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Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 28, Episodes 55 & 56: Assignment: Earth/ Spectre of the Gun

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"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 arms 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

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, Bill Blackburn
  • Writers: Gene Roddenberry
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: CBS Paramount International Television
  • DVD Release Date: July 10, 2001
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005J6RF
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,667 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 28, Episodes 55 & 56: Assignment: Earth/ Spectre of the Gun" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Scott Sloan on June 29, 2001
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!!
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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.
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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.
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What an odd pair of episodes to put together! One pretty damn good, the other - well, fun, actually, but rather silly.
"Assignment: Earth" was a Roddenberry pilot that regrettably never flew, as it introduced an entertaining premise and pair of characters: Gary Seven, and Roberta Lincoln. Gary Seven (Robert Lansing) is a human abducted from childhood and raised by aliens on an undetected planet in Earth's solar system, trained for undercover missions on his home planet toward the purpose of keeping it from destroying itself before it becomes worthy of inclusion in a greater galactic community. Roberta Lincoln (Terri Garr, in probably her first role of note) is the ditzy hip-chick who inadvertently walks in applying for a job in Seven's office, on the day he just happens to need a replacement for backup agents accidentally killed before his latest mission. Seven is on Earth to sabotage a nuclear space platform, in order to scare the superpowers into disarmament. The Enterprise, orbiting Earth in 1968 for the purpose of historical research at the time, briefly intercepts Seven on the way to his office, and dogs his steps in an attempt to determine whether he is Earth's friend - as he claims - or its foe.
Nice casting in this one, a great premise and a solid production. Lansing is charismatic enough to pull off Seven's slippery personality, keeping him both menacing and likeable at the same time. Garr is her usual self, which is always a delight. There's even a nice performance from Seven's "familiar," a black cat named Isis - who sometimes turns into a beautiful Egyptianesque woman, when no one's looking. The Cape Canaveral scenes are especially good, Seven's alien sabotage there convincingly handled.
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