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 for Blacula) 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 in The Ultimate Computer in 1968 remain today: what is the fate of man in the face of technological efficiency? Films from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Colossus: The Forbin Project to Demon Seed and The Matrix have echoed these themes, and this Trek episode--primitive special effects, zero-budget sets, and all--stands up to them quite nicely. --Sean Axmaker
Kirk stands by helplessly as his ship is used to test and advanced computer that turns out to be as flawed as its inventor. TREK TRIVIA
Barry Russo (Commodore Robert "Bob" Wesley) was previously seen in "The Devil in the Dark." Gene Roddenberry used Bob Wesley as a pseudonym early in his career (his middle name was Wesley and his brother's name is Bob).
William Marshall (Dr. Richard Daystrom) later gained film notoriety as Blacula.
Not only is this one of Star Trek's best episodes, it features an African-American actor in a groundbreaking role that impressed this then-thirteen-year-old upon its initial... Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2003 by Reginald D. Garrard
A famous inventor boards the Enterprise and brings his invention, a computer, onboard the ship with him. Read morePublished on March 28 2001
The Enterprise beams aboard Dr. Richard Daystorm, a scientist who developed the computer systems for many Federation starships, and now he's invented a new computer called the M-5,... Read morePublished on Sept. 30 2000 by D.W. Smith
A good episode and notable for Kirk's "A tall ship, and a star to steer her by" conversation with McCoy. Puts a lump in my throat every time! Pure Trek.Published on Aug. 28 2000 by Greg Vincent
In the 1960's, I suppose it was a growing concern that computers would one day take over Earth. This is demonstrated by the fact that many episodes of the Original Series involve... Read morePublished on April 29 2000