Three people are part of an experiment in hibernation in space. They are sent to the PAX Laboratory suspended animation space facility. Captain Anthony Vico (John Saxon), Dr. Allison Crowley (Kathleen Miler) and Dr. William Scott (Keene Curtis). During their experiment the Earth is bombarded with meteorites. The catastrophe destroys civilization on Earth. Several hundred people on Earth are sent underground to a suspended animation chamber at PAX headquarters. The team in space is saved because their hibernation is extended. They awaken 180 years later.
The team is finally awakened. They travel back to Earth in a shuttlecraft looking for the PAX base but it is not the same Earth they left. They travel for months looking for the base but end up going through desert land. Finally they find an area that has vegetation and animals. The ground appears to be concrete. All indications are that they are in what was once a zoo. They come across two warring factions. One group is poachers that kill and eat the animals. The other takes care of the animals. The three travelers become embroiled in their war.
Once they extract themselves from the two warring tribes they continue on their way looking for the PAX facility. They begin following a signal. When they get close to the origin of the signal a sonic wave comes over them and they are rendered unconscious.
They awaken to find themselves in a society that is futuristic but everybody wears togas. There are no children in the society and no one ever gets old. This is due to the fact that people are repaired using transplanted parts from clones. The clones are grown from a single cell and mature in four days. The drawback is that the host loses some of their immunity to sickness and disease when this happens. To compensate and keep the society going they plan on using the blood of Captain Vico and Dr. Crowley. The only problem with that is they need all of it.
“Strange New World” was released in 1975 and was directed by Robert Butler. It is a made for TV science fiction film based on concepts envisioned by Gene Roddenberry. Actually it is a pilot for a television series that never went anywhere. It is a compilation of two stories that would have been two episodes of the series if it had been picked up.
Technically it is the third attempt to take Roddenberry’s concept of an apocalyptic world and make a television show about it. The other two attempts were “Genesis II” 1973 and “Planet Earth” 1974 and Roddenberry was involved in them. Neither one ended up being picked up. There were some variations to the stories for “Strange New World” but the basic conception of the series was the same. Character names were changed as well as some plot points. Some say to avoid potential litigation.
John Saxon had starred in Planet Earth. His character in that film was Dylan Hunt, but the character's name is different for “Strange New World”. Reportedly the title of the film was taken from the opening monologue of Roddenberry's “Star Trek”.
As a movie or a series the film is your basic 70’s style science fiction format with the hot headed captain, the token female and the intellectual who, infuriatingly, can see both sides of the situation. The series, if it had materialized, would have been our three intrepid adventurers roaming the wasteland looking for the supposedly utopian PAX headquarters and finding various depictions of what life might be like cut off from the rest of the world. As an example of a premise for either a series or a movie it lacks appeal. At least the two episodes that were mushed together to make the film. The movie was interesting as far as seeing what series pilots were like in the seventies but as a movie there was nothing there that I liked or even hated. The best I can say for it is it was so-so.