Plot: What’s it about?
Episode #53- “The Ultimate Computer” >>> Airdate 3/8/68
The M-5 is a new prototype computer that has immense powers, as it can even handle the tasks of a modern Starfleet captain, such as James T. Kirk (William Shatner). And since the U.S.S. Enterprise is the finest ship with the finest crew, it is the testing ground for this new invention, which Kirk is displeased with. He senses danger and knows that a computer can’t be trusted with all the tasks, at least not on his ship. The ship is turned over to the M-5 with a small crew and things seem to be going well, until a training mission is mistaken for a real threat by the M-5, which means big trouble and fast. As time passes, the M-5 attacks and destroys Excalibur, so someone has to step up and stop this machine, who better than Kirk and his crew?
When will mankind learn that technology can never replace Kirk? I mean come on, the guy is a master of not just diplomacy and the female sex, but he’s a heck of a cool cat and as such, no one should let a computer handle his tasks. But that is what happens in this episode, which means lots of trouble and Kirk is forced to save the entire crew once again. The story here is weak even by Star Trek standards, but since Kirk is the focus that means plenty of William Shatner and that’s always good news, I think. I still wouldn’t rank this with my favorite episodes, but it ends up better than you might think, so fans shouldn’t skip it by any means.
Episode #54- “The Omega Glory” >>> Airdate 3/1/68
Kirk, Spock, and McCoy pay a visit to the Exeter, but once they’ve beamed aboard, they discover a most unusual situation. It seems the crew has been turned into a strange powder, thanks to a disease that all three have now been exposed to, which is bad news. The ship is in orbit around Omega IV, so our friends venture to the surface to look into the matter, as well as find the ship’s leader, Capt. Tracey. It seems Tracey has gone mad with power and even violated the Prime Directive, as he thinks the planet’s atmosphere can grant him immortality. Can a man as tough as Kirk even manage to stand in the way of this madman?
I love any episode where someone is turned into powder, so I wasn’t too let down with this rather mediocre installment. It has a weak story and poor writing overall, but the whole powder issue and some of the performances save it from being a total loss. Of course, William Shatner steals all of his scenes, with a sense of total power and control, even when faced with the outlandish antics of Tracey, who is an awful overactor. I don’t think this episode will win any new fans to the series, but it isn’t the very worst the series has to offer by any means, so I think fans will want to check it out, with reserved expectations.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are shown in the original full frame form, just as if you were watching them on television. But of course, these episodes look better than the reruns, since they have been digitally enhanced and remastered, with terrific results. The image looks clean and sharp, save a few small defects at times, but nothing to be concerned with. The colors look bright and not too dated, while flesh tones remain natural, even the alien ones. No issues with contrast either, as black levels look good and I saw no visible detail loss to report. In other words, another good looking set of episodes, thanks to the folks at Paramount.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio has also been revamped, complete with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound remixes, which enhances the atmosphere, to be sure. This is a cheese laden television show however, so don’t expect an explosive experience, although the overall mix is pleasing, I think. I heard some surround presence in terms of music and sound effects, but not too much, though the mix remains natural and that’s always good news. The dialogue remains clean and consistent also, so William “Ace in the Hole” Shatner’s lines sound better than ever. This disc also includes English subtitles, should you need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes promotional trailers for each episode, which is a nice touch.