Greg Cox wrote:
Regarding Gary Seven, I've always seen him as more Klaatu than Doctor Who. It seems to me that The Day The Earth Stood Still is to "Assignment: Earth" as Forbidden Planet is to Star Trek.
That's a good point. The series pitch presented Seven as a modern-day version of Richard Boone's Paladin, as I said, but maybe that was just to sell it to the Western-crazy execs, much like the "Wagon Train
to the stars" elevator pitch for ST. It does seem quite possible that Klaatu was an influence. It's hard to believe he wasn't.
And, yeah, the line about time-travel probably served two purposes on the Trek episode: it generated some uncertainty and suspense about Seven's origins, in order to justify Kirk's suspicion of him, and it also kept their options open if and when Gary Seven got his own tv series.
I think it was mainly just about grafting the pitch for a present-day series into a Trek episode, which required time travel to set it up. And as you say, it was mainly about giving Kirk a reason to mistrust Gary's story, to wonder if he could be a temporal interloper like themselves and thus someone they needed to stop.
I think Assignment: Earth was too little too late. The spy-craze had already crested by that point, and there had been a lot of secret agent shows.
On the other hand, it was only 5 years later that The Six Million Dollar Man
came along and sparked a new wave of superpowered secret-agent shows. Maybe it wasn't too late but too early. Of course, in the same year that the first 6M$M movies aired, Roddenberry made what was essentially his third stab at the A:E concept, The Questor Tapes
. Although he replaced the advanced human agent from another world with an android, Questor's mission was exactly the same as Gary's, to shepherd humanity through its most turbulent phase with help from advanced alien technology. That almost went to series, but Roddenberry abandoned it because the network demanded changes he wasn't willing to make (or at least that's his story).