Star Trek (1966–1969)
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The Doomsday Machine 

The USS Enterprise encounters the wrecked USS Constellation and its distraught captain who's determined to stop the giant planet-destroying robot ship that killed his crew.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Elizabeth Rogers ...
John Winston ...
Richard Compton ...
John Copage ...
Tim Burns ...
Jerry Catron ...


The U.S.S. Constellation and its crew were destroyed by a giant robot ship which consumes planets for fuel, leaving only a guilt-ridden Commodore Decker aboard the crippled ship. Kirk beams over to begin repairs while Decker beams aboard the Enterprise. After Kirk loses radio contact with the Enterprise, the obsessed Commodore seizes command of the starship, determined to destroy the planet-killer, even at the cost of Kirk's ship and the entire crew. Written by

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Release Date:

20 October 1967 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


James Doohan's favorite episode for its highlighting of the engineering aspects of the Star Trek (1966) world. See more »


The background star field can sometimes be seen through certain light color parts of the planet killer model. See more »


Matt Decker: That thing must be destroyed!
Mr. Spock: You tried to destroy it once before, Commodore. The result was a wrecked ship and a dead crew.
See more »


Featured in For the Love of Spock (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

One episode where everything comes together
5 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Doomsday Machine" is the first Star Trek episode that I can clearly recall seeing, when I was six during the summer of 1970, shortly after the the show went into syndication. Interestingly enough, I was aware of this episode from about the time it first hit the network in the fall of 1967. My cousin, who is three years older than I, had seen the show and had constructed a homemade model Enterprise and Doomsday Machine. We had several battles, and I was always stuck being the planet killer.

For me, this is just about a perfect episode, certainly the best of the bunch in my opinion. You start out with a great plot. The story comes alive in a great script. Excellent actors, especially guest star William Windom, give inspired performances. With the exception of the final shots of the Constellation going into the planet killer, the special effects are, at least in my opinion, terrific. There is great action, and there is a wonderful, feature film quality score by Sol Kaplan to tie it all together and add perfectly to the mood of each scene.

Unlike some other people, I have absolutely no use for the new, "enhanced" CGI effects. I freely admit that I view these as akin to colorizing Casablanca, but beyond that, the quality of these is just plain terrible. Most of the new effects throughout all the episodes are more akin to what you would expect to find in a video game. They are not up to the quality of CGI in any feature film, and in my opinion aren't up to the quality of CGI in the average Sci-Fi network flick or series. But even if they were great, I would still be vehemently against them. The work done by Matt Jefferies, Wha Chang, the people at Howard Anderson, as well as all the others who were involved, was cutting edge for the time and deserves to be seen. Any work of art should be at least partly judged by the context of the time in which it was created. There is one effect that literally chokes me up every time I see it. After the initial commercial break, the action is rejoined with a shot of the derelict Constellation floating in space. This, combined with Kaplan's haunting but majestic music serves to remind the viewer of what has become to this once proud, powerful ship. I know that the model photographed was nothing more than an AMT Enterprise with some ad-hoc damage and re-arranged numbers with the Constellation name, but it is a deeply powerful scene.

There is never a dull moment in the entire 48 minutes. As a kid, I had the entire script memorized and would often recreate the show with my own models. Fortunately, I eventually grew up and "got a life" as William Shatner once put it, but my love of the show in general, and this episode in particular, has never waned. A number of Treks, both on the original show and in subsequent series, have come close to the quality of this episode, but it has yet to be matched. If you have never seen an episode of the original Trek, this would be the one introduce you to the show. It's as good as they get.

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