Gary Seven (played by Robert Lansing) is a futuristic super spy. James Bond from outer space. A human being from the twentieth century who was the product of a group of humans taken from Earth centuries ago - born, bred and trained on another planet and eventually brought back to Earth in it's time of need. The beings who trained Mr. Seven were from a highly advanced race who evidently were very practiced in helping other worlds through out the galaxy in this manner. We had James Bond meets the old west in the form of The Wild Wild West and now we had a new spin on James Bond from space in the form of Assignment: Earth. Although Seven is a human and of our time period, he has some knowledge of things to come or at least how things can be.
Seven sees us as being very primitive compared with the background and training he comes from. His mission as he states: Earth's technology has grown faster than it's social and political knowledge - Purpose of mission: to help Earth from destroying itself before it has time to evolve into a peaceful society." Hence the series name: - Assignment: EARTH.
Lansing's character was cool under pressure, a real leader and had that no nonsense sage and wise demeanor that just told you he really did know more than we humans and you trusted he could get the job done. I believed he could save us. Or at least I believed the character as he played it. I know it would've been a success. NBC/Paramount or whoever's loss. It would've been great!
Seven had several tools/weapons at his disposal. He had a cool Servo (looked like a silver fountain pen) which was a catch all device. It was a ray gun, a tranquilizing device, a lock pick, and was inferred to be much more. The Beta 5 computer which was an artificial intelligence machine capable of many things and hid neatly in his wall. And behind a set of martini glass shelves he had a walk in wall safe transporter which by going into it's swirling blue smoke could transport him anywhere. Along with the Beta 5 he could access his computer with a tie in device which was a small glowing green cube. It was kind of the world's first PDA.
On a personal note - I believe this is the role that could have made Robert Lansing into a star and household name on par with Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man), Robert Conrad (Wild Wild West) and Adam West (Batman). A cult icon as it were. Now all these people were probably victims of their success and from what I understand about Lansing this goes against what he was about. He was more interested in being a stage actor and such. However I would go further by saying this is the role that could have saved/prolonged his life. Having a high profile, leading man, sex symbol type of role such as this is just the thing that could have caused him to get in shape and take better care of himself...in short - quit smoking. I can very easily see this show running three to five years, evolving with the times and Lansing with it. By the mid seventies the show would probably have been over but by then he would be remembered very fondly by the general public as Gary Seven, the futuristic James Bond.
I can see him as captain of a celebrity team on the Battle of the Network Stars, enjoying his newfound healthy lifestyle and cult celebrity status. Perhaps, and ironically, going against Robert Conrad's team. We would've all been saved one of the most famously awkward moments in TV history when, - Gabe (Welcome Back Kotter) Kaplan beat Robert Conrad in a foot race to decide a tie breaker on the show. Conrad was one of my heroes and the memory of Gabe Kaplan rounding the track way ahead of Robert Conrad is still a stain on my childhood. (Kaplan was fast, I'll give him that - who knew?) Just think about it - Gary Seven vs. Jim West. How cool would that have been?! Now I really don't think Lansing was more athletic than Robert Conrad (even if he had gotten in shape) I mean, let's be honest, - but that would have been a much more fitting site to see than Mr. Kotter beating Jim West in the race. I can still see Conrad's short little legs pumping so fast but to no avail. I remember thinking, "but he was so fast on the show...so athletic, so strong. He could beat up five guys at a time" I was seven or eight when I first realized TV is TV and not real. (Still shuddering in my proverbial childhood comfort zone over that whole experience.)
At any rate, during the '60's, at the height of Spy TV craze, Gary Seven would have made a cool character to come into our homes through our TV's every week.