Cult TV

Cult TV Essentials: The Powers of Matthew Star

“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.”

The Powers of Matthew Star was an American sci-fi television series that aired from September 17, 1982 through April 8, 1983 (22 episodes), 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

CAST

  • Peter Barton – Matthew Star/E’Hawke
  • Louis Gossett, Jr. – Walter (Walt) Shepherd/D’Hai
  • Amy Steel – Pamela Elliot
  • Chip Frye – Bob Alexander
  • Michael Fairman – Principal Heller
  • John Crawford – General Tucker
  • James Karen – Major Wymore

PLOT

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 extra-terrestrial 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 turned out 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.

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

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