Genesis II (film)
|Country of Origin:||USA|
|External Links:||Genesis II at Wikikpedia|
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Genesis II is a 1973 television film by Gene Roddenberry, a pilot of proposed series.
Three of the female stars would have added interest for media fans: Mariette Hartley and Majel Barrett (Star Trek fans) and Lynn Marta (Starsky & Hutch fans).
The film did not get picked up and turned into the television series. Roddenberry reworked the material into a second pilot, Planet Earth.
Years later, the name "Dylan Hunt" and many ideas from Genesis II were used in Andromeda.
I suppose I should be tried for heresy, but I've finally found a show I like better than STAR TREK. Well, maybe not better. Eqally, let's say.
The splendor and pageant of Genesis II far surpasses anything that ST ever tried, possibly because of the a bigger budget, more production time, and some absolutely GORGEOUS location shots.
I'll admit that I looked the show over for evidences of ST. I found two -- the level indicator in the lift at Pax was one.
The show started off rather mundanely, I though; somehow I can't bring myself to believe that Carlsbad Caverns National Park would be turned into a military/scientific outpost.
Alex Cord was one of the least spectacular of the players, not as handsome or dashing as a leading man should be, but at least extremely convincing. Thank God he was not super-clean-cut like Captain Kirk.
The second ST throwback was Lyra-a, portrayed by Mariette Hartley. I have long been impressed by the lady's acting and beauty and G2 was another feather in her gorgeous red hair. As Lyra-a, she was staggeringly beautiful, both gliding about in Bill Theiss' revealing exotic robes and gowns, as a silken treacherous Tyranian, and padding about Pax in their burlap jumpsuits. My major objection to her character -- two navels. I'm willing to accept the fact that Tyranians have two hearts (a good arrangement -- if one stops, the other keeps pumping), but since when is the heart tied directly to the umbilical cord? My biology may be quite faulty on this point, but it still struck me as false. (But, then, we asked, "What has pointed ears got to do with anything??")
The rest of the cast ranged from superb to mediocre. I was impressed by Ted Cassidy, Percy Rodriguez, Titos Vandis, Haryy Raybould, and the the old man in the training camp who was so revoltingly, pathetically, frightened of the Tyranians.
Lynne Marta was unconvincing as the petite, nervous Harper-Smythe. A more robust actress would have better fit the part. Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who looked remarkable like she did as Number One in "The Cage," was only fair as one of the ruling Primus.
Pax as a whole seemed undeveloped, while Tyrania held a beautiful, exotic flavor, almost like Atlantis found.
Tyrania itself was superb, one of the most beautiful sets (or series of sets and locations shots) I've ever seen. As I said, it had an Atlantean feel about it, and I was totally convinced.All in all, I have to give GENESIS II a triple-A rating and recommend it to anyone. It bore the stamp of "Roddenberry" like a proud emblem. The Great Bird's done it again! 
To me the casing left something to be desired. Alex Cord as Dylan Hunt reminded me more of a beached Mark Spitz than an intellectual or scientist. If Genesis II is renewed as as series, I think more emphasis should be put on brain, not brawn... In conclusion, I should say that the show fulfilled the function of a program on T.V. That function is to entertain. Another Star Trek is is not, but it was good just the same. Gene Roddenberry, welcome back!! 
I also think that in the meantime [while waiting for Star Trek to return to the big screen or the small screen] please don't neglect GENESIS II. It is not STAR TREK. It is a different kind of science fiction, butit is damned good science fiction. And Gene personally has supervised every foot of film. In fact that is why he could not be here now. He is working on the editing, scoring, the dubbing of it. It will be on, I think in March (March 23rd, 9:30 pm EST, CBS). Please don't neglect it. Give that your support. 
I just got through watching GENESIS II, Gene Roddenberry's substitute for STAR TREK for those of us who don't really roll on the ground on hearing that they're going to turn TREK into a cartoon show. Your reactions to this, please... I was surprised the Great Bird didn't try out some more innovative ideas...if you examine the format, it's remarkably similar to Star Trek's — even some of the conflicts— Lyra'a the half-human mutant—remind you of anyone we know? — the mutant culture itself being a perversion of the gentle dignified emotionlessness of the Vulcans, the strange-new-worlds concept. I wonder if this is eventually supposed to fit into the Star Trek universe? If so, the Romulan War has already taken place — or will soon — these people don't even have space flight. In fact, they don't even have hot and cold running water. Oh, well...like I said, your reactions.
I was rather disappointed, especially in the mutants being made such unqualified, obvious VILLAINS, complete with behavior-sticks that would make the creator of CLOCKWORK ORANGE jump for joy. Oh, Freud! Oh, Skinner! Let's hear it for Pavlov! Hip.. .hip.. .huh?
Mariette Hartley, of course, brought dignity to her performance, as, did Percy Rodriguez, and the little guy with the beautiful eyes who played Singh. Alex Cord, alias Mark Spitz, did nothing for me as a scientist-jock, but he's got a role he can grow into. Note on Hartley — she's been given a role very like Spock. If CBS picks up the series, let's see if she can do the same thing with it, or something similar in the sense of making it multi-faceted and real. If they keep handing her that crippling dialog, though, I haven't much hope for it.
There were a couple of good moments—got a nice shudder out of the warhead going off at the end—nice bit of hideous irony—I got Bomb Jitters; I don't even like seeing it FAKED.
The show's cute, condescending potshot at unisex as a means of resolving the assigned-sex-role conflict, in the form of Harper-Smythe, embarrassingly portrayed by a gamin—faced actress whose name escapes me, just indicates that somebody out there hasn't got the faintest idea of what living without roles MEANS; it does NOT have to mean unisex, and it's a stupid and arrogant presumption that the only alternative to the polarized "idea" — I use that term LOOSELY — of "masculine" and "feminine" is unisex, or hermaphrodites/neuters, however you want it. And beatifying Freud—Harper—Smythe's line about St. Freud — in the name of this unisex anti-role culture, has got to be one of the oddest marriages of ideologies I've ever HEARD of. So much for that.
A real coup in the show was the revolt of the "helper" slaves. Although it was entirely bloodless, the use of the "stims" made it one of the most gruesome things I've ever seen. Bloodless horror — now THAT is an accomplishment. Great costumes, of course.
I felt the dialog was rather weak and full of "Roddenberry-isms" — those of you who are saturated in Streklore and THE MAKING OF STAR TREK know what I mean by Roddenberry-ism. Nice of him to put his wife — Majel Barret — in a brief part as a Primus. Anyone recognize her with black hair? Her hair is actually a sort of brownish color.
There was one line which I cherish — where Dylan Hunt is talking to the Pax team, arguing about leaving right now versus starting a rebellion. Referring to Isiah, Ted Cassidy (a Comanche in earlocks?) — Dylan says, "Look, I can't think of any one I'd rather not get in a fight with than him, but I'll do it if I have to. That's how strongly I feel about this." Which did a little to point up a trace of obstinacy in his personality, and Dylan Hunt's character is going to need every quirk, foible, and realistic trait anyone can come up with just to offset the horrible triteness of the character-role he's been given. Bill Shatner's success at rounding out Kirk is as—yet-debatable after three seasons; hopefully Cord, having more to work with (though the same essential blueprint), if the series is picked up, will do a better job.I have a feeling GENESIS II won't be picked up, which is a shame, if for no other reason than to see if, indeed, the makers of one great show can do it again. 
- "Beyond "Star Trek": A Look-Back at Gene Roddenberry’s Other Sci-Fi TV Adventures, Archived version by Herbie J. Pilato (Aug 11, 2020) (discusses "Genesis II," Planet Earth, Questor, Spectre, and Strange New World
- from Tal Shaya #1 (1973)
- from A Piece of the Action #3 (1973)
- from I'd like to talk about STAR TREK, past, present and future, and I don't know whether you're going to like what I have to say., from an early 1973 speech by D.C. Fontana that was given at the second Star Trek Lives! con in New York.
- from Cara Sherman in Romulan Wine #3 (1974)