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The Powers of Matthew Star

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The Powers of Matthew Star
Title screen
GenreScience fiction
Created bySteven E. de Souza
Developed byDaniel Wilson
Harve Bennett
Robert Earll
Allan Balter
Written byDavid Carren
Steven E. de Souza
Gregory S. Dinallo
Gil Grant
William Mageean
Richard Christian Matheson
Bruce Shelly
Thomas E. Szollosi
Directed byBarry Crane
Guy Magar
Leslie H. Martinson
Ron Satlof
StarringPeter Barton
Louis Gossett Jr.
Amy Steel
Chip Frye
Michael Fairman
John Crawford
James Karen
ComposersMichel Rubini and Denny Jaeger (1982)
Johnny Harris (1983)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes22
Executive producersHarve Bennett (1982)
Bruce Lansbury (1983)
ProducersHarve Bennett
Steven E. de Souza
Daniel Wilson
CinematographyHéctor R. Figueroa
Running time60 minutes
Production companiesDaniel Wilson Productions
Harve Bennett Productions (1982–83)
Paramount Television
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 17, 1982 (1982-09-17) –
April 15, 1983 (1983-04-15)

The Powers of Matthew Star is an American science fiction television series that aired on NBC on Friday evenings from September 17, 1982 until April 8, 1983. It starred Peter Barton as the title character, the alien prince Matthew "E'Hawke" Star of the planet Quadris, who used his powers to fight crime. Also starring were Amy Steel as Pam Elliot, Matthew’s girlfriend at Crestridge High; and Louis Gossett Jr. as Walt "D'Hai" Shepherd, Matthew’s guardian.[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]

On June 7, 2020, the program began airing in syndication on Sunday mornings at 6:00 am as part of MeTV's Super SciFi Saturday Night block.

Series history[edit]

The show was created by Steven E. de Souza, and developed by Daniel Wilson, Harve Bennett, Robert Earll, and Allan Balter. Wilson, Bennett and Bruce Lansbury were the executive producers. Star Trek actors worked behind the scenes in a few episodes: Leonard Nimoy directed the episode "Triangle", and Walter Koenig wrote the episode "Mother".

The series underwent numerous title changes during development. These included Starr Knight, Star Prince, Knight Star, The Powers of David Star, The Powers of Daniel Star, and finally The Powers of Matthew Star. The original pilot (Starr Knight) was to deal with teenager 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. As an example of one of the late title changes of the series, the Canadian issue of TV Guide's 1981 Fall Preview issue listed it as The Powers of Daniel Star with a full-page photo and paragraph, whereas US versions gave the series a half-page blurb with the correct title The Powers of Matthew Star. To add to the confusion, the actual writeup in the Canadian issues correctly referred to "Matthew Star," meaning they did get the memo of the latest name change but failed to update the header at the top of the page.[3]

The program, originally slated to debut on January 3, 1982[4] with the new title and storyline, was delayed when on November 12, 1981, Peter Barton fell backward onto pyrotechnics and was badly burned,[5] while co-star Louis Gossett Jr., tied to a chair, had fallen on top of Barton but managed to rescue him. After a month in the hospital, Barton was released, recovering at home while the show's production was shut down for four months. The series resumed shooting in early March, 1982.[6]

The series was cancelled after one season.



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

Quadris, 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 someday 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.

Louis Gossett Jr. and Peter Barton

First half of series[edit]

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, Walt Shepherd, who stayed nearby as a science teacher at the school. Those in their lives who had no idea about the truth were Matthew's girlfriend Pam Elliot (Amy Steel), his friend Bob Alexander (Chip Frye), and the merry principal, Mr. Heller (Michael Fairman).

General Tucker (John Crawford), a U.S. 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 Quadrian messengers, 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; due to Nadra's health problems, she was forced to leave Crestridge for an undisclosed location at 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.

Matthew's powers during this season were mainly telekinetic, being able to move objects with the power of his mind. This power was illustrated in the opening credits as moving a book back into a slot on a bookshelf. In episodes, he used telekinesis to manipulate a football, and raise rocks that had buried an experimental Air Force flying unit and then its simulation. The opening title suggests that members of his family had other powers that probably expanded after achieving physical maturity (and with practice).

Second half of series[edit]

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.[7]

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

In the gap between episodes 12 and 13, Matthew apparently developed or perfected additional powers, including separating his intelligence into an "astral," a simulation of his current appearance that could walk through walls (as in astral projection). Another power was transmutation of objects.

Enemies of Quadris[edit]

The name of the Marauder species that attacked Quadris is unrevealed. They seem human, but tend to explode when they hit water. 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"). Why the Marauders would invade Quadris but not Earth is not known. However, 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.[8]

Main cast[edit]

Production credits[edit]

  • Created by Steven E. De Souza
  • Executive Producers: Daniel Wilson, Harve Bennett, and Bruce Lansbury
  • Developed by Robert Earll and Allan Balter

Episode list[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"Jackal"Ron SatlofRobert Earll & Allan BalterSeptember 17, 1982 (1982-09-17)
2"Accused"Ron SatlofGregory S. DinalloSeptember 24, 1982 (1982-09-24)
3"Daredevil"Bruce BilsonJeffrey Alan ScottOctober 1, 1982 (1982-10-01)
4"Genius"Bob ClaverTom GreeneOctober 8, 1982 (1982-10-08)
5"Prediction"Guy MagarRichard Christian Matheson & Thomas SzollosiOctober 15, 1982 (1982-10-15)
6"Italian Caper"Guy MagarJames MillerOctober 29, 1982 (1982-10-29)
7"Winning"Ron SatlofGregory S. DinalloNovember 5, 1982 (1982-11-05)
8"Endurance a.k.a. Survival"Paul KrasnyRuel FischmannNovember 12, 1982 (1982-11-12)
9"The Triangle"Leonard NimoyRichard Christian Matheson & Thomas SzollosiNovember 19, 1982 (1982-11-19)
10"Mother"Ron SatlofWalter KoenigNovember 26, 1982 (1982-11-26)
11"Experiment"Gunnar HellströmRichard Christian Matheson & Thomas SzollosiDecember 10, 1982 (1982-12-10)
12"Fugitives"Jeffrey HaydenJudy BurnsDecember 17, 1982 (1982-12-17)
13"Matthew Star, D.O.A."Leslie H. MartinsonBruce ShellyJanuary 21, 1983 (1983-01-21)
14"The Racer's Edge"Corey AllenLuciano ComiciJanuary 28, 1983 (1983-01-28)
15"Dead Man's Hand"Vincent McEveetyDavid Bennett CarrenFebruary 11, 1983 (1983-02-11)
16"36 Hours"Barry CraneS : William Mageen & Gil Grant;
T : David Bennett Carren
February 18, 1983 (1983-02-18)
17"The Quadrian Caper"Guy MagarBruce ShellyFebruary 25, 1983 (1983-02-25)
18"Brain Drain"Leslie H. MartinsonS : William Mageen & Gil Grant;
T : George McIldowie
March 4, 1983 (1983-03-04)
19"The Great Waldo Shepherd"Barry CraneS : Gil Grant & William Mageen;
T : Bill Taube
March 11, 1983 (1983-03-11)
20"Road Rebels"Barbara PeetersMark JonesMarch 25, 1983 (1983-03-25)
21"Swords & Quests"Louis Gossett Jr.Lee SheldonApril 8, 1983 (1983-04-08)
22"Starr Knight"Ivan NagySteven E. de SouzaApril 15, 1983 (1983-04-15)

US TV ratings[edit]

Season Episodes Start Date End Date Nielsen Rank Nielsen Rating Tied With
1982–83 22 September 17, 1982 April 15, 1983 86[9] N/A N/A

Home media[edit]

In 2018, Visual Entertainment Inc. (VEI) released the complete series on DVD.[10]

In June 2020, the series began airing in reruns on MeTV.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dalton, Mary (2008). Teacher TV: sixty years of teachers on television. Peter Lang. ISBN 9780820497150. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  2. ^ Associated Press (July 14, 2002). "TV Guide trashes 'Springer'". Seattle Times. Retrieved May 22, 2022.
  3. ^ Cooling, Chris. (July, 2022). Forgotten TV podcast ep 48 - The Powers of Matthew Star; Behind the scenes segment.
  4. ^ "Actor in Stable Condition After Accident While Filming". Lexington Herald-Leader. Lexington, KY. Associated Press. 15 November 1981. p. 2. Archived from the original on 15 November 1981. Retrieved 20 April 2024.
  5. ^ Brooks, Tim (24 June 2009). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. Random House Publishing Group. p. 1856. ISBN 9780307483201.
  6. ^ The Sacramento Bee 04 Mar 1982, Page 2
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "The Powers of Matthew Star". Blog. Tombs of Kobol, archived.
  9. ^ Lina. "The TV Ratings Guide: 1982–83 Ratings History – Soap Bubbles Rise, Several Veterans Part and NBC Renews Poorly Rated Masterpieces". Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  10. ^ "The Powers of Matthew Star - All Episodes plus The Pilot". Visual Entertainment Inc. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  11. ^ "The Powers of Matthew Star". MeTV National Limited Partnership. Retrieved June 21, 2020.

External links[edit]