Genesis II (film)
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|Directed by||John Llewellyn Moxey|
|Produced by||Paul Rapp (associate producer)
Gene Roddenberry (producer)
|Written by||Gene Roddenberry|
|Music by||Harry Sukman|
|Cinematography||Gerald Perry Finnerman|
|Edited by||George Watters|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Release date(s)||23 March 1973|
|Running time||74 minutes|
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.
In 1979, NASA scientist Dylan Hunt (Alex Cord) is working on "Project Ganymede", a suspended animation system for astronauts on long-duration space flights. 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.
Dylan 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 survive from before the Conflict, and who seek to learn and acquire more in an effort to build a new civilization. Members of PAX find Dylan 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. However, they also 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 to never again take human lives. 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.
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 Dylan 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, Dylan 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. 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".
Source: - Lincoln Enterprises Catalog No. 6
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.
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, Gene 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'd 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.
Genesis II, Planet Earth, and Strange New World are all available on DVD in the Warner Brothers Archive Collection.