STRANGE NEW WORLD (1975)
Article 4511 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Robert Butler
Featuring John Saxon, Kathleen Miller, Keene Curtis
What it is: Failed TV pilot
Three people emerge from suspended animation aboard a space station to discover that 180 years have passed, Earth has undergone an apocalyptic disaster, and their mission will be to return to Earth, find the location of their hold headquarters, and revive the members of their team who were put in suspended animation there. On their journey, they have many adventures.
The minute I saw John Saxon and heard the name of the organization Pax, I knew what we were dealing with; this is a third attempt at salvaging a TV series out of Gene Roddenberry’s GENESIS II concept. The main thing missing this time is Roddenberry himself; I see his name nowhere in the credits (in the movie or on IMDB), and certainly, the details of the central concept have been changed quite a bit from the first two movies. Maybe it’s his absence that explains why this is the first of the three movies that doesn’t feel like a self-conscious attempt to emulate “Star Trek”; it has its own vibe to it. Instead of using the whole length of the movie to tell a single story, it’s constructed like two episodes edited together, so it gives more of a feel of what the TV series would have been like. There are some interesting ideas here, but neither of the two halves seem to be particularly well written or directed, and some of the ideas (such as a society building its law and culture around an old wildlife ranger guide) seem pretty silly. As a result, it’s hard to get excited about this one as a prospective series, which may well be the reason it didn’t end up selling. I think this was the last attempt to salvage the concept.