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Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 27, Episodes 53 & 54: The Ultimate Computer/ The Omega Glory

4.1 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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(Jul 10, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"The Ultimate Computer," Ep. 53 - Kirk stands by helplessly as his ship is used to test an advanced computer that turns out to be as flawed as its inventor. "The Omega Glory," Ep. 54 - Kirk and crew encounter a ghost ship, a madman captain, a deadly virus and 1,000-year-old natives on planet Omega IV.


"The Ultimate Computer"
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

"The Omega Glory"
What is it with Starfleet captains? So many of them become wildly grandiose. Witness "The Omega Glory," in which another starship commander, Ronald Tracey (Morgan Woodward), tramples the Prime Directive by interfering in a long-running conflict between primitive societies, in this case the Yangs and Kohms of planet Omega IV. Siding with the Kohms, Tracey creates an imbalance of power that Kirk works to adjust by arming the Yangs proportionately. The script by series creator Gene Roddenberry is one of his not-so-subtle allegories for the state of the world in the 1960s, specifically our own cold war between nuclear superpowers. So bluntly drawn is Roddenberry's parallel between Omega IV and 20th-century Earth that this is one of the few Star Trek episodes that risks becoming completely absurd after a point. William Shatner (Captain Kirk) takes the biggest risk of all with a passionate, lengthy speech of the sort pranksters like comic actor Kevin Dunn are wont to imitate today. But the fact is that Shatner pulls off such chancy material very well, and certainly does so here. --Tom Keogh

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, Bill Blackburn
  • Writers: Gene Roddenberry
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: CBS Paramount International Television
  • DVD Release Date: July 10, 2001
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005J6RE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,491 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 27, Episodes 53 & 54: The Ultimate Computer/ The Omega Glory" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Paramount's complete reissue of Classic Trek on DVD continues with this installment of episodes from the end of the series' second season.
Over thirty years after it was first aired, The Ultimate Computer remains a thought provoking and relevant episode. The theme of man vs. machine is more with us today than ever before. D. C. Fontata's excellent script is helped by superior television directing from John Meredyth Lucas. The distinguished stage actor William Marshall's performance as Dr. Richard Daystrom is rich in foreshadowing the high-strung scientist's impending breakdown. (Primarily based on the strength of that performance, nearly every Trek incarnation since has referenced Richard Daystrom, and in The Next Generation, there's even a Daystrom Institute.) Barry Russo makes a brief but noteworthy appearance as Commodore Robert Wesley (Wesley was Gene Roddenberry's middle name). Finally, James Doohan outdoes himself by playing THREE roles here: Scotty (of course), the voice of Commodore Enwright, and the voice of the M-5 Computer.
The Omega Glory was one of three scripts written for the second Trek pilot, following NBC's rejection of The Cage (the other two were Mudd's Women and Where No Man Has Gone Before). Though this was the first script written making use of the parallel worlds concept, by the time it was filmed, the idea had been used so many times before (Miri, Bread & Circuses, Patterns of Force) that it was becoming stale. As in Patterns of Force, the parallels are so obviously drawn that they're not convincing.
There are a few clever visual touches here: In The Ultimate Computer, four Constitution Class starships are shown by creating a split screen effect.
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If there is to be any criticism of the DVD itself, or any in this series, it is that Paramount missed a great opportunity to load these episodes with some great features such as cast commentary. Nothing would be better than to listen to Shatner and Nimoy reminisce as to the particulars of any given episode in an audio commentary. Sadly, you'll have to buy their books for those insights. They do include the trailer for "next weeks" episode which is fun. "The Ultimate Computer" provides a predictable warning as to the dangers of technology, and the message is not dated in today's world view. More interesting is the effect this loss of power has on Captain Kirk. The loss of command is a recurrent theme in the original series. Check out "The Deadly Years," "The Naked Time" or "This Side of Paradise." In these episodes, Kirk's passion for the Enterprise is clearly established. Another interesting theme is that of the renegade captain, subject of "The Omega Glory." In the tradition of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" a captain finds himself alienated from civilization and "goes native" setting himself up as lord over the inhabitants. Check out "Bread and Circuses" or "Patterns of Force." The source of conflict, or drama, is provided when Captain Kirk is forced to confront what is essentially a darker version of himself. He knows his enemy, and his enemy, a former friend has the same training Kirk does. Remember, there were only twelve constellation class starships in the fleet, so these captains are at the top of their game. This senario is more directly explored in "The Enemy Within" where Kirk must literally battle his dark side. All said, these are two very strong classics in one package.
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It seems like quality control has waivered as the series releases have slowly rolled out. Look for spelling errors in the enclosed documentation. I even received the wrong insert in one of the volumes I ordered (Vol.29) Sound and video is just as good as watching it on TV (4:3 ratio, stereo sound.)
If your not expecting bells and whistles, as might be expected, you will be disappointed. However, if you just want to collect Trek, you will be pleased.
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"The Ultimate Computer" is a typical Trek story of Kirk vs. the computer..Guess who wins? James Doohan (Scotty) does the voice of M-5.
"The Omega Glory" puts the crew on a "parallel Earth" in which the "Yangs" are servants to the "Comms". It is later revealed that the "Comms" are "Communists' & the "Yangs" are "Yankees". This episode contains many surprises after this....despite how incredible and far fetched they may be.
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In 'The Ultimate Computer' mathematics genius Dr Daystrom (William Marshall) installs a new supercomputer, the M-5, aboard the Enterprise. It can run a starship better than humans, and it's to be tested in war games against four other federation ships. Daystrom is such a genius even Spock can only be of small help to him. McCoy says to Spock, "This is what you'd like isn't it Spock?", "you'd prefer a ship run by computer". Spock replies, "I don't find it preferable" in understatement.

When the war games begin, not only does the Enterprise react faster than the other ships, but the M-5 has shields and weapons set to maximum. The M-5 has malfunctioned. It's taken complete control of the Enterprise and doesn't see this as a game. The enterprise destroys one starship and heavily damages one or two of the others.

Dr Daystrom, - "lecturing to fools, who don't even begin to understand my systems; lessor minds and competitors, building, on my work" - a mad genius it turns out, whose own 'brain engrams' have been used in the creation of the computer, tries to talk the M-5 into disconnecting itself. The talk almost sounds as if it is a man in conversation with his child or even with himself, "this unit must survive", M-5 insists.

Kirk asks M-5 to scan the starship Excelsior and Hood. The M-5 reports there are no life-signs aboard. 'You have murdered', Kirk proclaims, and both the M-5 and Dr Daystrom have a mini-breakdown giving the crew a chance to disconnect the faulty computer.
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