The Powers of Matthew Star

The Powers of Matthew Star

Title Screen
Genre Science fiction
Created by Steven E. de Souza
Written by David Carren
Steven E. de Souza
Gregory S. Dinallo
Gil Grant
William Mageean
Richard Christian Matheson
Bruce Shelly
Thomas E. Szollosi
Directed by Barry Crane
Guy Magar
Leslie H. Martinson
Ron Satlof
Starring Peter Barton
Louis Gossett, Jr.
Amy Steel
Chip Frye
Michael Fairman
John Crawford
James Karen
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 22
Executive producer(s) Bruce Lansbury
Producer(s) Harve Bennett
Steven E. de Souza
Daniel Wilson
Cinematography Héctor R. Figueroa
Running time 60 mins.
Production company(s) Daniel Wilson Productions
Harve Bennett Productions
Paramount Television
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Original network NBC
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 17, 1982 – April 15, 1983

The Powers of Matthew Star is an American sci-fi television series that aired from September 17, 1982 through April 8, 1983, on NBC. It starred Peter Barton as the title character, alien prince Matthew ‘E’Hawke’ Star of the planet Quadris. Also starring were Amy Steel as Pam Elliot, Matthew’s girlfriend at Crestridge High, and Louis Gossett, Jr. as Matthew’s guardian Walt ‘D’hai’ Shepherd.[1]

In 2002, The Powers of Matthew Star was ranked #22 on the list of TV Guide's "50 Worst TV Shows of All Time".[2]

Main cast

Series history

The show was created by Steven E. De Souza, and developed by Daniel Wilson, Harve Bennett (Star Trek feature films IIV), Robert Earll and Allan Balter. Wilson, Bennett and Bruce Lansbury (who produced many television series in the '80s) executive produced. Star Trek actors worked behind the scenes; Leonard Nimoy directed the episode "Triangle", and Walter Koenig wrote the episode "Mother". Peter Barton and Amy Steel beat out actors Tom Cruise and Heather Locklear for their respective leading roles.[3]

The series was originally called The Powers of David Star.[4] With this title and a somewhat altered premise, the original pilot was to deal with teenaged David Star, who lived with the school janitor, Max (Gerald S. O'Loughlin). Max had a secret he was not sharing with David, who had no idea that he and Max were from another planet. As his powers began to surface, David started to understand who he was. Hot on their trail was the FBI. The original pilot was aired as the last episode of the series. TV Guide's 1981 Fall Preview issue's network schedule grid lists the original series title as The Powers of Daniel Star.

The program, originally slated to debut in 1981 with the new title and storyline, was delayed when Peter Barton fell backward onto pyrotechnics and was badly burned, while co-star Louis Gossett, Jr., tied to a chair, had fallen on top of Barton but managed to rescue him. After months in the hospital, Barton was released, and the show resumed shooting.[3]

The series was cancelled after one season. The show ended ironically, airing the first pilot (with Barton as ‘David Star’) as the final episode broadcast.



Louis Gossett Jr. and Peter Barton

D'Hai/Walter Shepherd's (Louis Gossett, Jr.) dialogue over the opening theme tells the tale of E'Hawke/Matthew Star (Peter Barton):

Quadris, a planet of the (Tau Ceti) system, twelve light years across the galaxy from Earth. It was home for us until an intergalactic armada conquered it. I fought by the royal family's side, but in vain. Even their remarkable powers weren't enough. The crown prince and I escaped to the nearest planet on which we could survive and further his powers in order to some day return to free his people.

Here on Earth, the prince is known as Matthew Star. He's a typical American teenager. He has friends; people who love him. And me, his guardian. I'm the only one who knows how special he is. Life for us is a series of joys and dangers. Enemy assassins constantly come to destroy us. Alone, we must survive.

First half of series

The first half of the series' run dealt with Matthew Star attending Crestridge High School and trying to survive his teenage years while dodging assassins, all under the watchful eye of his guardian, Walter Shepherd, who stayed nearby as a science teacher at the school. Those in their lives who had no idea about the truth were girlfriend Pam Elliot (Amy Steel), friend Bob Alexander (Chip Frye), and the merry principal, Mr. Heller (Michael Fairman).

General Tucker (John Crawford), an Air Force officer specializing in extraterrestrial investigations, had tracked the two of them across the country as they evaded alien agents intent on exterminating them. From time to time, he enlisted their specialized aid in solving monumental problems.

The first dozen episodes dealt with the daily troubles of high school students, although in the episode "The Triangle," a chance trip to the Bermuda Triangle resulted in the discovery of messengers from Quadris, who told the pair that the king had been executed. E'Hawke/Matthew was crowned the new king in a torch-lit cave.

In the episode "Mother," a strange carnival gypsy is revealed to be Matthew's mother Nadra, who had been traveling the galaxy and hiding from assassins. This reunion was bittersweet because, due to Nadra's health problems, she was forced to leave Crestridge for an undisclosed location with a higher elevation.

Finally, in the "Fugitives" episode, Walt, trying to elude a nosy doctor, comes into contact with a substance in the hospital that causes him to have a deadly allergic reaction. At the same time, Matthew is being booked into jail and needs Walt to bail him out. At the last minute, Matthew manages to save Walt, as he has done many times throughout the series.

Second half of series

The series took a sudden turn from a dramatic adventure series to a by-the-book adventure series, with Walt and Matthew having to deal with government assignments. Major Wymore (James Karen) replaced General Tucker (John Crawford) and met with the Quadrians in all sorts of strange locations where he briefed them on the missions. Gone were Pam and Bob and references to the high school. Matthew was being portrayed as older, and not much was said about their true mission: which was returning to Quadris to take back their world from the enemy.[5]

Matthew had used the name "Shep" for his guardian, but with the sudden format change, Matthew started calling him Walt.


The powers possessed by E'Hawke/Matthew were inherited from his parents, and only the royal family on Quadris has them. Other Quadrians may have powers of their own. The two that presided over Matthew’s coronation in the cave (played by Julie Newmar and Jeff Corey) had power to cast powerful illusions in an effort to test Matthew when he went with Pam to find her uncle in the episode "Triangle". Quadrians may also have the ability to delay death, if the two Quadrians in the episode "Triangle" are any indication. It is very painful for them to do so, apparently.[3]

The powers as displayed by Matthew consist of telekinesis, telepathy and clairvoyance in the earlier episodes, and telekinesis, transmutation and astral projection in later episodes. The powers of Matthew's parents are unspecified; it is assumed they are similar in nature to Matthew's, albeit far more highly developed.

Much of the plotline deals with Matthew honing his powers, which are naturally weak and undisciplined given his young age. He must practice in secret, obviously, and he is continually resisting the temptation to use them against bullies and other frivolities. Matthew is forced to use his powers at times to save his and Walt's lives.

D'Hai/Walt does not have any powers, not being of royal blood. He does appear to have great strength, although this may be merely a product of having an excellent physique.

Enemies of Quadris

The name of the Marauding species that attacked Quadris is unrevealed. They seem human enough but they tend to explode when they hit water. Then again these ‘human replicants’ may just be service drones working for a real enemy, an image of which may have been seen in the first pilot (when "Matthew" was "David"). As to why the Marauders would invade, that, too, is not known. But it may have to do with powers the Quadrians possess. They do seem to have incredible strength, and the Marauder in the second pilot, played by Judson Scott mentioned someone named ‘Olan’ who gave them chemicals to feel pleasure. The character 'Olan' is never revealed.[3]

Episode list

  1. "Jackal" – September 17, 1982
  2. "Accused" – September 24, 1982
  3. "Daredevil" – October 1, 1982
  4. "Genius" – October 8, 1982
  5. "Prediction" – October 15, 1982
  6. "Italian Caper" – October 29, 1982
  7. "Winning" – November 5, 1982
  8. "Endurance" – November 12, 1982
  9. "The Triangle" – November 19, 1982
  10. "Mother" – November 26, 1982
  11. "Experiment" – December 10, 1982
  12. "Fugitives" – December 17, 1982
  13. "Matthew Star, D.O.A." – January 21, 1983
  14. "The Racer's Edge" – January 28, 1983
  15. "Dead Man's Hand" – February 11, 1983
  16. "36 Hours" – February 18, 1983
  17. "The Quadrian Caper" – February 25, 1983
  18. "Brain Drain" – March 4, 1983
  19. "The Great Waldo Shepherd" – March 11, 1983
  20. "Road Rebels" – March 25, 1983
  21. "Swords & Quests" – April 8, 1983
  22. "Starr Knight" – April 15, 1983

Production credits


  1. Dalton, Mary. Teacher TV: sixty years of teachers on television. Blog. Peter Lang.
  2. "TV Guide's 50 Worst TV Shows of All Time at Archived February 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "The Powers of Matthew Star". Blog. Tombs of Kobol.
  4. Terrance, Vincent (1985). Encyclopedia of Television Series, Pilots and Specials: 1974-1984. VNR AG. p. 500. ISBN 0-918432-61-8.
  5. Marsh, Earle (2003). The complete directory to prime time network and cable TV shows, 1946-present. Random House. p. 1592. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
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