That’s what I was asking myself as I finished off season two of Star Trek: The Original Series. In the season two finale, Assignment: Earth, the Enterprise travels back in time and encounters another time traveler, Gary Seven. When I started this episode I didn’t think much of it, until Seven was captured by the Enterprise and imprisoned. That was when Seven pulled out what looked to be a sonic screwdriver. As a Doctor Who fan, I was shocked and full of questions. Was this the first sonic screwdriver? Is Seven really The Doctor? Is Seven another time traveling government agent a la Captain Jack Harkness? What is Seven’s story?
So many questions. Here are the facts that I’ve been able to discern from the Internet. According to Memory Alpha, Gary Seven is a descendant of humans that were abducted from Earth by aliens in 4000 BC. He calls himself Supervisor 194, a Class One Supervisor. Although it is not clear what agency he works for in this capacity. He travels with a black cat, Isis, which wears a diamond collar and apparently speaks to Seven. Isis apparently has the ability to turn into human form. Seven seems to gain another companion, Roberta Lincoln, at the end of Assignment: Earth. Seven is immune to the Vulcan nerve pinch. As mentioned previously, Seven carries a small device that resembles a sonic screwdriver, both in appearance and ability. Although one could argue it more closely resembles a sonic pen. And since The Doctor is the only character who uses a sonic screwdriver, Seven’s device is more likely a sonic pen or similar device.
Of course, Doctor Who and Star Trek are two totally different shows, developed at different times, by different people, with no discernible coordination or crossover. That said, both of these devices (Seven’s and The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver) appeared around the same time. The season two finale of Star Trek: The Original Series, Assignment: Earth, premiered March 29, 1968. The first appearance of the sonic screwdriver in Doctor Who was in the sixth story, episode one of season five, Fury from the Deep, with the second Doctor. This episode aired March 16, 1968. What are the chances that two different successful TV series that involve time travel would feature, for the first time, a sonic screwdriver (or similar device) within two weeks of each other?
It all seems a little too coincidental. Nevertheless, that is all I know. Apparently, the appearance of Gary Seven was meant to launch an entire series of his own. Seven appeared in a few other Star Trek materials since, including a comic book series, a few Star Trek novels and an attempt at another spin-off television series.
So there are some similarities between the two shows and characters, although maybe a closer similarity to Captain Jack Harness as a member of the Time Agency, as Seven is certainly not a Time Lord.
Interesting observations at the close of season two. On to the final season!