Cancelled Before It Began: Gene Roddenberry’s The Questor Tapes (1974)

By | January 8, 2015

Our ongoing look back at sci fi / fantasy TV shows that were cancelled way too soon or pilots that never made it to series.

questor-tapes-dvdBack in 1974, Gene Roddenberry wrote and produced a pilot titled The Questor Tapes for a proposed TV series about a super intelligent and strong android created with the purpose of guiding humanity.  It was actually greenlit to series, but disagreements between Roddenberry and NBC led to the project getting cancelled and left us with only the pilot that set up the show’s premise.  Robert Foxworth played the android Questor and he tapped into the Spock character from Star Trek: TOS while also laying much of the groundwork for the Data character that would eventually appear on Star Trek: TNG (and he also originated the “fully functional” line).  A pre-M*A*S*H Mike Farrell was also along for the ride as the person who helped Questor relate to the human race (one of the sticking points with NBC was that they wanted to drop Farrell’s character in the series, but remember they originally did not want Spock on TOS).  The Questor Tapes delivered vintage Gene Roddenberry (with Trek veteran Gene L. Coon also assisting on the script) and still holds up pretty good today.  Several years back, Roddenberry’s son Eugene was working on a revival of this property, but I have not heard anything on that front in some time.  It finally hit DVD in 2012, and perhaps interest in that could provide a jumpstart to the revival.  In any case, this one is definitely worth checking out for all sci fi fans as a glimpse of what could have been if the series did happen. (You can read more about The Questor Tapes at this link)

Aired: NBC, 1974

Starring:  Robert Foxworth, Mike Farrell, Lew Ayres

Created By: Gene Roddenberry

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