven. The first half slowly moved in “suspense”, and the second moves at a much faster clip and focuses on action and a far more appealing idea.

Vico and his team discover, hiding deep in the wilderness, tribal white trash! I’m not exaggerating. These people (all men) fear foreigners (“fornies”, they call them), live for huntin’ and trappin’, speak with a distinct southern drawl, and love weapons. As their foils, a group of tribal hippies (sort of) is also discovered. This faction has found a book detailing the laws of the Fish and Wildlife Services and adopted it as a bible. They live in what was once a zoo and now thrive in peace with the animals… they can even communicate with them. The NRA Vs. The EPA! It’s a beautifully goofy idea that would have made for wonderful satire, but this movie lacks the energy and structure to play well even as grounded science fiction. It just doesn’t live up to the fun or charm of its predecessors.

On the whole, these three features are a real treasure. To have this glimpse at some lost Rodenberry work is exciting and rare, not to mention these three works contain the concepts and characters which lead eventually to the successful TV series Andromeda. It’s an interesting film and the concept had potential, but Cord is not the most appealing lead actor, and there are aspects of Pax that might’ve been offputting in a weekly series — they lived in underground bunkers in Carlsbad Caverns, and they embraced a rather ascetic “unisex” philosophy that disdained lust and sexuality as the cause of civilization’s downfall, as explicated by the uptight supporting character Harper-Smythe, played by Lynne Marta (though it was suggested that the young were starting to reject that view). All in all, it could be better, and it’s understandable why CBS rejected the series (instead opting for the similar Planet of the Apes TV series which lasted for only half a season), and why, when Roddenberry then pitched it to ABC, they asked him to retool it for the second attempt (Roddenberry had a knack for getting second pilots made, it seems).

This was 1974’s Planet Earth, this time starring John Saxon as Dylan Hunt and Janet Margolin as Harper-Smythe, with Ted Cassidy returning as Isiah (the only holdover from the original cast) and Christopher Cary added as Hunt’s fourth team member, the “esper” doctor Baylok. (Which is pronounced the same as Balok from ST’s “The Corbomite Maneuver” — a character that Cassidy provided the voice for, kind of. That always weirded me out a little.) This time out, Pax has relocated to a beautiful, advanced aboveground city (about where Albuquerque once was, judging from a shot in the opening titles), and the “unisex” beliefs are nowhere to be found — female extras in Pax City are wearing revealing William Ware Theiss outfits, and Harper-Smythe now appears to have a thing for Dylan. Isiah’s portrayed a little better, speaking more coherent English and no longer in what I guess you’d call “redface” makeup, but Baylok still calls him “the savage” at one point. ST’s former associate producer Bob Justman was brought in as producer this time, and Roddenberry cowrote the script with future Rockford Files staff writer/producer Juanita Bartlett. The story is a very ’70s conceit: to find a missing doctor, Hunt and Harper-Smythe must infiltrate a society where women (primarily Marg, played by Diana Muldaur) keep men as slaves and pets — which Dylan actually describes as “women’s lib gone mad.” There are definitely ways in which it plays out as the kind of sex-preoccupied male fantasy you’d expect from Roddenberry, or from ’70s TV in general: Dylan uses his virility to seduce Marg and convince her that men aren’t so bad. But it seems to me that Bartlett’s hand adds some wit to the proceedings, so that Dylan’s seduction plays out more comically and tastefully than it otherwise might have, more about getting Marg drunk and philosophizing about mutual respect than getting her laid.

The movie also features villains called the Kreeg, a brutish, warlike band of mutants with electronically deepened voices and knobbly head ridges that appear to be a prototype for the revised Klingon makeup that would be introduced five years later in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (I can’t find a makeup credit for Planet Earth, though, so I don’t know if it was designed by the same person, Fred Phillips.)

All in all, despite the iffy gender politics of the premise, Planet Earth is an improvement on the first pilot. Saxon is a much more charismatic and sympathetic lead than Cord, as much of an improvement as William Shatner was over Jeffrey Hunter as the Enterprise captain. Margolin is also a more appealing Harper-Smythe than Marta. There’s more charm and wit to the writing. The aboveground setting and the new Pax-team uniforms are an improvement (despite the uniforms’ unappealing color scheme), and Pax’s society seems more worth fighting for. Isiah is less offensive, and Baylok could potentially be an interesting character, but was quite underutilized here. The downside is that there’s less ethnic diversity in the lead cast; the first pilot featured a team member named Singh (seemingly the only South Asian surname Roddenberry knew) in a fairly prominent role, but here, Dylan’s team is all-white, and the one major black character, Kimbridge (here retitled “Pater” and recast as Rai Tasco), is sidelined. This is something of a reversal from the Trek pilots; in “The Cage,” the main cast was all-white, but the network pushed for more diversity in the second pilot (since recent analyses had revealed the buying power of minority viewers), and that’s how we got characters like Sulu and Uhura. Here, things unfortunately went in the reverse direction. Planet Earth didn’t succeed as a pilot any more than its predecessor did. In his entire career, the only non-Trek series that Roddenberry ever got on the air was his first, the non-SF series The Lieutenant in 1963, and that only ran for one season. However, in 1975, ABC attempted to rework the post-apocalyptic premise one more time without Roddenberry’s involvement, keeping Saxon as the lead and retaining the name Pax, and using the Trek-inspired title Strange New World, but changing the rest of the premise and the character names. (The leads were astronauts on a sleeper ship who returned to an Earth devastated by asteroid bombardment.) So it doesn’t count as part of the same series and I haven’t bothered to track it down.

Of course, the concept of a hero named Dylan Hunt who slept through the fall of his civilization and fought to rebuild peace and stability in the post-apocalyptic world was resurrected after Roddenberry’s death as the premise of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, transposed to far-future outer space and starring Kevin Sorbo as Hunt. A couple of other elements from the original films made their way into Andromeda: Harper-Smythe inspired the Harper character in name if nothing else, and I daresay the genetically superior Tyranians inspired the genetically superior Tyr Anasazi and his Nietzschean race. But otherwise it was a very different show, more the creation of Robert Hewitt Wolfe than Roddenberry, and blending the fragments of the Dylan Hunt universe with concepts from other failed Roddenberry pitches (such as the idea of an intelligent starship as a lead character, from an unused premise called Starship). Not to mention that the show went badly astray once Wolfe was fired after a season and a half. I really don’t want to get into that here; it would be reopening old wounds.

One reason I decided to buy these movies was to test a hypothesis. I’ve long entertained the conceit that maybe the G2/PE universe was an alternate timeline of the Trek universe, maybe one where the Eugenics Wars were more extensive and escalated to a nuclear conflict. That was never more than an idle musing before; but in recent years, since Pocket published its Mirror Universe and Myriad Universes anthologies, I’ve taken to cataloguing alternate Trek timelines more systematically in my personal chronology notes, and I got to wondering about whether I could actually add these movies to my list.

At first I was concerned it might not work, because the state of things in 1979 in G2 already seemed rather different from what we know of the Trek world in that time (not too different from ours, but with a more active space program). But then I thought, what if the divergence was earlier? What if, say, Gary Seven hadn’t intervened in “Assignment: Earth” and after? In that case, Earth would’ve begun an orbital nuclear arms buildup starting in 1968, which would fit neatly with the mid-’70s war fears that led to the creation of the subshuttles in G2. Also, according to the novel continuity, without Gary Seven’s intervention, the eugenics program that produced Khan and the Augments would’ve been more extensive, and the Eugenics Wars would’ve been bigger, potentially escalating to the level of global cataclysm. And the “mutant” Tyranians and Kreeg, claimed in the films to be the products of radiation, make far more sense if they’re descendants of the Augments. The timing works too. The undated cataclysm had to be after 1992, the date given for the construction of a subshuttle station seen in PE. However, the most advanced technology Pax has dates from Dylan’s century according to dialogue, suggesting that the end came no later than roughly the turn of the millennium. Which is no doubt where I originally got the idea that it was a bigger, alternative version of the Eugenics Wars. So I think it works rather neatly. The Dylan Hunt timeline could well be the future that Gary Seven was sent to Earth to prevent. (Which would mean that in the Trek universe, without the war fears driving things underground, Dylan’s hibernation experiment would’ve most likely happened elsewhere and he would never have been trapped in stasis by a cave-in. Indeed, his research could’ve led to the cryogenic technology of the Botany Bay.)

The other question I had was whether the two films could fit in the same timeline as each other, given the changes between them. The recastings are easily waved away, just like any TV or film recastings (e.g. Saavik or Cochrane in Trek). The change in Isiah’s makeup and hair can be just as easily ignored, or rationalized by saying he was in disguise in G2. The character changes can be rationalized; Isiah could’ve learned better English, Harper-Smythe could’ve softened in her unisex views after Dylan deflated some of her cherished myths about his era, and Kimbridge’s change in title could’ve been the result of either a promotion or a retirement from the Primus council. The hardest thing to rationalize is the Pax city suddenly materializing between movies; but maybe Pax had had the city all along, yet had retreated to the Carlsbad bunker due to the threat of Tyranian attack, a threat which was resolved by PE. Alternatively, maybe Pax made an alliance with the city and relocated there between movies — which might better explain the different, non-unisex clothing style. (If the city’s about where Albuquerque was, that would make it a bit under 300 miles NNW of Carlsbad Caverns, explaining why we didn’t see it in G2. The climax of G2 suggests that Tyrania is considerably closer to Carlsbad, though, not far over the horizon. Since they had nuclear weapons, they might’ve been somewhere around Alamogordo or White Sands, perhaps. Lyra-a mentions Phoenix as they ride toward Tyrania, but it can’t possibly be that far away.)

One other minor discrepancy: in G2, Majel Barrett plays Primus Dominic and Titos Vandis plays Primus Yuloff; whereas in PE, Barrett has a tiny role as a character credited as Yuloff. But Barrett’s PE character was never addressed by name onscreen, so the credit could simply be an error. Or maybe Dominic married Yuloff in the interim.

The timing’s also a bit tricky. In PE, Dylan says he was born on February 3, 1944 and is 189 years old, adding up to 2133, the same year as G2. But it’s easier to reconcile the movies if you assume some time passes between them to allow for the changes. But there’s an easy handwave: Dylan was drunk when he calculated his age. He could easily have been off by a year or two.

So I think the two movies can be treated as a single continuity if you squint a little — which is true of a lot of continuity in any TV or movie universe. Sure, if I’m defining them as an alternate Trek-universe timeline to begin with, I could just as easily say they were two slightly variant timelines; but with only two movies, I’d rather treat them as a connected series if possible.

Of course, this all has to remain strictly informal speculation. The copyright on these movies is owned by Warner Bros., not CBS, so I wouldn’t be allowed to incorporate these characters and ideas into a licensed Trek novel. But that’s why it’s fun to think about. It lets me get back to speculating about something Trek-related purely for recreation, rather than for work.

It’s worth noting, however, that Roddenberry himself may have worked some ideas from G2/PE into his ST:TNG pilot, “Encounter at Farpoint.” The chronology precluded them from fitting in the same universe even then, but a lot of concepts in TNG were recycled from earlier, failed Roddenberry projects: Riker and Troi were reworked from Decker and Ilia in TMP and the failed Phase II sequel series, while Data was a blend of Phase II‘s Vulcan character Xon and the android lead of the 1974 pilot film The Questor Tapes. The depiction of “the post-atomic horror” in “Farpoint” bears some similarities to the G2/PE universe, so I wonder if maybe Roddenberry had the idea that Trek history could’ve happened similarly but with different timing, that the Federation could be descended from a group equivalent to Pax which had rebuilt the Earth after a less extensive WWIII. It definitely reflects the same idea that things would have to get much worse for humanity before we finally came to our senses and built a better world. Of course, later Trek installments, primarily First Contact, depicted Earth history in a very different way. But it’s interesting to speculate about what Roddenberry may have intended. Now wake your clone-ass up out of hibernation and discover some popcorn! It’s triple-feature time!



Genesis II (1973)Genesis II (1973) **½Edit

By 1973, “Star Trek” had firmly established itself as a cult hit. It wasn’t yet the big deal that it would become in the 80’s, but it had demonstrated nigh-unprecedented staying power for a show with mediocre first-run ratings that got shitcanned before the end of its third season. Paramount would spend the rest of the decade fumbling toward a way to capitalize on that, and they weren’t the only ones.Edit

Gene Roddenberry also decided right around then to try his hand at sci-fi a second time, seeking to parley whatever standing he had as the “Star Trek” guy into a new gig spinning weekly tales of the far-flung future. The genre had changed a lot, though, since the USS Enterprise cruised off into the distance for the last time in 1969. The future had become an anxious place, haunted by the twin specters of ecological collapse and nuclear annihilation, and with very little room for boundless faith in the inevitability of progress. Roddenberry just didn’t have it in him to go full dystopia, though, so the premise for his new series emerged as a strange compromise in which the protagonists would strive to extend the influence of their enlightened society across a world slowly recovering from atomic holocaust.

The audience identification figure would be a scientist from just a few years beyond what was then the present day, who Rip Van Winkles his way into the post-apocalyptic 22nd century via a suspended animation experiment gone awry. Fans of old-timey genre television will notice that that sounds an awful lot like Glen A. Larson’s “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century,” which debuted six years later, at the end of the decade. Larson was more in tune with the times than Roddenberry, however, and unlike “Buck Rogers,” “Genesis II” was not picked up for series production. (I’m sure the bosses at CBS thought they were being clever by green-lighting a “Planet of the Apes” TV series instead, but that didn’t work out so well for them, either.) The 70’s were the heyday of the made-for-TV movie, though, so “Genesis II” didn’t vanish completely without a trace. The pilot episode was repurposed as a Movie of the Week, airing for the first time on Friday, March 23rd, 1973.

As James T. Kirk and his crew knew well, the trouble with outer space is that it’s really, really big, and that there isn’t a damn thing in most of it. Absent some way of cheating the speed of light, humans undertaking interstellar travel are apt to go fucking crazy from boredom before they get anywhere, even leaving aside the mismatch between our lifespans and the likely commuting time between any given star and another. The solution, however, is as obvious as the problem— or at least it should be to anyone who ever nodded off during a dull and interminable bus ride: put the astronauts to sleep (or more to the point, into hibernation) for the duration of the trip, and trust the onboard computers to handle routine navigation and maintenance.

Of course, humans aren’t bats; you can’t just pop one of us into a refrigerator and take them out good as new three months later. Artificially inducing a harmless, reversible state of suspended animation is a scientific and engineering challenge on par with interstellar space flight itself! But at least one lab has risen to that challenge, under the leadership of Dr. Dylan Hunt (Alex Cord, from The Dead Are Alive and Goliath Awaits). As of August 1979, Hunt and his colleagues have reached the point of readiness for their first trial with a human subject, with the boss himself volunteering to be the guinea pig. In a climate-stable military bunker deep inside Carlsbad Caverns (the better to simulate conditions aboard an actual spacecraft), Hunt will be put into stasis and held there for several days by machines running off a virtually inexhaustible atomic battery. What nobody realizes, however, is that the laboratory lies in close proximity to a long-dormant seismic fault. That fault shifts just minutes after Hunt achieves full hibernation, wrecking the whole facility, killing everyone in it, and burying the suspended animation chamber so deeply that no one even bothers to go looking for it during whatever rescue operations are undertaken afterward.

Dylan survives the tremor, though, and so, impressively enough, do all the machines keeping him alive. He and they also survive the worldwide nuclear war that destroys human civilization a few years later. Indeed, Hunt’s sleep goes undisturbed for 154 years, until the day in 2133 when the underground ruins are discovered and penetrated by a team of explorers led by Primus Isaac Kimbridge (Percy Rodrigues, of Galaxina and Brainwaves). Kimbridge and his colleagues belong to a subterranean society called Pax, which has dedicated itself to recovering as much as possible of the lost knowledge and technology of the 20th century. So naturally a scientist who’s been in cold storage since those days is a hugely exciting find for them, and they do everything in their power to wake Hunt up and get him healthy again.

Kimbridge and the other Primi of Pax entrust the management of Hunt’s recovery to a woman named Lyra-A (Mariette Hartley, from Marooned and Earth II), who like Dylan is an outsider to the underground utopia. On the face of it, that seems like an excellent idea, but it happens that Lyra-A has a rather different perspective on Pax from her hosts. As she wastes no time explaining to Hunt once he’s regained his full strength and faculties, his rescuers are not half as benign as they wish to seem. Using the worldwide supersonic subway system that was the last great triumph of pre-apocalyptic engineering, Pax plunders the globe of its remaining cultural treasures, leaving the struggling societies of the surface world intellectually impoverished and permanently incapable of catching up. And Dylan, in case he hasn’t noticed, is the ultimate cultural treasure. Lyra-A predicts that he’ll find himself a virtual prisoner once the Council of Primi have reached a decision on how best to exploit him. There’s one way out of that predicament, though. The answer to that question on the tip of your tongue about what Lyra-A is doing in Pax if that’s how she regards its inhabitants is that she’s there as a spy for her home country, a city-state of surface-dwellers called Tyrannia. According to her, Tyrannia is the freest, most beautiful place on Earth. If Dylan wants, she’ll help him escape from Pax on its own super-subway, and make the necessary introductions for him to join her people instead.

One quick question, though: why would the freest people on Earth name their country Tyrannia? That’s right, Lyra-A is giving Dylan the bait-and-switch something fierce. Tyrannia is indeed a pretty swell place to live if you belong, as she does, to its ruling caste of mutants. (The Tyrannians’ mutations are mostly internal. They possess dual, independent circulatory systems, giving them superhuman strength and stamina, along with at least highly optimized intelligence.) But the masses still stuck with the original Homo sapiens genome are condemned to squalor and slavery, conditioned to absolute obedience by portable nerve actuators called “stims.” Every Tyrannian citizen carries a stim, enabling them to induce any of eight levels of full-body pain or pleasure at the slightest touch. As that ought to imply, the Tyrannians are no slouches when it comes to technology, but Hunt’s 20th-century technical knowledge is valuable to them just the same. You see, they’ve found something under the mountains, something that keeps Pax Security Primus Yuloff (Titos Vandis, from Satan’s Triangle and Black Samson) up at night worrying whenever he thinks about it. It’s a nuclear missile base that never got off a shot during the Final War, so that its weapons are still sitting there in the silos, just waiting for someone with the know-how to get them working again. None of the Tyrannians possess that know-how, but what about Hunt? Surely he had to have picked up some rudimentary rocketry and computer science during his years working for NASA, and the Tyrannians are very good at making people do things for them. Refusing to help refurbish his captors’ antique nukes quickly gets Dylan remanded to the custody of Slan-N (The Wizard of Baghdad’s Harry Raybould, whom we’ve also seen almost subliminally in The Amazing Colossal Man), a veritable artist of coercion.

All is not lost, though. The reason Yuloff knows about the missile base is because he has spies of his own working undercover in Tyrannia. Two of them— Dr. Kellum (Bill Striglos, of Cutting Class and Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo) and an albino Comanche giant by the name of Isiah (Ted Cassidy, from Thunder County and The Limit)— have been there for quite some time, attempting to foment a slave revolt. The other, attractive young anti-sex fanatic Harper-Smythe (Lynne Marta of Help Me… I’m Possessed and Blood Beach), was dispatched just recently on a mission to bring Dylan back. Hunt’s experiences in Tyrannia have been such that he refuses to cooperate with Harper-Smythe— not because he has any objection to returning to Pax, but because he’d much rather stick around and help Kellum and Isiah bring Lyra-A’s “freest and most beautiful place on Earth” down around her lying head. He’s got some ideas of his own in that direction, too. The ubiquity of stims among the Tyrannian citizenry suggests to Hunt that there must somewhere be a stockpile of the things. If they could find and raid that stockpile, he and the Pax Underground would have the means to arm who knows how many slaves, and to give their captors a taste of their own medicine.

I thought I detected a few loaded sighs out there when I said that the Tyrannians’ mutations were mostly internal, and normally I couldn’t agree more. What’s the fucking point of having atomic mutants in your movie if they all just look like the regular cast? But let me draw your attention now to the implications of that “mostly.” The Tyrannians do have one external abnormality, which like their enhanced strength and mental alacrity derives from their having two complete, mutually independent circulatory systems. Remember that in most mammals, a developing fetus is indirectly connected to its mother’s bloodstream via the intermediation of the placenta. Since the Tyrannians have two bloodstreams, they also need two placentas, each with its own point of connection, and that, in turn, means that Tyrannians once born have two navels. That might seem like the ultimate weak-ass deformity at first glance, but it’s also a super-bitchy inside joke. You see, Roddenberry’s tenure as the showrunner of “Star Trek” was a constant struggle against NBC’s Broadcast Standards department, which was forever sending down new censorship notes— especially censorship notes related to how head costumer William Ware Theiss planned to dress the Babe of the Week. One recurring point of contention was the visibility of women’s belly buttons, which strange as it may seem was a big fucking deal in the 1960’s. Things were different in the 70’s, though, and Roddenberry decided to celebrate his newfound freedom by having twice as many exposed navels as nature would have permitted. I’m pretty sure this is the only time I’ve ever seen special effects makeup used as an instrument of petty, behind-the-scenes vengeance, and I kind of love it.

Otherwise, love isn’t a reaction that Genesis II is likely to provoke. Don’t get me wrong— it’s mostly adequate as a safe-for-TV interpretation of post-apocalyptic sci-fi, and in a few respects it’s even a little better than that. It’s just that Genesis II doesn’t offer much to get excited about, especially coming on the heels of “Star Trek.” On the upside, it was a smart move to pit utopian and dystopian societies against each other, rather than just picking one unified vision of the future After the End. Furthermore, synopses of the unused “Genesis II” scripts suggest that that would have become a running theme of the series had it been put into full production. Equally smart was giving Lyra-A a chance to present a contrary perspective on Pax. Her description of the good guys’ dark side largely rings true, even if she’s totally full of shit about the character of her own society. That’s a higher level of critical scrutiny than the United Federation of Planets would ever receive under Roddenberry’s management. Most of all, I like the complex interplay of the downer 70’s zeitgeist and Roddenberry’s indefatigable optimism. Most stories in this subgenre depict the post-apocalyptic Earth as a toxic hellhole, but in Genesis II, our planet is a paradoxically edenic place now that humans aren’t running over it by the billion and leaving their shit and garbage everywhere. (Incidentally, the condition of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone these days suggests that Genesis II has closer to the right of it than, say, Damnation Alley.) That could have come across as dark in the extreme, matching in its way anything in The Road, but then against that backdrop stand the people of Pax, who understand the value of the second chance humanity has been given, and who have devoted themselves to rebuilding the world not as it was, but as it might have been. This is the only film of its kind that I’ve seen premised explicitly on the maxim that every crisis is an opportunity in disguise.

It’s a pity, then, that Genesis II apparently didn’t ship with all the hardware needed to hold its pieces together, but did come with a few extra parts that no one knew what to do with. We basically have to take Lyra-A’s word for it when she gives her ominous assessment of Pax, because we don’t really spend enough time there before the “escape” to do otherwise. That has an unfortunate side effect later, when Primus Yuloff gives Hunt a more positive version of the grand tour. We’re stuck taking his word, too, but by that point we’ve been primed to have our guard up, and I for one was not in a “benefit of the doubt” kind of mood. We also don’t spend enough time with Kellum or Isiah, which especially bugged me in the latter case, because I was really looking forward to seeing Ted Cassidy (one of my favorite cartoon voice actors of the 70’s) get a proper live-action speaking part. On the other hand, “albino Indian mystic warrior” is a characterization that could easily go horribly wrong, so maybe the short shrift given to Isiah is actually a good thing. Heaven knows Harper-Smythe’s sex-and-gender-denial shtick wears thin very fast. None of that stuff would matter so much, though, if Genesis II had a stronger lead than Alex Cord’s Dylan Hunt. Hunt’s status as both audience-surrogate outsider and emergent hero puts a tremendous burden on Cord, one which he is simply not up to bearing. Indeed, Cord makes so little impression that he seems less an actor than a life-support system for a moustache. Percy Rodrigues, Ted Cassidy, Lynne Marta, Bill Striglos, and Titos Vandis would have had to grow into one hell of an ensemble to pick up the slack, so I can’t say I’m surprised that CBS weren’t interested in doing this again and again for 20-odd weeks.






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All site content (except for those movie posters-- who knows who owns them) (c) Scott Ashlin. That means it's mine. That means you can't have it unless you ask real nice. Genesis II (film) For the space station prototype, see Genesis II. Genesis II is a 1973 American television film pilot created and produced by Gene Roddenberry and directed by John Llewellyn Moxey. The film, which opens with the line, "My name is Dylan Hunt. My story begins the day on which I died", is the story of a 20th-century man thrown forward in time, to a post-apocalyptic future, by an accident in suspended animation.

Genesis II Title shot of telefilm.jpg Written by Gene Roddenberry Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey Starring Alex Cord Mariette Hartley Music by Harry Sukman Country of origin United States Original language(s) English Production Producer(s) Paul Rapp (associate producer) Gene Roddenberry (producer) Cinematography Gerald Perry Finnerman Editor(s) George Watters Running time 74 minutes Production company(s) Warner Bros. Television Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution Release Original release March 23, 1973 Contents ==Plot summary== Edit In 1979, NASA scientist Dylan Hunt (Alex Cord) is working on "Project Ganymede", a suspended animation system for astronauts on long-duration spaceflights. As chief of the project he volunteers for the first multi-day test. He places himself in chemically induced hibernation deep inside Carlsbad Caverns; while there, his lab is buried in an earthquake. The monitoring equipment is damaged and fails to awake him at the intended end of the test. He awakens instead in 2133, emerging into a chaotic post-apocalyptic world. An event called "The Great Conflict" (a third and final World War) destroyed the civilization of Hunt's time. Various new civilizations have emerged in a struggle for control of available resources. Those with the greatest military might and the will to use it have the greatest advantage.

Hunt is accidentally found and rescued by an organization calling themselves "PAX" (the Latin word for "peace"). PAX members are the descendants of the NASA personnel who worked and lived at the Carlsbad Installation in Dylan's time. They are explorers and scientists who preserve what little information and technology survived from before the Conflict, and who seek to learn and acquire more in an effort to build a new civilization. Members of PAX find Hunt still sealed in the hibernation chamber. They revive him, and are thrilled to meet a survivor from before the Conflict.

An elaborate "Subshuttle" subterranean rapid transit system was constructed during the 1970s, due to the vulnerability of air transportation to attack. The Subshuttles utilized a magnetic levitation rail system. They operated inside vactrain tunnels and ran at hundreds of miles per hour. The tunnel network was comprehensive enough to cover the entire globe. The PAX organization inherited the still-working system and used it to dispatch their teams of troubleshooters.

A totalitarian regime known as the Tyranians rule the area once known as Arizona and New Mexico. The Tyranians are mutants who possess greater physical prowess than non-mutated humans; they can be identified by their dual navels. Their leader discovers that Hunt has knowledge of nuclear power systems, and they offer him great rewards if he can repair their failing nuclear power generator. However, once he is in their power they attempt to force him to reactivate a nuclear missile system in their possession, with which they intend to destroy their enemies and dominate the region. Hunt is appalled by this small-scale replay of the events that must have led to the Conflict. He leads a revolt of the enslaved citizenry, sabotages the nuclear device, and destroys the reactor.

To Hunt's dismay, the PAX leaders assert their pacifist nature and intentions. They are attempting to rebuild an idealistic society using all that was deemed "good" from Earth's past, and they regard Hunt's interference with a rival civilization and his destructive tactics as antithetical to this end. They also, however, see great good in him and value his knowledge of the past. They ask Hunt to join PAX permanently, but only if he can agree never to take human lives again. Hunt half-heartedly agrees. Security Chief Yuloff states that the rationale of taking lives to justify the saving of lives was what allowed "The Great Conflict" to happen in the first place.

==Episode concepts== Edit


The following are story concepts that were in development during the production of Genesis II that would have become individual episodes had the network approved the series.

"Company B" — A "Trojan Horse" suicide squad from the days of the great conflict comes out of suspended animation and attacks PAX. They represent the 1995 A.D. ideal of a perfect soldier. "London Express" — A hair raising journey through submerged portions of the North Atlantic subshuttle tube to mysterious London of 2133 A.D. Dylan Hunt and Team-21 meet Lyra-A there and the mad monarch King Charles X. "Robots Return" — The advanced computers and sophisticated machinery left on a moon of Jupiter by a 1992 NASA expedition have evolved into a new form of robot life and visit Earth in search of the "God" which created their life. They meet Hunt, formerly of NASA, and consider him a messiah. This story idea was later developed into the script for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and shares that work's thematic similarities to "The Changeling", written by John Meredyth Lucas. "Poodle Shop" — Dylan Hunt is captured and put on sale by the females in a strange society where men are treated as domestic pets and often traded back and forth for breeding purposes. This story idea would later turn into the second pilot, Planet Earth. "The Apartment" — Trapped inside 20th century ruins by a mysterious force field, Hunt is catapulted through a time continuum back to 1975 where he can be seen as a "transparent ghost" by the girl living in the apartment there. A bizarre love affair with a surprise twist ending ensues. The basic plot appears later as an unused Star Trek: Phase II episode "Tomorrow and the Stars". "The Electric Company" — Dylan Hunt and his PAX team encounter a place where a strong priesthood holds a society in bondage through the clever use of electricity. The simple inhabitants see the flashes of light and the amplified voices as the sight and sound of "God", but Dylan's team ends the dominance of the priesthood when they come up with still better tricks. This episode superficially resembles the Star Trek episode "Return of the Archons".It also resembles two Star Trek the Next-generation episodes Source: - Lincoln Enterprises Catalog No. 6

Cast Edit Alex Cord as Dylan Hunt Mariette Hartley as Lyra-a Ted Cassidy as Isiah Percy Rodrigues as Primus Isaac Kimbridge Harvey Jason as Singh Titos Vandis as Yuloff Bill Striglos as Dr. Kellum Lynne Marta as Harper-Smythe Harry Raybould as Slan-n Majel Barrett as Primus Dominic Leon Askin as Overseer Liam Dunn as Janos Scott Graham as Tyranian Teacher Ed Ashley as Wehr-r Linda Grant as Astrid Robert Swan as Lahyn-n Beulah Quo as Primus Lu-Chan Dennis Robertson as General Ray Young as Tyranian Teacher #2 Tom Pace as Brian Teryl Willis as Cardiologist David Westberg as Station Operator Robert Hathaway as Shuttle Car Operator Tammi Bula as Teenager Didi Conn as TV Actress Production Edit Genesis II was the first of three concepts that Roddenberry hoped to develop into a new science fiction television series following the success of Star Trek (the other two were The Questor Tapes and Spectre). Genesis II aired on CBS on March 23, 1973; although Roddenberry had stories lined up for a 20-episode first season, CBS declined to pick it up, opting instead for the short-lived Planet of the Apes live-action series.[1]

The plot point about the Tyranians having a dual circulatory system with two hearts and thus identifiable because they were born with two navels was an elaborate in-joke. While producing Star Trek, Roddenberry was constantly besieged by demands for changes from the censors at NBC's Broadcast Standards department, which he took to calling the "BS Department" due to the often petty nature of their revisions. Among the things to which the censors routinely objected was the depiction of a navel on anyone with a bare midriff, resulting in several reshoots of scenes with actors in revealing but otherwise "decent" attire whose navels showed. By making the double navel the distinguishing physical feature of the Tyranians, Roddenberry was effectively filming every navel that he had been forced to censor from Star Trek twice over.

Roddenberry reworked the material into a second pilot, Planet Earth, in which John Saxon replaced Cord in the role of Dylan Hunt. Based on network recommendations, this second pilot focused more on action and physical conflict than its predecessor. Though it aired on ABC in 1974, it was also declined. Warner Bros, which owned the rights, reworked Roddenberry's material yet again for Strange New World, also starring Saxon, which aired in 1975.

Robert Hewitt Wolfe used the name "Dylan Hunt" and many ideas from Roddenberry's Genesis II notes to create the Andromeda television series.[2].Roddenberry actually re used the name Dylan Hunt in his treatment for Andromeda,that never became anything until after this death. Mammoth Network Genesis II ,in an alternative time line was picked up by the Mammoth Network.Unlike CBS,Jim Glimuss saw the worth of the series.By tweeking the pilot,Gene Roddenberry produced a successful series,that ran for ten years and produced several sequel serues Genesis II the Next-Generation,Genesis II Out Post Tyrannia,Genesis II ,Planet Earth and Genesis II ,Strange New World. Genesis II 1973-1984 Doctor Dylan Hunt leads the Pax Survey Team,trying bring civilization to New America.Civilizations include the Tyrannian Confederation,the Kreeg Empire,The Carolinian Federation,the Yang Federation of Nations and the Nharee Traders. Company B" — A "Trojan Horse" suicide squad from the days of the great conflict comes out of suspended animation and attacks PAX. They represent the 1995 A.D. ideal of a perfect soldier. "London Express" — A hair raising journey through submerged portions of the North Atlantic subshuttle tube to mysterious London of 2133 A.D. Dylan Hunt and Team-21 meet Lyra-A there and the mad monarch King Charles X.Lyra A returns to Pax with Dylan Hunt,becoming apart of his Pax Team. "Robots Return" — The advanced computers and sophisticated machinery left on a moon of Jupiter by a 1992 NASA expedition have evolved into a new form of robot life and visit Earth in search of the "God" which created their life. They meet Hunt, formerly of NASA, and consider him a messiah. This story idea was later developed into the script for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and shares that work's thematic similarities to "The Changeling", written by John Meredyth Lucas.The Robot Probe turns out is a scout from.an alien robotic likeform calling itself the Nomads. "Poodle Shop" — Dylan Hunt is captured and put on sale by the females in a strange society where men are treated as domestic pets and often traded back and forth for breeding purposes. This story idea would later turn into the second pilot, Planet Earth. "The Apartment" — Trapped inside 20th century ruins by a mysterious force field, Hunt is catapulted through a time continuum back to 1975 where he can be seen as a "transparent ghost" by the girl living in the apartment there. A bizarre love affair with a surprise twist ending ensues. The basic plot appears later as an unused Star Trek: Phase II episode "Tomorrow and the Stars". "The Electric Company" — Dylan Hunt and his PAX team encounter a place where a strong priesthood holds a society in bondage through the clever use of electricity. The simple inhabitants see the flashes of light and the amplified voices as the sight and sound of "God", but Dylan's team ends the dominance of the priesthood when they come up with still better tricks. This episode superficially resembles the Star Trek episode "Return of the Archons".It also resembles two Star Trek the Next-generation episodes Genesis Ii,Ark II It was set in a post-apocalyptic 25th Century (specifically, 2476, the show having debuted in 1976), after Earth's civilizations had been decimated by the effects of waste, pollution, and warfare, falling back to a civilization comparable to the Dark Ages. The surviving scientists of Pax pooled their knowledge and resources, training three young people to search for remnants of humanity, reintroducing lost ideas as they traveled the barren landscape in the high-tech Special Sub Sutton car the Ark II.[1]

=Genesis II the Next-Generation 1984-1994Edit

Genesis II the Next-Generation was a series,where an elder Dylan Hunt took command of Pax,after the retirement of Primus Isaac Kimbridge.Much of the series was dealing Dylan Hunt's wife Lyra a Hunt trying to reform the remaining Tyranians outpost and trying to stop the Kreeg,from taking over much of the West Coast of New America.Genesis II the Next-generation further showed the development of Tyrannian Confederation,the Kreeg Empire,The Carolinian Federation,the Yang Federation of Nations and the Nharee Traders.


Genesis II Out Post Tyrannia,1988-1998Edit

Genesis II Out Post Tyrannia was a series,where Lyra-a became the leader of the Pax Team among the Tyrannian City.Much of the series was her and Dylan Hunt,trying to development of Tyrannian Confederation into The Western Coast of New America into a fighting force to not conquer the world,but protect it from enemy kingdoms,out destroy it.The series also further showed the development of Tyrannian Confederation,the Kreeg Empire,The Carolinian Federation,the Yang Federation of Nations and the Nharee Traders,but also introduces the Komm Empire,a Asian Military Empire in the Far East.


Genesis II ,Planet Earth 2001-2011Edit

Genesis II ,Planet Earth was a series where Dylan Hunt,Junior led a team of Pax Team Ark II,who traveled about in the Sub Shuttle,trying to put the world back together and unit the scattered communities together.Questor the Android was introduced as a Mister Spock like character,who found in suspended animation,under a secret bunker from the 2Oth Century.The series hints that Questor might be of extraterrestrial origin and not Earth

==Genesis II ,Strange New World 2003-2012==+7 Genesis II,Strange New World feathered Tony Vico at the London Pax location and trying to rebuild the World of New Europe,who are fighting against The komm Empire.Anthony Vico, saved with two other astronauts in a cryo-sleep in outer space while asteroids pummeled the earth they knew. They return 180 years later to find a secret society of Pax City among the Carlbad Caverns.Vico after dealing Clone Havesters and The Rangers of the Angels Preserve,,travels to the Pax Operations at New London Genesis II ,Space Station Pax.2012-2022

Genesis II ,Space Station PaxEdit

involves Anthony Vico and the London Pax Team trying to take command of Space Station Pax.There first objective is to prevent a Nomad Invasion of the Solar System. Genesis II ,Discovery.2012-2022

Genesis II ,DiscoveryEdit

involves Tony Vico,Junior and Lyra Hunt traveling outside the Solar System in a refitted Nomad Star Ship called the USS New Enterprises.


== Genesis II ,New Enterprises.2022==

Genesis II ,New Enterprises involves Tony Vico,Junior and Lyra Hunt traveling outside the Solar System in a refitted Nomad Star Ship called the USS New Enterprises and onto the Fine Frontier exploring Strange New Worlds and New Civilizations.A prequel to Star Trek Enterprise.At least in this reality.

DVD Edit Genesis II, Planet Earth, and Strange New World are all available on DVD in Warner Home Video's Warner Archive Collection.

See also Edit List of American films of 1973 References EditA

lexander, David, "Star Trek Creator", ROC Books, an imprint of Dutton Signet, a division of Penguin Books USA, New York, June 1994, ISBN 978-0-451-45418-8, pp. 398-403.[

1] Archived October 1, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. External links Edit Genesis II on IMDb Genesis II at PAX Team 21 Talk Last edited 11 days ago by an anonymous user RELATED ARTICLES Dylan Hunt fictional Character

Planet Earth (film) 1974 television pilot directed by Marc Daniels

Strange New World (film) film directed by Robert Butler

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