Sunday, April 19, 2015

Nostalgia Theater: The Powers of Matthew Star

The Powers of Matthew Star is generally considered one of the worst TV shows of all time, so naturally I've gotten a disproportionate number of requests to cover it here in Nostalgia Theater. Emerging during that 1970s-'80s limbo when both the quantity and quality of sci-fi on TV was practically nil, the skein was created by Steven E. de Souza, who found fame later in the decade with his script for Die Hard (and infamy the following decade thanks to his script and direction of this). I've seen less than a handful of the episodes produced during Matthew Star's brief 1982-'83 run on NBC, so I'm hardly an authority, but it's not hard to understand why it has such an execrable rep. Here, watch the intro:

As you can see, the show comes straight from the same school of "intro over-exposition" that infected stuff like ABC's The Pheonix (which aired the previous season) and NBC's Manimal (which aired the following year). That's ninety seconds of gobbledygook that does about as good a job as possible of turning off anyone not already predisposed to this thing. The short-short version: average high-schooler Matthew Star (Peter Barton) is actually an alien prince named E'Hawke (the "E" presumably stands for "Ethan") hiding out on Earth until he can develop his alien powers and save his people. Along for the ride is his long-suffering protector/mentor D'hai (Lou Gossett, Jr., looking just as bored as us).

Now, given the fact that the premise sounds like something even L. Ron Hubbard would've tossed in the circle file, there's a certain degree of irony in the fact that current Scientology majordomo Tom Cruise was apparently one of the actors Barton beat out for the coveted (?) title role (Cruise did fine in the end, I'm told). Nonetheless, even with sci-fi veteran Harve Bennett (of Six Million Dollar Man and Star Trek II-V) onboard as producer, there wasn't much NBC could do to get viewers interested. In fact, more surprising than the fact that Matthew Star got cancelled after one season is the fact that it actually lasted a whole season. Twenty-two episodes aired, all of which were garbage. I guess you could say the fault was in Matthew's stars.

One Year Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Spiral Zone -- The Zombie Apocalypse For Kids

Two Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: The Brief Rise and Immediate Extinction of Dinosaucers

Three Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: The Sinking of NBC's Man From Atlantis

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