PLANET EARTH (1974)
Article 4487 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Marc Daniels
Featuring John Saxon, Janet Margolin, Ted Cassidy
What it is: Genesis II II
A man from the twentieth century finds himself in the 22nd century after the apocalypse. He engages on a mission for a peace-loving city to locate a doctor who can save the life of an important elder. He finds him a prisoner of a matriarchal society that enslaves men.
When I recently covered GENESIS II, I thought I’d already covered one of the TV-Movies that Gene Roddenberry had made in the hopes of starting a new TV series that would be something like an Earthbound “Star Trek”. But when this one came up, I realized I hadn’t. There are a few changes made between this one and GENESIS II, the most striking being the substitution of a new leading man, giving us John Saxon instead of Alex Cord. This one gives us a better idea of what the series would have been like, and it’s here you really notice the similarities to “Star Trek”, as it feels like it could have been an episode of that series slightly modified for the new premise. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel like one of the better episodes of that series, and there are moments where the movie descends into camp; the scenes where all the females in the city begin doting on John Saxon comes to mind. The movie gets a little better when it begins to see itself as a comedy and plays up the humor, but still, one does get the feeling that the series would have ended up being little more than reheated “Star Trek”. I don’t know if a better script would have sold the series, but it wouldn’t have hurt.