GENESIS II was the first of three pilots for a new science fiction series, the first two produced and written by Gene Roddenberry, which aired in 1973. It was one of his attempts to replicate his success of Star Trek. It starred Alex Cord as Dylan Hunt and Mariette Hartley as Lyra-a, a mutant.
The film opens in that far flung future of 1979(?) in which NASA is getting ready to perform an experiment designed to help astronauts on long journeys through space. Dylan Hunt was in charge of the suspended animation project and decided he would be the first human subject. The process had been refined down to aging one day for every ten years suspension. The first test was to last only a few days.
The NASA base was built into Carlsbad Caverns and unknown to everyone was a major fault in the rock strata. When the earthquake hit, much of the caverns collapsed, burying the section where the test was being performed.
Next we see an odd looking group finding the chamber and figuring how to open it. Dylan learns then what has happened and that the year is 2133. Lyra-a is his nurse during his recovery from the long suspension. She is a Tyranian, a mutant born with two hearts and two navels(an in-joke as during Star Trek, network censors were forever banning costumes that revealed female navels). I remember at the time that the two navels was a bit of a sensation.
PAX is the name of the people that have found him. As she ministers to his needs, Lyra-a tells Dylan that they are descendants of the soldiers and their families and have used the name to cover their looting of the world. He’s shown caves filled with some of the great works of art, paintings, statues, and such in the history of the world.
In this future world, much of man’s knowledge had been lost. A nuclear war had occurred and the survivors, in fury, had begun a slaughter of scientists and technicians for nearly destroying the world. So much was gone. Travel is through a system of underground shuttles that looked like bullets traveling through rifle barrels that had been completed before the war and connected all the continents.
Lyra-a helps him escape and they go on horseback to her home, the city of Tyrania, telling him they were peace lovers opposed to the depredations of PAX. Once there, while being shown around, he gets a far different picture. “Helpers,” a euphemism for slaves, are everywhere, doing all the work while the few Tyranians control the population with a device that uses sonics to stimulate the pain or pleasure centers of the brain. There are eight pain settings. They want Dylan to repair their nuclear generator which seems to be failing after one hundred-fifty-three years.
Dylan slips out one night to look around and realizes some of the truth, that he’d been lied to every step of the way. He’s grabbed by a PAX team, with Ted Cassidy as a man named Isiah, who explain they were sent in to foment a slave rebellion and get him out. They do and that was to set up the series.
The idea had been for Dylan Hunt to lead team-21 on missions around the world through the train tunnel system, encountering different societies that had developed in isolation during the recovery years following the war. A number of plots were developed for episodes that included one with a squad from the past coming out of suspension to attack PAX, computers left on a Jupiter moon in 1992 that had evolved intelligence and threatened Earth, a society dominated by women with men as pets and breeding stock(used in the second pilot), the London of the future, and a priesthood in one city that used electricity to awe and control the population.
The pilot didn’t sell, not enough action, and a second pilot was ordered. John Saxon took over the role of Dylan Hunt. I’ll do a post on that one tomorrow. If some of this sounds familiar, all will be explained.