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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old June 3 2007, 10:22 PM   #1
jayrath
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Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

Not actually, of course. But consider: both had companions, both had little sonic screwdriver sorts of things, both had box-like contraptions with doors that could instantly move them in space. Both had knowledge of time travel. Both had headquarters operations on another planet.

And the Doctor could of course travel in time; we might wonder if Gary 7 could, too (in the novels he can). Now, Gary was analyzed as human, and he SAID he was merely educated by aliens -- but I wonder if Gene hadn't been watching some 1960s BBC . . .
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Old June 3 2007, 11:15 PM   #2
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Re: Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

Gary 7's show would definitely would have had better special effects! Just think where Dr. Who was at that time.

Plus, Gary 7 had better hair.

(Whovians, don't take that the wrong way. I love Dr. Who as well, but, man, some of those 1960's and 1970's effects were just painful to watch!)
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Old June 3 2007, 11:32 PM   #3
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Re: Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

Interesting notion, although I'm not sure how credible it is. I haven't seen anything to suggest Roddenberry was in the United Kingdom before 1966 (after the show entered production he'd barely have the chance to, really), or even Canada, where Doctor Who ran in 1965.

It's probably mostly a matter of luck on all parts. The Gary Seven notion is really just the super-spy/secret agent stuff that you couldn't get enough of in the mid-60s, given a light science fiction coating that would fit nicely with Space Race chic. It's still not a bad idea for a show.
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Old June 4 2007, 01:46 AM   #4
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Re: Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

jayrath said:
...but I wonder if Gene hadn't been watching some 1960s BBC . . .
And how would he have done that, exactly? They didn't have satellite TV in 1966 (which was when the original proposal that later became Assignment: Earth was written). For that matter, most TV producers don't have a lot of time for actually watching TV, because they're too busy making it.

The original A:E proposal involved Gary Seven being sent back from the future to 1960s Earth to battle time-travelling Omegans trying to change history (an idea surprisingly similar to the Temporal Cold War storyline in Enterprise some 35 years later). That's very different from Doctor Who as it existed in 1966, at which point only a very few episodes had been set on present-day Earth. People who see similarities between the Doctor and Gary Seven are basing it mainly on the Pertwee era and after, when stories set on contemporary Earth were far more common. Obviously Roddenberry couldn't have been aware of stories that didn't exist yet, even if he had heard of Doctor Who at the time.

More likely, A:E was inspired by the "time police" types of stories that were fairly common in prose SF in the 40s-60s, books like Asimov's The End of Eternity (Roddenberry and Asimov were friends) and Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series. Heck, maybe Roddenberry just got the idea from "Tomorrow is Yesterday." According to The Star Trek Compendium, the original A:E pilot script is dated 11/14/1966 and the final draft script of TiY is dated one week later. So GR would've been working on A:E simultaneously with the writing of TiY (a concept that had been in development since much earlier in the season, since it was originally to be a sequel to "The Naked Time"). Maybe working on a script about the Enterprise coming back in time to present-day Earth inspired him to come up with a series proposal about an agent sent back in time to present-day Earth.
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Old June 4 2007, 04:49 AM   #5
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Re: Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

IIRC, PBS was showing Doctor Who in the States at that time.

If you want something even closer to Who, the Borg are rip-offs of the Cybermen, especially the ones from 1967's "The Tomb of the Cybermen".

A:E may have been partially inspired by Doctor Who, but the premise was different - the Doctor was traveling around time and space at that point, and ended up in deep trouble for interfering with other races. Gary was assigned to "interfere" (read: help) Earth, and AFAIK, was confined to Earth. It could be argued that the Pertwee-era Doctor Who (1970-1974, when the Doctor was largely confined to Earth) stole that idea from A:E.
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Old June 4 2007, 05:13 AM   #6
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Re: Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

Doctor Who was not introduced to United States audiences until sometime in the seventies or early eighties during the Tom Baker era.
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Old June 4 2007, 05:46 AM   #7
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Re: Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

1970s and started with early Pertwee episodes. Later in the seventies they switched to Tom Baker...
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Old June 4 2007, 06:30 AM   #8
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Re: Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

In the states, Jon Pertwee first appeared at the start of "Giant Robot".

Gary Seven is a future incarnation of the Doctor!

There I said it!

In fact he's the 9th Doctor (Christopher Eccelston).
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Old June 4 2007, 12:20 PM   #9
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Re: Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

The sonic screwdriver was first seen on 16th March 1968, a mere thirteen days before Assignment: Earth was aired, so that's obviously coincidental.

Looking back on the Pertwee era, there are similarities with Gary Seven, but since the UNIT setup, with the Doctor on Earth was dreamed up in 1968, before Star Trek even aired in the UK, I think any similarities on either side are entirely coincidental.
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Old June 4 2007, 01:51 PM   #10
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Re: Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

Turbo said:
IIRC, PBS was showing Doctor Who in the States at that time.
As others have said, you're off by about a decade. It was shown locally in New York and various other cities in the mid-to-late '70s, and didn't begin showing nationwide until the early '80s.

If you want something even closer to Who, the Borg are rip-offs of the Cybermen, especially the ones from 1967's "The Tomb of the Cybermen".
Like 99% of the "ripoff" accusations on the Internet, this one is totally wrong and ignorant of the facts. The Borg were originally conceived as an insectoid hive race. They were only changed to cyborgs because that was cheaper and easier from a makeup and production standpoint.

Similar ideas crop up all the time in human creativity, and it's not only grossly naive but grossly insulting to assume they must be the result of plagiarism. "Ripoff" is just about the most overused, most obnoxious, most consistently wrongheaded word on the Internet. (Except for maybe "pwned.")
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Old June 4 2007, 02:32 PM   #11
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Re: Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

If we're talking ripoffs, let's talk sentient holograms and Red Dwarf, positronic androids and Asimov, Requiem for Methuselah and Forbidden Planet, The Inner Light and It's a Wonderful Life, Remans and Buffy The Vampire Slayer's ubervamps?

It's like shooting fish in a barrel. With a howitzer.
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Old June 4 2007, 05:17 PM   #12
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Re: Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

I did not intend to suggest a ripoff -- I am just very struck by the similarities.
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Old June 4 2007, 05:53 PM   #13
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Re: Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

Turbo,

The Borg were more an offshot of Gibson's Cyberpunk than Dr. Who's Cybermen.
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Old June 4 2007, 06:41 PM   #14
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Re: Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

While I think Who and Seven are little more than coincidental characters in real life, it is fun to play with the idea that he is the Doctor of the Star Trek universe. That is to say, the events that lead to our favorite Time Lord of the Dr. Who universe are somewhat different in Star Trek and Gary Seven is the end result.

Another amusing variation would be a chance encounter between Mr. Seven and the Doctor.
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Old June 4 2007, 09:05 PM   #15
Christopher
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Re: Is Gary 7 really Doctor Who?

I'd rather see a crossover between Gary Seven and Questor (from Roddenberry's pilot movie The Questor Tapes), since they had essentially the same mission and were both operating in the 1960s-70s. But since TQT is a Universal property rather than Paramount, there's little to no chance of such a story ever being told outside of fanfic.
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