If you say “Gene Roddenberry”, the vast majority will immediately think “Star Trek”. A smaller fraction will remember “Andromeda”, not quite a failure given that it lasted several seasons though it failed to have a lasting cultural legacy. Yet both of these projects continue a number of trends seen in Gene Roddenberry’s repeated, failed post-apocalyptic series. Yes, there is more than one.

The Roddenberry Movie Series That Never Became a TV Series

“Genesis II” and “Planet Earth” feature a character of the name Dylan Hunt who awakens in the future, centuries after a nuclear war. If this sounds vaguely familiar, the same name Dylan Hunt was the central character of “Andromeda.” And both characters ended up hundreds of years in the future after a war ripped apart their world, though in the case of the “Andromeda”, it is an interstellar empire ripped to shreds. The “Andromeda” series features that character trying to recreate a pseudo-Federation from various warring factions. In “Genesis II” and “Planet Earth”, Dylan Hunt is trying to tie various warring factions together into a peaceful worldwide government. He’s aided by PAX, an organization whose members descend from scientists at NASA and other knowledge-elites.

I call these two movies the movie series that never became a TV show since the second movie can be seen as a sequel to the first. Together, they could have been two or more episodes of a television show. Gene Roddenberry clearly wanted it to become one, though it never did.

These two movies most resemble “Star Trek”. The uniforms are similar. The high tech devices are similar. So, to, is the de facto desire to conquer the universe peacefully while maintaining cultural diversity, while significant demographic diversity is displayed at a time when this was revolutionary.

 

“Strange New World”

“Strange New World” is a variation on the theme of the other two post-apocalyptic movies by Gene Roddenberry. The main difference is that it is a trio of scientists from our time who wake up in the future instead of a single survivor. These three survivors are associated with PAX – it is their space station. They return to a ruined, savaged Earth 180 years later and have to fight their way back to their colleagues in suspended animation on Earth. There isn’t a Dylan Hunt here, though the Captain of the crew is the man who played Dylan Hunt in the movie “Planet Earth”. The planet wasn’t devastated by a nuclear holocaust. Instead, it was a series of asteroid strikes a la “Lucifer’s Hammer”.

This movie is stand-alone, unlike the first two, but it was his third and final attempt to create a post-apocalyptic TV series. Because it was so dark, it didn’t do well and was poorly regarded by those who liked the series. This probably explains why there wasn’t a fourth attempt to do the PAX series, though his “The Questor Tapes” movie was a separate potential post-apocalyptic series.

 

Did Gene Roddenberry Have Any Other Failed TV Pilots?

Gene Roddenberry’s fifth movie intended to launch a TV show wasn’t science fiction – it was fantasy/horror. In that regard, “Spectre” was very different from his other movie pilots. And yet it, too, failed.

At least “Star Trek” succeeded. That went where no man’s sci-fi epic went before, becoming one of the most successful science fiction universes in history.

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