The Questor Tapes Blu-ray Review: An Android Seeks Its Creator in This TV Pilot from Gene Roddenberry

With a story by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and a screenplay credited to Roddenberry and Star Trek show runner during its first and second season, Gene L. Coon, The Questor Tapes is a 1974 made-for-TV movie that tells a familiar science fiction tale about an android seeking its creator. It was the pilot for an anthology series where the two lead characters would travel the country, if not the world, helping to solve problems, in the tradition of shows such as Route 66, and The Fugitive. Unfortunately, the TV program never came to fruition, undercutting the TV-movie’s conclusion which sets up the potential series.

Buy The Questor Tapes Blu-ray

Project Questor was created by Dr. Emil Vaslovik to build an android. When Vaslovik disappears, a team of scientists follow through with his plans. They install their programming own against the suggestion of Jerry Robinson (Mike Farrell), who had previously worked with Vaslovik, and what remains of Vaslovik’s programming, which has been damaged. After it appears the work has been unsuccessful, the android, referred to as Questor, comes to life and designs his body to pass for a human (Robert Foxworth).

Questor seeks out Vaslovik. He kidnaps Jerry to help him and they head to London because Questor has clues to follow. There’s some fish-out-of-water shtick as Jerry explains different aspects of humanity to Questor. They need money to assist their travels, so in a ridiculous scene, Questor throw exact number on dice by feeling the table felt, which seems more like magic than science. The croupier gives him loaded dice but Questor reshapes them, after stating his intention out loud, yet inexplicably no one at the gambling house does anything about being out-cheated.

Questor leads Jerry to Lady Helena Trimble’s home for details about Vaslovik’s whereabouts. She reveals an information center built for Questor that allows him access to cameras and data around the world. This is likely how Questor and Jerry would find people to help each episode.

The TV-movie has a literal ticking bomb to create suspense, although there’s no doubt the matter will be resolved. Questor’s funeral furnace will overload soon, turning him into a nuclear bomb, which is why Questor is so determined to find Vaslovik, the only one who can apparently stop the transformation. Questor and Jerry find Vaslovik, who is also an android, the latest in a long line put on Earth by an alien race to help mankind. He reveals the premise for the potential series by telling them the law, “protect but do not interfere,” which resembles Star Trek‘s Prime Directive.

Created from a new 2K scan of the 35 mm interpositive, the video has been given a 1080p/ MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The color pallete uses a lot of rich earth tones, but reds come through in strong hues when used. Black are inky. The image has a good focus and depth. Film grain is apparent and the picture looks free from dirt or defect. The audio is available in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Dialogue is clear. Composer Gil Melle’s score comes through with good fidelity. The track is hiss free with no signs of age or wear.

The Special Features are:

  • Audio commentary by film historian/screenwriter Gary Gerani
  • Trailers for several KL Studio Classics releases

The Questor Tapes is an extended pilot for a TV show that never happened and could have worked better as an hour-long TV episode. Running twice that length, the TV-movie drags as its filled with too many superfluous scenes beyond setting up the main characters and the premise of the series. An actual episode of the characters in action would have been more interesting. For fans of the TV-movie and for the curious, the high-definition presentation looks and sounds good.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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