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"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
It's Star Trek, what else needs to be said. It's one of my favorites. There are two shows on each disc.Published 20 months ago by Saturday mechanic
The DVD arrived quickly and was absolutely new. It was still shrink wrapped and it played great on my player despite the fact that
these DVD's were first manufactured back in... Read more
This item was used, but I didn't see any signs of that. There were no scratches on the DVD and it played just fine. Read morePublished on December 1, 2012 by Peter
If you are deciding which volumes to keep, this one only just falls under the "nice to have but dispensable" category which is a pity because the first episode, "The Ultimate... Read morePublished on December 16, 2006 by Frederick Baptist
Even though the original "Trek" is showing its age and the effects weren't digital. I think they are still fun to watch. Read morePublished on November 10, 2006 by Tom A. Young
These two episodes share the theme of great genius gone wrong. In "Computer", Kirk struggles to free the Enterprise from the grip of a computer that's become self-aware. Read morePublished on August 12, 2005 by Rottenberg's rotten book review
The Ultimate Computer
Approaching a Starfleet space station, the Enterprise receives orders to test a new computer system. Read more