Review: The Tholian Web Remastered |
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Review: The Tholian Web Remastered April 2, 2007

by Dennis Russell Bailey , Filed under: Review,TOS Remastered , trackback

"Bring Back Kirk!"
Enterprise finds one of its sister ships, the Event Horizon – uh, Defiant – floating dead in space. Everyone important beams over and finds the crew dead with their hands wrapped around one another’s throats. After much investigation and careful consideration, "Bones" rules out natural causes and concludes that they killed each other. He also discovers that props and corpses aboard the ship are becoming immaterial. Fortunately, whatever’s going on doesn’t affect deck floors.

Enterprise’s transporter is acting up again, so the entire landing party can’t be beamed back at the same time. Kirk orders everyone else to return first. Spock demurs, but Kirk orders him to return with the others lest Scotty wind up with the biggest role this week. Of course, once Kirk’s the only one left behind, Defiant disappears faster than a decent sci-fi series on the FOX network and Spock is left to try to reach into another universe and rescue Kirk.

Rescue efforts are badly complicated by two factors:

  1. The arrival of the Tholians. They object to Enterprise’s presence here and spin a web to imprison the vessel, despite Spock’s insistence that Federation ship is in Iraqi waters neutral space.
  2. Whatever homicidal craziness infected the crew of Defiant crosses over to Enterprise, causing extras to attack the stars’ stunt doubles.

Despite a ticking clock and the necessity of finding a treatment for Space Madness, McCoy decides that it’s more important to follow Spock around behaving like an insubordinate jerk. He insists that Spock view Kirk’s final orders with him. From beyond the hypothetical grave Kirk tells his buddies two things

  1. "Spock, do a good job and ask McCoy for advice."
  2. "Bones, stop behaving like an insubordinate jerk."

Chastened, McCoy whips up a cure for the madness. Scotty is dubious until he’s made to understand that it’s a new way to drug himself insensible. Faced with the critical need to get the ship’s engines working Real Fast, he swipes a beaker of the stuff and declares his intention to mix it with booze and get as drunk as possible. In the end, the finest crew in Starfleet somehow manages to retrieve Kirk from limbo. Defiant, on the other hand, is pulled into the Mirror Universe by Mirror-Tholians who will lose it to Mirror-Jonathan Archer. But that’s a story for another day…

Get a grip Pavel

Episode Number 64…
Popular though it may be, "The Tholian Web" is an unremarkable "Star Trek" story. Yes, the "space madness" subplot allows for some histrionic performances on the part of the usually-neglected supporting cast, which probably endears it to some viewers who are particularly fond of those characters. Yes, there’s some amusing fussing and hurt/comfort byplay between Spock and McCoy, but it’s thinly motivated and seems to exist mainly as a sop to some portion of the audience that’s understood to enjoy this adversarial back-and-forth no matter how distracting or extraneous (in that regard, it foreshadows the rather synthetic argument the two have in Kirk’s quarters in "The Wrath Of Khan").

It’s difficult to empathize with McCoy here because his bitterness is so inappropriate in its extremity and Spock’s position so evidently reasonable. Perhaps aberrant behavior such as suggesting that Spock might want Kirk dead for the sake of his own career can be explained away as symptomatic of McCoy succumbing to the space madness. To just the extent that he’s out of his mind, however, the rapprochement that he and Spock finally achieve is trivialized. "Forget it, Bones," indeed. In the end, this is just a television tale where an hour is harmlessly passed by putting the series star character in a kind of faux jeopardy that we know must be happily resolved by the final commercial break. It’s "Star Trek" as "Stargate SG-1."

Nonetheless, there are a couple of great things about "The Tholian Web." First, it represents one of the original series’ few attempts to portray intelligent aliens who are physically very different than humans, and so succeeds that the Tholians have become one of the best-remembered, most popular and speculated-upon minor creations of TOS. It’s interesting that one of the other best examples of this kind of thing, the Melkots, also appear in the third and final season of the series which was otherwise notable for slashed episodic budgets and a general falling-off of focus and ambition. Second, the effects work is superb in design and execution.

Hi, I’m dead…now play nice boys

What’s Changed?
"The Tholian Web" in many ways would seem to present a challenge to the folks at CBS Digital almost the opposite of that posed by "The Doomsday Machine." "The Doomsday Machine" was an episode that was much better than the limited effects that supported the story. This is one reason that so many CG artists over the years have selected that episode as a showcase for "upgrading" TOS. The challenge there was to create new shots that better approached what the audience might imagine the fight between Enterprise and the Planet Killer to be like.

The original effects shots in "The Tholian Web,” however, are some of the best ever produced for the original “Star Trek” series (even garnering an Emmy nomination*). It would seem that the challenge here would be for the CG recreations to do justice to the original shots while enhancing them for HD. For the most part that’s the approach they take. And for the most part, they succeed – with a glaring exception.

The exteriors of Defiant are nicely enhanced. As with "Space Seed,” the CBS Digital folks take advantage of the fact that they’re neither working with models on fixed mounts or with stock footage of such models to portray derelict ships at angles other than the Trek-standard up-and-down orientation. It’s a nice way of suggesting that the ships are not moving or keeping station under any kind of helm or attitude control.

In the Enterprise/Tholian battle sequence, the new phaser and Tholian weapon effects look effectively energetic and dangerous. The new shots of Enterprise and the web stay very close to the composition and style of the vividly memorable original images. CBS nearly duplicates the look of the original web effect (itself a cell animation effect to which Michael Minor was a contributor). Enterprise appears in close-up, motionless relative to the camera, for several long shots in this episode. Duplicating these set-ups gives CBS Digital the opportunity to show off the hull detail and textures on their mesh, and the model holds up under the scrutiny (okay, I miss the "rust ring" on the upper surface of the saucer).

Some of these shots are subtly enhanced by camera movement where there was none before – watch the aft-forward shot of Enterprise caught in the web – and by correcting perspective errors that existed in the original. For the first time, the web on the far side of the ship is smaller and therefore appears farther away than the web in the foreground of the shot. There was likely some rotoscoping work required for one shot in which the half-solid Kirk "floats" against the background of the web. Such work is painstaking and successful mainly to the extent that it goes unnoticed.

I can see the inside of my cabin from here

Now I’m going to register my first real complaint with the "Star Trek Remastered” project. What CBS Digital has done by redesigning the Tholian spacecraft is a bad idea and actually diminishes the visual interest of the episode while doing a little damage to the integrity of the whole effort. The Tholian ships were not originally represented as undefined spinning lights like the Orion vessel in "Journey To Babel" or omitted altogether like the Gorn ship in "Arena." The Tholian model was as specific a design and as clearly visible in the episode as were the Klingon vessels or the Romulan Bird-of-Prey or the Botany Bay – or Enterprise itself, for that matter. The geometry of the ships was both aesthetically pleasing and surprising…even, one might say, "alien." Jefferies’ design didn’t need to be changed, and in my opinion shouldn’t have been. The new version of the ship is not an improvement and includes no significant new detail that is apparent in such a way as to enhance the "reality" of the shots in which it appears.

In the case of the Botany Bay, CBS Digital followed the original design very closely while adding some mesh and textural detail. Something similar was done with the Bird-of-Prey. This is what should have been done with the Tholian vessels. The absence of the red and green and blue colored lights used to illuminate the models on the stage is missed as well. The intense colors were a characteristic TOS technique (though, granted, rarely used for ship exteriors) and tied the vessel exteriors nicely to the posterized images of the Tholians themselves.

Why were these changes made? The new Tholian ships bear a passing resemblance to the Tholians seen on "Star Trek Enterprise," mainly as the result of the "spurs" now extending off the back of the hulls’ triangular ridges. That’s not enough reason to conclude that the change was made to bring these designs into line with the Tholians of “A Mirror, Darkly” as some have suggested, and that would certainly be a poor justification. The original (again, in my arrogant opinion) shouldn’t be revised for the sake of consistency with later artists’ work any more than later artists should be arbitrarily constrained by every design decision made on "Star Trek" in decades past.


What’s Left Alone?
The image of the Tholian commander has not been replaced or, as far as I can discern, enhanced in the new version. This is good; there don’t appear to have been any issues with the quality of the mattes or images in the original (since the commander appears only as a viewer insert, concerns about HD resolution are probably diminished). So unlike his spaceship, Loskene is as alien as ever.

Looking good Loskene

* there seems a bit of debate on the Emmy for the show. Memory Alpha and Amazon list it as winning, but,, and TheEnvelope list it as only being nominated. Suffice it to say it got their attention. But if someone has definitive proof send it in via the tipline…no need to derail the talkback on this.


1. John Kirk - April 2, 2007

I agree with you on this one!
As much as I have admired the work of the remastering team, especially on my favorite episode “The Doomsday Machine,” the effects on “The Tholian Web” seem to be a step backwards. I prefer the original effects. When I saw the Tholian ships for the first time, I said the same thing… why? The effects seem “cartoonish” to me, where the original ships (although basic) seem MORE realistic than the new effects. This episode needs a rework before it’s released to us on DVD… Thanks for everything you do Paramount.
John Kirk
Abbottstown, PA

2. Duane Boda - April 2, 2007

Not enough thought and effort put into this episode. Why did they allow it to be so dark? I can only hope that when its finally released on HD that this oversight is corrected and cleaned up or will it appear as they intended when we do see it on HD – I don’t see how myself.

3. Olde Timey Fan - April 2, 2007

Agree with DB that the Tholian ship should have been left alone. For one thing, the original holds the same wierd look as its inhabitants. It was, in concert, a spooky and disturbing representation of a truly alien race.

The new one looks pedestrian and pedantic a la Enterprise et al. Common, vulgar and unnecessary!

I also appreciate the primary color lights blasted onto the original model. It makes it immediately clear to the viewer that Tholians are Not of This World!

One comment on the McCoy/Spock nastiness… it made sense to me as a boy and I didn’t give it a second thought. I suppose it is dialog from an earlier time when we were more frank with each other, especially when under stress. I thought it was a great trick to move the story forward though, emphasizing Kirk’s departure to that great Command Chair in the Sky when we all knew he was coming back by 9PM!

4. mike - April 2, 2007

Great review. I agree wholeheartedly about the superiority of the original Tholian ships. Its more fun to wonder what they’re made of and how they could possibly function than to have every nut and bolt pointed out to you.

But I do love this Remastered project. There are far more positives than negatives.

5. Imrahil - April 2, 2007

I tend to agree with your assessment that the ship didn’t need to be changed. If anything, I find the new design looks a lot “flatter” and less dynamic.

I disagree, on the other hand, about the “synthetic” nature of the argument in Trek II. They’re both expressing their deeply-held philosophies in their own deeply-ingrained ways: McCoy, as an asshole, Spock as a quieter, less abrasive asshole.

God I love TOS. :)

6. SteveinSF - April 2, 2007

Nice review–this episode never made much sense to me. I couldn’t figure out after all the years together, why McCoy was such a dick to Spock. And Spock lies in the end about Kirk’s last orders.
I really enjoy your work here—thanks!

7. Dennis Bailey - April 2, 2007

BTW, I don’t select the images (though I’m offered the opportunity) nor do I come up with the captions. I cannot take credit for Anthony’s “Hi, I’m dead…now play nice boys” which gave me the second biggest laugh of my day.

8. TholianHata - April 2, 2007

I’ve never liked the Tholian ships. The lack of detail doesn’t look alien to me, just unconvincing.

9. Stanklin T. McFibberich - April 2, 2007

Some amusing stuff here in the synopsis. Better than just a straight rehash of events.

I guess the effects in this one were OK. The originals were so good, that its tough to top that.

I agree with Mr. Bailey that the Tholian ship was changed too much .

All in all, I have no serious objections to the effort.

10. Gd846c3 - April 2, 2007

Good review. I suppose that the original Tholian ship’s did infact look more misterious. Must have been all the excitement that got me likeing the new digital models.

11. Anthony Pascale - April 2, 2007

thanks again for a great and entertaining review Dennis. Glad I can return the favor and make you laugh.

and I agree. Everyone should know that I have been the opposite of a purist on TOSR. I have thought they should really push the envelope. In this case…fr the tholian ships, I feel they pushed the wrong envelop. The tholians are weird and strange and alien….so why make their ships look more realistic and common. Make them wild maybe crystiline and faceted. But it is just a matter of philosophy on this one…and the Ent looked great.

I also agree that McCoy seemed totally wrong. This can be space madness, or it could be that this is the 3rd season with more absentee producers and two wirters and a director who had never worked on Trek before. McCoy accusing Spock of having ambition and being so ready to give up on Jim just seemed all wrong. If anyone would have been thinking of cutting their losses and getting out of there it would have been ‘needs of the many’ Spock.

12. JonBuck - April 2, 2007

I disagree on the new look of the Tholian ships. I rather like the new details. They’re visibly different than the Enterprise versions to boot, suggesting design evolution.

13. Dennis Bailey - April 2, 2007

There was a comedian on SNL back in 1978 or so who had a great “Star Trek” part to his routine. It was something like:

“I dug McCoy, but he was ridiculous – no matter what Kirk told him to do, he wouldn’t do it:

KIRK: ‘Bones, zip up your fly.’

MCCOY: ‘I dare not, Jim!’

“Also, he didn’t get along with Spock and would have these ridiculous arguments, but Spock was always too smart for him.

MCCOY: ‘You’re an emotionless, pointy-earred freak!’

SPOCK: ‘Perhaps, Doctor, however at least my fly is zipped.’

“I hear they’re making a ‘Star Trek’ movie, which is good. Because it’s getting harder and harder to find new things in the episodes. ‘Hmm, I notice that Uhura has a run in her panty hose in this scene.'”

14. Jim J - April 2, 2007

Regarding the tholian ships: I don’t know…I like the new ones, but I like the old ones, too. Changing the design for the sake of changing it, yeah not a real good idea. I’ll nibble that much. Overall, however, this project has been a huge success so far. Next week looks fantastic.

15. Jim J - April 2, 2007

I should have said, “A huge success IN MY OPINION.” Whoops!

16. steve623 - April 2, 2007

Just adding another voice to the rising “they should have left the Tholian ships alone” tide. Much better as originally conceived.

17. Thomas Jensen - April 2, 2007

I’m not in agreement with anything said about the episode itself and it’s merits as a story.

However I enjoyed the analysis of the special effects and I do agree with everything said and the points made about the Tholian ship. His views on the changes, made complete sense, in the context of this project.

I enjoyed this remastering, but I’d rather they follow the original design and give us some more detail as was done before with other ships.

There was something special and unique about the original shape that’s gone now.

18. Shaye - April 2, 2007

Ah yes…Loskeen and his Tholian Ships, not to mention The Big -E and the Web!
The original Emmy Award winning 1969 FX by Van Der Veer….

… They are still LIGHT YEARS ahead of the cbs/cgi horror they inserted into this clasic episode in 2007, and they truly ruined this episode for many of us with some very poor shots of both the Enterprise and the Defiant as well as the tholian ships now ruined.

The new shots of the Tholian Ships and its web around the Enterprise looked like a saturday morning cartoon from the 1970’s!

Rate this one a firm D –

It is a CBS/CGI embarrassing embarrasment…..imo.

” You dont paint a mustache on a Mona Lia…nor “fix” something that is not broken to begin with!..”

p.s. looking forward though to The Immunity Syndrome…very much..this one looks more like it!..(from the preview anyway).

19. SteveinSF - April 2, 2007

Here’a a quick question–I never thought of this but why do they wear their space suits in the first place? I don’t remember a report of loss of life support. When they got on the Defiant, someone said all systems are functioning?
Just a random thought

20. Spock's Brain - April 2, 2007

The redesign of the Tholian vessels is unwarranted and make this remaster a dissapointment.

21. Shaye - April 2, 2007

It was always agreed in my old trek group that it was because the Defiant was “blinking” out randomly at times they maybe needed tthose space enviromental suits , what do you think, perhaps?

22. Spock's Brain - April 2, 2007

#19 “but why do they wear their space suits in the first place?”

They are aware before they beam aboard that the space (and therefore ship) are unstable. So the suits are a necessary precaution.

23. Ian Watson - April 2, 2007

Always glad to see a “revew,” Anthony, but when are we getting a review? ;)

24. Shaye - April 2, 2007

#22 …..i believe i just said that to #19.


25. CmdrR - April 2, 2007

SteveninSF, OK while we’re at it. Why do their space suits have no backpacks for, hmm, dunno, oxygen? Or in the 23rd century have they learned to compress several hours’ worth into a boot?
I like the new Tholian ships. I don’t find them common. It may be true we’re getting far more SciFi now than 40 years ago. But, I think the old design relied heavily on gel’d lighting rather than detail. Am I right that they jammed some pylons onto the Tholian ship and turned it into the Aurora? Anyone? I think it was a sign of the budget crunch. I’m glad we’re seeing new details. In general, I’ve sided with CBS-R in its efforts to bring Trek up to contemporary FX standards.

26. Scott Gammans - April 2, 2007

Another great review Dennis, and you’ll get no argument from me–the arbitrary redesign of the Tholian vessels was *not* a welcome “improvement”.

Also, I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see the Enterprise trapped in the web from a greater distance. If you’re going to redo stuff, CBS Digital, give us some interesting imagery we haven’t seen before.


27. SteveinSF - April 2, 2007

That’s true! No backpacks. Maybe everything is stored in that funky head piece/ black post thingy.

The Aurora –The Way To Eden. What a horrible, horrible episode. Right there with Star Trek V.

I can’t wait to see Tomorrow is Yesterday with the Enterprise being chased by the 60’s jet interceptor. I’m curious how CBS handles that.

28. Shaye - April 2, 2007

Yeah the made the Hippies Stolen Cruiser from one of the Tholian ships with Nacelles from an AMT Enterprise model a kid could buy for $4.95 in us dollars. circa 1969….


29. THEETrekMaster - April 2, 2007

Yes, the Aurora was a Tholian ship with engine pods added onto it. Looked good to me (Even though I did recognize it as a Tholian ship right away…maybe they’ll keep that design since they changed the Tholian ships so much.

30. Shaye - April 2, 2007

yeaaa trekmassster

…and dub in rap and hip hop into the hippies music and talkin via cgi?

31. Quatlo - April 2, 2007

That monitor with the grubby right side edge in all those shots bothers me and I try not to let things bother me. Was there no cleaner in any of those plastic bottles in sick bay? ;0

32. Cranston - April 2, 2007

Another nice review, and one I agree with wholeheartedly. I can’t add anything, really.

One thing made me laugh rewatching the ep this weekend, though — the fact that Kirk was so *specific* with the introduction to his “last orders” recording. It wasn’t just “If you’re watching this, I’m dead.” It was more like “If you’re watching this, then I am dead, and you are probably locked in mortal combat and facing the most difficult command decisions of your career.” Made Kirk seem a little bit full of himself (Kirk?!)

Would’ve been pretty funny if Kirk had died slipping in the shower or something.

33. Michael Appleton - April 2, 2007

#32 “if Kirk had died slipping in the shower”
Kirk would be more likely to die while “shtupping” in the shower! James T. Kirk was the JFK Lothario of the 23rd century, well known for fighting and f*#king his way through the galaxy! The “T” stood for TRIM!

34. stallion - April 2, 2007

The line about Scotty getting as drunk as possible during a ship emergency, and the line about the deck floor not being affected is just LOL funny.

35. Spock's Brain - April 2, 2007

# 26

I agree that new Tholian ship design is a little off. Infinitely more egregious to me though is how miserly CBS-D tends to be in terms of siezing opportunities to give us something NEW to look at. As I wrote before: I recall from interviews of the period the original creators expressing their sincere laments they could not quite budget a far shot of the Enterprise completely surrounded by web. They really wanted that shot. Forty years later they still don’t get it; and neither do we.

If there’s little or nothing new to look at, well, then why am I looking at it?

36. Spock's Brain - April 2, 2007

#22 Are you another “Spock’s Brain”? Are there two of us?

37. paul austin - April 2, 2007

yep I agree, an unecesary change to the tholian ships. What makes it worse is now the ships almost blend into the already dark image…as lit before they would have stood out nicely

38. chris2 - April 2, 2007

Kudos to CBS for another nice job. The enterprise looked especially nice in its closeups and the shot from underneath was pretty nifty.

39. Tassieboy - April 2, 2007

While I haven’t had the chance to see any re-mastered, living in Australia, I was keenly interested to see what they did with this episode – a favourite of mine.

I like the way they enhanced the Tholian ships. Enterprise gave a nice nod to TOS and it’s good to see TOS-R giving one back. The tholian ships now look like spaceships rather than triangular slabs of metal.

As for Loskene, I would have preferred they change his image. The tholian seen in “In A Mirror Darkly” showed what was possible. It looked very reminiscent of Loskene, but it also looked like a living breathing alien, rather than a fuzzy splotch of colour.

So, I guess I disagree on both points with the reviewer, but my opinions are based soley on what I’ve seen from the screen-shots.

Still, sending a big Aussie “Good on ya” to the team at CBS Digital for their work.

40. MichaelJohn - April 3, 2007

I often wonder if the people over at CBS digital ever visit this site, and read our comments regarding their work. There have been many valid criticisms posted here regarding the remastered episodes, but more importantly many great suggestions for improvements they could make.

I’m sure time and money are tight when it comes to remastering each episodes, but I do hope they have time at the end to go back and make some improvements.

Mike :o

41. Josh T. (The Phantom Shatner) Kirk Esquire' - April 3, 2007


I tell you, at this point, given the roller coaster ride up and down Judas mentality prevalent on these boards, if I worked for CBS Digital I’d DELIBERATELY do things to piss this crowd off.

Hey Mike, Denise, Dave etc, don’t sweat it, you guys are doing just fine.
Don’t fall for the squeeky wheel routine. Just keep doing what you are doing, it’s FANtastic.

42. Josh T. (The Phantom Shatner) Kirk Esquire' - April 3, 2007

I don’t envy J.J. ABrams.

43. Dom - April 3, 2007

Generally, I really liked the FX. Unfortunately, I agree the Tholian ship redesign was unfortunate: I assumed the Tholians and their ships were crystalline. The new look makes them somewhat ordinary.

On the whole though, thanks guys!

44. Montreal Paul - April 3, 2007

I agree with some of what Dennis Bailey said in his review.. but I, for one, think the new Tholian ships are a welcome addition. The original ones were just a blurred blob of metal with no detail. Even if ENT didn’t do a Tholian ship, I think this episode cried to be fixed with a ship that actually looks like a ship. The original ships and fx were so cheap and cartoonish.. now, the remastered shows look more realistic. A vast improvement in my opinion. I’ve been waiting 40 years for someone to make the ships and fx look better.. bravo CBSD!

45. Doug - April 3, 2007

I haven’t seen this episode yet, but from many of the reviews regarding effects, I’m still of a mind that the effects shots per episode have been divied up between teams. Many episodes have a “cartoony” look to them, while others have much more depth.

Changing the Tholian ships was a big mistake too. They were extremely cool, and created a sense of complete mystery while they silently spun their web. That is a very disappointing decision which was well articulated by several posters.

Finally, in the comparison shots, we once again see the huge difference in lighting between the original and the remastered. You can barely see the stars in the remastered.

Can we get some effects artists from CBS-D to speak on these points (plus the battleship grey Ent) specifically. Are these artistic choices?


46. Dom - April 3, 2007

From James Blish’s adaptation, presumably worked on from the scripts:

First, the Tholian ship on approach:

‘The stranger was crystalline in appearance, blue-green in coloration, and shaped like a tetrahedron within which a soft light seemed to pulsate.’

And Loskene:

‘Like its vessel, the alien was almost jewel-like in appearance, multifaceted, crystalline, though it was humanoid in build. A light pulsated rapidly in what seemed to be its head.’

47. konar - April 3, 2007

I thought the effects were fine… although I can’t say I’m a big fan of the aztec pattern on the E. But I am not in control, and I appreciate the fact that they are doing this in the first place.

I love TOS with all its melodrama, warts and all — but seeing this episode again made me realize how bad — and shockingly lazy — the writing could be on this show. Life and death situations, with jokes about scotch? The gratuitous back and forth between Bones and Spock? It’s like they couldn’t find enough to fill 52 minutes, and so they started throwing everything in… no explanation as to why Spock is able to calculate to the second when the next interphase (or whatever) will occur…

But I’d still watch it again.

48. REDO - April 3, 2007

The effects could have been better. I think they constrain themselves too closely to the orginal sometimes. I noticed how everyone says certain episodes need to be “re-worked” before a DVD release. Are we fooling ourselves into thinking this will REALLY happen? Is CBS Digital going to take some advice and actually make some “re-do” effects before a DVD release? Does anyone have proof that this may or may not happen?
Did CBS Digital make an offical statement regarding this? Fact is they need to. Before I drop ANOTHER $300 bucks for DVD’s I already have, they better make some changes, or it’s no sale.

49. ZtoA - April 3, 2007

Well I guess you fall into two camps when looking at this one…

Those who think the original effects were fine as was the design of the tholian ship


Those who think there should be continuity between TOS and all other subsequent franchises.

I happen to think the latter should be the modus operandi. Enterprise basically re-invented the Tholians and to make the tholian technology in Kirk’s time look more primitive than in Archer’s time is a bit Star Wars-ish. I think they made a good call in redesigning the Tholian ships to more closely match the design made for Enterprise. I thought the episode overall looked dynamite as did the original.

I also think it’s time to re-cast, re-write and re-launch the entire franchise.

50. Dennis Bailey - April 3, 2007

#49:” to make the tholian technology in Kirk’s time look more primitive than in Archer’s time is a bit Star Wars-ish”


Going back to the original and changing it to fit in with later versions of the thing is a *lot* “Star Wars-ish.” It’s exactly what Lucas did with the original trilogy after producing the prequels.

51. doubleofive - April 3, 2007

There’s just no pleasing everyone. Originally, everyone was upset because it turned out that CBS-D wasn’t just going to recreate the shots frame by frame, now they’re saying that they SHOULD have changed more shots. And then when they replace the pewter-looking pyramid with lights shining on it to something that actually looks like an alien web-spinner, they complain even more! Maybe its because I’m younger (23) and grew up with the more modern Trek, but I think the Tholian ship redesign is a welcome addition and recreating most of the classic E shots while also giving us glorious new flybys makes me very happy.

Bravo CBS-D. Bravo.

52. Dennis Bailey - April 3, 2007

And I don’t think there should be retroactive continuity between TOS and later iterations of the Franchise. It’s not part of a repetitious “saga;” it’s a television series produced four decades ago that stands alone. Pretending that it fits neatly into the continuity or themes of the revived versions is an historical untruth.

53. FredCFO - April 3, 2007

Nice review by Dennis.

The Tholian ship model was reused in “The Way to Eden”. The Aurora was a Tholian ship with nacelles.

That being said, the triangular shape of the vessel was retained. The added detail was an upgrade to the budget conscious original.

54. New Horizon - April 3, 2007


It’s not so much age as it is perspective, or perhaps perception. I know a lot of people who can’t look at a black and white movie without getting shifty. As for me, I don’t give a crap either way. A movie is a movie…I just transport myself to that time period and accept the conventions of the period. I just watched Forbidden Planet two nights ago…my wife fell asleep, but I loved it. :) The effects were absolutely stunning for the time, and to be honest…I would take them over CGI any day. The work that went into making them back then must have been incredible. I especially loved the scene where they are watching the planet loom closer on the viewer while they land. It didn’t feel ‘too real’ like CGI does. I think modern audiences are so accustomed to the ‘hyper-reality’ of SFX today, that they can’t recognize the validity that physical models gave the older SFX.

That being said. The original Tholian ships simply looked more alien due to their simplicity. I’m amazed that CBS-D was able to make the amoeba look as close to the original as they did for next weeks episode. I just don’t know why they can’t be more consistent.

55. Shaye - April 3, 2007

yes, #52 and it makes a lie out of everything TOS ever stood for, but I still have high hopes for the upcoming remasters and just hope those in power over OUR beloved series…” read our holy words of the eeb plan nee sta..” of Star Trek…or it will mean nothing!

The Tholian Web remastered by SciFi ch a few years ago looks faaaar better than this icky version by okuda and company, yet I loved their Doomsday Machine redo, so I hold out hope for the ones yet to come!

peace out

56. Dennis Bailey - April 3, 2007

The new version of the ships don’t strike me as substantially less “simple” or more ship-like; the additional detail is minimal. The contours have simply been altered to no good purpose and the coloring made more conventional.

If anything, the use of reflective materials on the original model was a sophisticated surfacing technique that the new version makes no attempt to emulate.

BTW, I’ve seen the “Aurora” model, and the nacelles on it don’t come from an Enterprise model kit – the scale is wrong, among other things. I’m not sure whether they’re custom lathe-turned pieces or scavenged from someplace else, though.

57. Montreal Paul - April 3, 2007

I’m not saying that they should change everything in TOS to “fit” with all the later series’ .. I am just saying that updating the cheesy effects and ships really gives it boost away from campy. Don’t get me wrong – I love TOS.. I grew up with it and it is my favourite of all the series.. I just think that in terms of updating, they are doing a great job. It really updated the inconsistency in terms of colour of the E.. blue, white grey… making it more stable now. The movement of the ship is more fluid and not all jerky. The alien vessels look like ships now instead of no-descript blurred lights or floating clothes irons. I think it makes the show stronger without taking away from it.

Someone else said this.. there are two camps.. you either like it or you don’t. I like it.. that’s my opinion. Everyone is entitled to their own.

The thing is guys.. if you don’t like it, don’t dis it. TOS will always hold a special place for me. I love watching it in reruns everyday… I have to wait for the DVDs for the remastered version. Both will hold their place in history.

58. Dennis Bailey - April 3, 2007

#57: Someone else said this.. there are two camps.. you either like it or you don’t.”

Except that this is untrue, and that “someone” was wrong. I’ve been all for this “remastering” from the beginning, and my dislike for what was done to the Tholian design was the first serious dislike I’ve voiced in a review for any of their choices.

Choosing up “camps” along the lines of “You either like it or you don’t” is silly playground stuff.

59. Hal - April 3, 2007

I agree with TholianHata. I never liked the original Tholian ships. I can remember watching reruns late Saturday nights when I was a kid and thinking that the ships looked like glowing seeds not ships. I like the upgrade and I also like that it has a bit of continutity with the Enterprise Tholians. I thought ST fans were all about continuity!

60. Jim J - April 3, 2007

I’m with you, Dennis. I think it’s ok to like what you like, dislike what you dislike. Heck, I feel that way about the original effects.

I feel that way about the TNG Enterprise D (dislike it because it’s way too gaudy for me), love the Enterprise E from the movies, though. Hate the Voyager, love the Defiant from DS9, love the Klingon Battle Cruisers, hate the Klingon Bird of Prey’s, etc.

We can all like what we will, dislike what we will. It’s not about camps, it’s about taste. CBS-D needs to remember this or we, the o so fickle fans, will drive them insane!!! I like almost all they have done so far. Not everything, but almost all. Especially since they got the newer Enterprise model.

61. Stanklin T. McFibberich - April 3, 2007

re: 49 ZtoA

“I also think it’s time to re-cast, re-write and re-launch the entire franchise. ”

NOT with the Enterprise or its crew. Do some other ship and crew. Preferably some other time period.
They can mess with that all they want.
They’ve done it before.

62. Jim J - April 3, 2007

Hal-Not when it comes to Enterprise, unfortunately. People whine about that show so much, it makes me ill. How they can whine about it but some of them express enjoyment of Voyager, is beyond me. To me, Voyager was the beginning of the end of the television franchise. Enterprise was headed that way until season 3 and especially season 4. I’ll bet if you take the decent episodes of Enterprise, you’d have 2-2 1/2 good seasons. Likewise with Voyager’s first 4 years…maybe 1- 1 1/2.

63. Montreal Paul - April 3, 2007

Well Dennis …

Like I have mentioned in my previous posts.. I am not for any “camp” as you call it. I like both versions. I take TOS for what it is and for when it was made and for budgetary constraints and limited fx possibilities. But I alway love the way the reworking looks. I think it “fits” with TOS… not with the way it “fits” for anything else.

If ENT never showed a Tholian ship… I truly believe that this whole string about the ship would not exist. People are so against ENT that it clouds their judgements. Take it as a stand alone. And take it for what it is.

What I was talking about …you either like it or you don’t .. I was referring to the Tholian ship. But then hey, you don’t like it.. I do. You think it looks more alien and more believable.. I think the remaster ship does. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. I am not saying that you are wrong – you are entitled to your opinion as am I.

When I go to see a movie.. I could care less what a reviewer thinks about it because that is one person’s opinion. I go to see a movie because I want to see it. And I will probably have my own opinion of the movie.

Here in Montreal I don’t have a chance to see the rematered shows.. I only see what is on here. But I still watch and love watching TOS on the Space channel here everyday.

Just to close this discussion. I found your review quite good. I liked your use of humour as well. I agreed with lots of what you wrote as well. I look forward to reading any of your future reviews.


64. Dennis Bailey - April 3, 2007

#63:”If ENT never showed a Tholian ship… I truly believe that this whole string about the ship would not exist. People are so against ENT that it clouds their judgements. Take it as a stand alone. And take it for what it is.”

Not necessarily. For my part, I loved “Star Trek: Enterprise” and really liked the Mirror Universe episodes, including the Tholians. That’s a completely separate issue, for me, from what I thought of the work done this week on “The Tholian Web.”

Thanks for the kind remarks about the reviews.

65. Michael Hall - April 3, 2007

My only real complaint with this effort was the composition of most of the FX shots. . . in just about every instance I preferred those of the original, particulary the approach to the Defiant. I also wasn’t very impressed with the shimmery new “interphase” effect on the Defiant itself. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” may be a difficult maxim for talented artists with cutting-edge tools to follow, but in instances like this they really need to try harder.

OTOH, the renderings of the big E herself have never looked better. Comments about the original ship shots having more “weight” and “mass” frankly mystify me–to my eyes the only thing they have more of is grain and blue spill.

66. Dennis Bailey - April 3, 2007

Yep, I’d agree with the “weight and mass” thing – I think people confuse what they see with what they think.

67. Ethan Shuster - April 3, 2007

“…causing extras to attack the stars’ stunt doubles.” Haha! Great line.

I think the effects were just fine, but I’m still amused by the comments which are usually “They changed too much!” and “They didn’t change enough!” :)

68. samwiseb - April 3, 2007

It *really* annoyed me how the Defiant kept shifting angles on the Enterprise viewscreen. Did the CG composite accidently get “flipped” during editing or something?

Maybe someone else has mentioned this already; I’ve barely had time to skim this thread.

69. Michael Appleton - April 3, 2007

“There are two camps…you either like it or you don’t” debate:
I like how some people tell us what to like and dislike. If I like some parts and don’t like other parts I liken it to like-minded people liking the same thing. Whereas, if people of differing opinions like different things, then it’s unlikely that they will like what the other person has to say. Or, at least, that’s likely!
(nailed it shut! Pheww! Can’t touch it again!! Bwahahahaha……)

70. yo - April 3, 2007

> I think people confuse what they see with what they think.

Or maybe it’s a question of what they think of what they see … :/

71. Mark - April 3, 2007

Two things repeatedly bother me when comparing the remastered shots with the original shots:

1) The new effects shots rarely match the color aesthetic of the live-action footage. The original shots generally had much more color in them than the new shots do. Admittedly, this was due to “unrealistic” (brighter) lighting and processing artifacts such as spill from the bluescreen. But whatever the cause, the old shots were very colorful, and matched well with the colorful live action shots. In many instances the new shots look very dark and lifeless in contrast to the live action, even if they are more “realistic”.

2) In many instances the new Enterprise simply does not look like the 900-ft long ship it’s supposed to be. I think the comments about “weight and mass” reflect a gnawing feeling that the ship just doesn’t look “right”. I don’t know anything about CGI virtual lenses and such, but often the way the ship is rendered it looks like when I would fly my old AMT model around the bedroom as a kid – not in image quality, which is excellent, but in apparent size. From the virtual camera POV, the perspective from foreground poiints to distant points often makes the ship look like a small object, not a large object. The early original effects shots were not always perfect in this regard either, but the best of them did make the 11-foot model look like a 900-ft ship.

72. Jeff Bond - April 3, 2007

Re: the comment about the Tholian ships looking like “glowing seeds”–that’s the whole point! Why should every piece of space technology shown in Star Trek look the same, like a designed model “ship” with cobbled together paneling detail, reaction control thrusters in all the right places, windows, etc.? That’s what made the Tholian ships unique, they truly looked like alien technology and related to the physiology of their crews. Now we have dull gray ships with lights that bear no visible relationship to the aliens inside them. Kinda sucks the magic out of it to me.

This was an excellent review, and this has always been an overrated, silly episode to me–but the Tholians themselves, and the effects, have always remained a fascination (the short story “Fracture” I wrote for the Pocket Books 40th anniversary anthology Constellations–plug!–is inspired by this episode). I’ve largely been won over by what CBS Digital has done, they’ve produced some truly exciting stuff and I don’t mind some latitude in playing around with the original effects–but in this case the Tholian ship redesign left a sour taste in my mouth. I loved seeing the Tholians in Enterprise and while I truly found the show wanting (Voyager too!), I loved the few times that it strongly referenced the original series. But to have TOS retro-designed to look like Enterprise is a huge mistake–the Enterprise Tholians make sense as Tholians a century or so earlier than the ones seen in “The Tholian Web,” but to have them replace the original concept entirely just goes too far in my opinion…

73. Olde Timey Fan - April 3, 2007

^49 ZtoA

Interesting perspective from a screen name taken from a librarian:

/”Well I guess you fall into two camps when looking at this one…

Those who think the original effects were fine as was the design of the tholian ship


Those who think there should be continuity between TOS and all other subsequent franchises./

Reminds me of another piece of science fiction from just after World War II, written by a guy named Eric Blair,

/As soon as Winston had dealt with each of the messages, he clipped his speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of The Times and pushed them into the pneumatic tube. Then, with a movement which was as nearly as possible unconsicious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames.

What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead.

In the cubicle next to him the little woman with sandy hair toiled day in day out, simply at tracking down and deleting from the Press the names of people who had been vaporized and were therefore considered never to have existed. And this hall, with its fifty workers or thereabouts, was only one-sub-section, a single cell, as it were, in the huge complexity of the Records Department. Beyond, above, below, were other swarms of workers engaged in an unimaginable multitude of jobs.

There were huge printing-shops and their sub editors, their typography experts, and their elaborately equipped studios for the faking of photographs. There was the tele-programmes section with its engineers, its producers and its teams of actors specially chosen for their skill in imitating voices; clerks whose job was simply to draw up lists of books and periodicals which were due for recall; vast repositories where the corrected documents were stored; and the hidden furnaces where the original copies were destroyed.

And somewhere or other, quite anonymous, there were the directing brains who co-ordinated the whole effort and laid down the lines of policy which made it necessary that this fragment of the past should be preserved, that one falsified, and the other rubbed out of existence./

74. CmdrR. - April 3, 2007

I like the review. I disagree, though, on the issue of whether McCoy is properly motivated. If this were a full 120 minute movie, you’d have time to build up to the confrontation. As it is, you have dire circumstance, reaction, and resolution in 42 minutes (or whatever.) Oh, and they also found time to hold Kirk’s Memorial Service less than 4 hours after he “died.” GAD, I knew Shatner cheesed off his co-stars, but they were really champing at the bit to toss him into space.

75. Xai ( God, a little more azure in the sky please...) - April 3, 2007

#18 Shaye

“It is a CBS/CGI embarrassing embarrasment…..imo.”

I fully agree that everyone is entitled to their opinion, however…
Isn’t calling their work an “embarrasment” rather drastic and harsh?

#69… put me in the “I liked it camp”.

76. Anthony Pascale - April 3, 2007

Well said Jeff Bond

77. MichaelJohn - April 3, 2007

Getting off the thread for a moment, I watched an episode of “Enterprise” last night on the Sci-Fi channel and found if surprisingly good! Does anyone know the name of that episode and what season it came from?

Maybe it’s true what many posters here have said regarding this last ST series, that the quaility of the production and stories really did improve towards the end of it’s run.

Mike :o

78. Dr. Image - April 3, 2007

Thank you Dennis!
As I’ve said in at least two other posts, the Tholian ship redesign was totally unnessesary. In fact, it’s downright distracting. Glad you agree.
Retroactive canon should NOT apply to these episodes- especially anything referential from ENT. The TOS fx team(Van Der Veer, in this case) did a great job of creating a truly “alien” look for the ships, only to have it stripped away by some genius at CBS-D.
Oh well… suppose it could have been worse.

79. Jim J - April 3, 2007

It did, Mike. It’s a sad shame that they were finally doing so well when the plug got pulled, but season 4 was truly a gift. Season 3’s ratings didn’t improve and it should have probably died right there. I’m glad it didn’t though, because I truly admired Manny & Co.’s work. The only huge blemish that season was that mess of a finale. Thanks again, B&B. It was fiting that the last episode you ever wrote together served as a documentary of how much you had gone downhill during your Voyager/Enterprise years as writers.

Sad, because they both were involved in SOME gems (TNG/DS9 years), but those are well outweighed by the crap they put out during the Voyager/Enterprise years. Thank god for Cotto. Too bad he didn’t have that show from the start, it may have still been on the air, if he had.

80. Michael Hall - April 3, 2007

Oh, c’mon, Old Timey. No one is tossing “Classic TOS” down the memory hole, let alone putting you in Room 101 for preferring it.

81. New Horizon - April 3, 2007

What truly speaks to me of the quality of Coto’s work, is that he has been on 24 for the last two years. Berman and Braga are…..?

82. THEETrekMaster - April 3, 2007


Having seen and taken pictures of the Aurora miniature at the Smithsonian, the engines of the Aurora are DEFINITELY NOT just take from an Enterprise model kit. They were completely original to that model.


83. Shaye - April 3, 2007

Look…I am only saying that they were down in the count, 3 balls & 2 strikes, red sox vs. the yankees at fenway, it could never happen….

the red sox could win!

the cbs/okuda team shoulda left well eoungh alone and focused for a change on the INTERIORS of the BIG – E…

instead the insulted the members who judged the emmy awards for 1969, by messing with the Van Deer Ver effects which won that year for best special fx in 1969.

Star Treks last award…”Spectre of The Gun” was also nominated that year for its twighlight zonish look.. and story …penned by Lee Cronin…aka Gene Coon..the true co-creatoer of Star Trek.

I am looking forward to the Immunity Syndrome…to praise for a job well done, (I hope.)


84. Olde Timey Fan - April 3, 2007

Spot on, Michael. And I realize it is not a direct analogue, but there is something to be said for the concept of historical accuracy, especially given the “Mr Atoz the Librarian” pun used by the original poster.

Espeically in the world of digital data, it is far too easy to cherry pick facts and opinion to suit our own preferences… as a lover of history even more so than Star Trek I want to be sure younger people understand the full implications of their technology-enabled schemes that, on the surface, are merely aligning their worldview to a greater consistency. It is a small step from reinventing a television program to suite modern sensibilities to reinventing the news — and then to 1984’s “Ministry of Truth”.

(I’ve long viewed Star Trek as an historical artifact in its own right as a snapshot of Americana as the last of the classic Americana of the mid 1960s, what I call “The Before Time”. It’s not quite transitional to the hippy culture that kicked in with the war protests and civil unrest of 1968 through the 1980s)

85. Xai ( God, the sky's not blue enough...) - April 3, 2007

#83 Shaye. Olde timey
Remastered episodes do NOT replace the originals. This is “slightly different look” with some new effects and a clean-up job. If this completely replaced the old eps, I could see the point. As it stands, it doesn’t and shouldn’t be considered an insult. The only change I’d make to any of these TOS remastered shows is a warning to the viewer that some things have been changed and if you are sensitive to changes, don’t watch.

86. Dennis Bailey - April 3, 2007

“Remastered episodes do NOT replace the originals. This is “slightly different look” with some new effects and a clean-up job.”


I was just looking at my DVD copy of “The Tholian Web” over the weekend. It hasn’t gone anywhere. :lol:

87. Michael Hall - April 3, 2007

“Espeically in the world of digital data, it is far too easy to cherry pick facts and opinion to suit our own preferences… as a lover of history even more so than Star Trek I want to be sure younger people understand the full implications of their technology-enabled schemes that, on the surface, are merely aligning their worldview to a greater consistency. It is a small step from reinventing a television program to suite modern sensibilities to reinventing the news — and then to 1984’s “Ministry of Truth”.

Very well said. A few years back there was some muted controversy over a shot of Dan Rather in Times Square where CBS had digitally altered some of the billboards in the background to display the names of some of their sponsors. A pretty bright guy I work with who’s a number of years my junior couldn’t see any problem–but it gave me the willies, to tell you the truth.

As Dennis Bailey earlier pointed out, people see what they wish to see. I’m firmly convinced that if people had never heard of CGI technology, they’d be completely convinced that the Enterprise shots in the “Tholian Web” remaster were done with a model, and one in some ways more detailed than the 11-footer they were used to seeing. Whichever way you slice it, though, the thought of digital technologies used by governments and corporations to rewrite history or current reality makes me nervous. Guess I’m showing my age.

88. TomBot2007 - April 3, 2007

I guess it all depends on the intent… but as technology rolls, someday we “all” will probably literally be looking out at the world in “rose colored” glasses. The images that we see will probably be enhanced even before they’re processed by the brain, or hell, concurrently. We might live in the slummiest of futures but only “see” vistas that resemble the most idealized or fantastic. ;-)
It would have been nice to have stuck to a more “alien” feature for the Tholian ships, but that ship has sailed, so let’s move on and quit practically calling each other names. ;-)

89. Xai (maybe adding some darkness would add... drama!... Nah, they wouldn't go for that.) - April 3, 2007

# 86 DB
Thank you… I wish I could point that out to everyone here, but most don’t read the posts above them it seems.

90. Kirk Is The Jack Bauer Of Space - April 3, 2007

DB comes really close to mean-spirited in his humor. I laughed, but felt a little guilty. I mean, the people writing reviews on this site -do- actually like Star Trek, um, right? I remember this being one of the coolest episodes while growing up on Trek. Ok, yeah, looking back I guess it is kinda odd about McCoy’s behavior… but part of my love of Trek is the imperfections, in effects, acting, writing… As for ST being remastered, I think it’s awesome…

91. Robert Bernardo - April 3, 2007

Dennis Russell Bailey wrote:

> …”The Tholian Web” is an unremarkable “Star Trek” story.

And yet it is remarkable enough to be used as one of the inspirations for Starship Exeter: The Tressaurian Intersection.

92. Cervantes - April 4, 2007

I used to get annoyed, but now I’m just amused…

93. Cervantes - April 4, 2007

WAIT…who am I kidding? I AM still annoyed dammit!

Why? Because I firmly believe this remastering IS going to be the DE FACTO interpretation of our beloved Star Trek:Original Series in the future…BECAUSE…one of the reasons it’s being done at all, is that unfortunately, some, if not most, of the original effects work just does NOT hold up well enough in High Definition broadcast. Therefore surely the general television/internet downloading audiences of the near future are going to be shown the newly cleaned up and enhanced prints more than the older ones on this development. Us fans here may have the unremastered ones on DVD, but future generations will have the new stuff pushed at them I believe.
NOW, this would have been fine had the CBS Digital team been actually recreating EVERY unusable effect, shot, and lighting decision of the original makers to the best of their ability…but they have deliberately NOT chosen to do this, and have made NUMEROUS “creative” decisions of their own instead. Unfortunately, and this is my OWN personal opinion, before any “Defenders of mediocrity, no matter what” start, while I am behind the IDEA of this redo 100% (as someone who has longed for a project such as this for many years), and of doing changes, but it is the WAY it has being DONE that I believe is poor.
While I am getting more used to a CGI “Enterprise” done in lighting that seems for removed from the lighter filmed Model of yesteryear, as a professional Designer myself, I truly wonder who is responsible for choosing to replace some of the OBVIOUSLY already terrific angles of the “E” for some obviously INFERIOR ones… New “creative” choices I am all for, in fact the team has NOT gone far enough with new shots that they could have imagined for us in many cases so far, but as some here have noted, I think a “painterly” eye is missing sometimes. I know all about the buget restrictions and time issues that have been unforgivably afforded to this remastering of such a wonderful, influentual show, but the CGI has been mainly competent, if uninspired in the main, and this is down to the creators of it, not the technology itself. A pity.

94. Stanklin T. McFibberich - April 4, 2007

re:93. Cervantes
“…I firmly believe this remastering IS going to be the DE FACTO interpretation of our beloved Star Trek:Original Series in the future…”

I would worry more about the new movie doing more damage in this regard.

Not that it matters. I can still watch the real thing. What “new” or “future” Star Trek fans do or like really doesn’t interest me.

95. Cervantes - April 4, 2007

Excuse some poor grammar & spelling above in my “fit of pique” to quicky type my concerns out…I really should check before I post. :D
Anyway, now I’ve griped in general, I suppose I better clarify just WHY I’m unhappy with this latest work, not that it matters I know, but indulge me anyway please.

Just so everyone knows, I have on many occasions PRAISED some of the fantastic work and alternate visuals/shots that CBS Digital have done, so it gives me no pleasure when some of their stuff seems rather shoddy in comparison. Speaking of COMPARISONS, thank you very much SPOCKBOY for your continued time and effort with the recent “Tholian Web” video. I always look forward to these now and they are handy for a quick study of the new work/changes being done. And your funny ones are great entertainment too. Kudos to you.

Okay…while I accept the new “darker”, “grayer”, NOT brightly-lit colourscheme of the “E” with it’s “aztec” panelling/detailing (of which there has been some fine CGI modelling in this particular episode), as opposed to the “smoother”, “whiter” BRIGHTLY-lit Enterprise of yore (and my preferrence), I find it hard to accept some of the changes from already excellently “composed” shots to not nearly as well “composed” ones… As some fellow gripers have pointed out, the rear view of the “E” approaching the “D” is so much blander now. There have been too many “compositionally” changed new shots over the episodes done thus far, that are just NOT as good as the originals were. It’s not as if these newly “composed” angles have anything to offer in the way of moves that only CGI can supply, as they are just “alternative” bland, slowish, almost static camera “point of view” shots with exactly the same running time as the angles they are replacing. Some decisions to do with this are a complete mystery to me. ANOTHER question for your next CBS Digital feature meeting Anthony?

The changes to the original, more mysteriously alien “crystal” Tholian ship designs have been well debated here, and I myself think they are a bit of a redesign too far…but maybe they had reintroduced the vibrant red and green lighting to them at least (as a compromise), they would have been more universally welcomed?

Why did the team change the “Web” itself, which they nicely realised, from the original more “menacing” RED to yellow? Another mystery to me.

Finally (At last! they say), the new phasers are awful. Look at Spockboy’s comparison video to see how the original more “saturated” blue with white “cores”, and ” haze” seem to “faze” in and out when first fired in the original shot. The blander, paler, “washed-out” blue with no “haze” remastered ones look poor in comparison. New CGI ones done in the original style with CGI reflections would have been great. Sorry guys.

96. Dom - April 4, 2007

End of the day, if CBS-D had revamped the Tholian ships as enhanced versions of the crystalline vessels, most of us wouldn’t have complained!

97. Dennis Bailey - April 4, 2007

#91:”And yet it is remarkable enough to be used as one of the inspirations for Starship Exeter: The Tressaurian Intersection.”

The story? Not at all – not on my part, certainly. There’s not a thing about what the characters do or say in this episode that I’d find “inspiring.”

The cool-looking Tholians and their ships? The parts that I *praised* in my review? Absolutely. ;)

98. Dennis Bailey - April 4, 2007

#90: “DB comes really close to mean-spirited in his humor.”

I’m an awful man. I used to assist Judi Giuliani in demonstrating medical staplers on puppies. :)

“I mean, the people writing reviews on this site -do- actually like Star Trek, um, right?”

Nah, I only write these things for the groupies. Hot chicks dig old guys who spend their leisure time writing “Star Trek” reviews for free. ;)

99. diabolik - April 4, 2007

I like the idea of the Tholian ships looking crystalline, rather like the grown constructs of Krypton from the movies. I think a digital version that looked like that would have been way cooler, and more true to the idea of the original, than a metal ship like all the others.

100. Shaye - April 4, 2007

Anybody want a copy of the scifi ch’s 1999 remastered version of this ep on dvd?, please just email me , i will make you a copy on disc, for free
and it looks a hell of alot better than the mawkish cbs/cgi’s version and it has all the interviews and fun stuff aired son the special edition included…

I am not doing this for any profit whatsoever, but to show instead the superior and remastered version done without the horrid offending cartoonish fx of everything in the 2007 version.

thank you for your attention to this matter

peace out..

101. New Horizon - April 4, 2007

Shaye, would you be able to post a few screen shots from the scifi version? I’ve never heard of it and would love to see it. :)

102. CommodoreZ - April 4, 2007

#100: Many DVDs have an FBI notice that reminds you that copyright infringement can be a criminal matter, whether or not it is done for monetary gain. Just a reminder that telling people that you’re not making a profit does not necessarily shield you from liability.

103. Jeff Bond - April 4, 2007

There’s nothing wrong with looking at TOS with a critical eye–you learn a lot about the pressures and difficulties of doing this sort of show by watching the fairly dramatic drop in the quality of writing (and often performances) from seasons one to three. I like pointing out the cool things in what I think are underrated episodes, but I have to say part of my love for TOS comes out of thrilling to some of the hilariously bad moments it has–and in that too it differed wildly from the later shows. When they were bad they were usually just boring, while a lot of TOS’s worst moments were wildly entertaining (well, except for “And the Children Shall Lead”…). You CAN love TOS (it’ll always be my favorite TV series) and laugh at its goofy moments…

104. New Horizon - April 4, 2007

Screen caps are certainly allowed though #102. I have been searching the web and can’t find a single screen cap from this Sci Fi remaster.

105. Gd846c3 - April 4, 2007

Cervantes, you have some good comments. I totally respect your judgments regarding the remastering projects. I think your comments on more “primitive” shots is quite accurate when it comes to the Tholian Web. However, when it comes to all the other remasters, I have to disagree. It’s just my personal opinion, but I think that the new shots in many of the more recent remasters have been quite good. Hopefully the rest will be the same. I agree with half of what you said when it comes to the new phasers. I, however, think the new ones aren’t bad, but I think they lack some substance. I would like something even more different than the original. Again, it’s just my opinion, but I am quite happy that CBS-D is taking some initiative to be more creative with new angles of the E and other ships. The whole remastering project would be quite boring without something new to look forward to in each episode. Keep up the good work CBS-D, and I hope you will take the time to read over these comments well because there are many good suggestions here.

106. Shaye - April 4, 2007

Hey, chill friend, all’s good on the recordings to let out….you can borrow a disc from a friend legally….the 80 episodes were recorded at my home , i deieted all the non related commercials out , but kept the episode, and kept Say…the rare interviews, that the guest stars would do…

Forinstance the late western/bad guy actor Ron Soble, did his gig for the first third season episode shot in the fall of 68..

The surrual and cool twilight zone like… Spectre of The Gun…he was suprissed and felighted over the years how many remember him for his role of Wyatt Eerp on Star Trek amd tells some intersting storys of his -on-the set!

Anyway just stuff like that…and btw, theres nothing illegal…

the courts ruled 10 years ago that you can record for your ownuse to to share free a video.

I love S.OT.G. cant wqait to see it remastered and thats all in answer to your question.

I spent hundreds of hrs editing with a Video proccessor every single episode of Star Trek Remastered onfrom master HQ SP beta recorded from video to Disc, im in the studeo alot and am aware of the law and support it most strongly and know what i’m doing , (most of the time, lest a pub interfer) for my friends and myself…letting them borrow my discs, for free* (minus any shipping and handling).

Jot me a note if you like!, contact me at my blog…im Amy..Jennings,
and like talking my about my favourite show.


107. Shaye - April 4, 2007

Sorry…I was not…clipping… words…ala Shatner lo?l, melkot63

ooops wrong pg.


108. Shaye - April 4, 2007

p.p.s. these are the Shatner “Sci Fi Channel’s Star Trek Remastered” hosted ….(early priceline days Shatne)r..looking fine as always he told some bad puns, and some funny , and some touching storys…( when he wasnt walking through the script given him),

A very good show with waaaay to many commericals!, damn good thing I am a professonal editor. (btw it aired 1998)


109. Matt Wright - April 4, 2007

What is this “Sci-Fi Channel” remaster you speak of? AFAIK all that Sci-Fi had is the same transfers that eventually went into the DVD sets.

110. Shaye - April 4, 2007

i personally took the time out of my life to make sure and record every original episode of TOS @ high quality and true suround sound fx ,
in some ,….. like the shaking Effectx of the beggining sequence of …

“THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER” …ntro sequence 4 instance.

IWe digitally trnsfered the HQ Digital recordings I made onto XP DVD’s.

Well if you want, just click on my sn here, my name at the top of this; and write me at my wikipeadia hall of shame address, and a I will show you quality restored treks with invredible extras and NO commercial crap from the sfc.

saying. is fact………… in fact, Anthony please write, I’ll send you a “freebee” demo disc.

111. neo - April 4, 2007

mind explaining why we have a metathesiophobe reviewing a remastered show?

112. Granger - April 4, 2007


Thank you for another fun review – I love the occasional snarkiness, especially since we all tend to take Trek a bit too seriously. And to our webmasters, again I truly appreciate the reviews on this site coming from various folks with such expertise in the area of special effects, writing, etc.

All I will add to this discussion is that I too find some of the newer ship shots less satisfying in their angle and composition than the originals, but that is leavened with memories of a significant number of utterly fantastic new shots we’ve been given over the episodes thus far. And to paraphrase the close to the credits of The Motionless Picture, The Remastered Adventure is Just Beginning.

113. Shaye - April 4, 2007

more rather neo, its less fear of change than it is a distress at seeing a mustache on a Mona Lisa…..

114. Doug - April 4, 2007

re 71.

Well said. My sentiments exactly. Doug

115. Dennis Bailey - April 4, 2007

#111:”mind explaining why we have a metathesiophobe reviewing a remastered show?”

If you’ll explain why you think that obfuscating masks the fact that you don’t know what you’re talking about. ;)

116. Shaye - April 4, 2007

Re #114 Caught in a loop…


117. neo - April 4, 2007

i’ll have you know that da vinci repainted the mona lisa several times, right on top ofthe old ones. and it was later cut down to fit a smaller frame.

118. Shaye - April 4, 2007

#117 those were not the finished painting… and NOT released to the world !, just as TTW was not untill completion in 1969.

Try this analogy..Neo…..”you do not fix something…that is not broken..”

…TTW was NOT broken…untill now that is… in 2007…by cbs/cgi/

so thanks alot Okuda and co for messing it up once in awhile.

so what!




119. Robert Bernardo - April 4, 2007

Dennis Russell Bailey wrote:

> The story? Not at all – not on my part, certainly.

Because Starship Exeter: TTI derives much from The Tholian Web, then to what parts of the TTI story do you claim?

120. Doug - April 5, 2007

re: 118…

Curious on your grading… With the exception of the derelict starship in TDDM, I wasn’t overly impressed with CBS-D’s effects in that one. I missed the boat on Tholian Web, but my biggest let downs were Doomsday and Where no man has gone before… Doomsday had some Enterprise movements that simply didn’t work for me. Where no man has gone before, looked absolutely awful to me. Flat and cartoony.

I wish I saw the Tholian Web, will have to make do with the effects reel.

CBS-D is hit or miss with the quality of the effects. Which I still don’t understand completely… and as suggested earlier, they are also lacking “the painter’s eye” for the composition of the effects. This seriously diminishes the project for me.

I keep watching though. But I won’t be buying DVD’s unless they announce a second run through to enhance the enhancements. ;)


121. Shaye - April 5, 2007

re #121

pretty much agree with you on all counts, but tyhey did make matt deckers ship very believable, like when the boulder in space smashed the hull…make only complant on DM was that we missed some “wide” shots , of the tiny Enterprise comparred to the mean horn/tube planet killer, like we saw in..ythe original in some space scenes… but it was otherwise near perfect….well i thought … “Yeaaaay! no more ultra fake looking amt kit Constilation model make from an Enterprise kit model with ciggerette lighter melted nacelles fx!!



122. Dennis Bailey - April 5, 2007

#119:”Because Starship Exeter: TTI derives much from The Tholian Web,”

In terms of what our characters are going through and how they’re behaving – which is what I don’t like about “The Tholian Web”? Nah, this is not one of the episodes I referenced. In terms of the Tholians themselves being cool – which is what I like about “The Tholian Web” – that’s in TTI, certainly.

What did we each have to do with the story? I’m not going to talk about that in public when half the story is not yet told. I can say that the premise is one that Jimm developed and that was in fact available to read at until a few years ago – at least, I think it’s gone now.

123. Jim J - April 5, 2007

But when do we get to see it, Dennis? I REALLY want to see the rest!

124. Dennis Bailey - April 5, 2007

Thanks. Hopefully the next-to-last part, Act Three, will be out soon. I’ll make a call this evening and find out what I can about that.

125. Loskeens pet, Shaye - April 5, 2007

#123 and #124….. wtf does any of this have to do with the Tholian web?

It sounds more like the Sarian Brandy!



126. ozy - April 5, 2007

New tholian ships looks great.

127. Loskeens pet, Shaye - April 5, 2007

the new tholian ships sucked, they not only failed the coulor scheme of Loskeen and Co…but they looked like cheap cartoons…next to my scifi ch special edotion dvd’s ozy, ol mate!

Amy for some reason thanks to flatmate’s known here as shaye!


Amy Jennings Dark Shadows web site


128. Loskeens pet, Shaye - April 5, 2007

immunity syndrome….looks good.

129. yo - April 5, 2007

#122 (DB):
> … half the [Starship Exeter: “The Tressaurian Intersection”] story is not yet told. I can say that the premise is one that Jimm developed and that was in fact available to read at until a few years ago – at least, I think it’s gone now.”

Actually it’s still up. The link to the story premise can
still be found in the “Bonus” / “Five Year Mission” section
of Here is a direct link:
(Caution — Spoilers!)

130. neal - April 5, 2007

man, i loved those spacesuits as a kid! glittery, silvery … awesome!

131. Dennis Bailey - April 5, 2007

Interesting thing about those suits is that the “glass” area of the helmet is actually a fine mesh – I’ m pretty sure it’s metal. The suits themselves are simply a heavy lame type of fabric – the same fabric in different colors is used to cover the oddly-shaped objects (probably balsa or styrofoam) that comprise the “controls” on the chest. The tubing is just cording of some kind, covered with the same colored fabric. Silver-painted boots finish off the ensemble.

132. mrregular - April 5, 2007

Hard to make a final decision in light of the “Flood Warning” weather alert box that was up in the left corner of the local affiliate’s broadcast with weather info scrolling across the top screen. Cast members heads were being blocked off. It’s hard to watch a show through all of the weather alert graphics
Mabye the Omaha affiliate will rebroadcast it this weekend?

133. neo - April 5, 2007

re: 118

it was broken. it still is. and it’s in desperate need of repair.

134. Jim J - April 5, 2007

I think they plan to, mrregular. Yeah, that was quite a distraction. Hope you get good news, Dennis.

135. Loskeens pet, Shaye - April 6, 2007

re #133

wrong answer…, neo.

136. Xai - April 6, 2007

#135 Shaye,
Your opinion, mine and his… none are WRONG.
The new episode looked fine (in my opinion) and it doesn’t replace the old one. It stands beside it as an alternative.
Opinions are never wrong.

137. diabolik - April 6, 2007

Hmmm… many were of the “opinion” that the phone was a useless toy when invented. And radio… “who would want to talk to no-one in particular?”

I’d say opinions can be very very wrong.

138. yo - April 6, 2007

> I’d say opinions can be very very wrong.

Suppose Xai’s opinion is correct: Opinions are never wrong.
Then Diabolik’s opinion (that opinions can be very wrong) isn’t wrong.

139. Shaye - April 6, 2007

Hey ……imo….They just did not put the work into it that it so richly deserved,

Well at least in my opinion …unlike some others they have done before!

I am hopeful in my looking forward to The Immunity Syndrome and want it to be great like DM was remastered!


140. neo - April 7, 2007

none of these episodes are remastered, because they haven’t improved anything, just recreated it with all it’s flaws intact.

141. Shaye - April 7, 2007

geesh!…why do some just like to argue for the sake of arguing around here?


Still looking forward to the REMASTERED IMMUNITY SYNDROME regardless and ranking it high!

142. Robert J. Sawyer - April 7, 2007

Actually, Shaye (#28), the nacelles on the AURORA are not taken from the AMT Enterprise kit. I’ve seen the original AURORA, when it was on display at the Smithsonian during the 25th anniversary exhbition. They were custom-made nacelles. :)

143. joe madajewski - April 8, 2007

is ther a COMPREHENSIVE LIST where the remastered shows are being aired? I live in PA and the list didnt go that far. HELP!

144. diabolik - April 8, 2007

re: #138 yo…

I now have a headache. It’s not supposed to get that deep around here… :)

145. Shaye - April 8, 2007

#142..I stand corrected, your right!… the Aurora was made with different nacelles than I thought, I have since seen the photo shots of the model you speak of on display in the past few days.

I beg your acceptance of my apology.


146. Jim J - April 9, 2007

#138: “Everything Harry tells you is a lie.” “Listen carefully, Norman, I am lieing.” LOL

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