Thursday, January 21, 2010

THE QUESTOR TAPES Revival


After STAR TREK was cancelled, Gene Roddenberry produced a couple of TV pilot movies in the 1970s, including THE QUESTOR TAPES. None of these were made into series, but QUESTOR came the closest.

"My father always felt that Questor was the one that got away. He believed that the show had the potential to be bigger than Star Trek." - Gene's son, Rod Roddenberry

And now, 34 years to the month after it premiered, QUESTOR is getting a new lease on life: it's being developed as a new TV series.

THE QUESTOR TAPES pilot echoed a lot of Gene Roddenberry's favorite ideas: an android trying in a Pinocchio-like way to understand what it is to be human, searching for its creator, and we even touch on a superior benevolent alien race that's attempting "to prevent Earth from destroying itself before it can mature into a peaceful society." Plus the movie has Dean Wormer (John Vernon), acting as bad guy, so it's got that going for it. Not to mention the ever-so-likable pre-M*A*S*H Mike Farrell and the commanding presence of Robert Foxworth as Questor.

The series, if it had been made, would have been a buddy show, with Mike Farrell helping Foxworth become a bit less of a fish out of water as they had a series of adventures.

The best of the post-TREK pilots, QUESTOR's themes were woven into the next 2 Roddenberry produced projects; principally the characters of V'ger from STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE and, I know you all ready know it: Data, from NEXT GENERATION.

Trekmovie has all the information on the new reboot, including the two video sequences below: the original gambling scene from QUESTOR and a similar sequence for data from a TNG episode.







Richard Colla, the director, is quoted in Retrovision Magazine's fond and thorough overview of the pilot titled "Gene Roddenberry's The Questor Tapes: The Unfulfilled Promise:"

"It was a wonderful experience for me," he says. "We were kind of reinterpreting Spock and Kirk, because that's really what it was -- the emotional side of man and the intellectual side of man and they come into conversation with each other. So what you really have is a character talking to himself, and that's delightful."

Below, the entire pilot TV movie, cut into its requisite YouTube wee chunks:

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 1

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 2

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 3

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 4

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 5

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 6

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 7

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 8

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 9

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 10


THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 11

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 12

A note on the Gil Melle music that's heard at a minute plus in: yes, that theme is the same music that Melle used for the later 1970s NIGHT STALKER series. Melle was so fond of that cut, that rather than see it forgotten in this unsold pilot, he played it for STALKER's producer Dan Curtis, who agreed and used it in the main title for the short-lived series. This is all from my memory of reading TV’s Biggest Hits (Schirmer Books, 1996) by Jon Burlingame.

3 comments:

Dan Reynolds said...

I look forward to seeing this!

Brian Fies said...

I remember Questor very well. I was a full-fever Trekkie at the time (you think I'm bad now, you should've known me then) and watching the Questor pilot was an *event*. Wish it had gotten picked up. As you note, Roddenberry later did pretty much everything he hoped to do on Questor with Data. In fact, that's one thing Roddenberry did consistently well throughout his career: plow ideas back into new projects so that if something didn't pay off in one place it'd be sure to show up later in another.

scifiblogger said...

you can also see pages from the original 'Questor' script on Roddenberry's official Website at http://www.roddenberry.com/corporate-questor