Genesis II and Planet Earth

I've never even heard of the PAX series of telefilms by Gene Roddenberry and ABC. Roddenberry was supposedly only involved in the first two films, Genesis II and Planet Earth, but ABC continued the premise with Strange New World without Roddenberry's involvement. This was the mid-'70s and I wasn't alive yet, which is why I've justified my not knowing about them.

But this is Gene freakin' Rodenberry? Mr. Star Trek himself. You'd think everything he'd ever been slightly involved with would be available in some form. Hell, I think Christopher Tolkien is working on a book of J.R.R. Tolkien's grocery lists right now, and Michael Jackson probably has twenty more albums coming out. That's how we honor visionary creators! Not by burying their masterworks.

These gems are buried no longer. Now both of Roddenberry's PAX films are being released through the Warners Archive program. That's where DVD-Rs are produced "on demand." Hey, there's a guy in my neighborhood who does the same thing and he charges way less than $19.99 ... but you didn't hear that from me.


Okay, admittedly it doesn't look like these films are of the greatest qualities. Each was intended as a back-door pilot for a series and none of them made it that far.

The basic concepts of the films are that a man is thrust from the present time into a post-apocalyptic future. He is revived from a hibernation chamber by the remnants of NASA, now a pacifist organization called PAX. The movie followed this man, Dylan Hunt, as he struggles to figure out this new era, as well as confronting various mutants and other political forces that have risen up in the wake of World War III.

Unfortunately, even though Rodenberry plotted out 20 episodes, ABC thought a TV version of Planet of the Apes would have more traction.

Roddenberry reworked the proposed pilot and wound up with a more action-packed telefilm, Planet Earth. This time PAX was a city and a new Dylan Hunt learned that he's landed in a post-apocalyptic future where women are now the dominant gender. Again, ABC passed on this project.

They're not making available the third film, Strange New World, done without Rodenberry's involvement. After he pulled out, they retooled the concept a bit and changed many of the names. None of these projects made it to series, but Rodenberry did manage to tweak some of the characters for his Andromeda series.