Mention Gene Roddenberry and global mega hit Star Trek jumps to mind. As creator of the 1966 show starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, Roddenberry launched a legendary entertainment franchise that’s still thriving today and gearing up for a new movie by Lost creator JJ Abrams in 2008.
In the 1990’s two television shows, Earth: Final Conflict and Andromeda debuted from his story outlines found after he passed away in 1991. Roddenberry also tried creating several shows, which became popular TV movies or hour long episodes, but never made it to final series status.
It’s fascinating to imagine how these science fiction shows would have played out and maybe led to motion pictures or beyond.
Star Trek: Phase II – 1978
This may the most curious of all the lost Roddenberry shows.
Set to air on a new network to be created by Paramount Pictures in 1978, the show was pulled and reworked, mostly because of the theatrical success of Star Wars, to become Star Trek: The Motion Picture. All original cast members agreed for a new trek to the stars. Leonard Nimoy however declined to participate after committing to starring in the play Equus. Wanting a Vulcan on this Enterprise too, Roddenberry created Xon, a young Vulcan officer fresh out of Starfleet Academy.
Paramount Pictures eventually created United Paramount Network in 1995 and used a Star Trek spin-off, Star Trek: Voyager as a flagship show to entice viewers.
The Questor Tapes – 1974
Before Mr. Data, the yellow eyed android of Star Trek: The Next Generation, there was Questor.
Genius Dr. Vaslovik plans to build an android super-human, Questor. Before he finishes, Vaslovik vanishes mysteriously, but his colleagues finish building the marvelous machine. Before long Questor, obeying secret code implanted into his design by Dr. Vaslovik, goes on a quest for his missing creator.
This aired as a TV movie with the excellent actor Robert Foxworth portraying Questor. Recently, plans were underway to revive this concept and finally make it into the television series it was meant to be.
Seen as an original Star Trek episode this was like James Bond in space.
Gary Seven (Robert Lansing) is a human being who was recruited by an alien race years before. The aliens trained him and gave him flashy gadgets like Q would give James Bond. When Seven sets up shop in a new office, lovable ditz Roberta Lincoln (Terri Garr) stumbles into his life and he’s never the same.
A fan favorite episode for Star Trek, and a curious example of what could have been if this had been developed into a full series. There still has never really been espionage in outer space akin to James Bond, so some producer may want to massage this into a series even after all these years, it just might work.
Genesis II – 1973
Andromeda starring Kevin Sorbo would ultimately realize this Roddenberry idea.
Dylan Hunt (Alex Cord) is a scientist who is placed into suspended animation in a NASA cavern in 1979, but after an accident awakens 154 years later. He encounters a war torn world full of mutants and power hungry despots. Peace loving intellectuals known as the Pax are humanity’s only survival. Dylan allies himself with them to rebuild the Earth.
Planet Earth – 1974
A sequel to Genesis II, this time Dylan (John Saxon) awakens in 2233 to a woman controlled world who keeps men as slaves called Dinks.
Again, the notion of a man suspended and preserved by technology awakening to an Earth gone topsy turvy is played out here. Parallels to Planet of the Apes can certainly be drawn, but there are enough original seeds of sci-fi to propel any number of incarnations. Actors Alex Cord, John Saxon and then finally Kevin Sorbo played the Dylan Hunt character longest in the similar themed Andromeda TV series.