The lost worlds of Gene Roddenberry

Everyone knows Gene Roddenberry was the creator of the Star Trek universe, as his name has become synonymous with his greatest success.

However, Roddenberry also had other shows he tried to get off the ground way back when. Indeed, I was recently trawling the ‘Net and came across a site that bootlegs long lost movies and TV shows.

One section was dedicated to forgotten Roddenberry pilots, which included Genesis II, Planet Earth, Strange New World, Spectre, and The Questor Tapes.

So where are these pilots today? Genesis II has just came out as part of Warners Archive Collection, and it’s about a scientist in suspended animation who is awakes to find the earth destroyed, and having to readjust to a post apocalyptic society.

Reviews on IMDB? “Very underrated concept; thoughtful and lyrical; fine series concept.” Another writes “Genesis II is classic Roddenberry.”

The same characters were repeated in Roddenberry’s Planet Earth, which is also available as a Warner Archive edition, and Strange New World, where The Questor Tapes was about the creation of a superior robot. The Psychotronic Encyclopedia called it, “A good pilot that led nowhere and is surprisingly cynical for a television movie.”

It also got high marks from IMDB fans who rated it 7.0 out of ten. “This is one of the most fantastic concepts of Roddenberry and would still play well today,” one fan writes. “Everyone immediately thinks of Star Trek when they think of Roddenberry, but he had a vast quantity of other great work – The Questor Tapes was as good as any of them.”

I do recall seeing the pilot for Spectre when I was a little kid, and this was back when there were a lot of horror TV movies on the regular networks, like Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. Robert Culp from I Spy investigates the occult, and you would assume a series would take him on a series of missions, like Kolchak: The Night Stalker, although one viewer on IMDB called the show more of a supernatural Sherlock and Watson.

Of course none of these pilots ever got off the ground. Although Star Trek will always be Roddenberry’s legacy, it would have been interesting to see how any of these shows would have fared if they were picked up for series.