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Kirk reluctantly agrees to play along with a Federation test of a new supercomputer, designed by the brilliant Dr. Daystrom (William Marshall, the booming baritone stage actor most famous forBlacula) to run a starship almost single-handedly. It does its job too well, locking the human crew out of ship operations and using deadly force during the Federation war games. Spock and McCoy continue their now-legendary banter about man versus machine while Kirk muses over the obsolescence of his own command. Marshall is excellent as a former-boy-wonder genius banking his reputation on this breakthrough, treating his creation like a son. That's not too far from the truth: designed after his brain pattern, this thinking, reasoning, learning machine carries with it the insecurities and desperation of its creator. The fears of the emerging digital revolution explored inThe Ultimate Computerin 1968 remain today: what is the fate of man in the face of technological efficiency? Films from2001: A Space OdysseyandColossus: The Forbin ProjecttoDemon SeedandThe Matrixhave echoed these themes, and thisTrekepisode--primitive special effects, zero-budget sets, and all--stands up to them quite nicely.--Sean Axmaker
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Studio:  CBS Paramount International Television
CastLeonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, William Marshall
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review by . July 18, 2004
In this episode, a supercomputer called the M-5 is placed on board the Enterprise. It is so sophisticated that nearly all of the crew disembarks so that it can run the ship. However, it has been constructed using a human mind as a template. The creator of the computer, the brilliant Dr. Daystrom, used the patterns of his mind to build the circuits of the M-5. Unfortunately, Daystrom is mentally unstable, so the M-5 is also unstable.   When the M-5 is subjected to a war games exercise, …
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