If the ratings had been high, the network might have said "Let's give Spock his own show." That's how the suits think, it seems to me.
What they evidently wanted was for Spock to be the star of the show he was already on. They kept pushing for more Spock-centric episodes, seeing how hugely popular he was with the fans. If Roddenberry and Shatner hadn't fought so hard to keep Kirk in the lead (and if Isaac Asimov hadn't made the suggestion to GR to play up the Kirk-Spock friendship so that the two would be inseparable), then Spock might've ended up taking over the show the way Fonzie later took over Happy Days
In fact, Assignment: Earth
was originally a pilot for a standalone, non-Trek-related half-hour series that Roddenberry wrote in 1966, during TOS's first season. In it, Gary Seven was a time traveler from 2319, sent back to prevent the demonic Omegan aliens from changing Earth history to prevent the rise of a Federation-like interstellar civilization. You can read about it here.
I've read the script, and it was pretty bad, playing more like an attempt at a sitcom in the vein of My Favorite Martian
than an adventure drama. After it was -- quite rightly -- rejected, Roddenberry worked with Art Wallace to develop a second version as a Star Trek
spinoff, writing a series pitch for the spinoff in early December 1967 and then writing the script for the ST episode as a backdoor pilot for the spinoff. This version would've made a much better series than the half-hour pseudo-sitcom version.
The Mirrorball Man wrote:
Assignment: Earth still sounds like a pretty good idea for a science-fiction show. I don't see why it shouldn't be considered.
I believe there were some efforts a few years back on the part of Majel and/or Rod Roddenberry to develop an updated (and presumably non-Trek-related) version of A:E, along with their efforts to develop new series based on other Roddenberry properties.
And I agree -- a rebooted version of A:E (or The Questor Tapes
, which was basically a rehash of the exact same premise but with an android lead) could make for an interesting series. There was an attempt by TQT's co-developer Herb Wright to make a new series of that, but sadly the project fell through when Wright passed away in 2005.
22 Stars wrote:
Really Assignment: Earth is Dr. Who but primarily Earth-based as a cost saving measure.
I don't know why people say that. Sure, in the rejected pilot version, Gary Seven was a time traveler, but in the version we know, he wasn't. There are some coincidental similarities to the early-'70s phase of Doctor Who
where the Third Doctor was exiled to Earth and working with UNIT to defend present-day Earth, but that was not a typical period of Who
history, and it was itself something of an imitation of the popular Professor Quatermass serials. I guess there's a vague similiarity in the formula of a superhuman male lead with advanced technology and alien knowledge working with a young female human companion who provides audience identification, but Gary's specific personality and agenda are very, very different from any incarnation of the Doctor.
Some people even think "Assignment: Earth" was a deliberate copy of Doctor Who
, but that's rubbish. It's unlikely that anyone in Hollywood at the time was familiar with DW, since it didn't begin showing in parts of the US until the '70s; and most of the similar elements -- the Earth-based setting, the sonic screwdriver -- were introduced to DW after
they were conceived for A:E. (The sonic screwdriver made its screen debut just 13 days before "Assignment: Earth" aired, but as stated, the original A:E pilot was written over a year and a half earlier, and it did feature the servo and Gary's other familiar gadgets.)