Planet Earth (TV pilot)

Planet Earth (TV pilot)

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Planet Earth was a science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 television movie
Television movie
A television film is a feature film that is a television program produced for and originally distributed by a television network, in contrast to...

 that was created by Gene Roddenberry
Gene Roddenberry
Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry was an American television screenwriter, producer and futurist, best known for creating the American science fiction series Star Trek. Born in El Paso, Texas, Roddenberry grew up in Los Angeles, California where his father worked as a police officer...

, written by Roddenberry and Juanita Bartlett
Juanita Bartlett
Juanita Bartlett is a television writer best known for The Rockford Files and The New Maverick, both starring James Garner. Bartlett also worked on Garner's series Nichols, as well as The Greatest American Hero, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, and several others. Bartlett worked for Roy Huggins, Stephen J...

 (from a story by Roddenberry). It first aired on April 23, 1974 on the ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 network, and starred John Saxon
John Saxon (actor)
John Saxon is an American actor who has worked on over 200 projects during the span of sixty years. Saxon is most known for his work in horror films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Black Christmas, both of which feature Saxon as a policeman in search of the killer...

 as Dylan Hunt
Dylan Hunt
Dylan Hunt is the name of two fictional characters created for television by Gene Roddenberry.Both characters are men who unwittingly move forward in time by hundreds of years, finding themselves trapped in a post-apocalyptic "Dark Age"...

. It was presented as a pilot
Television pilot
A "television pilot" is a standalone episode of a television series that is used to sell the show to a television network. At the time of its inception, the pilot is meant to be the "testing ground" to see if a series will be possibly desired and successful and therefore a test episode of an...

 for what was hoped to be a new weekly television series. The pilot focused on gender relations from an early 1970s perspective. Dylan Hunt, confronted with a post-apocalyptic matriarchal
Matriarchy
A matriarchy is a society in which females, especially mothers, have the central roles of political leadership and moral authority. It is also sometimes called a gynocratic or gynocentric society....

 society, muses, "Women's lib? Or women's lib gone mad..."

Planet Earth was the second attempt by Roddenberry to create a weekly series set on a post-apocalyptic future Earth. The previous pilot was Genesis II, and it featured many of the concepts and characters later redeveloped in Planet Earth. Sets and props from Genesis II also found their way into Planet Earth.

A third and final movie, Strange New World, was aired in 1975. This movie also starred John Saxon
John Saxon (actor)
John Saxon is an American actor who has worked on over 200 projects during the span of sixty years. Saxon is most known for his work in horror films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Black Christmas, both of which feature Saxon as a policeman in search of the killer...

 as Captain Anthony Vico. In this movie a trio of astronauts returns to Earth after 180 years in suspended animation to locate the underground headquarters of PAX and free the people placed there in suspended animation.

None of these three pilots was ever developed into a series; however, some of the characters served as prototypes for the later TV series (based on Roddenberry's ideas) Andromeda
Andromeda (TV series)
Andromeda is a Canadian-American science fiction television series, based on unused material by the late Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, developed by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, and produced by Roddenberry's widow, Majel Barrett Roddenberry. It starred Kevin Sorbo as High Guard Captain Dylan Hunt...

.

Plot synopsis


It is the year 2133, and Earth was devastated by a nuclear war
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

 decades earlier. A team from PAX, the one city that escaped the destruction, is conducting a survey of central California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. PAX is a science-based society dedicated to restoring civilization and peace to the world.

Returning to PAX headquarters, the team is attacked by a group of militaristic, mutant humans known as the Kreeg, whose commandant is played by heavy
Villain
A villain is an "evil" character in a story, whether a historical narrative or, especially, a work of fiction. The villain usually is the antagonist, the character who tends to have a negative effect on other characters...

 character actor John Quade
John Quade
John William Saunders , better known by the stage name John Quade, was an American character actor who starred in film and in television...

. After a struggle, the PAX team manages to escape in a subshuttle, a vehicle that can travel between settlements via tubes, built during the early 1990s, before the final conflict of the 20th century. One of the team, Pater Kimbridge (Rai Tasco), is severely wounded and, to save his life, requires a bioplastic prosthesis
Prosthesis
In medicine, a prosthesis, prosthetic, or prosthetic limb is an artificial device extension that replaces a missing body part. It is part of the field of biomechatronics, the science of using mechanical devices with human muscle, skeleton, and nervous systems to assist or enhance motor control...

 to repair the damaged pulmonary artery
Pulmonary artery
The pulmonary arteries carry deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs. They are the only arteries that carry deoxygenated blood....

 sheared away by the Kreeg's rifle shot.

PAX Team 21, led by Dylan Hunt
Dylan Hunt
Dylan Hunt is the name of two fictional characters created for television by Gene Roddenberry.Both characters are men who unwittingly move forward in time by hundreds of years, finding themselves trapped in a post-apocalyptic "Dark Age"...

 (John Saxon
John Saxon (actor)
John Saxon is an American actor who has worked on over 200 projects during the span of sixty years. Saxon is most known for his work in horror films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Black Christmas, both of which feature Saxon as a policeman in search of the killer...

), with members Baylok (Christopher Cary), Isiah (Ted Cassidy
Ted Cassidy
Theodore Crawford Cassidy , known as Ted Cassidy, was an American actor who performed in television and films. At 6 ft 9 in in height, he tended to play unusual characters in offbeat or science-fiction series such as Star Trek and I Dream of Jeannie...

), and Harper-Smythe (Janet Margolin
Janet Margolin
Janet Margolin was an American theater, television and film actress.- Early life :Margolin was born in New York City, the daughter of Benjamin Margolin, an accountant who was born in Russia and was founder and president of the Nephrosis Foundation, now the Kidney Foundation of New York...

) heads out to locate a missing doctor, Jonathan Connor (Jim Antonio), who is the only surgeon who can perform the delicate heart surgery in the time Kimbridge has left to live. Their search leads the team to the Confederacy of Ruth, a society of latter-day Amazons
Amazons
The Amazons are a nation of all-female warriors in Greek mythology and Classical antiquity. Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia...

, where women are dominant and men are enslaved.

As a ruse, a woman in the PAX group, Harper-Smythe, binds Hunt and enters the city with him. Once there, she meets Marg (Diana Muldaur
Diana Muldaur
Diana Muldaur is an Emmy-nominated American film and television actress.-Career:Born in New York City, but raised on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Muldaur started acting in high school and continued on through college, graduating from Sweet Briar College in Virginia in 1960. She studied acting...

), the leader of the women, who claims Dylan as her own property. Harper-Smythe makes her way to a nearby farm and meets a woman who explains how the society operates (and how there are fewer and fewer children).

While captive, Hunt learns that the men, (referred to as "Dinks,") are subjugated by a drug in their food. Despite his efforts, he soon succumbs to the effects of the drug. Harper-Smythe arrives at the village in time to reclaim her "property" by challenging, and defeating, Marg. Unable to find Connor in the village, Marg invites Harper-Smythe to her farm where she can see her newcomer Dinks. Connor soon comes forward with an antidote for the drug and Hunt recovers. The three decide Harper-Smythe should swap Hunt for Connor, allowing the doctor to return to PAX. Marg agrees to the exchange and Connor and Harper-Smythe leave for PAX after first distributing the antidote in the Dink food supply. That evening, free of the influence of the drug, Hunt seduces Marg.

In the morning, a small party of Kreeg arrive and demand the secret to making men compliant. Hunt leads the un-drugged men in overpowering the invaders. They learn the men in the other households were equally successful in fending off the Kreeg. As a result, the women's council decides to suspend the drug treatment program on their males. Kimridge soon recovers from the operation.