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Star Trek - The Doomsday Machine

episode 2.6
Raumschiff Enterprise - Planeten-Killer

USA 1967
produced by
Gene L. Coon, Gene Roddenberry (executive) for Desilu, Norway Corporation/NBC
directed by Joseph Pevney
starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, William Windom, James Doohan, George Takei, Elizabeth Rogers, John Winston, Richard Compton, John Copage, Tim Burns, Jerry Catron
written by Norman Spinrad, created by Gene Roddenberry, music by Sol Kaplan

TV series
Star Trek, Classic Star Trek, Star Trek (original crew)

review by
Mike Haberfelner




It should have been a boring routine flight through a few arbitrary solar systems just to see everything's alright, but then the crew of the Enterprise has to stumble upon a disturbing fact: All the planets in these systems ... are flat out gone! All that's left is a bit of space rubble. Eventually, the Enterprise stumbles upon the half-wrecked USS Constellation, commandeered by Kirk's (William Shatner) good friend Commodore Decker (William Windom), and when Kirk, McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Scotty (James Doohan) and some underlings (none wearing red, so none doomed to die) beam over, they find Decker the only survivor, who tells them the ship has been under attack by some giant ship, and so badly hurt that Decker beamed all his crew to the next planet, and then the giant ship ... ate the planet. Turns out that "ship" is some sort of ultimate weapon, a machine with no other raison d'être than wreaking destruction that is actually fuelled by the planets it destroys/eats. McCoy takes Decker back to the Enterprise for treatment while Kirk and Scotty stay behind to see if they can get the Constellation going again. Then though the planet eater comes into sight again, and the Enterprise's teleportation system crashes. Aboard the Enterprise, Decker assumes command and attacks the planet eater, much to the protest of Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Kirk can only helplessly watch from the other ship as the Enterprise is pretty much pummelled by the planet eater as there's a malfunction in communications. It's almost too late when Scotty gets communications working again for Kirk to relieve Decker of command, and Spock pretty much just saves the Enterprise. Decker steals a shuttle and flies it into the planet eater, effectively committing suicide. But Kirk and company learn from that that if you fly a ship into the planet eater and get it to explode, it will affect the planet eater, and the Constellation carries just enough anti matter to destroy the planet eater from within when exploded ...

 

Actually, this is a pretty cool episode, definitely coming from the more serious side of the range, but never overdoing it, instead of putting its emphasis on suspense while drawing a very vivid picture of the deeply troubled Commodore Decker that makes his (often dead-wrong) decisions palpable as well as his ultimate suicide.

Certainly one of the better episodes (even if maybe not as much fun as some of the campier entries).

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD