Review of Friday’s Child Remastered | TrekMovie.com
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Review of Friday’s Child Remastered January 8, 2007

by Jeff Bond , Filed under: Review,TOS Remastered , trackback

While I’m curious as to why anything written by Dorothy Fontana would qualify as “underappreciated,” the second season episode “Friday’s Child” often produces a shrug of disaffection when you mention it to fans. I’ve never understood this and it’s always been a favorite of mine. Maybe it’s the patently ridiculous costumes, the mix of cyclorama “planet” sets and somewhat overused (but cool!) Vasquez Rocks location work, but I’ve always suspected that the chief thorn in many fans’ sides is one of the reasons I’ve always been drawn to the story: the unusual characterization of El’een, the pregnant tribal queen doomed to die by regime change. Despite being played by an actress known for her sex kitten roles, El’een is far from the usual green-skinned alien sexpot provided for Kirk to seduce. Pregnant, stubborn and disagreeable, she establishes her prickly personality early on by siding with the episode’s sneaky Klingon Kras (Mod Squad’s Tighe Andrews) when Kirk and company start their negotiations for the Capellans’ “rocks.” Even better, after Kirk valiantly sabotages her ritual execution after the coup, El’een asks for our hero to be put to death for daring to touch her!

For me the best Trek has always been about the surprising way different cultures think, the way ideas taken for granted by us might be (and likely will be) completely meaningless to an alien intelligence. “Friday’s Child” is a great execution of this premise as only McCoy’s prior experience on the planet Capella IV prevents Kirk and Spock from blowing it again and again. El’een may seem like an infuriating at first, but she has her own sense of honor, duty and purpose, and finally shows herself open to at least a little bit of human perspective.

This is an action-heavy adventure, particularly in its first half as a security guard bites the dust, Kirk engages in two unfortunate scuffles with Capellan guards, and there’s the mass mayhem of the coup itself. But the story’s pleasures are mostly character-driven. It’s great to see McCoy, the man who’s ill-at-ease anywhere but sickbay, be put in a position where he’s more comfortable and authoritative with an alien race than Kirk and Spock. The early parlay scene with Kras is exquisitely well-written, with the Klingon’s great, condescending speech about the humans’ weaknesses (“The sight of death frightens them!…What have you obtained from them in the past? Powders and liquids for the sick?”) and McCoy’s ball-busting comeback (“What the Klingon says is unimportant, and we do not hear his words.”). Michael Pate’s M’aab is a cool, unsettling heavy (“I begin to like you, Earth man…and I saw fear in the Klingon’s eye…”), Kras a malicious, sniveling villain who more than earns his comeuppance at the story’s bloody finale.

“Friday’s Child” is also a great platform for James Doohan’s Scotty, showing him a cool-under-fire starship commander just as he is in “Metamorphosis.”  But it’s mostly McCoy’s story, and his give-and-take with the fiery El’een makes for some great moments. The rock climbing scene is priceless with its un-PC exchange of facial blows between the two—I love that smirk of pure spite on Newmar’s face after she hits McCoy a second time, clearly thinking that this alien’s ideas of chivalry are going to allow her to smack McCoy around all she wants—until Bones surprises her by hitting back. Of course men hitting women wasn’t shocking in Sixties television, but here the meaning is different—working within El’een’s cultural ideas, hitting her is a way of gaining a warrior’s respect, and it’s interesting how McCoy has to think outside his box of caregiver to deliver that blow. There’s another nice little moment I never caught onto as a kid in the cave, after El’een announces the baby is hungry and McCoy shoots a dirty look to the watching Kirk and McCoy, forcing them to turn their backs as El’een breastfeeds the baby. You have to love Shatner’s reaction, grabbing McCoy’s arm after El’een asks Bones to bring “our child,” that sets up the genuinely funny tag with the baby being named “Leonard James Ak’aar”—which Spock understandably finds appalling. All three principals play the comic finale to the hilt as Kirk and McCoy wax poetic over their new namesake and Spock pronounces he thinks they will both be “insufferably pleased with yourselves for at least a month.”

Far too pleased with themselves

The biggest reason I love this episode is still probably Gerald Fried’s score. In Fried’s canon it’s overshadowed by “Amok Time,” but “Friday’s Child” is equally exciting and rather more epic than the Vulcan-based story. The opening and closing credit cues, with a thrilling trumpet figure playing against the familiar Alexander Courage Enterprise fanfare, is some of the most rousing music in the series (all the Enterprise shots in the episode get thrilling, brassy music cues); the tribal, pounding march that plays over the first tracking shot of the Capellan village perfectly establishes the warlike character of these people, and I love the sheer balls of moments like the cut back to the Enterprise bridge and Chekov’s screen at Spock’s station, Fried’s music laying down a furiously heavy downbeat just to show Chekov’s sensors losing track of the Klingon ship. Check out the staccato music playing over the scenes with Kras and the same theme urgently playing over the red alert klaxon’s in Scotty’s standoff with the Klingon vessel: that’s the first “Klingon theme” used in the series. And the gentle woodwind theme for El’een and the baby is memorable too.

I was looking forward to seeing “Friday’s Child” get the deluxe new transfer treatment since the original Sci Fi Channel redos, which were the versions that later made it to DVD, for some reason didn’t lavish the same tender loving care on this episode that they did on the others—it has always looked grainy and overly contrasty, which does not help its visually busy, rock-laden location work and questionable costumes. Sadly, the new transfer is only a moderate improvement: the image does show greater detail, but the colors aren’t pumped up as much (there’s an overall brown look to the show), the scenes in tents are grainy and the overly contrasty look remains a problem.

The effects work here continues the higher standard of more recent episodes using the new Enterprise model; two orbiting shots continue the wide pan approach of the opening titles of “The City on the Edge of Forever,” but with the improved model’s texture and lighting (I noticed on the opening title pan across the planet the rumbling Enterprise engine noise occurs seemingly in time with the far/near/far arc of the ship; I’m not sure if this is a happy accident or whether CBS Digital has suddenly found a way to tweak the sound effects they’ve been “married” to prior to this). The opening approach shot, looking over the disk of the Enterprise at Capella IV, is a first for the series and nicely duplicated with a more convincing movement of the planet (although the planet itself looks strangely flat in this shot without the highlights and subtleties shown in the bigger shots that happen later in the episode), and there’s a more dynamic shot of the Enterprise leaving orbit under Scotty’s command. There are some beautiful takeoffs of familiar Enterprise angles, like a side shot of the ship in search mode and a great closeup of the bridge with a warp nacelle in the background—both show very subtle banking movements that give the shots a realistic zero g feel, and you get a view of the subtle deflector shield grid on the top of the primary hull in the latter shot (at least one syndication edit cuts directly from the to the bridge without an establishing ship shot so we can assume at least one or two other Enterprise shots were cut for the airing).


Approaching Capella IV

As in “Arena,” the face off with the Klingon ship is a potential disappointment for anyone expecting either an obvious new “scoutship” design or just a closer shot of a D-7. This is a little more problematic in “Friday’s Child”—in “Arena” there never was a shot of the Gorn ship to compare the new version to, but “Friday’s Child”—like “Journey to Babel”—used an animated optical effect as its alien spacecraft, in both cases relatively large in the viewscreen frame. The “Friday’s Child” Klingon ship looked something like a glowing hot iron, while the new version may or may not be a D-7, or a newly designed scoutship that is definitely smaller in the frame (while Kras says his ship is a “small scout ship,” he may very well be lying as part of the trap prepared for the Enterprise—Chekov describes the enemy ship as “a Klingon warship” which is the standard nomenclature for the D7 on the show).

The lack of a big Klingon ship reveal in this episode may infuriate fans in a way but there’s still an obvious reason for this: the familiar Klingon ship design was ultimately revealed, with a lot of fanfare, in the third season episodes “The Enterprise Incident” and “Elaan of Troyius.” So if we see a Klingon ship up close and personal in “Friday’s Child,” it makes no sense for Scotty, Kirk and Spock to make a big deal out of seeing one “for the first time” in those third season episodes (in fact that timeline is also marred by the clear view of the Klingon warship in “The Trouble With Tribbles” when it was probably described as hanging a hundred miles off K-7 for a reason). In the original episode the vague, undefined shape of the animation effect did the job of creating the Klingon ship’s mystery; here it has to be the size of the ship in the frame.

Little touches again show the CBS Digital crew going the extra mile, as when they tweak Chekov’s bridge display screen (which originally just showed a blob of light appearing and disappearing on an undetailed blue background) into a more convincing technical readout—a nice added touch is the sweep of a sensor beam across the screen as Chekov tries to home in on the ship after it disappears. There are also viewer reflections added to the opening briefing room scene although they’re blocked by an intercom on the table top so you don’t see much interaction there.

The big addition is something that up until now had been considered undoable: rerendering the animated phaser effects in the live action footage. Here it happens at the show’s climax as Kras uses a stolen hand phaser to disintegrate a Capellan warrior and then the self-sacrificing M’aab. I grew up on the animated Trek phaser effects and while there are obvious technical problems with some of the shots I’ve always liked their pulp-sci fi aesthetic—when a phaser was fired on the old show it was a big deal, partly because it was expensive to do the animation so you didn’t see it very often, and also because on high power these weapons disintegrated people—which is pretty extreme! I never understood the gun battles on TNG and later where people were just blasting up the place Star Wars-style with these weapons, which were presumably even more powerful versions of the ones seen on the original series—yet all they would do was create a few sparks and knock people down. Ironically the danger in doing smoother, better-matched animation for Trek Remastered is in removing some of the power and mystique of these fanciful weapons.

Nothing seems to have been done with Kras’ first shot with the hand phaser, which detonates rocks near Spock, temporarily putting him out of commission—although the phaser beam seems more closely tracked to the actors’ slight hand motions. The last two shots of Kras killing a Capellan guard and M’aab are effectively tweaked, seemingly by freezing on the shots in question and animating over the actor being killed. The trickery is a little more obvious if you watch the second shot, aimed at M’aab, frame by frame—seems they start the new beam a bit early and if you can watch carefully you can see the original beam join it a few frames in. The replaced effect is subtle, capturing the look of the original and eliminating the cartoonish blue sparkles that give away the cel-animated origins of the original work. I know some fans would prefer every phaser shot be reworked from top to bottom but I’m glad that the aesthetic of the original effect has been retained here.


New Phaser Effects

Sounds like the remastered “Friday’s Child” is helping people take a new look at this episode; I wish that more could have been done to clean up and brighten the look of the original photography but it now looks like that is just an insurmountable problem specific to this episode. But the CBS Digital work continues to add entertainment value and interest to these shows.

JEFF BOND is the Editor-In-Chief of Geek Magazine and author of The Music of Star Trek. His short story, “Fracture,” appears in a 40th anniversary collection of Star Trek fiction, Constellations, from Pocket Books.

Check out Jeff Bond’s fabulous magazine Geek Monthly

Comments

1. hitch1969© - January 8, 2007

“The name is Bond. Jeff Bond.”

I bet you dont hear THAT often, eh gov? mac in the trousers review good mate.

best!!

=h=

2. Androide - January 8, 2007

Does anyone know, when they will air the remastered version of the episode “The Tholian Web”?

3. Greg Stamper - January 8, 2007

Very impressed. Superb Review. I’ve always enjoyed this episode and over time have appreciated Michael Pate’s M’aab more and more.
Phasers — Type I & II, the most powerful “defensive” weapons ever issued by Fleet Command. In later Treks the max power level does seem far reduced.

4. Daren Doc - January 8, 2007

Let’s not forget perhaps the best views of the working communicator prop! Awesome moment, if I do say so myself. lol

5. Josh T. (Thesaurus) Kirk Esquire' - January 8, 2007

Now it seems all that is left is the Transporter effects.

6. Matt Wright - January 8, 2007

Daren, that was my though too, it was great to see the working communicator prop in such detail.

7. Jon - January 8, 2007

I remember when this episode was remastered and broadcast back in the mid 1980s…it, too, was very dark and probably had the least improved picture of any of the remastered episodes at that time.

The DVD copy from the DVD season sets is also a bit dark, but parts of the episode look excellent (eg. Scotty’s close-up when after the first commerical break and he expresses his “concern” for not being able to contact Kirk and co. on the planet).

Since the new HD-remastered copy we have all just seen also had similar problems, I guess we have to assume that this episode has film problems that cannot be fixed.

I loved the new phaser effects and certainly wasn’t expecting them. Will this be done on future episodes? Time will tell:)…

And the ship fly-bys looked great, IMO. Kudos again to the folks behind this project…

Jon

8. Robert Bernardo - January 8, 2007

Hey, Friday’s Child was one of my favorite second seasons episodes, too. A pox on all who think otherwise! ;-)
I agree with much of what Jeff wrote. However, I appreciate the costuming, and location work is always nice (i.e., nice in that it gets the show out of the studio). The “dynamic” shot of the Enterprise leading orbit is interesting, but I prefer the camera angle of the original shot, because the Enterprise just looks bigger and grander from that viewpoint. The weakest point is the redone Klingon scoutship; it looks so ordinary. The original was glowing, pulsating… not quite definable… definitely mysterious… and I feel that’s the way it should be. As for the new hand phaser effects, I’m torn between the new and the old. I like how the phaser beam tracks the hand movements more closely, but I prefer the old film “dissolve”. Ah, to each his own! :-)

9. JB - January 8, 2007

A very well done review. I’ve always thought this was among Fontana’s best work. The Ma’ab character was always a favorite of mine.

As for the remastered effects, the Enterprise shots still look “cartoonish” to me. The shots in this episode didn’t look as good as those in “Space Seed.”

10. Robert Bernardo - January 8, 2007

Greg Stamper wrote:

> Phasers — Type I & II, the most powerful “defensive” weapons ever
> issued by Fleet Command. In later Treks the max power level does
> seem far reduced.

Agreed. The phasers (types 1, 2, and rifle) were more powerful in TOS. I remember a scene in a later S.T. show in which the crew had their 24th century phaser rifles. They were in a outdoor gunfight with aliens, but their rifles barely turned the soil over when they missed their mark. Weak! Even in Star Trek: Animated, a phaser 2 was able to cut a huge trench (thus building a wall) in the ground.

11. scott - January 8, 2007

On all the shows, the phasers obviously work the way the writers want them to work, and in the way that best serves the writers’ needs. If the story requires one phaser blast to dig a big trench, it does it. If the story requires a protracted shoot-em-up with phaser rifles barely breaking the skin, they do that too. I don’t think there was ever too much consistency beyond what we construed for ourselves. And in that regard, I don’t think any amount of remastering or effects twiddling can hope to compete with the way we remember these shows (which is distinct from the way the shows actually were) – especially since we all remember them slightly differently.

12. DC - January 8, 2007

#5—they’ve already been re-doing the transporter effects
it may not seem like it, but if you watch the original and then the remastered, you’ll notice differences
one of the biggest ones (in my opinion, anyway) being that in the remastered ones, there are no matte lines around the actors

13. Kevin - January 8, 2007

It all depends on the phaser setting. Next Generation era phasers will vaporize living tissue at a setting of 7. The type 2 phasers have a maximum setting of 14 capable of obliterating the wall of a large building. Settings higher than 3 (stun) were rarely seen on starships to avoid serious damage to the ship. Settings over 7 were rarely seen on planets because… well probably for story telling purposes. Though as a rule Starfleet doesn’t like to kill people if they don’t have to.

14. Robert Bernardo - January 8, 2007

Kevin wrote:

> Next Generation era phasers will vaporize living tissue at a setting of 7.

Which they didn’t do often. Example: Bad guys behind some barrier. Starfleet crewmen shoot just to hit the bad guys. Why not just blast (disintegrate) the barrier and the bad guys at the same time?

> The type 2 phasers have a maximum setting of 14 capable of
> obliterating the wall of a large building. Settings higher than 3 (stun)
> were rarely seen on starships to avoid serious damage to the ship.

Interesting. From where did you get your numbers?

15. Stanky McFibberich - January 8, 2007

Never had any problem with the transporter effects in the series. I like them better than anything that came later…

16. Rabelais - January 8, 2007

In his review, Jeff Bond writes: “So if we see a Klingon ship up close and personal in “Friday’s Child,” it makes no sense for Scotty, Kirk and Spock to make a big deal out of seeing one “for the first time” in those third season episodes ” (The Enterpise Incident and Elaan of Troyius).

Watching The Enterprise Incident countless times since childhood, I never interpreted the surprise at the Klingon warship’s appearance in The Enterprise Incident being caused by seeing a D7 for the first time, but rather because the ROMULANS were equiped with Klingon warships, thus confirming what had been conjecture on the part of the Federation. The shock probably came from the obvious poitical implications of a romulan-Klingon alliance.

Just my two cents, but I thought I’d share them, because I have absolutely no problem whatsoever in seeing D7s or any other Klingon ship for that matter, before The Enterprise Incident.

In fact, I can’t wait to see what the remastered crew will show us in Errand of Mercy. After all, in that ep, mention is made of entire fleets engaging in battle… and we don’t see a blessed thing.

17. Gary Seven - January 8, 2007

I do not know the protocol for this type of question, so please forgive me if this is inappropriate. I tried to record a dvd of “Friday’s Child” last night but my DVD recorder malfunctioned (I think the disc was bad). Is there any way that I (and other people so interested) can exchange/acquire DVD’s of these remastered episodes that other people have recorded? If so, what would be an appropriate way for people to contact each other to facilitate this? I really would like to get a copy of Friday’s Child and other episodes I missed, and I have several of my own I would be happy to copy for others if they wanted to. Any recommendations? Thanks.

18. AJ - January 8, 2007

I still find it hilarious that our boys beam down to a colony of 47-or-so people, and call it a ‘civilization’.

I must admit, I have not watched this ep in over 20 years, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. DC Fontana definitely had Kirk-Spock-McCoy in her veins, and writes their interplay beautifully, especially when Kirk uses the same trick to persuade both Spock, then McCoy to stop being risk-averse, and take the chance to get the job done. The beautiful cap-off is the “Leonard James Akaar” bit at the end. Priceless. Julie Newmar also does a great job, and is completely believable as she emulates her tribe’s non-earth customs. Not Kirk’s type, definitely, and quite refreshing for this show.

Someone someday will give us a techincal drawing or model-shot of Kras’s ‘scout’ ship a la Trek Remastered. Will have to wait, I guess, to see what it really looks like.

DS9’s return to K7 already established a prededent for the D7’s appearance before “Elaan of Troyius, so the remastered “TwT” simply reflects canon as of that episode.

New effects are beautiful. Keep them coming.

19. Kyle - January 8, 2007

Does anyone know which episodes on iTunes are remastered ones? Apparently some of them are. I am not able to watch remastered on TV, so I was hoping to download some of them, but iTunes doesn’t specific which are original, and which are remastered.

20. An olde timey fan - January 8, 2007

MONDAY’S CHILD IS FAIR OF FACE
by Mother Goose

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go.
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child born on the Sabbath Day,
Is fair and wise and good and gay.

21. Kevin - January 8, 2007

my bad, appearently the numbers are 8 is vaporization, and 16 is max. It’s been awhile since I checked.

22. Mark2000 - January 8, 2007

I agree. Later Treks were stingy on the vaporization as if it was a big deal. I recall the captain in “Omega Glory” reporting that he wiped out several thousand koohm (sp?) tribesmen with his lone pistol – and I can believe it.

23. THEETrekMaster - January 8, 2007

“Watching The Enterprise Incident countless times since childhood, I never interpreted the surprise at the Klingon warship’s appearance in The Enterprise Incident being caused by seeing a D7 for the first time, but rather because the ROMULANS were equiped with Klingon warships, thus confirming what had been conjecture on the part of the Federation. The shock probably came from the obvious poitical implications of a romulan-Klingon alliance.”

That’s exactly my take on it.

I never felt like that was the first time the Enterprise crew had seen a Klingon ship.

Oh and Jeff…you wax poetic (and rightfully so) about Gerald Fried’s musical score — don’t you agree that it’s a travesty this music has YET to be released on CD?

*shakes head* I…simply…do not understand why Paramount is sitting on this musical treasure trove of original series music! So much of it — and EXCELLENT work — has not been burned to CD. And that, to me…is a travesty.

TTM

24. Jeff Bond - January 8, 2007

Yep, there’s a ton of fantastic original Trek music unreleased–Friday’s Child, Catspaw and The Paradise Syndrome by Fried, Kaplan’s original The Enemy Within, Steiner’s Who Mourns for Adonais, Duning’s Metamorphosis and Return to Tomorrow, and others…if only…Friday’s Child is probably the one I want most but there are great moments in all those scores…

I’m pretty sure the actual unveiling of the Klingon ship was intended to be “Elaan of Troyius” but maybe I’m wrong. Obviously in “Enterprise Incident” the big reactions regard the use of the Klingon ships by Romulans, but both these episodes unveiled the Klingon ship design to the audience and the music and shot design in these episodes reflects that.

25. cbspock - January 8, 2007

Liked your review. I agree about the phasers on TNG, it was amazing that they could step out of the way of the beams.

26. Buckaroohawk - January 8, 2007

Since the subject of phasers has been brought up here, I’ll toss in my two cents. In my opinion, Starfleet weapons started de-powering around the time of Star Trek II. The hand phasers are still formidable, capable of disintegrating people (and Ceti Eels), but the phasers and photon torpedoes aboard Starfleet ships have significantly powered down. It’s mentioned several times in TOS that Starfleet vessels have the power to completely devastate the surface of a planet, but in TWOK, the pitched battles between the Enterprise and Reliant do far less damage than this.

In Star Trek III, Kruge destroys the USS Grissom with a single shot. That in itself is surprising; more surprising is the fact that the Grissom doesn’t “flare up like an exploding sun,” to use Khan’s quote in Space Seed. Matter/antimatter explosions release phenominal power. A single ounce of it destroyed most of a planet in the TOS episode “Obsession,” and Scotty says that the destruction of the Enterprise will definitely destroy V’Ger in TMP, yet the Grissom’s destruction is rather conventional. So, too, is the Enterprise’s own demise later in the film, for that matter.

By the time of TNG and films like ST VI, it seems that the awesome power of Starfleet weapons and ship’s power had been scaled back permanently. The Enterprise and Excelsior battle Chang’s BoP with no worries about a matter/antimatter breach, and ships on TNG routinely exploded with nothing more than a shower of sparks. Even in “Generations,” when the stardrive section of the Enterprise-D does indeed suffer a warp core breach, the effect is nowhere near what was described in TOS.

Of course, dramatically, this all makes sense. It would not do for an exploding ship to wipe out a whole sector of space or destroy the planet our heroes are trying to save. That would end the story very ubruptly, wouldn’t it? It is a shame, however, that the true power of the weapons and ships we’ve seen in Star Trek seems to have been forgotten.

Anyhoo, “Friday’s Child” was fun to watch again. The tweaking of the hand phaser effect was a nice attempt, but if they’re going to keep up with that, they have to improve it a bit more.

DC (#12): You’ll have to prove to me that CBS Digital have been doing new transporter effects. I see no change in them whatsoever. The matte lines are still there, a cookie cutter of the actor’s position prior to the effect. Furthermore, none of the edited compilation scenes provided by this here site have included a single transporter shot. I believe that you are seeing only the increased resolution of the HD transfer, not a re-working or improvement of the effect itself. If you can provide eveidence to the contrary, I’d appreciate it.

27. DC - January 9, 2007

Well, for one thing, in City on the Edge of Forever, in the original, during beam out and the closing credits, whenever the effects were on screen, the smoke from the Guardian stopped
in the remastered, the smoke is going continuously throughout all the effects
thus, i think they had to redo the transporter effect and the closing credits (the credits which they’ve redone anyway)

28. jonboc - January 9, 2007

I always hated the way the newer Trek’s phasers spit out like a wimpy water hose and was always “laser” red. Well these aren’t lasers…they’re phasers….unless your heating up a rock or pot of coffee, give the the seering blue white energy that makes bad people glow and dissappear! And I have no problems with the original, instant zap-glow-your gone, hand phaser effect..in fact I prefer it to this episodes more 24th century approach. But if they are going to tinker with the beams, I would hope they would make the dangerous stuff blue, stuns green, and reserve red for heating up rocks. And let them expand and glow more. I always like to see the bad guys bake just a little longer… just my 2 cents.

29. Herbert Eyes Wide Open - January 9, 2007

Exxxxxxcellent review, Mr. Bond!

So, dead on… especially your observations about the score. That is one of my favorite pieces of music. That “in your face” trumpet fanfare above the Enterprise theme. That’s Entertainment!

All that nonsense about sound and the vacuum of space notwithstanding, I have the distinct feeling that M’aab didn’t like Earth men because he was a little unnerved by the aural accompaniment as the Enterprise entered orbit.

Ext. – Day – Capella IV

ANGLE ON M’AAB and KRAS as they both look skyward. M’AAB appears confused … KRAS looks a little nauseous.

M’AAB: Klingon! What is that God-like music? What does it mean?

KRAS: Awww, targ crap! It’s the Enterprise.

M’AAB: Enterprise? What does it herald?

KRAS: It heralds an ass-kicking!

M’AAB: An… ass-kicking?

KRAS: Yeah, schmuck… an ass-kicking! Kirk and the Boys are back in town. Why did I take this gig? I shoulda’ gone to medical school like my Mom said. No, I wanted adventure… Jeeesh!

30. Eric - January 9, 2007

Overall, I thought this was a very good review. However, I don’t agree with the author’s logic regarding not showing a better image of a Klingon ship. I think too much is being read into “the big deal” that was supposedly made about the Klingon ship in Elaan of Troyius. I don’t think it is the ship design the crew was commenting on, simply the fact they finally identified it as Klingons following the Enterprise; and the reason it was a “big deal” in The Enterprise Incident was because the Klingon ship design was being used by Romulans (a first for the show).

Presumably, the Federation was well aware of Klingon ship design. After all, they were about to fight a war with a Klingon fleet above Organia in Errand of Mercy. I can’t believe they didn’t see Klingon ships; it is just that the show’s budget did not permit them to be shown on screen. Hopefully, this will be corrected in the remastered version.

In addition, Maab was play by Michael Dante not Michael Pate.

Finally, something needs to be done about the Cycloramas. These are far worse than the original phaser effects, which have been redone—and improved. If the phaser effects in live action can be redone, this should also be fixable!

31. Mark T. - January 9, 2007

First-time poster here. Although it has been said before, I will say it again. I love this site. I don’t even remember what it was that brought me here the first time. Yet, since then, this place has become at least a twice daily visit for me. Thanks Anthony for providing the great forum and coverage, and to everyone else here for the interesting commentary.

Here we have another great review. Much like Matt Wright’s “Corbomite” review, it points out things I never considered when I watched this episode as a young man. Yes, I was one of those who didn’t look kindly upon this outing in the past. I guess, as a kid, I was more into the action aspects of the show. All the walking through the hills with annoying pregnant lady scenes were BORING. However, with age comes wisdom. I now love this episode specifically for those character moments. I gained huge respect for McCoy in particular. Hell, I had to watch the “McCoy emasculates the Klingon” scene three times. Brilliant!

The remastering and effects work is, as usual, fantastic. I personally have never had a problem with the quality of the work right from the beginning. As we have all noted, they obviously care a great deal about this project at CBS-D. They are improving what they can, when they can. In my opinion, they have balanced geek obsessiveness, and production budgeting and scheduling very well.

Having said that, AJ’s comment (#18) about the “47 people” making a “civilization” got me thinking. Since the show has always suffered from the low budget/small soundstage/ten extras problem, it would have been great if they could digitally expand the scope. I thought that in the long shot of the hunting party approaching from the distance, a digital matte painting of the tribe’s tent city could have been dropped into the deep background. After all, they did it so beautifully with the Cestus 3 reveal in “Arena”. Just a little something to subtly emphasize the actual civilization of the ten tribes. This should not be misconstrued as a criticism. More of a wishlist item of a giddy TOS fan.

32. samwiseb - January 9, 2007

Overall good effects… although I really wish they’d stop tilting the ship on its axis as it flies through space. I mean, are those angles being preserved out of ‘respect’ to the flaws of the original? The Enterprise is not a surfboard.

Peace, Sam

33. Dave - January 9, 2007

One aggrevating item that I am surprised no one else has mentioned, unless I missed it, is the obvious blue material used as a backdrop for the closeup of Kirk and Spock crouched behind the rocks with their communicators as they to create a subsonic vibration resulting in the avalanche. The backdrop was obviously there to create the illusion of blue sky and to hide something. It first caught my eye in the first DVD release. In the re-mastered version it is painfully obvious. Apparently the quality of 60’s filming effectively hid the truth but these cleaned-up versions have revealed them. I wonder why they didn’t digitally insert a sky, perhaps with clouds.

34. Kyle Nin - January 9, 2007

#2:

“The Tholian Web” airs on March 31st. I’m kind of eager to see how they update the web effect. (Will it look more like the web from the Enterprise episode “In A Mirror, Darkly”?)

35. Jeff Bond - January 9, 2007

I’m sure nothing has been done to the transporter effects–in City on the Edge of Forever, additional CG mist elements were added over the background to fix the problem of the mist “freezing” during the credit freeze-frames. And I agree–I prefer the TOS transporter effects to anything done later, although the one in TMP was pretty cool.

36. Cafe 5 - January 9, 2007

“Friday’s Child” is a very good episode. It is basic Star Trek. It is well written
and only diminishes in quality because of the limited budget of the times.
The music by Gerald Fried is a major standout. His music has endured for
40 years. The themes he created would have been grand had they been
used for “ST:enterprise” instead of the glop use by the bermbraga’s. The TOS
episodes only get better with remastering and are far superior to many of the
later incarnations.

37. sean's clone - January 9, 2007

I really want to like “Friday’s Child” but I count get over the technical flaws in the picture, clumsy staging and blocking and the fruity costumes.

For me, this is an episode to forget, but not to dislike.

38. Thomas Jensen - January 9, 2007

I’m with #23 & #24, they should release all the remaining music from the series. I love the soundtracks and just as with the show, they’ve never been as good as the original soundtracks were.

(And re-mix the soporano singer during the titles). The journey continues….

39. TomBot2007 - January 9, 2007

Yeah, it is odd that they couldn’t pop in something quick for that blue cyclorama…
And though, I was surprised at the concentration on this episodes music in the review, which seemed to be a carryover from the original talkback, it is true that TOS music is the best. :-)

40. neal - January 9, 2007

Great review, and I agree totally about the music score being a significant aspect of this episode. I keep noting the same idea repeatedly in my own posts. The music on TOS, and *especially* in the second season, is far superior to anything that’s come since. That formless, character-less synthesizer music on TNG, so dull. I loved that post that suggested the Enterprise series would have been better with Gerald Fried music in it. Absolutely, any action show would become ten times better with it.

Is there a web listing anywhere that makes note of which TOS episodes had original music composed for them, and which eps were pastiches of re-used music from previous eps?

41. yo - January 10, 2007

> Is there a web listing anywhere that makes note of which
> TOS episodes had original music composed for them,
> and which eps were pastiches of re-used music from previous eps?

This list is borrowed from Usenet posts by
William Kenlon (1998): http://groups.google.com/group/alt.tv.star-trek.tos/msg/e6bf2498f842b9cc
and Jeff Bond (2000): http://groups.google.com/group/alt.tv.star-trek.tos/msg/8d1230601acb4d04
(bottom half of post)

According to those posts.
these episodes had original music:

(in alphabetical order)

Amok Time
And the Children Shall Lead
Balance of Terror
By Any Other Name
Catspaw
Charlie X
Elaan of Troyius
Friday’s Child
I, Mudd
Is There In Truth No Beauty?
Metamorphosis
Mirror, Mirror
Mudd’s Women
Patterns of Force
Plato’s Stepchildren
Return to Tomorrow
Shore Leave
Spectre of the Gun
Spock’s Brain
The Cage

The City on the Edge of Forever
(“a few brief cues, mostly based on the song ‘Goodnight, Sweetheart'”
were new music, according to Jeff Bond’s Usenet post.)

The Conscience of the King
The Corbomite Maneuver
The Doomsday Machine
The Empath
The Enemy Within
The Enterprise Incident
The Man Trap
The Naked Time

The Omega Glory
(the only new music is played when the flag is shown)

The Paradise Syndrome
The Trouble With Tribbles
What Are Little Girls Made Of?
Where No Man Has Gone Before
Who Mourns For Adonais?

Whom Gods Destroy
(“the eastern-sounding piece played over Marta’s dance number”
was new music, according to William Kenlon’s Usenet post.)

42. neal - January 11, 2007

Wow, thanks, I haven’t seen this list before, obviously.

It really is striking: the correlation between episodes’ fan-rated quality, and whether new music was written specifically for it. “City” is the one obvious exception, but the other old consensual favorites all had purpose-built scores driving their plots: Doomsday, Mirror, Balance, Amok, Tribbles, Shore Leave, yep they’re all there! This realiy is an underappreciated, yet utterly pivotal aspect of any cinematic success.

(Or maybe I’ve got it backwards. Maybe the producers went out of their way to commission new music for those scripts that were obviously superior …).

43. Joe Medley - January 11, 2007

When I first heard about the remastering of TOS I was upset and concerned. I had a fear that it would be overdone in an attempt to match the overproduced effects-heavy extravaganzas that pass for science fiction these days. Then I started seeing stills from the new Trek on memory alpha (I don’t have cable any more). What I had seen caused me to warm to the idea little.

I just saw the outtakes posted on this site from Friday’s child. Now, I’m a convert. These effects are completely in the spirit of the old show. My absolute favorite shot is of the Enterprise moving from a standard orbit to flying off into the distance. WOW! Simple though it was, it made me feel like I was seeing the Enterprise for the first time.

I also like the shot of Enterprise pulling away from orbit with the planet shrinking in the background. Did they take their inspiration for that shot from New Voyages? One of their episodes had a remarkably similar shot.

44. Jeff Bond - January 12, 2007

“Miri” also had at least one cue written for it when Miri is breaking down–I’m sure it was done by Fred Steiner and shows up in later episodes like “Space Seed.” But for the most part, the “good episode/original music” relationship is due to the fact that usually the first eight episodes or so of the season would have original music written and the rest of the season would be tracked unless something (like “City on the Edge of Forever”) came up that was too unusual to work with a completely tracked score. But in TOS’s case the early episodes of the season were often the better ones, with fatigue, budget and schedule limitations eating away at the quality of the later episodes. Of course there are many exceptions to that rule of thumb but I think it accounts for the connection between new music and a good episode.

45. Leonidas - January 13, 2007

I note, visual effects notwithstanding, that the ‘clean up’ of the film didn’t work out well here; a lot of the footage is washed out.

Not one of the better episodes, and the restoration here leaves a lot to be desired.

However, the redo of the phaser is pretty good. Will they now fix the work on better episodes?

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