Planet Earth (TV pilot)
DVD release of the TV movie
|Distributed by||Warner Archive|
|Directed by||Marc Daniels|
|Produced by||Gene Roddenberry|
|Written by||Gene Roddenberry
|Music by||Harry Sukman|
|Cinematography||Archie R. Dalzell|
|Release date||May 28, 2007 (Italy)
June 7, 2008 (USA)
Planet Earth is a science fiction television movie that was created by Gene Roddenberry, written by Roddenberry and Juanita Bartlett (from a story by Roddenberry). It first aired on April 23, 1974 on the ABC network, and stars John Saxon as Dylan Hunt. It was presented as a pilot for what was hoped to be a new weekly television series. The pilot focused on gender relations from an early 1970s perspective. Dylan Hunt, confronted with a post-apocalyptic matriarchal society, muses, "Women's lib? Or women's lib gone mad..."
Planet Earth was the second attempt by Roddenberry to create a weekly series set on a post-apocalyptic future Earth. The previous pilot was Genesis II, and it featured many of the concepts and characters later redeveloped in Planet Earth. Sets and props from Genesis II also found their way into Planet Earth.
A third and final movie, Strange New World, was aired in 1975. This movie also starred John Saxon as Captain Anthony Vico. In this movie a trio of astronauts returns to Earth after 180 years in suspended animation to locate the underground headquarters of PAX and free the people placed there in suspended animation.
None of these three pilots was ever developed into a series; however, some of the characters served as prototypes for the later TV series (based on Roddenberry's ideas) Andromeda.
It is the year 2133, and Earth was devastated by a nuclear war decades earlier. A team from PAX, the one city that escaped the destruction, is conducting a survey of central California. PAX is a science-based society dedicated to restoring civilization and peace to the world. Returning to PAX headquarters, the team is attacked by a group of militaristic, mutant humans known as the Kreeg, whose commandant is played by heavy character actor John Quade. After a struggle, the PAX team manages to escape in a subshuttle, a vehicle that can travel between settlements via tubes, built during the early 1990s, before the final conflict of the 20th century. One of the team, Pater Kimbridge (Rai Tasco), is severely wounded and, to save his life, requires a bioplastic prosthesis to repair the damaged pulmonary artery sheared away by the Kreeg's rifle shot.
PAX Team 21, led by Dylan Hunt (John Saxon), with members Baylok (Christopher Cary), Isiah (Ted Cassidy), and Harper-Smythe (Janet Margolin) heads out to locate a missing doctor, Jonathan Connor (Jim Antonio), who is the only surgeon who can perform the delicate heart surgery in the time Kimbridge has left to live. Their search leads the team to the Confederacy of Ruth, a society of latter-day Amazons, where women are dominant and men are enslaved. As a ruse, a woman in the PAX group, Harper-Smythe, binds Hunt and enters the city with him. Once there, she meets Marg (Diana Muldaur), the leader of the women, who claims Dylan as her own property. Harper-Smythe makes her way to a nearby farm and meets a woman who explains how the society operates (and how there are fewer and fewer children).
While captive, Hunt learns that the men, (referred to as "Dinks,") are subjugated by a drug in their food. Despite his efforts, he soon succumbs to the effects of the drug. Harper-Smythe arrives at the village in time to reclaim her "property" by challenging, and defeating, Marg. Unable to find Connor in the village, Marg invites Harper-Smythe to her farm where she can see her newcomer Dinks. Connor soon comes forward with an antidote for the drug and Hunt recovers. The three decide Harper-Smythe should swap Hunt for Connor, allowing the doctor to return to PAX. Marg agrees to the exchange and Connor and Harper-Smythe leave for PAX after first distributing the antidote in the Dink food supply. That evening, free of the influence of the drug, Hunt seduces Marg.
In the morning, a small party of Kreeg arrive and demand the secret to making men compliant. Hunt leads the un-drugged men in overpowering the invaders. They learn the men in the other households were equally successful in fending off the Kreeg. As a result, the women's council decides to suspend the drug treatment program on their males. Kimbridge soon recovers from the operation.
- Pax means "peace" in Latin.
- The film implies that the Kreeg are the descendants of the humans who unleashed the devastating war, as they are equipped with what appear to be 20th century American military clothing and weapons.