Review “This Side Of Paradise” Remastered & The First TOS-R ‘Season’ | TrekMovie.com
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Review “This Side Of Paradise” Remastered & The First TOS-R ‘Season’ August 2, 2007

by Mark A. Altman , Filed under: Review,TOS Remastered , trackback

PARADISE LOST: LOVING THE ALIEN
After watching last weekend’s ‘remastered’ version of “This Side of Paradise," it’s not hard to imagine how Philip Kaufman got the idea to cast Leonard Nimoy in his 1979 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, one of the most underrated genre films of the 70’s (re-issued in a the new  Invasion of the Body Snatchers DVD (Collector’s Edition) next month and definitely worth buying, BTW). Re-imagined as a paranoid sci-fi film noir, Kaufman’s film is sheer genius (which doesn’t taken anything away from the original which is also a superlative film) which managed to showcase Leonard Nimoy in a role that we seemingly had not seen him in before in which he goes from an emotional psychoanalyst to a cold, logical pod person in a heinous corduroy suit transformed by alien spores.  It was while watching “This Side of Paradise” again that I realized what a debt of gratitude this wonderful episode owes to Jack Finney’s classic “Body Snatchers” tale, but not in a goofy, body switching piece of sci-fi theatrics like The Next Generation’s “Power Play” in which Data, Troi and O’Brien go all Kryptonian on the crew of the Enterprise D, but rather using the body snatching motif to illuminate character nuance.


Donald Sutherland & Leonard Nimoy in ‘Body Snatchers’

“This Side of Paradise” may not show up on a lot of fans Ten Best list anymore, but if you’re old enough to remember in the 70’s when every teenage girl who was a Trekkie seemed to be writing a Mary Sue story in which their fictional dopelgangers melted the heart of the logical Mr. Spock in seemingly every fanzine story ever written, “This Side of Paradise” figured prominently. And it’s not hard to understand why, in the context of Trek’s first season; “This Side of Paradise” was a highpoint. While “Corbomite Maneuver” remains the apex for its space exploration stories and “Errand of Mercy” and “Balance of Terror,” the zenith of space combat adventures, “Paradise” was a benchmark for peeling away the layers of the Spock character who had gone from an almost silly, pointy-eared throwaway character in “The Cage” (“the women!”) to a fully, nuanced and deeply complex character it would become. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that it took a woman, D.C. Fontana, to write what is probably the best Spock stories of the series (“Paradise,” “Journey to Babel” and “Yesteryear” – it was Gene Coon who later nailed the Spock/McCoy relationship perfectly) in which we learn the price of the logical stoicism of the Vulcan first officer. And it’s not just that he can’t get jiggy with a comely Jill Ireland, it keeps him at a distance from his friends and, as we’ll learn later, his family. By the end, Kirk makes an impassioned plea for frailty and failing rejecting the utopia offered by the spores for a more imperfect world, much as he later makes an uncomfortable manifesto to the Organians for the right to wage war. We’ve seen Kirk’s fear of losing of his ship before, as in “The Naked Time,” but it’s never been so brutally hammered home as when he confronts a crewmember fleeing the ship and declares, “This is mutiny, mister.” The pod-possessed mutineer casually replies, “Yes, it is” as he waits in line to beam down. No one’s trying to kill Kirk or do harm to him, they’re simply trying to wear him down so that he can appreciate what they got. Of course, since Spock already got Jill Ireland, you can understand Kirk’s reluctance to join them on Omicron Ceti III.


That’s right Jim…this one is mine

It’s fascinating that for a show that has often been perceived as a liberal, Kennedy-esque view of the future, this episode firmly rejects the ethos of the time of tuning in and dropping out and rejects the spores in lieu of accepting reality as it exists (a/k/a don’t do drugs and accept the world you are living in). Much as the Vietnam-tinged “A Private Little War” makes a case for interventionist foreign policy in arming the villagers against the Klingons, “Trek” could often seemingly be at odds with itself although there’s no question that the show firmly rejected bureaucratic incompetence in  lieu of a strong captain who had the strength of his convictions, but wasn’t afraid to question them when he was wrong (unlike other commanders-in-chief’s we may be acquainted with). He’s weaker without the sage counsel of Spock and the emotional id of McCoy and his baiting of Spock into an emotional tantrum into ridding himself of the spores is one of the episode’s strongest sequences when he realizes he can’t save the Enterprise without Spock’s help. What good is being the captain if there’s no one to follow your orders?


Is Kirk ‘Kirk’ when he is alone?

In fact, the episode is chock full of fine performances and some bucolic location lensing along with excellent use of Trek library cues. It may not have the bombast and space action of other episodes (even the brilliant “City on the Edge of Forever” had a great time travel motif and the iconic Guardian to give it its unforgettable place in Trek history with its unforgettable emotionally wrenching coda), but it’s subtle and smart and embodies all the elements that made Classic Star Trek the best of the Trek series and contributed to its enduring appeal for what is now four decades.

New Effects

As for the new visual effects, courtesy of CBS Digital, they’re largely irrelevant in this particular case. For the most part, they’re executed well, but they’re besides the point. The episode isn’t any better because we can see the Berthold Rays irradiating the green-ish hued planet or the orbiting Enterprise shots are any different. What I continue to find maddening is how inconsistent even the simplest of shots seem to be. There’s a great new image above the primary hull as the ship orbits that looks, no pun intended, stellar and yet other shots of the Enterprise circling planets look terrible.


Great shot of the E, but others not so much

The Season that was

Looking back at the first ‘season’ of Trek Remastered in syndication, some shots of the Enterprise are majestic and in others, the frame is so badly composed, that it looks like the cameras about to crash into the ship, either too close or too far away. That said, there’s yet to be a bad matte painting which have been lovingly and faithfully rendered in such episodes as “Wink of an Eye,” “Devil in the Dark,” “The Menagerie,” even “Spock’s Brain” among others.  The ambitious work on “Amok Time” is extremely well integrated into the episode and looks sensational and some great work, where I wouldn’t have expected it, is done in “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” and most gratifyingly, “The Immunity Syndrome.” And yet, the stock shots of the Enterprise in orbit are at times stunning and more often, overlit and fake looking. On the miniscule iTunes screen, most of the shots are more than passable, but try watching them on a projector or a 60” TV like I do and they just don’t hold up. It’s exceptionally galling that Paramount intends to charge over $200 for the HD DVD combo release of the new Trek episodes, but is failing to make the set definitive by including the original, un-enhanced episodes on the set. While I’d be happy to watch the new and “improved” “Space Seed” or “Amok Time,” I can’t stomach having to watch the re-imagined “Doomsday Machine” or “Tholian Web” in lieu of the original, superior versions. Not unlike when Lucas put out his bastardized Star Wars Special Editions and buried the original releases of the unaltered versions (until they were re-released in inferior, crappy non-anamorphic versions last year as a final ‘fuck you’ to the fans), Paramount is basically force-feeding Trek to the masses without taking into account the feelings of those who grew up on it. Instead, we’re getting HD DVD combo version with both the HD and standard def versions of the episodes when it could have easily accommodated both the new and original versions of Trek (for a considerably lower retail price, I would add). In other words, if you want to see the gorgeous new transfers of the episodes which are truly magnificent, you have no choice but to watch the remastered episodes with all their inconsistent visual effects work whether you want to or not — or you can trot out your old sets of episodes and look at the grainy, muddy transfers of previous iterations and enjoy the classic 60’s era of Emmy Award winning visual effects in all their splendor. Furthermore, the extra features don’t reflect what fans really want to see in terms of bonus materials. While Blackburn’s Super 8 footage sounds great (and may be the sole reason I buy this set), it’s time that the studio shelled out for Shatner and Nimoy to do commentaries and interviewed the remaining living writers, producers, directors, costumers, propmakers and visual effects technicians from the show before they really do grow old…and don’t become part of this collection.


STIII inspired matte shot showing TOS-R making a real improvement


…and the new ‘Enterprise’ inspired Tholians making it worse

Despite my concerns, I’m actually a fan of the idea of the new Trek effects, but I don’t think that should be at the expense of the original versions and, if these are to become truly definitive versions, more care, time and, most likely, money will need to be spent to insure that the visual effects live up to the potential of what the best of them have been.

Looking forward

With a hiatus in episodes coming, we can only hope when the project resumes and we get to see such episodes as “The Galileo Seven,” “The Ultimate Computer,” “The Cloud Minders” and “The Enterprise Incident,” that they really get it right because, whether you like it or not, it appears these new episodes will be the one’s you and your children will be watching for a long time to come and the classic, award winning, miniature work of the 60’s that many of us still love and cherish, will become as obsolete and irrelevant as Captain Dunsel. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m not sure why you’re reading this. Come to think of this, I’m not sure why you’re reading this anyway.

MORE:

Screenshots & Video for "This Side of Paradise"

TOS-R Episode Guide w/ screenshos/video/previews/reviews of all episodes 


Mark A. Altman is the writer/producer of such films as Free Enterprise, starring Eric McCormack and William Shatner, and producer of DOA: Dead Or Alive, based on the bestselling video game from Tecmo.

 

Comments

1. Jon Witchell - August 2, 2007

wow. think i’m the 1st post! ye, it’s been a great start to remastering these classic episodes. i think that the Earth-type planet may have been slightly overdone, however each time it has fitted in with the said planet’s coloured atmosphere. however if they went back and re-did planets like the Cestus III (Arena) then it would be more consistent. Likewise, going back to re-do the original Enterprise shots with the improved CGI model. Otherwise, great! Looking forward to Requiem for Methuselah (my fav episode!) and its moon! Great work – thanks for keeping Roddenberry’s vision alive!
Jon

2. billy don't be a hiro - August 2, 2007

It was Data, Troi and O’Brien in “Power Play”. Picard went all alien-y in “Lonely Among Us” in that awful first season.

3. Stanky McFibberich - August 2, 2007

I have enjoyed watching the remastered episodes in syndication. The HD set coming out late this fall sounds like it has some good extra features, but the price tag will keep me away.
This Side of Paradise is worth watching just for Jill Ireland. Wow. What a nice looking woman!

4. Cervantes - August 2, 2007

Mark A. Altman…telling it as it is….

Great heartfelt sentiments across a range of issues Mark…and very reflective of my own views I must say… I really hope this worthy endevour to give us replacement, “improved” effects gets taken a bit further in the future, as I fear that this has been a sometimes incomplete effort due to various factors. Also agree that this may just end up the “default” version being shown in times to come, which makes we wish even more that the enhancements were being taken a bit further in certain aspects… As far as the “standard” unaltered originals go…it’s just a pity they couldn’t have been cleaned up picture-wise also, for everyone who wants them in their initially-made glory… However, between this project and the new Movie…it’s great that Star Trek:TOS is back in a big way…

5. billy don't be a hiro - August 2, 2007

And regarding the substance of the review, I can’t say I disagree with a word of it.

6. Jim Loftus - August 2, 2007

Hey, Mark – nice review. Remember me from the days of LFP? Anyway, yeah, I agree with you on all counts. I’ve seen some of the TOS-R episodes and I can’t get over the inconsistencies with regard to the Enterprise shots. Some of them truly look CG hokey, while others are awesome. I guess they got better with the CG as they pursued this. I just wish they’d go back and replace the crummy shots with the better rendering technology for the Hi-Def DVD release. No chance of that happening though, is there?

7. Brian - August 2, 2007

Mark, in my humble opinion you’re completely on point on all counts in regard to the remastering efforts. Cheers.

8. 4 8 15 16 23 42 - August 2, 2007

Cue Dr. Tran, “Oooo… you said a bad word!”

I think Altman makes a great point about the unfairness of adopting the “Lucas” strategy and suppressing the older footage or providing it only in poorly rendered form. However, while I don’t typically come to the defense of large corporations, I will say this: Why would they create new effects shots *and* digitally remaster the old effects shots, when they can give us the new effects shots plus the digitally remastered live action footage (non-effects shots)? If they are going to spend the money to make new effects shots at all, it seems like poor economic sense to digitally remaster the unaltered original versions of the shows wholesale. That would be like saying, “we cleaned up the shots, as we’re sure everyone will appreciate, but we also added some new effects that you can take or leave, even though we spent a lot of money on them.”

9. Heywood Jablome - August 2, 2007

Face it, kids, Paramount knows they’ve got most Star Trek fans by the spaceballs, and they know we’re most likely going to snap up anything on dvd that has the starfleet delta on it. It’s all about the dollar bill, and as long as we shell ‘em out without stopping to think, they’ll continue to string us along with this release with extra footage or that version with improved cgi effects. If a body is not careful he could end up with several copies of the whole damn series. I say we wait. Wait until a comprehensive collection comes along, with ALL the bells and whistles, and in the meantime be happy we’re getting a new movie…

10. Michael - August 2, 2007

Well a mostly enjoyable review. I’m glad to see that for the most part everyone is balking at the $200 price tag – yikes! I do take exception however to the remark about the Doomsday Machine – that was one of CBS-D’s best efforts and IIRC generated a peak in discussion here when it was released. Another comment I keep reading is the grainy transfer of the current DVDs – I have exceptional equipment here and I don’t see it – on the live action shots anyway. It was the SFX that were grainy and as the season would progress the stock shots of the space scenes would get progressively worse. Speaking of stock shots – while I can tell that CBS-D is (re)using some of their work, in no way does it compare to some of the original stock usage. In some episodes you can get in one scene 3 different versions of the big E. The shot they always seemed to recycle is the one from WNMHGB of the pilot version Enterprise cruising off into the distance with the old engines even though seconds before you see the approach with the regular 11 foot model. It ends most of the episodes. I love the way CBS-D has redone this basic sequence with a very fluid pan to connect them rather than the edit of the past. My 2 cents worth.

11. DavidJ - August 2, 2007

I agree with Altman about the bad framing of some of the FX shots (especially the super extreme close-ups), but in general I think this “first season” has been really good.

The CBS guys have really OPENED UP this world and made it feel just a little more real. It no longer looks quite as much like the crew is beaming down to a set in Amok Time; you can almost imagine that this is a real environment they’re walking around on now. And seeing the Klingon ships (however briefly) in Errand gives that story a greater sense of danger and urgency.

The BEST example of this of course is Doomsday. The new FX make that story about 10 times more suspenseful and exciting (even WITH a slightly cartoony looking machine). I still don’t understand Altman’s complaints about it.

12. Gary Seven - August 2, 2007

Mark,

Thank you for a very good review. I truly appreciate the depth of thought that comes through quite clearly in this review.

Specifically, I agree with you on the particular strengths of the episode in general. It is an excellent example of TOS’s wonderful character development and its use of important themes/messages. I also agree that many remastered effects are wonderful and some of the E are overlit and too many are fake looking. I do think considering it’s been forty years that they should have put more time and money to get the effects right, and have had time to learn and compensate for their mistakes.
On the other hand, my bigger feeling it’s been forty years, and my main feeling is incredible appreciation and thrill that TOS, unlike any other very old show, is being remastered. How exciting! How special and what a gift! How rare! And by doing so TOS becomes more watchable and accessible to all the young people who simply would not understand or tolerate old, sometimes sometimes good, but sometimes laughable effects (by today’s standards of effects) of the original. This will help Trek survive, and if you forgive, me, live long and prosper.
I have to say I don’t agree, or even understand, your negativity concerning The Doomsday Machine remastered. I think it’s wonderful, the best of the remastered, and adds tremendous excitement to the episode. Given that so much of that episode is special effects, watching the remastered verison is an entirely different, and much improved experience. Given the feedback on this site when it came out, apparently many people liked it as well. But too each his own.
Once again, thank you for your excellent review and the points you made about the episode and Trek in general. Much appreciated.

13. dalek - August 2, 2007

Thanks for the review Marc. I agree they should release the non-effects versions as well in the same release. But that wouldnt line Paramounts pockets as much…. alas.

14. Kyle Nin - August 2, 2007

“The episode isn’t any better because we can see the Berthold Rays irradiating the green-ish hued planet or the orbiting Enterprise shots are any different.”

Well, I think it made the episode better. The Berthold rays were part of the storyline. The inclusion of them in the effects makes the episode more complete. They’re not just TALKING about them, they are actually THERE.

15. Dr. Image - August 2, 2007

Great review and points, Mark.
One thing I’ve noticed are the “lens” choices made when rendering the CG Enterprise. Even a casual comparison reveals scale problems with the new footage in many instances. It mystifies me as to how they can look at the side-by-sides and say, “yup, looks good!’
So, definitive? Close but no cigar- yet.
I’ll pass on the HD-DVDs.

16. Gary Seven - August 2, 2007

Okay, I realize that this post may get removed. I accept that as a risk, because of course Anthony must run his site as he sees fit and I respect that. I will try to keep the post as non-inflammatory as possible and just present my thoughts, which are, of course nothing more than my own personal opinions. I truly do not wish to offend anyone as I don’t like it when anyone on this board does that to anyone. But I do feel it is relevant to comment on the material presented on this site. (which is consistently excellent- I LOVE this site and am so grateful for it- and I consistently recommend it to others). I do wish, however, to use Mr. Altman’s thoughtful review as a counterpoint to express my concerns about the approach of another reviewer- Dennis Bailey. Reading Mr. Altman’s review above helped me clarify my concern with Mr. Bailey’s reviews. While I make clear in my previous post that I do not agree with every point Mr. Altman makes in his review and I even think he is unduly negative about the remastered Doomsday Machine, it doens’t bother me in this least. Very honestly, I see that I can get a little defensive and overly serious about TOS, which I have adored since childhood. That said, I am not really bothered by thoughtful criticism of TOS, even when I don’t agree with it, because it’s THOUGHTFUL. I appreciate opinions of others even when I disagree because I see they are based in serious thought.
Mr. Bailey sometimes puts serious thought in his reviews, and that’s fine. What bothers me is when he doesn’t. Too often he is fails to write thoughtfully when he is taking “a cheap shot” at TOS just to make a joke. When a cheap joke is made i a sitcom(to use another old show as an example) say “Three’s Company” (ie, Jack Tripper falling down the stairs) it may or not be funny (to me usually not) but there wasn’t much to seriously comment on in the first place, because in the material there wasn’t much to seriously comment on in the first place. So why not just go for a laugh, because that’s all there is really. TOS, despite its imperfections (most of the Third season!) has so much to talk about and offer. What a waste, what a missed opportunity, it is to disregard all that just to go for a laugh. That’s my concern. Thanks.

17. Gary - August 2, 2007

“While Blackburn’s Super 8 footage sounds great (and may be the sole reason I buy this set),…”

There’s no way that stuff will show up on YouTube….

18. Cervantes - August 2, 2007

Dr. Image

Indeed…wait for the Blu-rays… ;)

19. Gary Seven - August 2, 2007

My apologies for the poor editing above.

20. TJR - August 2, 2007

I never bought the TOS on DVD the first time. But I was excited about the chance of owning these new remastered versions (especially since they would be the unedited syndication versions).

And I agree that they should fix, or touch up some of their earlier and more rushed FX work

But I will not go for that price tag. No one should.

My wallet will remain closed.

21. T in HI - August 2, 2007

As always, great review Mark. And yes, as I’ve stated here a few times, I was deeply disappointed by The Doomsday Machine’s “improved” effects too. Sad fact of the matter is, despite my being less than impressed with the new effects, I’ll probably shell out the 200 smackers to buy the new set just to have the cleaned-up transfers. As noted above, Paramount knows suckers like me are the norm, not the exception, so they’ll find ways to make us spend spend spend for basically the same product again and again.

I also agree that if they really wanted to make this package worthwhile, they would do more special things like commentaries. How great would a commentary for The Doomsday Machine be if they got William Windom to do it along with Shatner (assuming they can now stand each other) and Nimoy? But don’t hold your breath folks; this entire effort seems geared towards maximizing profits rather than creating keepsakes.

22. THEETrekMaster - August 2, 2007

Nice review Mark!

23. Tallguy - August 2, 2007

It will be interesting to see how the TOS-R set sells. I MIGHT have gotten it at the old price (ahhh, $100 is looking pretty cozy now) or I MIGHT have gotten it if it had had both TOS-R and TOS. But $200 without the originals? Not a chance. My TOS DVDs still look very very nice.

24. Dennis Bailey - August 2, 2007

Have to agree about the Remastered matte paintings and enhancements of matte paintings – there hasn’t been a bad one in the bunch.

And the redesigned Tholians were dreadful, agreed.

Much as I’ve enjoyed most of the Remastered episodes that I’ve seen, I won’ t be paying real money to purchase them. The DVDs of the original unaltered episodes are completely satisfying for me – indeed, the main pleasure in watching at least some of the episodes of the original series is in being reminded of having seen them for the first time on NBC.

25. Jordan - August 2, 2007

When will CBS release the next list of episodes to be remastered?

26. Oceanhopper - August 2, 2007

It is a great shame the original-effects versions have not been given a painstaking restoration to clean them up for a higher definition age. As it is I already notice differences between the quality of some shots between my new DVDs and my old 1980s VHS tapes. I’d ideally like to blend them somehow to create a cleaner master – but I guess I will have to do it in my head! :)

The ultimate problem is that the “definitive version” is not the TOS-R being made now, nor even the original film negatives, but the version that we carry in our memories – the ship we remember seeing on TV so long ago. It doesn’t really exist on film anywhere consistently…. (though Daren Docherman’s .version is pretty damn close to it IMHO!) ;-)

27. Rastaman - August 2, 2007

Yes, excellent review. New special effects aside, “This Side of Paradise” still tops my list of Star Trek’s Top Ten.

I am completely at odds with Kirk’s decision to disrupt this utopia, which is why I find the episode so intriguing. It says a lot about Kirk’s vulnerabilities, and his worldview. It ultimately leaves a very bad taste in my mouth as the episode is more or less a homage to the Protestant work ethic and the capitalistic drive for “success”.

“I am what I am, Leila. And if there are self made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else’s. ”

The dialogue in this episode is some of the best in Star Trek. I hope they draw upon these characterizations when developing the Zach Quinto’s Spock in Star Trek (2008).

28. CmdrR. - August 2, 2007

Very thoughtful review. I’ll only differ in that I don’t loathe the new Tholians as much as most others in here appear to. Otherwise, I totally agree that there MUST be no trash heap for original films and TV shows, just because we’ve learned a new bell or whistle. (The most egregious example in Lucas’ reissues has to be putting a shittastic Jabba in the first and best Star Wars. The scene was filmed, then cut for a reason. The movie is better WITHOUT it.)
If we must pay over and over for Trek, then there should be a fan standard. That means a CLEAN original, plus whatever new version Paramount deems do-able. I would like the other features you mention, but I can find good interviews and am not shelling money out just for that.

on another subject:
Pike-era Spock makes perfect sense.
The Cage was “13 years ago.”
Amok Time came in season two.
14 = 7 X 2.
Therefore, Spock was in or near P’on far when he yelled “The women!” He wasn’t concerned. He was horny.

29. Jeyl - August 2, 2007

Mark A. Altman:
“until they were re-released in inferior, crappy non-anamorphic versions last year as a final ‘fuck you’ to the fans”

Thank you Mark for that remark. I’ve been on the rebelscum forums about this and everyone says that people shouldn’t be complaining because Lucas doesn’t owe us anything.

As for the first season, where is “A Taste of Armeggedon”?

30. Kev - August 2, 2007

Nice review. I did see the debunking of “tuning in and dropping out” in the ep.; ironically, today it could also be looked at as buying the party line or whatever kind of belief is detrimental, so it can cut many ways other than one. As for the Bertol rays, I didn’t see them, but if they put them in that’s a perfect example of how literal some of these effects have been. Who says the rays are in the visible spectrum? We get hit by cosmic rays all the time but you can’t see them unless you have Geordi laForge’s glasses. Same with the bullet holes, or the V-2 they stuck in Patterns of Force. And if the rays had been visible in the first place, would they have even pitched tents on the place anyway? Or the asteroids they put around the Constellation, I guess because the dialogue suggested there was stuff floating around. Would Kirk have taken the ship into a field of asteroids; and if he did, how did they beam over with shields up? But it did look good.

31. Lord Garth Formerly of Izar - August 2, 2007

Good review, disagree about Doomsday though.

Now where the F is Free Enterprise 2!!!

32. Commodore Z - August 2, 2007

And when are you going to fix the cartoony CGI City of Domes in FE1:SE?

33. Jeffrey S. Nelson - August 2, 2007

Just want the Billy Blackburn home movies on separate stand alone disc. Is this too much to ask for?
Most of the new CGI Enterprise shots pale in comparison to the original model work. Mark, you are more generous than I am.
Always enjoyed your comprehensive articles in Cinefantastique.
Now, what’s the update on Free Enterprise 2?

34. THEETrekMaster - August 2, 2007

I third the request for Free Enterprise 2! The first one was freakin’ hilarious.

I could really identify with those characters — and had friends like some of them as well. :-)

35. THEETrekMaster - August 2, 2007

When will the Billy Blackburn movies be on YouTube? :-)

36. Matt Wright - August 2, 2007

Excellent overview of the season that was, I agree with your thoughts nearly 100%.

37. Plum - August 2, 2007

Wonderful article Mark! And I agree about the new CGI work… some of it’s wonderful, some not so much.

Oh, and it’s writing like this…

“… he goes from an emotional psychoanalyst to a cold, logical pod person in a heinous corduroy suit transformed by alien spores.”

… that makes my day! :)

38. Mark 2000 - August 2, 2007

I said it a couple of times and I’ll say it again. If 50% of what you do is crap you get an “F”. This season may have had its highlights – doomsday machine being one of them – but over all this project is a failure. The authors of it make fun of the inconsistency of the ship model from shot to shot in the old effects, and yet their own shots are a paste work.

39. Doug L. - August 2, 2007

re review, 9 & 10.

review: I agree all around. I like Mark Altman’s reviews.

9 – I hope you’re wrong about having us by the space balls… cuz my balls are keeping their $200 bucks.

10 – you bet… let’s all bawk! I’m afraid i find this set questionable even at $100.00

It’s my belief that the majority of diehard fans are more likely to steer clear of this set, and I think the price will be too high for the random parent or sibling who might buy it as a present for a family member they Know to be a Trek fan…

I expect poor sales for this release, and if that’s the case, I hope Paramount will understand the reason clearly and give it another whirl down the road. I’m willing to put my money down on Trek Stuff, but not overpriced with haphazard production values.

Doug L.

40. Sean4000 - August 2, 2007

At least CBS showed that they can produce Eden-level VFX as they did with the Tholians. In this particular case, the Tholian design was legendary and a complete remaster did not work. There should have been a compromise.

41. R.C. Williams - August 2, 2007

Does anyone seriously think they will ACTUALLY pay $200 for this season? If you shop around online, many vendors offer coupons– in addition to getting it for 30-35% off. I doubt if those who shop around will pay more than $135.00 for this set. I’ll venture to say that $120-$125 wouldn’t be out of the question. Didn’t Warner recently charge $129 for half a season (12 episodes) of the Sopranos? That would be a total of $260.00 for the entire season! — and the extras on the Sopranos sets are miniscule compared to this Trek set which will have 28 or 29 episodes. I am not saying that this gives CBS a get out of jail free card, only to state that CBS/Paramount here are not the only offenders guilty of price gouging on HD sets.

I do like the remastered project despite some inconsistencies. The good thing is that it is CGI and they will go back to tweak what needs to be fixed. It will likely be an ongoing work in progress over time. I do believe CBS DIgital is getting better and better at it.

Count another “yea” vote here for “The Doomsday Machine.” I loved it, and don’t see how the original effects even compare imho! Hey, to each his own right? The old SD dvd’s will remain in print for those in love with the oriignal 1960′s effects, but it’s simply not a big deal to me since it doesn’t change the essence, drama or characters for me. If this project introduces Trek to a new generation of young people, then I’m all for it.

42. Cafe 5 - August 3, 2007

I really think that Paramount needs to rethink their pricing policies. The
decision regarding the cost of the first season of TOS borders on mental
abuse. The studio would be hard pressed to defend this action. I can only
hope enough people decline the purchase of these items until the powers
that be change their minds and reduce the cost to something more viable.

43. jcvmf214 - August 3, 2007

anyone know when they will release more in itunes

44. Chris - August 3, 2007

Mark needs to get over himself and his slanted political views in all his reviews.

45. Michael Hall - August 4, 2007

*Sigh* Say what you will about Dennis Bailey’s snark: he doesn’t treat every opportunity to review a Trek Remastered episode as an excuse to vent fanboy outrage for the upteenth time regarding George Lucas and the original Star Wars trilogy. Let me respectfully note, Mr. Altman, that I’m not particularly thrilled with the expanded version of Apocalypse Now–a work, IMO, of far greater cultural signifigance than Star Wars–but it was Coppola’s film to tinker with as he wished, just as the original trilogy belongs to Lucas. Yes, the re-edit of Greedo’s confrontation with Han Solo was a dishonest bit of retro-characterization , but it’s been a done deal for many years now and in any case you still have your old videos to enjoy, should that be your preference. Get. Over. It. Please.

As for “This Side of Paradise,” we’re agreed (of course) that it’s a wonderful episode, but you’re wrong on just about every other count, starting with the strained comparison to Invasion of the Body Snatchers–given that the Cold War parable about our familiars becoming soulless automatons bears no relation at all to the events in the Trek episode, as the effect of the spores was to make the infected more compassionate and caring, not less. And the theme of the episode was hardly a repudiation of “tuning in and dropping out,” since the spores offered peace and good health, not transcendence, and Elias Sandoval was hardly anything resembling a Timothy Leary figure. (Omicron Ceti III was a well-ordered, functioning place, not a drugged-out commune with stoners lying about and dirty dishes piling up in the sink.) What the show questioned, as clearly stated at the conclusion on the Enterprise bridge, was the religious and social utopian notion of paradise as an appropriate condition for human beings, and what makes its exploration of that theme so honest and enduring was Spock’s final reflection on his experience–brilliantly acted by Nimoy–which so poignantly spoke of the price of paradise lost.

46. COMPASSIONATE GOD - August 6, 2007

Excellent review. Completely agree with Mark’s comments on Lucas’ inferior release of the OT (thankfully rejected if the dusty copies on the retailers’ shelf is any indicator) , and the painfully rendered 1701 shots.

What revisionists fail to realize is that there is a large part of the move/tv fan culture is wholly in favor of restored original content; Criterion led the way and saw much success during the laserdisc era, thanks to wonderful release of original material with as many extras as possible.

Thanks to historic acts of idiocy from (among others) Ted Turner (colorizing Black and White films), George Lucas (Star Wars Trilogy: The Special Editions) and recently Francis Coppola (The Outsiders), original visions were “good enough” long after Lucas & Coppola moved on to other projects–until technological innovation acts as a new toy for a desperate child. It appears certain “artists” and corporations have no sense of respecting history, unless it bleeds another dollar out, and as a result, generations of fans–in this case Star Trek–the original series fans may not come like dopey-eyed legions to retailers, spending hundreds on the questionable Remastered release, while the original version-the one which captured the love and respect of millions over the course of 40+ years–remains something to be forgotten.

Good job, CBS….and thanks for following everything-old-is-worthless Lucas.

47. neal - August 7, 2007

Nice review. Consider using commas, please. They make those run-on sentences less confusing. Periods work well also!

48. jawick - August 8, 2007

Did anyone else catch the added modern day participants in the background wearing a hot pink and white tank top and white mini-skirt in the Star Trek episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before?” A young woman and her friend were behind Kirk and Spock as they played chess in the beginning of the episode. Talk about sticking out like sore thumbs in the show’s color scheme.

49. Batts - August 8, 2007

I think overall that I am impressed with this new project. There are still other episodes that really needs to be re-vamped. Although there are a lot of times we were looking at recycled earth shots in a few episodes which was disappointing, yet still, there is hope. I am still waiting for Who Mourns for Adonais and the suggestions I had for a truly re-done and take your time “The Cage” deluxe edition. Also, Return of the Archons, remember the Enterprise flybys from the original, let’s watch that spruced up a bit!

Here it is again for the cage when the talosians were reading the ships computers they saw earth history from the 60′s POV. Why not show a quick glimpse of 9/11, The Iraqi War, slavery, adding more weight to the keeper’s words about humans being too violent and dangerous a species. OVERALL with a few “you could’ve done better moments” like ship size conveyed in Where No Man…I give this project a 75% rating.

50. terrawatt33 - August 9, 2007

I’ve enjoyed the remastered episodes that I’ve seen.I think that everyone knows, that the FX that are being redone, COULD be done flawlessly.
Mike Okuda said in an interview That they are INTENSIONALLY trying not to go overboard with the effects in an effort to maintain the original spirit of the show.

51. Jake - December 18, 2007

Mark,
For once, would it really kill you to talk about TOS WITHOUT having to take swipes at TNG?

52. chas - February 28, 2012

Well, I am years late with this comment, but have to comment on the irony of the this misperception:
“… for a show that has often been perceived as a liberal, Kennedy-esque view of the future, this episode firmly rejects the ethos of the time of tuning in and dropping out ”

It has always struck me that ‘This Side of Paradise’ is the most characteristically “Kennedy-esque” episode ever put on TV. As your bewildered reactions show, it is totally a product of its time and that time has been forgotten. This was first season stuff, the time was NOT the counter cultural late 60′s/early 70s, It was still the’ post -Sputnik reaction’ early space race. Everything then was about breaking out of our supposed recent national decent into the somnolent purposeless self-satisfied consumer’s paradise of the 50′s, obsessed with comfort, entertainment, material possessions and one’s individual goals. Instead we were now to wake up excited, recover our vigor and enthusiasm, get back to the pioneer spirit, take up the old American mission– correct our failings at home, live up to our ideals, remake the world as we had dreamed we would while fightingt WW II (BTW; Star Trek itself is a grandchild of of Heinlein’s ‘Space Cadet’, which was a reflection of The1947 UN Baruch Plan to control atomic energy…very idealistic, but very institutional)– post Sputnik we were told we needed to prove to ourselves and the outside world that freedom can still contend for and shape the future of earth & space beyond–the final frontier.

Read Kennedy’s ‘New Frontier’ speech. It is a rallying cry to meet a great crisis, part identity crisis, part threat to our very existence, he issues a challenge to sacrifice and work hard, half Gettysburg address, half manifest destiny. Or even more so, Kennedy’s August 1960 contribution in LIFE magazine to the on-going “Quest for National Purpose” debate: “We must climb to the hilltop.”
“…Nestled between the mountains and the sea, shielded from the storms and stresses of the outside world, that little valley offered its inhabitants a placid and sheltered life….Too many Americans in the 1950s, I believe, have been living too much of the time in such a valley. We have felt contented and complacent and comfortable. Now it is time once again to climb to the hilltop, to be reinvigorated and reinspired by those faraway peaks, the principles that are vital to our national greatness, that underlie our national purpose, that foster our “American dream.”

You see in that paragraph JFK practically wrote the script for the Star Trek Paradise episode! He sent us to the moon for goodness sake!! What do you think Kennedy-esque meant?! “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask where to get drugs and tune out?”

Did you imagine

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