I’d be hard pressed to commit to one all time favorite episode of Star Trek (The Original Series). But any list of the Top 5, maybe Top 3, is going to include The Doomsday Machine — which debuted 50 years ago today, October 20, 1967.
This episode has everything that makes Star Trek great — drama, action, humor, and humanity. Oh, the humanity. William Windom’s performance as the doomed Commodore Matt Decker is a knockout. All of the interplay between Decker and the Enterprise crew is memorable — and the Enterprise crew are all at the top of their game. None better than the the tense scene on the Bridge of the Enterprise with command of the ship going back and forth between Spock and Decker while Kirk and Scotty work to get the crippled U.S.S. Constellation back in fighting shape.
Kirk in the green shirt with the insignia at the waist was always a tip off to me of a great episode. At least that’s how it’s lodged in my memory. I just remember as a ten year old kid when an episode started and Kirk was in the green shirt, this is going to be good.
This was a good one. It still is. So, tonight — on the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of The Doomsday Machine — my fourteen year old son and I will sit down to watch the episode together. And watching any Star Trek episode with Sam puts the experience at the top of my list.
By the way, I can’t say how much I love this episode without mentioning Marc Daniels who directed The Doomsday Machine and fourteen other memorable episodes in the original series. He can be forgiven for Spock’s Brain when some of his other assignments include: The Naked Time (Fantastic!); I, Mudd (Hilarious! Green shirt); Mirror, Mirror (Mind blowing! Green shirt); The Changeling (Inspired other episodes and the first movie.); and, Space Seed (Khan! Or, Khhhhhhhaaaaaannnnn!)