Two of Gene Roddenberry’s 1970s Telefilms Coming to DVD

I decided not to wait until DVD Tuesday to write about this. TrekMovie.com has revealed that Warner Bros. will release two of Gene Roddenberry’s 1970s telefilms that served as pilots for potential weekly series. Both dealt broadly with the same concept, that of a group known as PAX working towards peace in a future that finds Earth in ruins. These telefilms are being issued by Warner Archive, an “On-Demand” enterprise in which DVD-Rs are produced as ordered. Read more about Warner Archive here. Each of these releases will likely cost $19.99.

Gene Roddenberry tried numerous times during the 1970s to launch a new television series and five made-for-TV movies were aired between 1973 and 1977. Two of them will now be commercially available (they’ve circulated among private collectors for years). The first of these telefilms, Genesis II, was broadcast by CBS on Friday, March 23rd, 1973. It starred Alex Cord as Dylan Hunt, frozen in the 20th century only to awaken in 22nd to a world nearly destroyed by war. He joins up with PAX, leads a slave revolt and saves the day. The second, Planet Earth, saw John Saxon take over the role of Dylan Hunt. This time, Hunt and his merry band of PAX scientists stumble upon a matriarchal society. It aired on ABC on Tuesday, April 23rd, 1974.

A third version, titled Strange New World, was produced without Roddenberry’s involvement by ABC and broadcast on Sunday, March 23, 1975. It also starred John Saxon and once again involved PAX and a devastated Earth sometime in the future. In January of 1974 a telefilm called The Questor Tapes was aired on NBC; it came very close to becoming a weekly series. And in May of 1977 yet another made-for-TV movie (this one co-written by Roddenberry), Spectre, was broadcast by NBC.


8 Comments

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    I remember Roddenberry having his revenge on network censors [primarily NBC], who wouldn’t allow his very attractive female guest stars on “STAR TREK” to reveal their navels in their equally revealing costumes. Mariette Hartley, who’d previously appeared in one of the last “TREK” episodes, “All Our Yesterdays”, also appeared in “Genesis II” (with a number of other Roddenberry “alumni”, including the ever-present Majel Barrett)…in one scene, Mariette’s futuristic character, “Lyra-a”, is revealed to have TWO navels! That’s what I remember most about that one…syndicated Hollywood columnist James Bacon had a small role as one of the enslaved males in the “matriarchal society” in “Planet Earth”.

    “Genesis II” originally aired on “THE CBS FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIES”, and “Planet Earth” on “TUESDAY MOVIE OF THE WEEK”.

  • Cee Jay says:

    I vaguely remember The Questor Tapes, Of course I was only 8 at the time so it must’ve been a rerun of the movie. As for Genesis II that sounds similar to the Buck Rogers TV show of the late 70s, who knows Rodennberry may have gotten the idea for Genesis II from the old Buck Rogers comic strip.

  • Chuck Collins says:

    Genesis II was cool as heck with Alex Cord and Lurch (Ted Cassidy). Mariette Hartley was at her most attractive at that point. I was always surprised that Alex Cord never starred in his own series.

  • OM says:

    …The sad part about the “Genesis II” release is that it lacks an additional 18 minutes of footage that was added on for foreign theatrical release. Supposedly this contains a few expanded scenes, including one where Dylan is assigned to Team 21. This footage has *never* been aired in the states, and foreign prints of this pilot haven’t surfaced since they were recalled following the end of the theatrical run.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Just goes to show you that Warners isn’t willing to go THAT far in releasing these “movie pilots’ as to hunt down the “additional footage” seen in the overseas theatrical version of “Genesis II”, or add any “extras” {what does Mariette think about her role in it NOW?}…their attitude seems to be, “let’s just transfer some 16mm prints we stashed away years ago, digitally transfer ’em to DVD, and let Roddenberry’s fans be happy with that…’cause it’s too expensive for ANY remastering!”.

  • RGJ says:

    On the other hand, without the Warner Archive program, would either of these telefilms be available on DVD? I doubt it.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    You’re right, ‘RGJ’. Still, Warner Bros. is taking a “cheap” attutude about this (it costs about $2 to create one DVD, I believe)….

  • LindaY says:

    I have a copy of the foreign release of SPECTRE, which played on one of the cable channels in the past. It has some breasts in it during the orgy scene and more blood.

Leave a Comment