"Assignment: Earth" — The final broadcast episode of Star Trek's second season was this clever and funny story in which the Enterprise travels back in time to 1968 (the year this program aired) to discover how the nuclear a... more »rms race came to an end. Captain Kirk (William Shatner) encounters a strange fellow named Gary Seven (Robert Lansing), who claims to have been trained by extraterrestrials in sabotaging the escalating nuclear threat. With the ambivalent aid of a nervous secretary (Teri Garr), Seven (yes, there was a Trek character with that name before Voyager) attempts to carry out his assignment, but Kirk isn't sure if he can be trusted. Lansing's droll and somewhat imperious performance is nicely counterpointed by Garr's cute confusion, and the eerie presence of his familiar--a black cat named Isis--adds a hint of hoodoo exotica. (Don't blink at the end or you'll miss the really exotic creature Isis briefly turns into.) "Assignment: Earth" was actually the pilot for an intended Gene Roddenberry-produced TV series that never happened. Too bad... But speaking of eerie, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) at one point refers to an important assassination that will soon take place. A week after this episode's original airdate, Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered. "Spectre of the Gun"
In this taut, exciting episode, the Enterprise trespasses Melkotian space and is punished in a unique fashion. Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Scotty (James Doohan), and Chekov (Walter Koenig) are all transported to the planet's eerie surface, where they are trapped in a re-creation of 1881 Tombstone and mistaken for the Clanton brothers, doomed principals in the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral. Despite their efforts to avoid trouble, Kirk and company can't seem to avoid their fateful duel with the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday (Sam Gilman). When Chekov is shot dead by Morgan Earp (Rex Holman), the danger is all too clear. The strange Twilight Zone look and atmosphere of this episode--tumbleweeds and Old West facades popping up in a black void--grips one's imagination and doesn't let go until the very end. Fans of Captain Kirk's street-fighting style will especially enjoy the thrilling climax. --Tom Keogh« less
This episode was SUPPOSED to be a pilot episode for a Spin-off series that would essentially be like a James Bond that could Time Travel. Interesting to speculate what that series MIGHT have accomplished had it succeeded. Alas... all we have to analyze is this episode.
Not a fantastic episode, but not too surprising considering it wasn't really supposed to center on the usual Enterprise crew. It was meant to introduce the character's for the "new series" therefor it is almost just a SciFi show with a cameo appearance of the Enterprise.
Worth Watching... especially for the cat... you'll see what I mean if you watch it.
SPECTRE OF THE GUN
I swear sometimes I think the writers would just walk into the studio prop room and say, "what could we use here in a Star Trek?"
They must have found a box of cowboy stuff... this is literally "The Gunfight at OK Corral" with the Star Trek Crew. :) I actually really enjoy this episode. If you like the OLD style westerns with the fake sets, you will enjoy this episode.
The Lost Star Trek Spinoff!!
Scott Sloan | Colorado Springs, Co. USA | 06/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Assignment Earth for those who don't know was the pilot of a new Trek show that wold have featured Robert Lansing, and Terri Garr as the characters of Gary Seven, and Roberta Lincoln. Sadly the show was not picked up, and now we must be content with episode 55 Assignment:Earth. This is a great episode, and one of my personal faves. Robert Lansing was perfect as the calculating slightly impersonal Supervisor 194, and Terri Garr in i believe her first role is just classic as the neo-hippy with a brain, and heart of gold. She looks pretty good in that go-go dress as well ;) Seven has come to Earth to help mankind slow down a bit in its evolution, and plans on sabotaging a space weapons platform. All the while Kirk and company are wondering who, and what is motivating Seven. A heavy "No-Nukes" policy is felt throughout the episode, and sense of the arms race rings through as well. To imagine that at the same time this episode originally aired the vietnam war was raging, and the possibilty of nuclear weapons being launched boggles my mind, but i was just cute rosy cheeked baby at the time so to me it is ancient history. Enjoy this episode, and read the novels that continued Seven's adventures Assignment: Eternity, and Eugenics Wars both by Greg Cox. Will not disappoint!!"
A Pilot & a Western...
Hank Drake | Cleveland, OH United States | 08/05/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Volume 28 of Paramount's complete Star Trek reissue bridges the gap between the second & third seasons of the original series.As the end of Star Trek's second season approached, it became increasingly clear to cast, crew & producers that the show would be canceled. Gene Roddenberry, wishing to salvage what he could from Trek, came up with an idea for a new series. Assignment: Earth, as the new show would be called, was envisioned as a sort of futuristic Mission: Impossible. It also created the tantalizing possibility of occasional guest appearances by Trek characters. The result was this very unusual Trek episode, in which the guest star, Robert Lansing, receives more screen time than the series regulars. For all that, it is an engaging and entertaining adventure story, with the relevant social commentary fans have come to expect. In another example of Trek's unsettling prescience, Spock notes that "an important assassination will take place today" in an episode which aired just a few days before the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., was murdered. Watching this episode almost serves as a history lesson for the younger set, and a glimpse of one of the most agonizing years in American history, 1968. As it turned out, NBC rejected Roddenberry's Assignment: Earth idea. But all was not lost. Thanks to Bjo Trimble's letter writing campaign, the bean-counters at NBC were persuaded to change their minds, and Star Trek was renewed for a third season. But there were caveats: the budget was slashed, Fred Freiberger was brought in as producer, and Roddenberry's role was reduced. As a result, more episodes would be confined to the ship to eliminate the cost of set construction. There was also a shift in tone away from serious, thought-provoking stories, and toward straightforward action adventure, and even camp-humor. While it is true that many third season episodes contained much of what was great about Classic Trek, just as many stories from that season were pitifully weak.Spectre of the Gun demonstrates both sides of the issue. While the story deals with the issue of mind control, the limitations of the budget forced the producers to make compromises (the real reason for the half-completed sets). This episode comes off as being a mix of The Cage and Gunfight at the OK Corral--without the originality of either film. The picture and sound have never been better."
AN ODD PAIR OF EPISODES BUT STILL WONDERFUL!!!
Jared Insell | Canada | 11/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Volume 28 of The Star Trek DVD series may be the most bizarre DVD in the series. Partly because it contains the last episode of the second season and the first epiosde of the third. These two episodes differ greatly and it is interesting to compare and contrast between them however both of these episodes are above average Trek tales despite their strange differences.ASSIGNMENT: EARTH was the season finale of the second season. Essentially it was a pilot for a proposed series by the same name. At the time Star Trek was going to be cancelled and it was quite apparent that Roddenberry developed this to have something to fall back on once the network had made their decision. I'm assuming Roddenberry was planning to have Robert Lansing and Terri Garr as the main charcters in this new series and have the Star Trek cast make various guest appearnaces. Anyways as it turned out Star Trek managed to stay on for a further season and Roddenberry and the network ditched the whole 'Assignment:Earth' idea. All we were left with was this strange episode of Star Trek (which makes you wonder if the show had been cancelled and Assignment:Earth had been accepted by NBC). The episode finds the Enterprise crew travelling back to 1968 (at the time this was aired: modern day earth). Upon arrival they cross paths with Gary Seven (Robert Lansing) and he has come to earth in order to slow down it evolutionary process to put a stop to destroying themselves. He does this by sabotaging U.S. rockets and Kirk feels he will change the course of time. However Seven insists he is doing this for the good of mankind. The episode is rather strange and complicated as most of the screen time is given to Lansing rather than Shatner which is quite a change. The rest of the episode involves Kirk and Spock chasing Seven around trying to stop him. In the end everything turns out fine as usual and the course of time is not affected but many viewers may be left scratching their heads after this episode is over. It is good but rather hard to follow. Terri Garr makes one of her first appearances as Roberta Lincoln a hip chick who applies for a secretary job for Mr. Seven. The casting was great in this one (Both Lansing and Garr are excellent) and perhaps Roddenberry should have salvaged the Assignment: Earth idea after Star Trek was cancelled in June of 1969? Sadly this was never done.The other episode here is SPECTRE OF THE GUN which kicked off Star Trek's inconsistant third and final season. There is such a big change between this and ASSIGNMENT:EARTH. It's amazing that Star Trek was able stay on for a third season but it's obvious that the production budget was way tighter (which explains the true reason why there are incomplete sets in this episode). Still this is one of the better episodes in Star Trek's haphazard final season.
The Enterprise is abducted by a mysterious alien race called the Melkotians Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and Chekov beam down to their planet only to end up in a situation where they are the Clampetts in the middle of the historic 'Gun Fight At The OK Corral' against the Earp's. This episode is ironic because Deforest Kelley did play Morgan Earp in the classic 1957 film. Despite being another bizarre Star Trek outing SPECTRE OF THE GUN is an awesome episode of Star Trek in my opinion especially for the majority of lackluster scripts submitted in the third season. Besides the casting of the Earps is impressive and the gunfight at the end is kinda cool.Overall a bizarre pair of episodes but both are wonderful and interesting in their own ways. SPECTRE OF THE GUN is more enjoyable to watch than ASSIGNMENT:EARTH in my opinion but they are both special. Highly recommended."
Teri Garr on Star Trek? You betcha!
McHenry John | McHenry, Illinois United States | 08/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"See the planned spin-off of "Star Trek" called "Assignment: Earth"...a blatant Dr. Who rip-off...it's a miracle Gene Roddenberry didn't get sued! The story is good, however..."Spectre of the Gun" is better...Kirk gets to play "cowboy" by being a part of the shootout at OK Corral."
diana r loane | Maryland Hts., Mo. United States | 01/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was called Gary Seven in my copy of the episode. I love all the time travel episodes but this is my favorite. The smart but kookie Terri Garr really adds alot to the show and her interactions with the black cat/alien were fun to watch. I will watch this one over and over."