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GENE RODDENBERRY'S SCI-FI TV-MOVIE PILOT FOR 'PLANET EARTH'

Title: Planet Earth Year: 1974 Rating: ****

By the 1970's, because of both syndication and conventions, Gene Roddenberry's 1960's three-season gem STAR TREK was beginning to gather a big cult following...

And yet, before the progressive doors opened up for another possible TREK series or, what happened instead from the financial success of STAR WARS, a trail of movies, Roddenberry attempted several entirely new science-fiction shows... 

Janet Margolin in Gene Roddenberry's PLANET EARTH

In PLANET EARTH, like Woody Allen's SLEEPER, John Saxon had been awakened after 200-years, and by the time the show starts, being this is a follow-up to Roddenberry's GENESIS II, it already feels like another pilot had aired and this was the first episode of that series, only Saxon has (thankfully) replaced Alex Cord...

The important ironical twist is: Earth is now run by women, and all men are slaves, bought and sold to either work the farm fields, clean up inside, or the best job, breeding: Which is what the handsome, fit Dylan Hunt is sold for as he goes undercover in plain site after his beautiful sidekick Harper, played by Janet Margolin, feigns the role as his master: both searching for an important scientist who was kidnapped by the tribe.

 Diana Muldaur in Gene Roddenberry's PLANET EARTH

It's a good pilot since all the same elements of a TV-movie are intact, along with suspense and a lot of primal fighting which leads to an escape plan finale. Of the harsh female slavers, Diana Muldaur stands out as the sexiest and, at first, most cold-hearted and cutthroat...

Also on board is Ted Cassidy who, like Richard Kiel (one had been originally cast as THE INCREDIBLE HULK while the other provided the voice), is a sort of exploitation in himself being practically seven-feet-tall with a low, droning voice and limitless strength...

John Saxon in Gene Roddenberry's PLANET EARTH

Alas, this character doesn't match up to the visual potential since he drinks the bitches' brew that turns all men into saps.. But there's enough basic camaraderie/chemistry among the troupe to make the story work for its own sake, which may have backfired since it's somewhat weak as an attempted series  by the end there's not much to anticipate...

Like Westerns were cheaper to film given their sparse location, this kind of Post Nuclear Wasteland were often the template of "space shows" on the ground. Making the coolest aspect a monorail/tram system that runs within the interior of PLANET EARTH for a few seconds allowing Roddenberry's TV-pilot to truly live up to its genre.

Christopher Cary and Ted Cassidy in Planet Earth
Misleading but cool looking Oversized VHS for PLANET EARTH

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