Resetting Life

Genesis II predicts that six years after its production, world peace would soon erase military needs, and NASA’s funding might reach such levels as to build an underground science base. That was 1973, considering 1979. Things didn’t turn out that way.

Even if they did, according to Genesis II, the nukes still drop, civilization disappears, and mankind reverts to basic savagery by 2133. The title suggests something Biblical, a fresh rebirth in paradise. Instead, two bands of people form, both using faulty morals to take Earth toward their specific belief systems. It’s a mess, reveling in Nazi-ism, slavery, bigotry, and inequality. In this future, history went up in the bomb blasts. Now, they repeat these cycles.

Where Roddenberry’s Star Trek openly used its sci-fi themes to explore society, Genesis II does as well

Dylan Hunt (Alex Cord) wakes up in this future world, asleep for over a hundred years thanks to NASA tech (and an earthquake killing off anyone tasked with waking him up). He sees things from his time, how far society eroded, if also a certain purity. Earth reclaimed itself; that’s where “Genesis” comes into focus. No airports or roads, just trees and life. Being at war though means that’s soon to be lost, unless Hunt sorts this out via Gene Roddenberry’s story.

Suited for a 90-minute TV time slot, the barely 70-minute plot spends time explaining the world, Cord less a hero than a viewer avatar. Dialog concerns slavery, submission, and authoritarianism, quite preachy, even stunted. Where Roddenberry’s Star Trek openly used its sci-fi themes to explore society, Genesis II does as well, if stumbling toward its goal. Genesis II even brings up sexuality – blaming previous Earth’s downfall on lust – if forced to skim those ideas to appease network censors.

Roddenberry sets up a potential weekly series (this intended as a pilot), if not a capable movie. There’s so little time to explore and develop ideas, in conjunction with character arcs, action, or romance. It’s cluttered, and while Genesis II’s concepts intrigue (notably, placing a well read astronaut into a future headed toward another cataclysmic conflict), the thinness in budget and time cause every element to wobble out of focus.

Video

Gorgeous work coming from Warner Archive here, presenting this early ‘70s TV effort with more luster than its ever had. A pristine source suffers zero damage, and gracious encoding preserves film grain spotlessly. Genesis II shares a disc with the follow-up Planet Earth, losing nothing to compression.

Substantial definition keeps facial detail constant. Texture flows from costumes and sets. Certainly a modern scan, resolution maintains a consistent level, sharp enough to bring out the best in 35mm material.

In the future, color isn’t spared. Rooms sport lush purple walls, costumes push brilliant primaries, and the outdoors fills with impeccable greenery. Natural flesh tones coexist flawlessly with the bold saturation. Contrast helps too, perky and bright, further helped by strict black levels. A superb release by Warner.

Audio

Pedestrian DTS-HD mono keeps dialog clear and music smooth. It’s nothing exceptional, but above par for a production like this. Dialog clarity makes dubbed lines notably different than those recorded on set. Music isn’t much of a challenge. However, the mix hits those highs without any struggle.

Extras

Nothin’.

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Genesis II
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Gene Roddenberry predicts a post-war future doomed to repeat lost history in Genesis II, but it’s more ideas than sustained plotting.

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