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The Doomsday Machine (Star Trek Original Series episode)

Classic Star Trek episode from the original series second season about a robot that destroys planets

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"The old Trek told us of how our lives were playing out as we lived it. Not like the new Voyager "

  • Dec 29, 2011

You gotta love it when Kirk pontificates on then current events.  In any other show, it would be preachy or corny, but somehow Trek makes it work.

This is it kiddies.  My favorite classic episode.  No not the one with Edith Keeler or the Tribbles and may God have Mercy on your soul if you said the one with the hippies.  No, this one bay-bee.

The Enterprise is on it's way to respond to a distress call from one of it's sister ships, the Constellation and learn that the region of space that it's in, has no planets, only rocks and debris.  Probing further on they find the Constellation-floating derelict in space-attacked by something.  Beaming over Kirk finds Commodore Decker the commander alone and in shock on board his ship with no crew.  Decker explains to Kirk that he encountered an enourmous robot ship that destroys planets and digests the debris for fuel and cannot be stopped.  Decker goes aboard the Enterprise with McCoy for treatment, with Kirk and Scotty staying behind to prepare the Constellation, but the robot attacks again, cutting off Kirk from his ship, and Decker taking command to destroy the robot that killed his crew, even if it means taking the Enterprise down the same doomed road.

The Doomsday Machine is a simple and single minded killer and the Federation has no hope of combating it.  Anything it sees, it attacks-friend or foe which Kirk alludes too earlier.  Decker got his crew killed and wants revenge and will follow the same plan he did before to stop it with Kirk and Scotty stuck aboard his crippled ship to provide assistance anyway they can.

The Doomsday Machine is also perhaps the most action packed episode of the original series with Decker on his quest for revenge, a corny TOS era fist fight and another ticking clock scenario.  I've touched on performances in some of these reviews, but I cannot ignore William Windom as the doomed Commodore Decker, who when Kirk points out that there is no third planet for Decker's crew to take refuge on, Decker's madness compounded with grief pours out:


It's one of the most memorable lines in the series and it's delivered perfectly. 

SADLY it is understated by the fact that Decker is FIGHTING a robot ship that eats planets, so- in preperation for the Constellation to be destroyed, he beams his crew down to a PLANET, you know the thing the Planet Killer is EATING to hopefully spare them, only to SHOCK BEYOND SHOCK, learn that the planet killer is EATING they're planet. - but of course it's all an error in judgement as Kirk says.

The Doomsday Machine is truly one of the TOS eras best episodes.  Might I also say that I love the original Constellation effect, an ERTL Enterprise Model kit that was blow torched and modded to look like another ship.  Proof why practical effects will always better then CGI.  Not to say that the CGI in the remastered episode doesn't look cool.


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December 29, 2011
Oh yes! thank you!
December 29, 2011
I was trying to go in some order with first season, but this one got put off enough. I still find it easier to talk about something bad then something good.
More Star Trek - "The Doomsday Mach... reviews
Quick Tip by . August 27, 2010
This is in many ways the best episode of Star Trek ever filmed.
Quick Tip by . July 24, 2010
Many of Trek's classic moments come from this infamous episode about a robot spaceship that eats planets. I LOVE the ERTL model kit that stands in for the USS Constellation in this episode.
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John Nelson ()
Ranked #1
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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The Doomsday Machine (Star Trek Original Series episode)

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