In Praise of the Doomsday Machine (and William Windom) |
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In Praise of the Doomsday Machine (and William Windom) August 30, 2012

by Joseph Dickerson , Filed under: Editorial,Review,TOS , trackback

In this latest guest post by Joseph Dickerson, we dive into the Original Series episode “The Doomsday Machine” and revisit why it might just be one of the best episodes of Star Trek. Dickerson’s review is timely, too, and, after William Windom’s (Commodore Decker) passing this month, serves as an homage to the great actor and a thank you for portraying one of our (dare I say?) favorite characters. Hit the jump for the review.


In praise of the Doomsday Machine (and William Windom)
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the official Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, and
one of the panels I went to was to determine the top ten episode of the original series.
It was a conference room that was only half-full, but the people who were there were
extremely engaged and vocal as they shouted feedback to the panel who was whittling the
suggested candidate episodes down to ten.

One episode, a particular favorite of mine, ended up in the list. Devin Faraci, a fine writer
and blogger, questioned the choice in this review of that list, which states, “The
Doomsday Machine? It’s a good episode, but top ten material?”

Yes, Mr. Faraci, it’s top 10 material. In fact, I think it should rank higher than #7. I think
it should be in the Top 5, and depending on my mood on any particular day I could say
it’s the Best. Episode. Ever.

Why? Let me provide some points to rationalize my opinion:

It’s a remake of Moby Dick. A pet theory of mine is that the best Trek has or uses Moby
Dick allusions (The Wrath of Khan, First Contact), and it starts here, with Commodore
Decker chasing his “white whale” and leaving a path of death and destruction in order to
get his revenge.

(Almost) Everyone has great moments. All the major characters get to shine here, with
great dialogue and scenes for Scotty, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Sulu and Uhura get left
out, unfortunately (Uhura isn’t even in the episode).

It’s got some epic space battles! We had space battles in other episode but this was the
first one to really amp the action up to 11. Yes, this one goes to 11.

It’s got a great villain! Yes, the “planet eater” may look like a giant cornucopia, but it
pre-dates the Borg, the Terminator and many other heartless “force of nature” bad-guys.
You can’t negotiate with it, and it appears unstoppable. It’s like Jaws, a literal “eating

“Vulcans never bluff.” No explanation needed.

It shouldn’t be as good as it is. It’s one of those “bottle” episodes, where the producers
had to shoot a whole episode on the ship, because they had no money to go on location
or to even create an alien planet on a different soundstage. That it is so entertaining is a
credit to the ingenuity of the production staff and to writer Norman Spinrad.

It was Scotty’s favorite episode! James Doohan frequently said it was his favorite
episode. You gonna argue with Scotty?

There’s huge stakes. The “planet eater” is going to go through the most densely part
of the galaxy, and it has to be stopped, a far cry from getting a delivery of grain to an
outpost or rescuing Spock’s brain…

The remastered version is even awesomer! The somewhat-good special effects of the
original episode was replaced with some beautiful new shots that give a great sense of
scale to the battle, and replaces some pretty shoddy (budget-limited) model work.

William Windom as Commodore Decker. Last, and certainly not least, it featured
one of the best guest star turns in the history of all Star Trek series by the great William
Windom. His performance as Commodore Decker is one for the ages, going from a
man in shock to a man obsessed to (finally) a man ready to die if it means stopping the
destruction being wrought.

Windom died this month at the age of 88, and he leaves this and many other great
performances as his legacy. To paraphrase a line Windom said in this episode: He was
there… but not anymore.

Goodnight, Mr. Windom. And thanks for the great work.

RIP William Windom

Joseph Dickerson is a writer, User Experience Architect (and Star Trek fan) focused on designing effective and innovative on-line and mobile applications. For more from Joseph visit or follow him on twitter: @josephdickerson.



1. DeBeckster - August 30, 2012

To quote Mr. Spock near the end of the episode, “He’s gone.” My all time favorite episode, and favorite guest star.

2. Bob - August 30, 2012

I wonder why Windom never did the conventions? He could have been a great guest for the Q&A sessions. Plus, he could have made a ton of money just for the autographs.

3. Emperor Mike of the Empire - August 30, 2012

What a Great Ep. This is on just about everyones top 5 list of BESt Trek Eps. Even James Cawley used it in an Ep of Phase 2 and even had Windom himself reprise his Role. William Windom did a fantastic job as Decker. The Battle the Music the Drama and the Action and Futility of the Battle was incredable. Back in the 1960s with a bigger Budget and such this Ep could have been a Major Scifi Movie.

4. Vultan - August 30, 2012

Thanks for the memories. Excellent review, Kayla.

Commodore Decker was great, but I think my favorite Windom performance was the indecisive boss in Planes, Trains & Automobiles. He didn’t even need to say a word to make it memorable.

5. WVTrekker - August 30, 2012

I can only say, “Amen.”

6. Emperor Mike of the Empire - August 30, 2012

My Top Ten list of Tos Eps.
5. Let that be your last battlefield.
4. The Managerie Part 2
3. The Manerige Part 1
2. The City on the Edge of Forever.
1. The Doomsday Machine.
Of course. Even Bad Trek is Good Trek.
Spock’s Brain.

7. Hugh Hoyland - August 30, 2012

Agreed. In fact I believe this is one of the episodes Roddenberry gave to script writers to use as a possible template for the first attempts at making a Star Trek motion picture back in the early/mid 70’s.

Great episode and IMO one of the better ones of any series. The editorial above says it all.

8. Basement Blogger - August 30, 2012

I totally agree with Joseph Dickerson’s assessment that “The Doomsday Machine” is one of the greatest TOS episodes and one of the greatest Star Trek shows ever. Belongs in the top ten of TOS Star Trek shows. I consider it number four of the TOS episodes.

One thing that I want bring up about the show is the message. That’s the greatness of Star Trek. The Doomsday Machine was not just great action and drama but it had something serious to say. And it was about arms control. The discussion between Spock and Kirk at the end links the Planet Killer to atomic weapons. And we can only surmise that the creators of the Planet Killer may have died at the hands of their weapon. Maybe we should get those nuclear stockpiles under control.

Along the lines of the The Doomsday Machine, one should also check TNG’s “The Arsenal of Freedom.”

9. martin - August 30, 2012

I have always thought that Doomsday Machine was at least in the top 5, maybe the top 3.

I would say my tops are:

10. Warhoon - August 30, 2012

One of the things that really strikes me about this episode was the introduction of some fantastic original music cues — some that were not reused subsequently so that they became cliches.

The dramatic use of the shadowy lighting work on the Constellation’s aux bridge looks even better in Remastered, too.

11. Dunsel Report - August 30, 2012

#7: That’s a really good point. This moral theme is also what makes the Doomsday Machine a satisfying bad guy. Even if it is just a machine, it represents human folly and warmongering.

12. Simon - August 30, 2012

One of my all-time favorites…and it first aired the *day after* I was born…so STAR TREK had an awesome episode ready for when I came into the world.

That said, as an adult (and no disrespect intended to Mr. Windom) sometimes he’s a bit overwrought. The whole shuttle-eating sequence with his eyes bulging out of his head is unintentionally hilarious now. His command scenes are much better.

13. USSEXETER - August 30, 2012

Just bought the remastered Season 2 TOS, and watched this episode last night in honor of Mr. Windom. One of my all time favorite episodes too.

14. DeBeckster - August 30, 2012

And, thanks to the people at Trek movie for posting this–it’s a fitting eptitath.

15. Driver - August 30, 2012

Windom delivered a perfect performance. Although to him, it was just another gig, doing what he does best-act.

16. Jeff - August 30, 2012

Great episode. My only complaint is that the actual Doomsday Machine looks like a big joint (maybe a little subliminal imagery for the college audience, perhaps). I wished they changed the design for the remastered episodes but alas, they didn’t.

17. TrekMadeMeWonder - August 30, 2012

The remastered episode will be redone again and again.

Personally I would like to see some flames erupting in the cabin of the shuttle around the Commodore in his finalk shot.

That would make his acting performance there perfect!
Of course we all know now that the Commodore did not die there.

The final comment in the article was very appropriate, indeed.

Sleep, William.

18. Uberbot - August 30, 2012

Doomsday Machine is in my top 5 for sure!! It may even be my favorite…but that’s hard to say. Just a great all-around episode. Excellent story, great character moments and superb remastered visual effects in the remastered version!!

This is one I’d recommend to anyone who has never seen TOS.

Oh, and Kayla — THANKS for keeping things going around here.

You rock!!! :-)

19. Boozba - August 30, 2012

Doomsday is a thriller, a very tense episode for sure.It,s in my top 5.
But my number one episode is Wolf in the fold….Jack the Ripper in space,
scrares the living shit out of me!!!

20. Captain Ransom - August 30, 2012

One of the few episodes of TOS with another Constitution class ship. I think there were 7 in total: Enterprise, Constitution, Constellation, Faragut, Intrepid, Exeter (crashed on a planet featured in an episode of TNG), Endeavor.

I would love to see a new series that is based for once on a ship other than Enterprise. And my only disappointment is that the doomsday machine has never made another appearance. Maybe in the next movie? I’ve heard rumors that the borg created them. Interesting idea.

21. Riker's Mailbox - August 30, 2012

I was just watching the remastered version of the Doomsday Machine and while I really applaud the changes made to the effects, I wish the textures of the cgi ships were a little more realistic.

When I watch the original, I get the sense that I’m watching a true classic, and I admire what they were able to achieve F/X-wise given what they had to work with. On the other hand, when I watch the remastered version, I look at the F/X and I say, “Gee, they could have made that a lot better.” That’s always the conundrum with redoing the effects of a classic, especially on a limited budget. It’s no longer state-of-the-art for its time because we now see the budgetary videogame-like look of it, and in our heads we KNOW that it could have looked better.

That’s just my opinion. Don’t get me wrong. I’m truly thankful for the remastered Trek.

22. Red Dead Ryan - August 30, 2012

An absolute classic episode. William Windom was great in it. “Doomsday Machine” is easily top five TOS for me, and top ten overall.

Anyone who doesn’t like this episode is no fan of Trek.

23. rm10019 - August 30, 2012

Great review and retrospective. William Windom, known to casting agents as ‘Billy the Crier’, did a great job and created an instant classic.

24. Mark Lynch - August 30, 2012

Hiya Kayla,

Have you taken over TrekMovie or something?


25. Red Dead Ryan - August 30, 2012


Don’t forget about the Defiant and Lexington.

26. BoomBoomCannon - August 30, 2012

Great Commodore Decker Line…

“Don’t you think I know that??!! There was…but not anymore! They called me…they begged me for help…400 of them! I couldn’t…I couldn’t!”


“They say there’s no Devil Jim…but there is. Right out of hell…I saw it!”


27. VZX - August 30, 2012

I absolutely love this episode. My three favorite moments are

1) Scotty beaming back to the Enterprise at the end and as soon as he’s back he goes right to work fixing the transporter! The man doesn’t stop!

2) Beaming Kirk off the other ship right before it’s destroyed. So cliche but it was done so well!

3) Kirk ordering Spock to take command from Decker. Kirk is the man!

28. Dominic - August 30, 2012

I remember clearly when I was 7 years old, back in 1974- an afternoon shopping trip with my mom and I had wondered off to the electronics section. There were about 5 or 6 people gathered around a big (maybe 25 inches!) console TV watching a rerun of Star Trek. An older woman explained to maybe a high-schooler that we were watching The Doomsday Machine and I, in my infinite wisdom proclaimed loudly that no, we were watching Star Trek! I didn’t have any concept back then of episode names. Almost 40 years later it occurs to me that even then, Star Trek was bringing a very wide-ranging group of people together. And William Windom was an indelible part of that.

29. Frederick - August 30, 2012

I watched the remastered version of this AGAIN several weeks ago, and was blown away by it once more.

It’s looking at eps like this and wondering why in the world ST:TMP didn’t turn out to be the best sci-fi movie ever made. It should have been, with episodes like this to serve as an indication of what could have been done with a huge budget. Great acting and meaning did not have to be sacrificed at the expense of action and effects. They could have all combined to be something wonderful.

30. Gary S. - August 30, 2012

Great episode .
Great actor .
I shall miss him terribly.

31. Caesar - August 30, 2012

Great tribute to a great performance and an awesome episode. Thanks.

32. sean - August 30, 2012


RE: The Borg, there was a novel called Vendetta where it was revealed that an ancient race had built the Doomsday Machine as a Borg-killer. It was pretty good, but a lot of the plot elements were contradicted by later episodes/series.

33. Dave - August 30, 2012

Sadly I didn’t get to watch the original aire date since I was only 4 years old but in the early 70’s I did see the episode in reruns and turns out to be one of the best episodes of the series. R.I.P. Decker.

34. MikeTen - August 30, 2012

Great tribute to a great episode and Mr. Windom. I was beginning to think there would be no mention of Mr. Windom’s passing, I’m glad to see I was wrong.

The Doomsday Machine has to be my favorite Classic Trek episode, I even “modified” a AMT Enterprise model back in the 1970’s to look like the Constellation.

35. Magic_Al - August 30, 2012

I’ve always assumed John Williams saw this episode before he wrote the equally great music to Jaws. In both works, relentless music creates genuine menace around a threat that is either unseen or less than convincing when seen too closely.

36. Jeff Brown - August 30, 2012

There has never been such great banter going on between the threeof Decker, Spock, and The Doctor. “Well, do SOMETHING, Spock!” My favorite acting part of any. And Kirk saying, “Where’s Mr. Spock?” “As Captain, .. I say get out of that chair, Decker!” But then it’s too late! The Planet eater has them! And at the end Kirk say “Now would be a good time, Mr. Scott! Beem me up, Scotty!

37. Uberbot - August 30, 2012

#18, 23 — Don’t forget the Hood, Excalibur, and Potemkin…:-)

38. Uberbot - August 30, 2012

The Borg couldn’t have created the DD. Spock said it came from beyond our galaxy…

39. Gary Neumann - August 30, 2012


40. They call me Stasiu - August 30, 2012

Capt. Kirk: “There IS no third planet!”
Matt Decker: “Don’t you think I know that? There was, but not anymore! “They called me; they BEGGED me for help, four hundred of them! I couldn’t… I-I couldn’t… ”

Commodore Decker is one of the best tragic characters of the franchise, thanks to Mr. Windom.

41. Craiger - August 30, 2012

I got it Cumberbatch is Commodore Decker and the sequel is based on Doomsday Machine.

42. Kev-1 - August 30, 2012

Great episode, script, music, guest star, battle scenes, plus a message. This is probably my favorite, although that changes. I think it’s the most important “Captain Kirk” episode, because Kirk is literally watching helplessly as the Enterprise is close to destruction ( the best “Jim Kirk” episode to me would be “City” or “Turnabout Intruder). Also, TOS ( and TMP,, and to a lesser degree, TWOK) is unique in making Enterprise a character; this is the ship’s most prominent episode. Like the remaster, but the original show used shots more effective on TV; big shots of Enterprise, where the remaster uses wide shots more effective for a big screen. Wish they add just added photon torpedo fire or something. Saw William WIndom at a small sci-fi show in New Jersey many years ago. Very nice, personable guy. Gave me an astronomy book recommendation. My sympathies to his family.

43. Andy Patterson - August 30, 2012

Also one of my all time favorites.

It showed more of Star Fleet. Other officers. And another instance of the fact that all the important people knew Jim Kirk. And they always seem to hold him in esteem. That was very exciting to me. And it was a great example of why Shatner/ Kirk was THe standard of how a man should be. How a professional should be. How a leader should be. This episode is a perfect example of what and why Shatner was so important to the series. It’s style and mythos. But that’s another topic.

I’ve heard from several sources that the part of Decker was originally written for grissled character actor Robert Ryan but ultimately he wasn’t available. I believe I’m correct there. That would have been a different show. Windom was great, but can’t help but wonder what that would have been like with Ryan. Kind of like if Tom Selleck had gotten to play Indiana Jones. Not better. Just different. I guess that ties into, or explains, my whole Gary Seven project. There’s a part of me that’s fascinated by the ‘what if?’ That list of mythical “man! that would have been cool, if only…” projects that never happened. I have a whole list of those in my head.

The suspense and pacing of this episode area also great. Scotty having to keep fixing the transporter – letting a little bit of his Scottish anger out.

The score for this. Hard. Weird. And fun.

And one of my all time favorite Kirk lines and scenes. “Gentlemen, I suggest you beam me aboard!”

Great episode.

44. TrekMadeMeWonder - August 30, 2012

32. MikeTen

We all did that! : )

45. Gary S. - August 30, 2012

#40 do you remember the name of the astronomy book and did you get it ?

46. Holger - August 30, 2012

And: RIP, William Windom. A great actor is gone.

47. jamesingeneva - August 30, 2012

Thanks Kayla for a great review and keeping the site alive!

48. drumvan - August 30, 2012

if i had the chance to watch one last star trek episode before the good lord took me, it would be doomsday machine. acting, music, drama. the whole package was top notch.

49. Jeffrey S. Nelson - August 30, 2012

A friend of mine got me an autogtraphed photo…personalized by Mr. Windowm…just a few months ago. Photo is of Commodore Decker…this is a keepsake I treasure…

50. thomoz - August 30, 2012

This has been my favorite ST episode since it first aired (I’m also a fan of other writings by Norman Spinrad). Despite him tripping over Trek’s techspeak, I thought William Windom was extremely effective in this episode. This was also the episode that I was most concerned about it looking too different when CBS Interactive remastered it and re-imaged the effects but I was pleased withe the results.

I’ll bet I’ve seen thirty productions William acted in over the years. The 1969 series “My World And Welcome To It” is another fond memory. I’m sure that his family and fans will miss him,

51. Brett Campbell - August 30, 2012

Great episode. Great actor (Windom); Shatner shines especially here too. Wonderful column here thank you for it.

52. I am not Herbert - August 30, 2012


thank you, Kayla! =)

53. rm10019 - August 30, 2012

To this day, i hum the ‘Da Dum Da Dum DA DUM’ music when something like a big storm on the Radar is approaching ominously.

Great show, i might have to pop in the Bluray tonight if my schedule permits.

54. Andy Patterson - August 30, 2012

Oh, and I forgot,….it put on display another example of what I call “Kirk Fu”. Or what seems to have been Star Fleet standard fighting techniques. More to the point, it was the show’s standards of how hand to hand combat was shown. In fact, I never really quite saw it done that way on any other show. It was unique I don’t remember seeing that on Time Tunnel or Lost in Space or whatever. And I have long said THERE’S a topic for some future Trek lore article! I’d love to know the philosophy behind that! I’d really love to see that article. I mean, there seems to have been a whole mapped out, thought out set of procedures there. Whoever the head stunt coordinator was decided pummeling a man on the base of the spine was a defacto move. And watching Windom pull off the scenes; fighting the security crewman are some of my favorite Trek watching guilty pleasures. He’s almost disco dancing with the guy for a while as they’re seizing each other up. I never believed watching him he could have taken that guy,….I guess he just danced better. I still like Watching Windom act it out. Made you love him more.

55. Chasco - August 30, 2012

I’m with Jimmy Doohan on this one. Best episode ever – especially with the new effects.

#41 You can go straight to the original source regarding who the part was written for – go to Youtube and search for ‘doomsday machine reloaded’, and Norman Spinrad will tell you all about it.

56. Chris Pike - August 30, 2012

THIS is why Trek tos is – and always shall be – so great, the greatest scifi drama ever made for the screen, ….Doomsday is perfection

57. Col.Steve Austin - August 30, 2012

Maybe someone mentioned it, …but GREAT SCORE TOO!!!!!!

58. Jon - August 30, 2012

So glad this one is getting some more due it so richly deserves, and all praise to Mr. Windom. May he rest in peace.

My 2 cents on why this is a top, top episode:

1) Considering the budget and the limitation of time and technology of the time, it still amazes me to this day that this episode was not only produced, but that it worked so perfectly.

2) Loved it as a kid (for the space battles), and it holds up 100% as an adult for the action, the storyline, the acting, and the directing.

3) Windom’s breakdown scene when Kirk forces him to state what happened to his crew. “Don’t you think I know that?”…Still a bone-chilling scene that gets me every single time I rewatch it.

4) I’ll again mention the directing/editing. The final sequence is nothing short of stunning, even moreso when you consider the time constraints and budget limitations that they were all under. Even when you know the outcome, it’s still incredibly riveting.

5) The music: So memorable…no one who sees this episode can forget this music. Even as a kid I knew that the soundtrack for this show was something very special, and I would go around playing that music in my mind all of the time, particularly right after I have caught a rerun of the episode. I still do :) …

There’s more, but my fingers are getting tired… :)

Great show! If you have a surround sound system, it’s so much fun to watch this one at bull blast with the woofer turned up, too!

59. The Sky's The Limit - August 30, 2012

Willliam Windom’s performance in this episode elevated everyone else’s performance. Just look at the energy he puts forth in making Commodore Decker’s character a true extension of himself.

I’d be curious to know how the regular cast felt when they first acted in an episode that brought out the best that everyone had to offer as far as performances.

“The Doomsday Machine” goes down as one of my all time favorite Star Trek episodes, and William Windom gets my vote as one of Star Trek’s legendary guest stars.

It would be totally awesome if the third (alternate timeline) Star Trek movie revolved around the Doomsday Machine. One would argue that it only works great as an episode, but with the “right” script, this would be the most epic Star Trek movie made to date.

60. Joseph C Dickerson - August 30, 2012

Thanks for all the great feedback on my article. When Mr. Windom died I felt I had to write something – I’ve been a big fan of his work for many years.

And I’m kicking myself for forgetting to mention another factor that made this episode awesome – the score! Sol Kaplan really did fantastic work on this episode (as many of you have pointed out), so consider this comment an “appendix” to the article.

61. Michael Hall - August 30, 2012

Never knew this was even much of a source of contention (unlike so much else) among Trek fans–every top ten list of eps I’ve seen has always counted “Doomsday” in there, somewhere.

Great point about the show’s moral message, so in-line with the morality plays (and Spinrad’s politics) that defined the “spirit” of TOS. And though I agree with those who have issues with some aspects of CBS-D’s lighting and texturing the in remastered version, overally I’d call this the project’s one truly grand success story, making what had become pretty dated truly epic in scale and scope.

As for Windom, what can you say? Though he famously never had much good to say about the role of Matt Decker or Trek in general, it’s a TOS-defining guest performance, easily the equal of Ricardo Montalban’s or Mark Leonard’s. He will be missed.

62. Buzz Cagney - August 30, 2012

A very fine actor indeed and his performance in Doomsday Machine really helped make that episode the success that it is.
RIP Mr Windom.
Deepest sympathies to his family.

63. captain spock - August 30, 2012

cumberpatch , did he admit hes playing Khan? read this what do you think!

64. n1701ncc - August 30, 2012

Ok I would like to chime in on my top 10

#1 City on the Edge of Forever
#2 Doomsday Machine
#3 The Trouble with Tribbles
#4 The Enterprise Incident
#5 The Tholian Web
#6 Tomorrow is Yesterday
#7 The Galileo 7
#8 The Menagrie
#9 Balance of Terror
#10 Mirror Mirror

Special Mention to

Amok time
Devil in the Dark
Space Seed
Errand of Mercy

Now for the worst

The conscience of the King
The Alternative factor
Who Mouns for Adonais
Return to Tomorrow
the Paradise Syndrome
that which Survives
the Way to eden
Spock s Brain
the Mark Gideon
Turnabout Intruder [shanter overacting at his best]

Horrible mention
the cloud minders
Whom Gods Destroy
Platos Step children
Elaan of Troyius [UGH]

I wish to hear debate about the favorite shows from TOS and what all of you think of my list.

65. AJ - August 30, 2012

A superb episode with frightening implications, and a top notch performance by its guest star, William Windom.

The remastered version was on repeat-view for a while, and is great, solid sci-fi (regardless of the version).

66. TrekMadeMeWonder - August 30, 2012

Some say “best acting performance EVER!”

67. THX-1138 - August 30, 2012

Doomsday Machine is the best TOS episode in my book. My favorite as a kid and my favorite now.

We got to see an all too rare appearance by a Connie (the Constellation) other than the E. Windom made you feel sympathy and loathing for Decker all in one episode. The planet killer was seemingly indestructible and yet Kirk figures out a way to stop it. Scotty has some great lines: “The shape the thing’s in it’s hard to keep it from blowin’.” “Thirty seconds later…poof!”

Great, great, great episode. I’m going to go home a re-watch it for the zillionth time.

68. Andy Patterson - August 30, 2012

To address an earlier post about the redone effects…even though some of them are well done, and done with loving attention and detail, it still takes me out of the moment at times because I know the originals so well. The pacing is different. There are little blemishes and defects I know as part of my childhood. As I’ve said before,…I never thought of them as bad effects or out of date until I read a TV Guide article during the 20th anniversary of Trek saying they were. For that matter, I’d rather hear the original theme as played by those guys back in the day. But that’s just me.

69. rose by any other name - August 30, 2012

The Doomsday Machine episode was the scariest episode ever. I remember being absolutely terrified as I watched it for the first time. It didn’t matter that it was on a small b/w TV set – that machine scared the shit out of me (pardon the expression). Probably the music had something to do with how terrifying that object was. Then, of course, Commodore Decker didn’t exactly relieve my anxiety. I think that, as a child, it was probably the most frightening and yet riveting of all that was on TV at the time. I recall covering my eyes when Decker took the shuttlecraft into the mall of that thing and totally freaking out that Kirk wouldn’t get rescued before the ship blew up – “Gentlemen, now would be a good time…”

The Doomsday Machine represents, perhaps, the very best that is television. Brilliant on every level.

William Windom as Commodore Decker brought to the small screen a very real and human character and stopped one hell of a scary “planet killer”. I was one little girl who was able to go to bed that night knowing that the earth was once again safe, even if the guy who destroyed the machine seemed somewhat crazy and frightening.

RIP William Windom!

70. Simon - August 30, 2012

The TOS-HD team did a decent job but the CG often looks too much like CG animation instead of realistic ships.

Daren Dochterman of the TMP Director’s Edition team did his own version and shows how much better his CG modeling is:

71. Kev-1 - August 30, 2012

#43– Secrets of the Night Sky by Bob Berman. I did get it. This is not a hawk.

72. K-7 - August 30, 2012

Kayla, thanks, you are saving this site. As fans of the site, might there be a way we could petition Anthony to turn the site over to you to lead?

73. Basement Blogger - August 30, 2012

Okay, here’s my top ten TOS episodes. Counting down to number one.

10. The Enterprise Incident.

9. The Menagerie.

8. Mirror, Mirror.

7. Arena.

6. Balance of Terror.

5. Amok Time.

4. The Doomsday Machine.

3. Journey to Babel.

2. The Trouble with Tribbles.

1. The City on the Edge of Forever.

And here’s a bonus. I’ve hyperlinked each episode from the official Star Trek website; so it is kosher,

All the above episodes, hyperlinked for your enjoyment. Ten great hours of Star Trek.

74. Bob Tompkins - August 30, 2012

With the exception of City on the Edge, the best of original Trek was in season 2.
It had episodes from every genre of Trek, comedy, action and drama. The best of the action pieces was Doomsday, in no small part due to Windom’s bravura performance.

75. Son of Sarek - August 30, 2012

“The Doomsday Machine” will always be in the upper echelons of Star Trek due to the bombastic musical score, engaging story, and timeless performance of Windom. I can confidently proclaim this as my favorite episode of all.

76. Robert Bernardo - August 30, 2012

The Doomsday Machine, whether with original FX or with the newer FX, will always remain my favorite episode. It’s been that way since I saw it back in 1967.

77. Classy M - August 30, 2012

I was a William Windom fan even before he appeared in my favourite TV show. Even now I remember the thrill of excitement at seeing him in scenes with Shatner, Nimoy and Doohan. It was like having all my Christmases come at once.

In my opinion, Mr Windom’s performance as Commodor Decker was one of the greatest of his long career, though he was always solid even when the material was iffy. However, The Doomsday Machine gave him a wonderful script and Decker remains one of the greatest antagonists of any Star Trek episode. It was a perfect marriage of script and performance.

The episode is certainly one of my favourites.

#59 – No, I don’t think Mr Cumberbatch was acknowledging anything. Just saying he’s bored with the repeated question. And who can blame him?

78. Thomas - August 30, 2012

I’ve mentioned this in another thread, but I absolutely have to recommend an episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, entitled “They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar”, guest starring William Windom. It is so wonderfully bittersweet, and deals with themes of nostalgia and finding revelance as one grows older. Serling called it one of the two best scripts he ever wrote, the other being “Requiem for a Heavyweight”.

79. Jim, London - August 30, 2012

RIP William Windon

I have to say the doomsday machine did stick in my mind as a child – scared the crap out of me like no other episode did.

I have always said that Commodore Decker could have a key part to play in the new star trek timeline as a foil for Pike in terms of how they try and shape Kirk (think Sgt’s Elias and Barnes in Platoon trying to claim Private Taylor’s soul)

Tom Hanks (maybe Michael Keaton if Tom isnt available) for the part of the new Commodore Decker!!

80. Thomas - August 30, 2012

As a follow-up to my last post #77, that particular episode is available for download on iTunes for $1.99. The episode has a second segment called “The Last Laurel”, of which I recall nothing, but it’s worth it just for “They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar”. You will not be disappointed.

81. mikephys - August 30, 2012

The planet eater as a great Star Trek villian? I had never thought of it that way, but I have admit that it’s true. I think it may, in fact, be Cumberbatch’s role in the new movie.

Excellent article and a fine tribute to Mr. Windom.

82. Vultan - August 30, 2012


Sounds a lot like the Twilight Zone episode “Walking Distance,” of which I’m a big fan.

Thanks for the recommendation.

83. MJ - August 30, 2012

I agree with the suggestion to let Kayla take over this site!

Anthony, if you are reading this, I thank you for a great job in starting and developing this great Trek site. Might I suggest, that the time is right for fresh energy here now though — someone who has the time to lead this site on a daily basis to meet your original goal, which had kind of been suspended lately, of being, “THE source for everything new in Trek.”

Kayla has responded to us fans request this past week to step in during your latest long-term absence from the site. I would urge you to consider turning this site over to her capable hands now.

84. Craiger - August 30, 2012

Breaking News Possibly!!!

Did Cumberbatch just confirm he is playing Khan? Or was he just being sarcastic?

Going back to Star Trek 2, there’s been lots of speculation about your character…

Yep, it’s yet another thing I can’t talk about [laughs]. I’ll tell you this, it’s iconic and it’s exciting. I’m bored of denying that it’s Khan now, because people keep saying it.

85. Sebastian S. - August 30, 2012

Windom was one of the most effective guest stars in TOS ST.

I also liked him in “Twilight Zone” (Five Characters in Search of an Exit; he was ‘the major’), as well as his two Night Gallery appearances; “Little Girl Lost” and “They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar.” The latter two are excellent self-contained dramas; “Night Gallery” was a vastly underrated series in it’s day….

I also enjoyed seeing Commodore Decker’s ‘happy ending’ in the 2003 ST New Voyages/Phase 2 episode, “In Harm’s Way.” Nice to see his final message for Kirk and the crew (and that Decker enjoyed his ‘retirement’ in the past). And he got the girl (Barbara Luna). ;-)

RIP, William Windom; a very memorable character actor who helped make so much of the wonderful fantasy/scifi TV I grew up with.


86. TrekkerChick - August 30, 2012

I still like the practical joke put-on by the Okudas, et al, during the remastering….

Anyone else remember the gag with the incorrect ship name?

87. Craiger - August 30, 2012

MJ, I think turning this place over to someone else would be good but Anthony is the one that has contacts within the Trek productions. I just wish he would state if he is tired of running this site or not so we can find another site for Trek news. I think he owes us that much. Not sure without us would Anthony had gotten his Trek contacts without us loyal readers of the site because without us their wouldn’t be a

88. VulcanFilmCritic - August 30, 2012

I would have to agree with 69. rose by any other name and 79. Jim, London.
By today’s standards, the doomsday machine is pretty tame but back in the day, this nameless, faceless, and apparently almost brainless planet eater was pretty scary.
Although it is a bottle show, I don’t there’s anything wrong with bottle shows. Star Trek: TOS was basically a submarine movie (+/- gladiator movie) at times, and this was one of the best. Yeah, like “Obsession” that old Moby Dick trope never gets tired, but I’m sure the grade B submarine movie “Run Silent, Run Deep” with Burt Lancaster as the First Officer forced to serve under a vengeful captain who had lost his sub (an aging Clark Gable) was on the writer’s mind more than Gregory Peck’s Captain Ahab.
As scary as the monster is, nothing is more scary than having to serve under a crazy starship commander. And the guy who should be the hero, Spock, has to play by the book, like some automaton who can’t break Starfleet regulations.
The only thing unsatisfying about the episode, is that there is really no clever solution to the mounting tension. Communications are re-established and the Captain takes command of his ship. Big deal. You want something just a little more interesting. So I can’t put it into my top ten.
William Windom though gave an outstanding performance. One would never see such commitment in a science fiction TV series today. I don’t think most TV directors would let an actor hang it out and go for that kind of raw emotion.
When I was a kid, I thought he was a little over-the-top, but now viewing it as an adult, after years of seeing things happen in hospital despite the best of intentions, and the effect on the doctor’s psyche, the death of the entire crew justified Decker’s reaction. Violence and death are rarely acknowledged in action shows, and I’m glad Mr. Windom was allowed to express real human emotions.

P.S. Although “The Doomsday Machine” is often underrated, I think the most underrated Star Trek episode is “Specter of the Gun,” which tackled the subject of virtual reality decades before “The Matrix.”

P.S.S I saw William Windom once in another submarine movie, “Assault on the Wayne” with Leonard Nimoy and Lloyd Haynes. It looks like Star Trek in an alternate universe. Ours.

89. TrekkerChick - August 30, 2012


90. RTC - August 30, 2012

Back in ’79, James Doohan came to our local university to talk about Star Trek and the soon-to-be-released TMP. (I still remember his bubbling joy, and the huge round of applause, when he told the crowd, “Wait till you see my engine room!”) After his talk, he offered us a special surprise–a screening of “The Doomsday Machine.” So even before TMP debuted, “Doomsday” was the first Trek I ever saw on the big screen!

91. MJ - August 30, 2012

@87. Anthony could still provide the lead stories on the JJ movies, but Kayla would have day-to-day responsibility for the site. I didn’t mean to imply that Anthony would not contribute at all under this scenario where he hands the mgmt of the site over to Kayla.

92. Thomas - August 30, 2012

85. Sebastian S.

He also had a small role as a psychologist in the Twilight Zone episode “Miniature”, the so-called “lost episode” (since it’s not included in the syndication packages, but is available on DVD) alongside Robert Duvall.

93. CmdrR - August 30, 2012

William Windom totally owns that episode.
Funny what he had to say about it not long ago…

He was so good. Also excellent in the Night Gallery episode “They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar.”

Glad to see a tribute on TM.

94. Captain Dunsel - August 30, 2012

Of William Windom, I can happily say, “I never saw him give a performance I didn’t like.”

The stage and screen were his world, and we were welcomed to it.

95. Old Paramount Employee - August 30, 2012

I hate to interrupt and stray off subject here but listen up everyone. I think I have just discovered something that probably nobody knows about, even people who are affiliated working with Star Trek at Paramount these days. I was cruising youtube looking at old movies around 1970-71 and came across a 8 minute clip from a 1971 pilot movie for a new TV series that was never sold called ‘Escape’ starring Christopher George of ‘The Rat Patrol’ fame. I decided to watch and to my amazement……….well……the original Gorn from Arena shows up. Again, I bet nobody has ever seen this before. If Anthony wants, he can do a story on this.

Watch from the beginning but watch closely at 1:25 for a treat!

96. Thomas - August 30, 2012

84. Craiger

I followed the link and read the article. He never expressly confirms anything, only that he’s tired of denying that it’s Khan. Frankly, I think it’s a little irresponsible for TrekWeb to say that he confirmed that he’s playing Khan. Here’s the choice quote:

“Yep, it’s yet another thing I can’t talk about [laughs]. I’ll tell you this, it’s iconic and it’s exciting. I’m bored of denying that it’s Khan now, because people keep saying it.”

It could be that he’s weary of denying that he’s playing Khan because he’s really not playing Khan but everyone persists in thinking that he is. He may just wish to dispel a rumor run rampant, but can’t say anything one way or another. Or, he really could be playing Khan and just can’t talk about it.

97. ksmsscu - August 30, 2012

“You may leave the bridge, Doctor.”
Unforgettable! Season 2 – where it all came together.
RIP, Mr. Windom.

98. Gary S. - August 30, 2012

It is obvious that Anthony asked Kayla to help and it is great that she is doing so.
But, Anthony doesnt have to hand over management of the site to her .
I am sure we have not seen the last of Anthony ,
And ,I wouldnt have it any other way.

99. Uberbot - August 30, 2012

#70 — Definitely prefer Darren’s Enterprise and FX over the one in TOS remastered. I like the Constellation in the remaster though. Not sure I like EITHER DD in Darren’s or TOS remastered. Both look too CGI…

But Darren’s Enterprise is spot on! I hate it when they add all that detail to the ship that wasn’t there on the original model.

100. Gary S. - August 30, 2012

# 96 yeah I saw that and came to the same conclusion.
Cumberbatch just said he was tired of denying it’s Kahn.
No biggie .

101. Jeff Bond - August 30, 2012

BTW William Windom DID do conventions–he was a regular for a few years at the Pasadena Trek convention and I got to spend a wonderful 30 minutes with him there once discussing HIS favorite character actors–he even wrote me a list that I have somewhere. He was a great guy, didn’t take Trek very seriously (although he did admit that he got more fan reaction to his Trek role than any of his others), but he was a very entertaining and talented man.

102. Steve Gennarelli - August 30, 2012

It is interesting to compare your favorite original Trek episodes.
Here’s my top 10
1. “City on the Edge of Forever” -Still the ultimate, ultimate.
2. “The Doomsday Machine” – Really compelling and holds up extremely well as this excellent thread has acknowledged.
3. “Amok Time” – Just brilliant. Nimoy at his best.
4. “Balance of Terror” – Kirk vs. The Romulan Commander.
5. “This Side of Paradise” – Spock finds love and its not Uhura.
But a fun episode that shows Kirk alone on the Enterprise bridge.
6. “The Trouble with Tribbles” – Just a cool, fun episode. Stanley Adams as Cyrano Jones was a cool, underrated character.
7. “Mirror, Mirror” – This would be my choice to be remade as
a Feature Film.
8. “Errand of Mercy” – One of the most underrated episodes.
9. “A Piece of the Action” – Another fun, second season romp.
10. “The Empath” – One of those rare, rare 3rd season gems, “no play on words” that captures the true dynamic of the Kirk/Spock/Bones relationship.

My 5 That I can’t stand to watch

1. The Apple
2. Friday’s Child – I could never buy into Julie Newmar’s character.
3. Plato’s Stepchildren – Ugh
4. Catspaw
5. Lights of Zetar – really, really bad.

103. Harry Ballz - August 30, 2012

Steve, for worst episodes, how could you possibly have skipped Spock’s Brain?

Worst episode EVER!

104. Brett L. - August 30, 2012

So many great reasons why “Doomsday…” is AT LEAST in the top 3, but the climax alone is my favorite because:

1. Scotty is at his best with last minute Jeffries’ tube heroics (“try her now, Mr. Kyle!”)
2. Kirk’s cool understatement in the face of certain death… he calmly states, “gentlemen, I SUGGEST you beam me aboard” as opposed to “holy ****, beam me the **** aboard now, now, now!” that most would probably be shouting.
3. Spock oddly powerless on the bridge (“try inverse phasing”). I always imagine Scotty thinking in the Jefferies’ tube, “shut up Spock and let me concentrate!

Best climax in arguably THE best TOS episode.

105. Craiger - August 30, 2012

Harry what are you talking about, the sequel should be based on Spock’s Brain. LOL.

106. Your Father's Star Trek - August 30, 2012

“Doomsday” has always been my favorite episode of any Trek ever made.
Like to see J.J. try to top that one!

Farewell, Commodore Decker.

107. Dee - lvs moon' surface - August 30, 2012

Thanks Kayla, the article and tribute … great!

So Benedict Cumberbatch is bored about Khan … he behaves like a great villain, right? … ;-) :-)

And by the way, Chris Pine will be filming “Jack Ryan” on Wall Street, NYC this weekend … August31> September02

108. REM1701 - August 30, 2012

“Not with my ship you don’t!” :-)

109. GarySeven - August 30, 2012

Back in 1977, when I was attending the University of Georgia, William Windom came to campus to perform some excerpts of his one-man James Thurber play. Afterwards, there was a question-and-answer session in which I asked him about his role in “Doomsday.” I got a rather disappointing answer. He said that the gig was “just a job” and did not seem to think there was anything remarkable about it. Of course, those were the days before the big conventions and the remakes and the new series. I wonder if he ever reconsidered his position and his place in Star Trek lore.

110. Sebastian S. - August 30, 2012

# 92 Thomas~

You’re absolutely right!
Can’t believe I’d forgotten his appearance in that episode, because it’s one of my favorite TZ (and my sure favorite of the hour-longs).

Thanks for jogging my memory chips. ;-D

And # 102


“Doomsday Machine” is among my top 10 TOS STs as well.
I’d probably rank it 3rd or 4th, but it’s definitely in my top 5…

111. Andy Patterson - August 30, 2012

@ 109

That’s a good story Mr. Seven. What this, and other sites like it, are all about.

112. LizardGirl - August 30, 2012

Yes, this is a great episode! Character interaction at it’s best. Also, I love the idea of the actual Machine. It. Eats. Planets! The idea of that is so horrifying. And yet, of course, somehow Trek was able to use this as a parable, which I appreciate.

Top Ten Favorite Episodes:

1. The Naked Time–first ever TOS episode I saw and it immediately made a lasting impression of who Kirk and Spock are at their core.

2. Journey to Babel–I believe I posted this somewhere, but this was one of the very few episodes that made me cry, which I was so unprepared for. Love it for fleshing out a few characters.

3. Mirror, Mirror–Ever had that feeling like you didn’t quite belong? Do you or someone you love suffer from Evil Twin Syndrome? If so the following information could be vital: have an Agonizer handy, hope like heck you don’t wind up in the Agony Booth, or make peace with the probability that you’ll be killed by a close “friend”. Joking aside, I love this episode for the suspenseful cat and mouse game played by our crew in order to get home.

4. The Doomsday Machine–already stated.

5. Amok Time–Spock attempting to beat the life out of Kirk over a snooty woman.

6. Errand of Mercy–It was initially frustrating to watch Kirk try to help the aliens, while opposing the Klingons. Now, having seen the episode multiple times I have to say that it’s one of my faves because it is so Trek and I couldn’t believe I didn’t see that coming.

6. Space Seed–Khan

7. The Trouble with Tribbles–Spock petting a tripple. The payback to the Klingons at the end.

8. The Changling–I like the story, which kind of is the premise for Star Trek the Motion Picture (which I also like.)

9. By Any Other Name–Getting drunk, fighting and making love *sigh* it’s so hard to be human!

10. The Squire of Gothos–Q anyone?

113. John Kirk - August 30, 2012

The Doomsday Machine is and has always been my favorite Trek episode of all time… For different reasons than I like City on the Edge of Forever, at #2….

114. Pensive's Wetness - August 30, 2012

…about time you folks got around to even mention Mr Windom’s passing… thought i guess the final product (a fine article about one of the top-5 episodes from TOS) is enough to shut me up, LOL.

Its very hard to top this episode, considering so many other offerings in the Sci Fi genre try to equal it, in their own ways. When i saw Phase II’s 2nd Episode about the ‘DDM war’ i thought having Mr Windom appear was cheezy but im sure he had fun just doing it (and i still giggle at the idea of hidding a Shuttlecraft in the garage)…

RIP good sir. In the end, that’s all that’s important. good times and plesant memories…

115. Steve J. - August 30, 2012

#86 TrekkerChick:

Please explain…

116. Red Shirt Diaries - August 30, 2012

Craiger, MJ,

I agree with your suggestions to Anthony that he should consider turning this site over to Kayla to run. Makes a lot of sense given Anthony doesn’t seem to have the time anymore. It’s time for Anthony to take the “gold watch” here and turn this over to someone with some energy and staying power.

117. Basement Blogger - August 30, 2012

@ 112

Hey Lizard Girl,

Journey to Babel is on my top ten list. I think this is the episode that sets up Spock’s childhood. Later it was fleshed out in Star Trek 2009. Could use some input from Bob Orci on this. And love McCoy!!!! Great last lines by Bones.

118. MJ - August 30, 2012

I’m still amazing at all of your fans who are supposedly reading every quote in rapture by BC and others involved in the sequel about whether it is Khan or not. I deduced it was Khan way back in November of last year, months before Anthony’s sources confirmed it.

Case closed here — not sure why everyone is getting so excited.

It’s Khan — I have been right on this since Day 1, when it was unpopular to say it, and with much ridicule I took over it.

119. Canadianknight - August 30, 2012

My Top 5

City of the Edge of Forever
Mirror, Mirror
Doomsday Machine
Space Seed
The Trouble with Tribbles

Always loved Doomsday… and the reviewer is right… it was a bottle show that shouldn’t have worked as well as it did… but it did.. and it’s awesome. :)

120. MJ - August 30, 2012

@116 “Craiger, MJ, I agree with your suggestions to Anthony that he should consider turning this site over to Kayla to run. Makes a lot of sense given Anthony doesn’t seem to have the time anymore. It’s time for Anthony to take the “gold watch” here and turn this over to someone with some energy and staying power.”

Yea, Anthony really needs to take a hard look at doing something drastic like this. How embarrassing it looks today that Trekweb scooped him once again with that BC interview.

I’d be excited to see what Kayla could do if she were given full control of the site.

121. Basement Blogger - August 30, 2012

@ 118


I didn’t conclude it was Khan as early as you. But I too took a ton of flak for my deduction. I mean I would point out the evidence and there were many who twisted the evidence to some illogical directions. Then some Trekkers challenged my intelligence. Others thought my conclusion was based on a desire to see Khan in the next movie. I actually think it’s a bad idea to bring back Khan. Been there. Done that. Though, I still look forward to the upcoming film.

Two more things point to Khan. Anthony has not retracted his story. And he has sources to confirm it’s Khan. Second, BC is playing a character that is canon. (Bob Orci interview) So is Alice Eve.

Here’s a guess about Eve. She’s Carol Marcus. And BC is Sherlock Holmes. I keeed. I keeed. He’s Khaaaaaan.

122. Red Dead Ryan - August 30, 2012


Yep! The number of us who have predicted that the villain will be Khan is rather small. You, me, BB and only a handful of others have taken abuse from some of the “majority” anti-Khan crowd, most notably rm10019, who will be eating crow soon, and owing us an apology.


123. Gary S. - August 30, 2012

Cumberbatch denying rumors that he is playing Khan isnt actually a scoop.
And, if he is playing Khan.
Anthony said MONTHS ago that his sources told him that the villain was Khan .
So what exactly does Anthony have to be embarassed about ?

124. Red Dead Ryan - August 30, 2012

And remember, they have said that BC’s performance is “iconic”. Gary Mitchell was never iconic. Nor was Kor. They are popular characters, sure, but they haven’t reached the pop culture stratosphere of bad guys that Khan has.

125. Montreal_Paul - August 30, 2012

Mark my words… NOT Khan. Could be Mitchell… could be someone new… could be Gary Seven… heck, could be Sybok for that matter. But, not Khan.

Cumberbatch saying he was tired of denying rumors of him playing Khan does not confirm he is playing Khan. It just means he is tired of denying it over and over again.

126. The Last Vulcan - August 30, 2012

With all due respect to the Khanites: Cumby. Is. Not. Khan. Take it to the Bank Of Vulcan (unfortunately closed 3 years ago by boborci and co.) :)

127. Commodore Redshirt - August 30, 2012

This is one of the best Trek episodes!
I remember watching this as a little kid back in the 1960’s (first run) and afterwords having a long talk with my Dad about the arms race. This is what Trek was all about!

128. NCM - August 30, 2012

28. Dominic – August 30, 2012: Love the story, Dominic.

I didn’t care much for Doomsday Machine–probably b/c I first saw it when I was pretty young and Windom was so convincingly disturbed, I ever after had a hard time watching him self-destruct on screen.

Didn’t Naked Time make anyone’s list? I thought it was considered to be one of the top ten most popular. I rather liked that one, b/c it revealed a little more of each of the main characters.

I don’t see the appeal in Tribbles and tranya.

129. MJ - August 30, 2012

@122 “Yep! The number of us who have predicted that the villain will be Khan is rather small. You, me, BB and only a handful of others have taken abuse from some of the “majority” anti-Khan crowd, most notably rm10019, who will be eating crow soon, and owing us an apology.”

And let’s not forgot all the abuse we took form Keachick/Rose on this. She’ll be eating crow soon as well. :-)

Yea, I think it was pretty much RDR, BB, and a couple others — not more than 4-5 of us at most. And the abuse was really hard-ass and ubiquitous.

130. MJ - August 30, 2012

Hey, we got Montreal Paul to post here…nothing like our BC is Khan posts to wake him up out of his summer slumber.

MP, I’m baking a special crow pie just for you, dude! :-)

131. Red Dead Ryan - August 30, 2012


Since the Bank of Vulcan was destroyed three years ago, I guess we can’t really take what you said to the bank, can we? :-)

132. Commodore Redshirt - August 30, 2012

There are so many episodes I love, it’s hard to pick 10, but I will (even if the list might be different tomorrow!)
And my top ten:
10] Errand of Mercy
9] The Empath
8] Miri
7] Spectre of the Gun
6] Day of the Dove
5] Where No Man Has Gone Before
4] The Naked Time
3] The Doomsday Machine
2] Balance of Terror
1] The Cage

Plus there is the fun of The Apple, (You know it will be good when they transport down all those extra redshirts!)

…and my least favorites are Catspaw, Omega Glory and Spock’s Brain.

133. Vultan - August 30, 2012

Along with the usual choices of Space Seed and Doomsday Machine and the like, my favorite TOS episodes are the theme planets:

– A Piece of the Action… AKA Gangster Planet,
– Patterns of Force… AKA Nazi Planet,
– Bread and Circuses… AKA Roman Planet,
and a few more, but those are the big three.

TOS was in many ways like a three-season trip through dozens and dozens of theme parks. And one heck of a ride!

134. MJ - August 30, 2012

@133. Agree on A Piece of the Action and Bread and Cirsuses, but Patterns of Force never quite did it for me.

135. Vultan - August 30, 2012


Yeah well, Patterns is definitely the lesser of the three. I guess unless it’s Indiana Jones or Mel Brooks, Nazis have to be played straight and serious.

Not the funnest episode.

136. Werbwolf - August 31, 2012

I am watching the whole remastered series at the moment (I have to admit, growing up with TNG I never saw many episodes of TOS before) and The Doomsday Machine is my favourite episode so far (I just finished Trouble with Tribbles).
It is very well written, thrilling and a good example of great acting.

Is it only me or could Russel Crowe play Decker (if needed in the new Movies) without changing so much of the original look?

137. freezejeans - August 31, 2012

95. Old Paramount Employee

What a great find, thanks for sharing! Pretty great to see TOS items being used in other projects :)

138. RIP WW - August 31, 2012

Windom in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Incredible, versatile actor. RIP William Windom.

139. - August 31, 2012

Nice review, thank you.

140. shamelord - August 31, 2012

RIP William Windom.

141. The Last Vulcan - August 31, 2012

@131, well, the annihilation of the Bank Of Vulcan has had many other repercussions across the Alpha Quadrant. Many financial experts have linked the closing of that critical Bank (which led to the abandonment of the Donku and the resultant galactic currency volatility) with the Euro Crisis. Therefore, boborci’s decision to blow up my planet should be held personally responsible for Greek unemployment, Spaniards not being able to afford their tapas, and Italian who are forced to sell their Ferraris!

Dang you boborci!


142. Jerry Modene - August 31, 2012

The Blish version of “Doomsday Machine” (he was working, in the early days of the ST books, off earlier-draft scripts) gives McCoy a great comeback line after Decker tells him to leave the bridge:

Decker: “Mr. Spock knows his duty. Do you?” (they kept this line in the aired episode, McCoy just gives him a look and leaves. But in the Blish version, McCoy resonds)
McCoy: “Yes, sir. To go to sickbay and wait for the casualties you’re about to send me.”

I remember, too, Doohan complaining at least once about Spock’s butting in when he was fixing the transporter at the end of the episode. He felt that NBC or somebody insisted that Spock have a hand in saving the day and didn’t like the implication that Scotty couldn’t have fixed the transporter without Spock’s “inverse phasing” suggestion.

“Doomsday Machine” is certainly a top 5 episode. My favorites (not necessarily the 5 best):

1. Doomsday Machine
2. Amok Time
3. Trouble with Tribbles
4. Immunity Syndrome
5. Wolf in the Fold

143. Daoud - August 31, 2012

I’ve always liked The Cage… even a bit more than The Menagerie version of it (although the framing story built around it was superb).
Of course, it’s probably too cerebral for most! ;)

144. ME!! - August 31, 2012

Before he gets his panties in a wad, the guy who reviewed the list needs to invest in a grammar and spelling correspondence course.

The guy’s attempts at humor fell flat with me and I disagree with him on his ideas of what should have been included instead of Doomsday Machine. The Naked Time is one of my personal favorites, but I do not believe it deserves a spot in the ultimate Top Ten of the original series. He mentions Space Seed apparently simply because it has Khan in it. Really? I think not. Space Seed is a pretty good episode and Ricardo is great in it as he always was with everything he did, but in the Top Ten? No. I fail to see his reasoning, whatever it is since he doesn’t mention any, behind his feelings toward Doomsday Machine and it’s inclusion. I 100% back the notion of it being on the list….Doomsday Machine IS Top Ten material.

145. Damian - August 31, 2012

The Doomsday Machine was one of the first episodes I watched after becoming a Trekkie. Definitely in the top 10 for me as well. I was especially looking forward to the remastered version of this episode, and it did not disappoint. It made a great episode even better. I love all Star Trek, so there is no hated episodes. Obviously some are weaker than others (“Spock’s Brain” obviously comes to mind). But despite the cheesiness, I can still sit down and watch it.

I know this might be sacreligious to say, but I always kind of thought “The Trouble with Tribbles” was overrated. It’s a good episode (as all are) but it was kind of middle of the pack good for me. I’d rather sit down with “The Doomsday Machine”, “The Immunity Syndrome” or “Journey to Babel”.

MJ–I also thought “The Deadly Years” was at least in the top 20, if not top 10.

While I don’t want to retread old ground with the new movie, I always liked the idea someone had here of starting the new movie with a Doomsday Machine battle as a teaser sequence.

102–I actually kind of liked Catspaw. I usually sit down to watch it around Halloween.

Other great Halloween type episodes are
The Next Generations “Night Terrors” (I always loved the scene in cargo bay when all the bodies are sitting up).
Voyager’s “The Haunting of Deck 12″
DS9’s “Empok Nor”[the scenes on Empok Nor were especially creepy], Enterprise’s “Impulse”

146. CaptainShadow - August 31, 2012

Bad trek is better than good star wars

147. TrekMadeMeWonder - August 31, 2012

Can we just have an article about the top ten series episodes?

Or, how about an article that is purely a tribute to William?!

RIP, William Windom, already!!!

148. Astronut - August 31, 2012


Seconds left before Kirk bites it

Spock: “Mister… Scott.”

Spock: “MISTER……… SCOTT.”

DRAMA out the Yin-Yang in this episode. There are literally a half-dozen seriously tense moments with some SUPERB DIALOG. Great script, just fantastic from beginning to end. It has always been on my TOP 10 episode list.

149. SoonerDave - August 31, 2012

@148 Concur completely.

I think if you studied those “best” vs “worst” Trek episode lists one of the things that would emerge as a delineation of the good from the bad is the quality of the dialog. Doomsday and COTEOF had some *incredibly* well-written dialog. And it was coupled with excellent *delivery* and direction too.

In COTEOF, Spock’s description of how history changed by virtue of McCoy’s interaction with Edith Keeler is some of the best writing of the series, IMHO. Same thing for “Balance of Terror” (conference room discussion). In “Court Martial,” Commodore Stone’s effort to strong-arm Kirk into a ground assignment is delivered with a measured, almost menacing bureaucratic malevolence. It was paced deliberately and delivered brilliantly, as was Kirk’s reply.

Even some otherwise pretty wretched episodes had some flashes of great dialog…

150. Col. Steve Austin - August 31, 2012

“Gentlemen, I suggest you beam me aboard!”

151. rogue_alice - August 31, 2012

“Captain. I’d like to offer my condolences on the death of your friend.”

152. Michael Hall - August 31, 2012

“I’ve always liked The Cage… even a bit more than The Menagerie version of it (although the framing story built around it was superb).
Of course, it’s probably too cerebral for most! ;)”

For this crowd, apparently. :-)

153. n1701ncc - August 31, 2012

I watched yesterday on Netflix All our Yesterdays and Turnabout Intruder. All our yesterdays with Mr. Atos was a good eposide , love that Mary Hartley…not bad to be stranded with her. Kirk being thought of as a witch was pretty funny especailly with the drunken whore who kept calling him that. That leads me to Turnabout. Some of the script sounds like they knew it was the end of the line… the show should have never ended on turnabout. Shanter over acts so much its horrible to watch. Also a very homosexual scene between Kirk/Lester and the Doctor takes place when Kirk/Lester tries to persuade the Dr. to kill Lester/Kirk. Not sure if it has been ever picked up but for 1969 it really pushed the envelope and I am suprised it got passed the sensors. Anyway its good to know that some of the fans on here all agree the Doomsday was one of the best.

154. RetroWarbird - August 31, 2012

Definitely a Top Five, of all the reasons listed above best I think, because of the natural and pivotal moments for the “big trio” and Scotty as well, who has always sort of been the unofficial “fourth”.

But I’d say you even missed another great aspect – it was pretty rare and therefore very, very cool to see another full blown Starship in action, and in this instance we even got to see “Enterprise deconstructed”, since Constellation is one of the ultra-cool Constitution-Class.

A few other episodes have Constitutions … Omega Glory, Ultimate Computer, Tholian Web. But this is the only one where you get to spend time with the other ship, aboard the other ship (without it being a ghost ship). And it’s far easier to see the stakes at hand when it’s a carbon copy sister ship of OUR Enterprise that’s been damaged beyond repair and couldn’t stop the threat.

155. ML31 - August 31, 2012

One of the best lines in the series…

“Blast regulations!! Mr Spock, I order you to assume command on my personal authority as Captain of the Enterprise!”

156. WannaBeatle - August 31, 2012

I was unaware that he had passed. I have just been watching some of the first couple seasons of Mission: Impossible (thanks to me having no life, but having Netflix) and he shows up quite a bit. I thought he did a fine job as the week’s villain.

For those of you that haven’t caught Mission Impossible yet, or wanna see it again, I’d recommend you all do. Almost every guest star was also Trek regular or reoccurring actor.

157. Check the Circuit - August 31, 2012

Just watched Doomsday again…remastered. Great episode with cheesy effects. OUTSTANDING episode with the new, seamlessly integrated CGI. Riveting stuff.

William Windom was terrific! What an arc for the Decker character in less than 60 minutes. One little touch I’ve also loved was how he was constantly fidgeting with the computer chips when he sat in the captain’s chair. Always wondered if it was an actor’s instincts or if he directed to do that. I suspect the former.

158. VZX - August 31, 2012

I think I’m gonna get drunk and watch Doomsday Machine tonight. I’ll make a drinking game out of it: I’ll drink every time something cool happens. Will I make it to the end of the episode? Doubtful! Will I enjoy myself, by myself? If I’m watching Star Trek’s best episode: oh yeah!

159. Vultan - August 31, 2012


According to memory-alpha, the computer chips fidgeting was a homage to The Caine Mutiny where Bogart does the same with a couple of ball bearings. It was Windom’s idea.

Now, I think I’ll watch the episode again, too….

160. dep1701 - August 31, 2012

I’ll always remember the shock I felt when I first saw the damaged Constellation as a child. Even before seeing the planet killer, just the sight of that scorched starship, the shell-shocked delivery of Commodore Decker’s dialogue, and the eerie unsetlling music under his and Kirk’s discussion and debate about the origins of the machine sent shivers down my young spine.

While the design of the machine itself may have been disappointing to many, I always thought it looked pretty acceptable. It’s unconventional cornucopia-like shape is reminiscent of of an open mouthed, finless shark, and made it look totally alien to something a humanoid species might have come up with ( assuming we could even begin to fashion anything out of ‘solid neutronium. To me, still a favorite after all these decades.

If they did a straight-up remake of this episode in the new timeline, I would be cool with that, except for the fact that the best redesign for the machine itself would have been what they already used as the Narada.

161. Iowagirl - August 31, 2012

Top five for sure – love this episode!

162. Gary - September 2, 2012

I watched the re-mastered version when it was on TV and was appalled at how it was “edited” so more commercials could be stuffed into the hour. They eviscerated the “Vulcans never bluff” line.

Please, friends don’t let friends (nor their kids) watch Star Trek on commercial TV. Watch the uncut versions. Please! For the love of humanity!

163. Sebastian S. - September 2, 2012

# 162

I haven’t watched a broadcast TOS since the ’90s. It’s uncut or not at all for this old Trekkie.

And yes, Windom in “Doomsday Machine” was wonderful. It was fitting that his ‘son’ (almost) commanded the Enterprise in ST-TMP. And it was also interesting in that the elder Decker helped devise a theory to kill the Doomsday machine through an act of explosive self-sacrifice while his son saved Earth from another giant machine entity through an act of symbiotic fusion (and love).

Ah, the Decker boys and their toys…. ;-D

164. Obsidian - September 4, 2012

I remember being awestruck by this episode when growing up and watching original Trek, for the first time. It sticks in my mind more than most episodes.

My other episode worthy of the list is The Enterprise Incident. Another one that sticks in my mind. And I’ve said this before, but this episode would be a good plot to use in the new JJverse trek.

As for Doomsday Machine, was Captain Decker on TMP originally supposed to be the son of Matt Decker? Or was the name a coincidence, and the fandom and powers that be later made it to be his son?

165. Xplodin_Nacelle - September 6, 2012

This is one of my all-time favorite Trek eps!!!

I love the remastered one even more cause it puts Next Gen quality effects into an already awesome story.

It was the first time we saw a starfleet ship w/ battle damage too, before TWOK.

166. Peter - September 6, 2012

I saw Mr. Windom at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia back in 1984 doing the ‘My World, and Welcome to it” play. FANTASTIC. It was a one man show and it was just amazing to see.

167. Aldo F. Rodriguez - September 7, 2012

Mr. Windom reprises his role as Commodore Decker on Star Trek : New Voyages (now Phase II) webcast episode: “In Harm’s Way”
Thank you, sir, and Godspeed!

168. Kris Webb - September 7, 2012

Doomsday Machine is definitely in my Top 5 (or 3) episodes. I think two of best things of the episode were the music (epic!) and the conflict between Decker and Spock and McCoy.

169. Kris Webb - September 8, 2012

Doomsday Machine is definitely in my Top 5 (or 3) episodes. I think two of best things of the episode were the music (epic!) and the conflict between Decker and Spock and McCoy. Oh, and the Commander Decker character in ST:TMP was, indeed, Matt Decker’s son. I think you can find that in Gene Roddenberry’s novelization of ST:TMP.

170. Matt - September 8, 2012

“They say there’s no devil Jim, but… straight out of HELL. I SAW IT!”

Best soundtrack of any ST episode (and the soundtrack was re-used for Obsession, The Deadly Years, and other later episodes).

And my favorite moment in Doomsday Machine is when the Constellation gets moving and in the aux control room the camera tips and Kirk goes flying. Sounds corny, but the shift and the split second later roll by Shatner are choreographed to perfection.

Classic, almost perfect episode. Definitely one of my top 3.

171. Matt - September 8, 2012

“Spock, do SOMETHING!”

172. Steve - September 11, 2012

Watched this when I was 7 in 1967. My mom let me watch it and I was blown away then and still am. It has, over time, become my favorite episode because of that (used to be The Menagerie). This has everything a good adventure themed episode should have. Plus the greatest TV actor from that time (I’ll defend that) William Effing Windom.

173. Peter - September 23, 2012

It showed Spock as a hard ass, concerned more for his crew than the fragil ego of a superior officer.

It also gave a little more insight into bridge operations.

Simply, it was a very dramatic episode. Top 10? Top FIVE! is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.