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Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 37: The Changeling [VHS] (1966)

William Shatner , Leonard Nimoy , Marc Daniels  |  VHS Tape
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan
  • Directors: Marc Daniels
  • Writers: Gene Roddenberry, John Meredyth Lucas
  • Producers: Gene L. Coon, Gene Roddenberry, Robert H. Justman
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: CBS Paramount International Television
  • VHS Release Date: April 15, 1994
  • Run Time: 46 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6300213412
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #526,061 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

After destroying 4 billion people in the Malurian star system, a 21st- century NASA probe called Nomad--carrying friendly greetings to whatever unknown, extraterrestrial race might find it--has a violent encounter with the Enterprise, nearly blowing the starship out of space. Hoping to sidestep another attack, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) invite the diminutive, computer-driven, impossibly powerful spacecraft aboard to learn how its peaceful mission was supplanted by a program to destroy life. Written by John Meredyth Lucas, who was intrigued by the idea of a sentient, almost godlike machine that turns against its creator, "The Changeling" transcends, fortunately, Star Trek's cash-strapped special effects department to become a compelling drama. (Let's just say that Nomad looks like a cross between the Tin Woodman and a 1960s beach radio.) Particularly memorable is Spock's mind-melding scene with Nomad, in which the Vulcan is shaken by the probe's chaotic memories of being captured by a machine planet and given destructive impulses. Frequent Trek director Marc Daniels was particularly proud of the way his crew made Nomad appear capable of independent movement: There was one model for hanging from a wire, a second for standing on a floor, and a third for riding on a dolly (to get a sinister, point-of-view traveling shot). If "The Changeling" sounds vaguely familiar, it should: The script was rewritten as the basis for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. --Tom Keogh

From the Back Cover

Nomad, a deadly robotic space probe, is on target for Earth. Can Captain Kirk outsmart the killer computer?

The voice of Nomad was provided by Vic Perrin, who was heard as the voice of the baby-like Balok in "The Corbomite Maneuver". If you look very closely at the diagram of the Enterprise on the engineering set of Star Trek: The Next Generation, you will see a small Nomad on its side on one of the decks in the saucer section!
In this episode, Scotty becomes the third crewman to die and return to life (McCoy dies in "Shore Leave" and Kirk dies in "Amok Time")

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The U.S.S. Enterprise is sent to investigate the destruction of the Malurian System and its four billion inhabitants. When it arrives at the coordinates, the starship itself is threatened by a space going, self-contained computer/probe calling itself Nomad. When Kirk identifies himself by name, Nomad mistakes him for "The Kirk," and thinks him to be his creator. Nomad is beamed aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise and promptly erases Uhura's memory and kills Scotty, claiming that neither life form was perfect. At Kirk's demand Nomad repairs "the unit Scott," bringing him back to life. Spock attempts a Vulcan mind meld with Nomad and learns that it was created on Earth in the twenty first century by scientist Jackson Roykirk. Nomad's program was to seek out new life and report back to Earth. Damaged in space by a meteor, Nomad drifted until it found Tan Ru, an alien probe designed to sterilize soil. Using their self-repair systems, the two probes combined themselves into one. Nomad's programming was damaged and by joining with Tan Ru's now believes its mission is to seek out life and destroy anything that it does not believe perfect. Kirk convinces Nomad that it had mistaken him, Captain James T. Kirk, for Nomad's creator, Jackson Roykirk, thus making Nomad imperfect and a candidate for "sterilization." A confused Nomad begins to self-destruct, exploding just after Kirk beams the changeling into space. Kirk checks on Uhura's progress after the attack by Nomad. McCoy informs him that her brain is undamaged and she must simply "relearn" what the probe erased.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Spock mind-melds with aluminum! November 3, 2004
Oh, holy cow! These original series episodes were so visionary, and so retarded at the same time! The Enterprise is investigating why all communication from the Malurian system has ceased. When they apporach the system, it becomes evident that there is no communication because there are no life forms. Over 4 billion people are gone - no plants, no animals, nothing that lives.

While trying to figure out what could have happened to these people, these giant white things that look like Honda-sized tic-tacs come flying at Enterprise, jarring the crew about. Kirk opens a hailing frequency and tells the unknown vessel that is pommelling them that they are on a peaceful mission. The attacks stop and communication ensues - but the other side communicates so fast, it burns out some of their communication equipment.

The one communicating to them identifies himself as Nomad. The vessel, which weighs over 500 kilos but is only 1 meter high, isn't big enough for any of the crew to beam over as Nomad requests, so they beam Nomad over instead. Expecting a very tiny alien to come out of the ship, they suddenly realize that this entire mechanical object is Nomad.

Nomad was sent out by Earth "in the early 2000s" according to Kirk on a mission to scout for life. Nomad collided with a meteor and was damaged and had lost a good portion of its memory until it encountered another probe, this one alien, with equally advanced artificial intelligence. The alien probe, which had the mission of sterilizing imperfections in soil for colonization purposes, merged with Nomad to repair one another. The convoluted mixup made Nomad think his duty was to sterlize anything that isn't perfect. This is what happened to the poor Malurians - they were killed because they were imperfect.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Another episode of technology gone wild August 5, 2004
The Enterprise is investigating the disappearance of all life in the Malurian system when it suddenly comes under attack. The attacker is very powerful, and the Enterprise shields are battered with energy bursts until they fail. Suddenly, after Captain Kirk attempts to communicate with the attacker, the attack ends. It is a small mechanical device that calls itself Nomad. After investigation, Spock learns that a probe called Nomad was launched from Earth many years ago and that a man named Jackson Roy Kirk was the designer. However, this device is significantly different from the original, which had a mission to simply make contact with new life. When asked, Nomad tells them about the "other." After melding with it, Spock surmises that Nomad collided with another probe whose mission was to sterilize planets as a prelude to colonization. Somehow, the combination of the two probes was able to repair itself and then proceed on a new mission to destroy life (biological imperfections) on planets.

As Nomad learns more about the Enterprise, it announces that it is going to return to Earth. Kirk and crew grow more desperate in their attempts to control Nomad, as it kills some security men and Scotty. Fortunately, Nomad is able to repair Scotty but tells Kirk that his biological units are flawed. Kirk then errs when he tells Nomad that he is flawed and created Nomad. This starts a cycle where Nomad starts questioning Kirk, but finally Kirk uses logic to stress the circuits of Nomad. Since its' mission is to seek out and destroy imperfections and Nomad is imperfect for having made the error of thinking Kirk is the creator, Kirk argues that Nomad must commit suicide to remove the imperfection. It is beamed off the Enterprise right before it self-destructs.
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