Hello and Welcome to Truth Or Myth, a Star Trek web series that focuses on the truth or canon of any given topic to dispel the myths that have popped up over the years about that topic. In today’s special episode, we’re stepping slightly outside the Trek Box to take a look another Roddenberry series that was not meant to be…
Gene Roddenberry was a prolific writer and After Star Trek being cancelled in 1969, he would pitch story after story in an effort to get either Star Trek revived once again or simply to have a new show picked up so he’d get a steady paycheck… And although not Star Trek in name, these other potential series would borrow heavily from what he had created before and as he believed, could easily have fit into the Star Trek universe, and this is one of those stories…
So stop me if you’ve heard this one, Dylan Hunt, hero extraordinaire, gets frozen in time and ends up being unfrozen far in the future only to discover that the world he knew was gone and making a bold decision, Dylan Hunt decides to right the wrongs and set the universe back on to the path of righteousness.
Sound familiar? it should, as it’s pretty much the EXACT premise for the series Andromeda, but you also may be surprised to learn that this isn’t about Andromeda, but about a television pilot created by Gene Roddenberry called Genesis II.
Starting out in 1979, NASA scientist Dylan Hunt who is played by Alex Cord sporting an amazing stache, is working on “Project Ganymede”, a suspended animation system for astronauts to allow them to survive long spaceflights.
To test out this new system he volunteers to be the first suspended human and he gets placed in a chemically induced hibernation deep inside an underground facility. But oh no!while there, his lab is buried during an earthquake and the equipment is damaged so it fails to wake him back up.
Flash to the year 2133, when a group of excavators end up reviving him and he emerges into a chaotic post-apocalyptic world. “The Great Conflict,” the third World War, destroyed the civilization of Hunt’s time. Various new civilizations have emerged in a struggle for control of what’s left of the available resources.
Hunt himself is rescued by an organization calling themselves “PAX” which of course is the Latin word for “peace.” PAX members are the descendants of the NASA personnel who worked and lived at the underground facility in Dylan’s time. They are explorers and scientists who preserve what little information and technology survived the war and seek to learn and acquire more in an effort to rebuild civilization.
The big baddies in this story are known as the Tyranians, though we aren’t supposed to know they’re the bad guys until a really odd torture scene. Anyhow, the Tyranians rule the area once known as Arizona and New Mexico and are mutants who possess greater physical prowess than non-mutated humans; And rather oddly they can be identified by their dual belly buttons. I kid you not…
Their leader, an absolutely gorgeous human mutant 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 escapes with her, the Tyranians attempt to force him to reactivate a nuclear missile system which they intend to destroy their enemies and dominate the world.
Hunt is appalled by this and leads a revolt of the enslaved non-mutant citizens, and sabotages the nuclear device, which causes the reactor itself to also be destroyed killing and destroying everyone in the Tyranian city. Escaping back to the PAX settlement, the PAX leaders assert their pacifist nature and intentions. And they are attempting to rebuild an idealistic society using all which was deemed “good” from Earth’s past, and they regard Hunt’s interference with a rival civilization and his destruction of the Tyranian City as against their end goals.
BUT, they also see great good in him and value his knowledge of the past so they ask Hunt to join PAX permanently, but only if he can agree to never take human lives again. Hunt half-heartedly agrees. And the pilot ends… So why wasn’t this pilot picked up you ask? It sounds amazing, right? Well, it certainly wasn’t.
First, watching it, I got a really creeped out vibe from it. Doing a LOT of research for my Back Trek series on early Star Trek History, I found out a lot about Roddenberry himself, including his sadistic side and shall we say, less than normal fetish side. Wellbeing that Genesis II was made in the 1970s and moral norms seemed to be rewritten every other day, it should come as no surprise to you that some of his sexual fetishes came blaring into this pilot.
It’s hard to describe really, but “Star Trek: The Original Series” was no stranger to sexuality. We saw Kirk kiss a new girl or had the hint that he slept with them, implanted in our mind on a weekly basis. But censors seemed to keep that all in relative check. This being a pilot though, and again the 70’s with sexual freedom and revolution, the normal boundaries that we sometimes take for granted simply don’t exist in this pilot.
Here we have dominant scantily clad women, buying and selling equally as scantily clad men who seem that their only purpose is to “service,” whatever that means, their masters in whatever way they see fit. Now I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but this pilot on that level made ME actually feel uncomfortable and that’s really hard to do.
The story itself is also quite a mess. Here we have the regular old writing tropes like a man is frozen, forgotten about, the unfrozen in the future and is tricked by one side of a conflict. Now I could accept that since it is just a pilot, but the oddness doesn’t stop there.
Take for example the Lyra-a, the princess and a leader of the Tyranian People. Right after Hunt is revived, without knowing anything really about him she reveals to him that she’s a Tyranian Spy sent here to undermine the PAX, and tells him not to tell anyone. And on top of that, as I said, she’s a Princess… That’s right the Tyranians sent a Princess of their people to infiltrate the PAX as a Spy. Then as though just to add insult to injury, later on, she confesses her love for Hunt, even though they’ve known each other for only a good 2 minutes. It’s really unbelievable.
Oh, and you’ll never guess who popped up as a character in this pilot as well, which I’m sure didn’t impress anyone much, yep, that’s right Majel Barrett was once again shoehorned into this Roddenberry show, though in this pilot her role is very minor. I have no doubt though, had this series been picked up, we’d have seen Majel on a regular basis.
The fact that Hunt was being played from the get-go by the Tyranians is obvious. And after about the first 20 minutes I really wanted to turn the pilot off and take a long hot shower to wash away the sin of having to watch the show in the first place. But of course, in the interest of being thorough and my own personal integrity, I kept watching, though cringing constantly.
Speaking of research, since the show wasn’t picked up there isn’t a lot of information to be found about it. But apparently Gene had worked out some initial episode storylines. And they are as follow;
- “Company B” — A “Trojan Horse” suicide squad from the days of the great conflict comes out of suspended animation and attacks the PAX. They represent the 1995 ideal of the perfect soldier.
- “London Express” — A hair raising journey through submerged portions of the North Atlantic Dylan Hunt ends up in mysterious London of 2133, and meet the mad monarch King Charles the Tenth.
- “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 their messiah.
- “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.
- “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 a girl living in the apartment there. A bizarre love affair with a surprise twist ending ensues.
- “The Electric Company” — Dylan Hunt and his PAX team encounter a place where a strong priesthood holds 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.
As I’m sure you can see, many of these stories are simply reworking of Star Trek episodes or elements being combined from various Trek episodes, and they’re pretty ridiculous. It’s no wonder this pilot wasn’t picked up for production, this certainly wasn’t Roddenberry best…
Oh, remember I told you about the Tyranians having dual Belly Buttons? My research into this pilot has revealed the reason for that. You see it was actually an inside joke by Roddenberry.
During Star Trek’s Run, Roddenberry was constantly being harassed by Network censors about everything to do with Trek. SO much so that at times he wanted to pull his hair out and just making the show altogether. But one of the biggest arguments he ever had with the censors was over a costume which showed a woman’s Navel.
Apparently in the mid to late ’60s, the audience wasn’t allowed to know that women had them at all, and so when the freer 1970’s atmosphere was settling over the television world, Roddenberry took a jab at the censors making the Tyranians have 2 Belly Buttons. Effectively making up for all the problems he had had with the censors on Star Trek.
One last interesting thing to note is that this pilot WAS aired as a sort of movie of the week, and it was popular enough, to garner 2 follow up movies of the week. Though the name was changed as was casting. And Roddenberry ALSO was using those 2 “new” parts, and I used the term new VERY loosely, as back door pilots to try and convince the networks that a bit of re-working and the show would be a hit… The networks declined every time…
Anyhow, if you’re interested in Gene Roddenberry and want to check this failed pilot out there are many places you can grab it from. It has been aired on Television and released into the world on DVD by Warners Home Video, so I’m sure you can find it. But I warn you, you will find it obvious and boring, while at the same time coming away from it feeling really icky wondering why you put yourself through that at all… So you have been warned…
Thank you for watching today’s episode of Truth Or Myth, what do you think of Genesis II, have you seen it? Are you going to see it? Or have I scared you off? Well, leave your comments in the section below. And don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel, hitting that little bell icon so you won’t miss a single video we release.
Want to help this channel grow an awesome 70s Stache? Then click HERE to become a channel Patron.
Thanks again for watching, live long and prosper…
Watch episode 97