Review “The Ultimate Computer” Remastered + Thoughts On TOS-R To Date | TrekMovie.com
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Review “The Ultimate Computer” Remastered + Thoughts On TOS-R To Date February 10, 2008

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

To quote one of my favorite bad Kirk lines: “Out of the nowhere; into the here!” It’s a pleasure to take a crack at another Trek Remastered review, and a very special one at that…Other than “The Doomsday Machine,” no classic Trek episode has been more anticipated in Remastered form than the late second season’s “The Ultimate Computer.” The spectacle of starship-on-starship action, achieved almost entirely through duped stock footage in the original episode, has had fans of the Remastered project slavering since the project was originally announced.

Now the episode is here, with little fanfare in a way—so does it deliver?
No question the original episode does. I’ve made this point before but one of the hallmarks of the original series, and one rarely matched by any of its offshoots, was its stunning parade of unforgettable guest star turns. In “The Ultimate Computer” we have William Marshall in a performance that’s literally towering—he’s probably the tallest guest star on the series other than Ted Cassidy. Marshall plays Dr. Richard Daystrom, a legendary scientist and the developer of Starfleet’s computer systems. His newest project is the M-5 Multironic Unit and, well, you know the rest.

It’s odd that “The Ultimate Computer” directly follows “The Changeling” in this syndication package since the two stories are so similar: two tricked-out thinking machines run amuck, both defeated by Kirk’s time-honored technique of driving computers crazy with logic. Both are also classic Trek “bottle shows” of the type beloved by producer Bob Justman because they employed only the standing Enterprise sets. But while Nomad (as built by special effects artist Jim Rugg and voiced by the inimitable Vic Perrin) has its charm, “Ultimate Computer” has the one-two punch of the impressive Richard Daystrom and the throbbing, supercilious M-5. Marshall is magnificent: you easily believe that this is a human legend boarding the Enterprise with his regal bearing and profound bass voice, the finest this side of James Earl Jones. But Marshall also adds the perfect grace notes to let you know that this hero has feet of clay: he’s arrogant, dismissive of Spock, Kirk, the Enterprise—just about everything not built by his own hands.

The M-5 is interesting in its own right, although almost comically bulky by today’s standards. The combination of Matt Jeffries’ typically clean design work, Rugg’s interesting lighting effects and vaguely intimidating sound effects (a powerful hum of energy that seems to change in intensity along with the M-5’s mood) along with James Doohan’s clipped vocal characterization (Doohan did amazing unheralded work in this area on the series) makes for a memorable mechanical heavy.


Daystrom (Marshall) with his M-5 (background) and McCoy

As an examination of Kirk’s ego, “The Ultimate Computer” is effective if a touch heavy-handed. The captain is reduced to the status of humiliated victim rather handily—even given the demonstration of the M-5 as a system that might very easily replace him and his job, it seems a bit whiny and out of character for Kirk to walk off the bridge after Commodore Wesley refers to him as “Captain Dunsel”—didn’t Kirk go through any hazing at the Academy worse than that? The episode also shares with “Changeling” a Trek hallmark which, while highly enjoyable, illustrates the differences between TV drama of the day and what would pass muster now: both episodes feature wholesale death and destruction loaded with human casualties…and after all that both wrap up with an easygoing joke and a smile, the dead seemingly forgotten.

But the good more or less outweighs the bad: Kirk’s “all I ask is a tall ship” moment with McCoy in his quarters hearkens back to some of their great private meetings in early episodes like “Balance of Terror.” McCoy’s position as a technophobe has probably never been put to better use as he grows increasingly infuriated at Daystrom’s arrogance and M-5’s “imperfect” slip-ups (and only McCoy could pull off this line: “Did you see the love-light in Spock’s eyes? The right computer finally came along.”) Spock goes nicely through his own mini character arc as he’s first quite logically impressed with Daystrom and the M-5, then gradually moves from suspicion to an outright declaration of loyalty and friendship to Kirk, noting that he far prefers to serve under a human commander as opposed to a mechanical one.

The plotline ingeniously mixes the battle of wits between the Enterprise officers and Daystrom with the wargame scenario that pits the Enterprise against three Constitution-class starships, with the Enterprise under M-5’s control ultimately destroying one of the vessels and killing its 400-person crew. Shatner’s anguish as Kirk’s beloved starship is used as a weapon of mass murder is perfectly played in a climactic 15 minutes that really has it all—a grand space battle reduced to a perfectly human equation of responsibility, arrogance and madness, with Kirk desperately searching for the key to stop the M-5 while his Starfleet comrades are being devastated on his bridge’s viewscreen. Even given the limited visual effects it’s a fantastic mix of daring scope and intimate, high-stakes drama that’s confined to one small room—a great example of the character-based drama that Trek at its best excelled at.


Shatner delivers in "The Ultimate Computer"

That said…what fan watching this episode post-Star Wars didn’t dream of seeing a REAL space battle play out between four powerful starships? There’s a lot of fun stuff here, from the new space station clearly intended to represent a Vanguard station from the Pocket Books Trek series, to the replacement of the old Botany Bay stock footage for the freighter drone Woden with the freighter drone design from the Animated Series (when I appeared on G4’s Attack of the Show with Dave Rossi I remember talking with him before the show about what kind of stuff they would be doing—this was before I’d seen more than a frame or two of Trek Remastered—the topic of “Ultimate Computer” came up and I immediately said “You’ve got to use the Animated Series robot freighter for the Woden!” So I take full credit for this idea, Dave—although you’d probably already thought of it and just couldn’t admit it to me).

 
New station and freighter are nice touches

It’s difficult to fully appraise the use of new effects in this episode due to the typically brutal syndication edit—just as “Tomorrow is Yesterday” had lengthy, effects-heavy action sequences edited down, so it appears does “Ultimate Computer” and it seems at least a couple of shots from the two war games engagement are missing. That said CBS-D does come up with a variety of interesting shots, although even here, in an episode where they’re pulling out all the stops, there are two or three uses (some flopped) of very similar shots of the Enterprise hitting another Constitution class ship far in front of it with phaser fire. There’s no doubt however that the new work trumps the original in terms of laying out the tactics and action of the space battle—now the attacking ship formations are seen with a satisfying mix of foreground and background angles and perspective, and lightning fast bits of action. “Ultimate Computer” always showed off Trek’s superb editing, music and sound effects in these battle sequences (and indeed in the “death” of M-5) and the new effects add even more excitement to one of the most enjoyable and gripping installments of the original series. I can’t wait to see the uncut version of this episode on DVD.

 
New angles a good touch, but why not even more variety?

Looking at the whole Remastered Project

At the risk of making this the longest Trek Remastered review in recorded history, since we haven’t done regular reviews of the series here for a while it’s worthwhile to give a bit of an overview of the project over the past few months. We’ve seen season one released on DVD (and presumably, given recent developments in the DVD hi-def format wars, we’ll see Trek Remastered released on Blu-Ray at some point soon). While I did my appearance on Attack of the Show arguing against the very idea of the Trek Remastered concept, I’ve always been able to see both sides of this argument and in fact I’ve watched every Remastered episode with great anticipation and a mix of excitement and, occasionally, disappointment. For the incredible (for the most part) restoration of the original 35mm imagery on the show to the razor-sharp, almost hallucinatory color values we get to see now, this project has been well worth the effort. There have been a lot of absolutely beautiful things done—in particular the matte paintings have been eye-popping, flawless and have beautifully captured the spirit of the original Al Whitlock work while increasing its depth and detail—take a look at the cityscapes in “A Taste of Armageddon” and even the brief pan across the surface of M113 in “The Man Trap”—for me these shots recreate the childhood wonder I had looking at the great sci fi films of the Fifties and Sixties as well as Trek.

 
"Armageddon" and "Man Trap" and other matte shots show consistent quality

It’s true the space shots have been a mixed bag. There’s been some beautifully textured work, there’s been convincingly photographic work—and there have also been a lot of shots that just read as too obviously CG to me. It’s a trade of one type of unconvincing approach (heavy matte lines and film grain being the chief vice of TOS) for another in some cases. I still manage to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the advantages of camera movement and motion afforded by the CG approach—sometimes it’s like watching a sophisticated version of the Animated Series, but the Animated Series was fun to watch too. There’s definitely been a sense that after a year of work, schedules and budgets have cut down on a lot of the little “extra” fixes we were spoiled by early on. After the smooth work on the finished first season episodes, it was disappointing to see the work on “Who Mourns for Adonais?” and “Day of the Dove,” where I could honestly say that the original effects work with all its flaws and limitations was more effective. But then a week later, on arguably one of the worst episodes (“Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”), the CBS-D team will go above and beyond the call of duty.

 
CBS-D not bringing their A game to "Adonais" and "Dove" space shots

I still look forward to seeing what this team will do with episodes like “Elaan of Troyius” and “The Cloud Minders” and I’m going to be sad when this is all over because it’s given me yet another excuse to watch my favorite TV series all over again. The fact is, though, I don’t think Trek Remastered will be the final word on TOS where this kind of approach is concerned. Without the pressures of budgets and schedules, fans are already showing they can do work like this at home and make Trek’s effects look exactly the way they think they should. I doubt you’d see anyone capable of redoing the entire series but there are enough fans around with the talent to take on individual episodes, pool their resources and eventually do it all. But we have to credit Mike and Denise Okuda, Dave Rossi and the people at CBS-D for pointing the way and tackling a truly momentous task with obvious love and dedication to this series.

 

More “Ultimate Computer” Remastered coverage from TrekMovie.com:
Screenshots and Video
Exclusive Interview with TOS-R Producers

VOTE: Rate The Ultimate Computer
What did you think of the remastered effort this week…vote in the latest poll (right column)

 

For more from Jeff Bond, check out his fine magazine Geek Monthly (of which he is editor-in-chief).

Comments

1. Jabob Slatter - February 10, 2008

Hello.

2. Jabob Slatter - February 10, 2008

Sorry about that, I wanted to rob somebody of the joy of declaring “First!”

As far as the new FX in TOS, I have mostly positive feelings about them. They have been inconsistent, however, and sometimes just too fake looking. I know they claimed once that they didn’t want the FX to overshadow the older live footage, but I just wish they would have spiced things up a bit more. Not enough “Doomsday Machine” type of effects. I know that wouldn’t always serve the story, but when they had the chance to pull out the stops, they usually didn’t. Mostly we have remastered episodes with a CG fly by and a dull looking planet sometimes.

OK. I’m gone now.

3. Blowback - February 10, 2008

A well written review of not only Ultimate Computer but also good thoughts about the remastered series as a whole…

4. I AM THX-1138 - February 10, 2008

Please forgive me, but I’m going to re-write my comment from the previous article on this episode here because it is relevant to how I feel about the remastered effort.

I would love to see some glorious model shots for this remastered effort, but I do understand that the time and cost would be prohibitive to CBS-D. Still, I think nothing has surpassed the sense of scale and beauty of TMP’s love shots of the Enterprise in spacedock. And with all respect in the world to the great CGI artists who contribute here, there is just something about knowing that a real, physical model exists and was photographed. I think for me, it’s maybe a sub-conscious thing, but in the back of my head it’s satisfying to know that if I really wanted to touch the image I was looking at, I could. Sort of an unrequited tactile response.

I own the first season remastered DVD’s and will purchase the whole series regardless of HD or Blu-Ray formats. I enjoy immensly the new FX shots and my children are seeing TOS in a whole new light. In that respect, it has been a success. I just wish that this had been the 100% over the top, absolute ultimate effort that it deserved to be. Spare no expense. Take your time. Air the episodes when you are ready. CBS-D should have treated this like there was never going to be another chance to do this.

In the future it is my belief that it will be the fans that will do the definitive remastering of FX for TOS. I look forward to sampling their efforts.

5. Garovorkin - February 10, 2008

I liked the episode and the review pretty much covers everything. I am curious about one thing. the original pilot the cage has that one been remastered yet.? I know that parts of it were used reused in the remastered episode of the Menagerie, but I have seen nothing pertaining to The Cage? If it has not been remastered I was wondering what would be the reason

6. Driver - February 10, 2008

I am waiting for the HD-DVD set and not watching these on broadcast TV any more. The more that sub-standard stuff is crammed down our throats, the more I hear Obi-Wan from The Empire Strikes Back. “Patients!” I am comfortable waiting.

7. Lord Garth, Formerly Of Izar - February 10, 2008

Daren Doc – Me thinky someone ought to do a kick ass Ultimate Computer FX reel with aome real teeth. Me thinky one man we know of could pull it off.
Hmmmmm

8. Sean4000 - February 10, 2008

“The Cage” will be remastered. It is the second to last episode on the schedule. Last is the Series’ last: “Turnabout Intruder.”

9. Mr. Penguin - February 10, 2008

I always enjoy Ultimate Computer, and I was pleased with the new Starbase and the effect shots. I was a bit dissapointed that we did not get to see different ships (i.e. the Miranda-type mentioned in the interview, even if they did not want to mess up continuity, they could have made it another ship at the starbase.)

Oh well, this was a good episode and I look forward to more.

10. Anthony Pascale - February 10, 2008

I just want to say that I am pleased to have the triumphant return of Jeff Bond and his review pen (keyboard). I also happen to agree with Mr. Bond point by point. I love the Remastered project in principal. Max Gabl can do no wrong it seems with the matte shots. I also love the new variety in the space shots. But yet I feel that lately the project has been pulling back. Getting more conservative and also getting less polished (or actually too shiny plastic). We have seen the team do great things, but it is just inconsistent. There are a few more episodes to go and so lets hope they shine through and knock a few more out of the park

11. Batts - February 10, 2008

I agree with he above. The Cloud Minders needing Stratos remastered and Elaan needing that klingon battle touched up this project is on its last limb. I still think the cage needs a special touch. We dont see any enterprise shots.

12. The Vulcanista - February 10, 2008

I’ve seen all but two of the TOS-Rs. Got the first season from iTunes. It’s all very lovely, but I really wish the live-action shots had been cleaned up as well. It was particularly obvious on the broadcast that I watched, and I’m nowhere near HDTV yet.

AFA the fx themselves, there’ve been some really high highs, such as the scene in “Amok Time,” where we get a shot of the Big Three walking from the beam-down point to the site of the marriage ceremony (and I know there were purists screaming bloody murder over *that* one) to some “why bother” episodes like “Paradise Syndrome.” THX #4 said, “I just wish that this had been the 100% over the top, absolute ultimate effort that it deserved to be. Spare no expense. Take your time. Air the episodes when you are ready. CBS-D should have treated this like there was never going to be another chance to do this.” That pretty much sums it up for me.

I also would have asked for a better syndie package in which to showcase them.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

13. MrRegular - February 10, 2008

Well written review.
I hadn’t seen this one in ages…William Marshall’s performance is really overpowering, like his stature, a real challenge for Kirk and Co.
The FX were good but I would have liked to see more details of the shipwide destruction created by M-5; similar to Wrath of Khan, it would have been more compelling.
All in all a great episode, only made less so by those annoying syndication cuts that always drive me up the wall..especially with fine episodes like this; it’s really hard to take. I await the DVD!

14. Alan Del Beccio - February 10, 2008

I’m just glad that the registries on the ships, which match the Star Trek Encyclopedia, are finally “canon”.

15. I AM THX-1138 - February 10, 2008

#12-Vulcanista -“I also would have asked for a better syndie package in which to showcase them.”

Amen to that. Finding episodes on the air was like going on a snipe hunt. Except that you had a better chance bagging a snipe than finding the episode of Trek remastered airing at the actual un-Godly hour it was supposed to.

They didn’t do themselves any favors there.

16. Jamie - February 10, 2008

What was wrong with the Adonais “hand”?

It looks pretty good to me, but I suppose they could have done more with the camera?

17. Jabob Slatter - February 10, 2008

THX1138 – I completely agree with you about E’s beauty shot in TMP. That’s just about my favorite scene in the movie.

What directors and CG artists sometimes forget is that the Enterprise is as much a character as any of the actors. It should be treated as the star it is, and it definitely isn’t getting much of that treatment in the remastered episodes.

18. James Heaney - Wowbagger - February 10, 2008

Woot! Review!

Did anyone manage to figure out what the subtle differences on the Connie models were?

19. Sean4000 - February 10, 2008

Anthony Pascale: “Max Gabl can do no wrong it seems with the matte shots.””

THAT’S HIS NAME! I was banging my head against the wall looking for his name. I love his matte shots and they are probably the highest on my list of favorites of TOS-R. That and the film scanning crew.

Thinking back, those ARE my only two on the list.

20. j - February 10, 2008

I can’t believe I didn’t realize until today that Dr. Daystrom was the King of Cartoons…

21. Harry Ballz - February 10, 2008

Paramount should be ashamed of themselves…..don’t issue “remastered” episodes on DVD until it’s damn near perfect!

What’s the friggin’ rush???

“Profit……this is all about profit!”

22. DavidJ - February 10, 2008

I agree the new FX have been inconsistent (it especially bugs me how the Enterprise hull constantly switches from the original flat greenish-gray to a shiny metallic color), but I’ve never considered TOS-R the “definitive” TOS anyway.

This has always been just an interesting experiment, and overall I think it’s been a lot of fun to see.

23. Garovorkin - February 10, 2008

#21 Shame is not cost effective Paramount wants to rush out this mastered addition so that in a few years they can charge us even more money for the ulta delux remastered perfected set of dvds in a gold and diamond encrusted one of a kind collectors case at the delux price. Its a money game with them all the way.

24. Granger - February 10, 2008

Superb review! It is great to have this insightful analysis of the episode by Mr. Bond plus his well-reasoned critique of the overall remastered effort. I couldn’t agree more.

25. Alex Rosenzweig - February 10, 2008

#14 – I’m biased, but I really wish they’d gone with FJ’s registries. I didn’t expect it, but I wish… :)

26. The Vulcanista - February 10, 2008

#15, Agreed about trying to find TOS-R on your local TV dial, but I was actually referring to the package of episodes they had available to remaster.

Remember a couple of months back, G4 was airing uncut TOS episodes on Mondays. Why couldn’t they have gotten that particular package, or one with less cuts for commercials, instead of the pre-butchered-beyond-belief syndie package they got? I mean, CBS/Paramount owns the damn series, for pete’s sake. I know that they’re saving the uncut versions for the DVD sales, but it seems like it would have been a great marketing tool to have had at least a couple of full-length eppies available for broadcast.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

27. Biodredd - February 10, 2008

YAY! The reviews are back!

I am so happy!

:)

28. sean - February 10, 2008

I always liked this one, though I thought it was interesting that Kirk makes the statement about death being the penalty for murder. I suppose one could excuse it by saying he was merely using a value judgement he knew Daystrom agreed with, given that the M-5 was essentially a copy of Daystrom, but it always sat a bit uncomfortably with me. Even in TOS, it seemed that criminals were sent to rehabilitation colonies or imprisoned, not executed. That plus the reference to ‘God’s laws’ always seemed out of place somehow. Kind of like the end of ‘Bread and Circuses’. Not that I’m anti-God or religion, just that the references always seemed off somehow.

29. Andy Patterson - February 10, 2008

Okay – here’s my review:

First of all this is just for the people in the Dallas Area – good job KDFI of screwing me out of best ten minutes of the show and the destruction of the Lexington. Ten minutes of black screen?! What was that malfunction about?

It may be known to some that I’m not in favor of re-mastering. I fought with Dave Rossi on stage at the 40th anniversary con in Chicago almost two yrs ago. I was pretty much the only one there who felt that way. My thought is just because it can be done doesn’t mean it should be. I quite frankly would rather it be left alone. I will say this. . . I’ve never spoken to him about it but I believe Daren Dochterman’s vision of re-mastering is different in basic idealogy from what these guys are doing.

Having said all that, if any one episode could change my mind. This might be the one to do it if ever there was one. Even after the scenes I missed . .it was the most enjoyable episode I’ve seen of the re-mastered lot. This is the first one I really saw the effect. I didn’t enjoy their Doomsday Machine. I much preferred the original. However, I enjoyed watching this. It reminded me of how I felt when I was a kid being enthralled by the show itself. Sat here in my recliner with my one and half yr old in my lap (introducing a new generation to it) and feeling like a kid myself again. Really enjoyed it tonight.

I will say this. . . .Hey, I understand editing this show is difficult to fit in today’s commercial schedule but what a poor job of editing in the final moments with key dialogue being taken out. We didn’t know Kirk had ordered the screens be left down. That’s a huge part of this episode! CBS should do a limited commercial run of these things if they really want to introduce them to a whole new audience. Make each one a special thing the first time they air. “Tonight with limited commercials!” Something like that.. I mean. . . .let’s go.

I do miss little touches like the control panel in the torso of Mudd’s androids. I haven’t felt a little touch like that in a long time.

* On a side note. . .I’ve known for years that Doohan was the voice of M5 but just noticed tonight that he was also the voice of Admiral Enright too. Anyone else notice that? Although we all appreciate him on here. . .what a much under appreciated talent James Doohan was.

And on another note. . . watching Nomad right now which airs right after “Ultimate Computer” tonight. . . .Vic Perin was a super voice actor.

30. Fleet Captain Kor'Tar - February 10, 2008

I was enjoying this episode throughly until about the 45 minute mark, they inform the captain that the 4 ship fleet is on an intercept course , dramatic music , break for ads, during the ad break, the station carrying it here in Dallas/Fort Worth, Channel 52 went to static on every set in the house , thanks to them I missed the climax of the episode . Thanks channel 52! You’ve ruined my week!

31. JimJ - February 10, 2008

Overall, I am pleased with the project, too. What drives me nuts is not knowing what’s up when I see one scene and think it’s awesome (when the ship was changing course and starting to bear down on the other ship)…the next looks lousy (the long distance phaser shots). Weird.

32. John Locke - February 10, 2008

Response to James Heaney. The subtle difference on the Lexington was the view screen which was slightly larger with rounded corners and two additional side panels.

33. cd - February 10, 2008

#29, 30 – Good job, 52! At least they managed to get those annoying technical school commercials played during the hour! >;>}
Yes, the new effects have been a mixed bag from stunning to stunned (stunted?) It makes me wonder what Mojo, Rob Bonchune, and that group could have done with this.

34. S. John Ross - February 10, 2008

A long read, but a groovy read. And: amen on Daystrom. Just an awesome presence and a real guest-star highlight.

35. OR Coast Trekkie - February 10, 2008

I guess what really confuses me is the idea that mind-blowing special effects would “overwhelm” the show, or wouldn’t match.

TNG has some pretty awesome effects, and I don’t hear anybody saying “Geesh, they were just too much for me.” So why would people say this about TOS?

I’m one who has been, for the most part, underwhelmed. Granted, there have been some gems (many of the mattes, Doomsday Machine) but then there have been some misses. And I have to say, I’m disatisfied with the misses.

I agree with THX and Vulcanista… this is something that should have been given all the time and money it deserved. I saw the EdenFX shots posted and thought they were eye-popping. I hope that one day, we get to see something of that caliber out of another Remastered project from TOS. But until then, I’m satisfied to see the the network airings, and still have the old ones on DVD.

36. T Negative - February 10, 2008

#10 Anthony

Agree,

We were treated to a lot more fixes and tweaks early on in this project. Now, it appears that the TOS-R team has been scaled way back and are only doing the bare minimum. Unfortunate.

Great review. I will enjoy the last few weeks of TOS-R regardless. Hopefully the Okuda’s and Rossi still have some surprises for us!!

37. RM10019 - February 10, 2008

Just have to add my voice to this. I was dissapointed with the uninspired angles the action was presented through. Why not any shots of the damage being done TO the other ships?

38. StarTrekRockerGirl - February 10, 2008

I agree with the author’s points, especially when noting that Kirk seemed a little overly-pouty about being called “Captain Dunsel” I never noticed it before. Maybe it had something to do with the timing being off due to the syndication cuts? Hard to tell. But this seemed especially odder because at the end Kirk is praising Comm. Wesley for his passion and his humanity!

William Marshall is great in his performance! While initially appearing arrogant and cocky, you could still feel an undercurrent that something was just a little off kilter! Brilliant! And the rest of the crew was excellent too!

The opening shot seemed a little stiff and awkward. It appears that the Enterprise is heading straight in for a docking approach, and then suddenly they are in orbit around the station. Huh?

Indeed, we may have become spoiled by some of the great moments, such as in “Doomsday Machine” when we can see boulders bouncing off the hull of the starship, so it’s easy to see why we expected more from “Ultimate Computer” Those long distrance shots left us wanting to see more up close detail. A bit of a let down, to say the least.

Even such superb episodes such as Doomsday have had some minor glitchy things. To me, it would seem that when the Enterprise’s phaser’s were bouncing of the hull of the Machine, it should have apperared more like an arc welder raking across the surface, instead of the splashy look that they gave it. That was almost too reminiscent of the original effects.

Overall, I’m sure with the budget and time constraints, the work that CBS-D has done has been an honest effort, and I salute them for doing the best that they have done. But there have been times that they have missed the target somewhat. I feel that they are kind of like a fledgling animation group, just starting to learn to spread their wings, and maybe Paramount is hoping that they can start doing more in-house work, and not have to parse the work out to outside sources, such as ILM or Eden. I wish them the best in their continueing efforts. Who knows, maybe if and when they decide to put the series out on Blu-Ray, they’ll get another budget to go back and make some tweaks?

Oh well, one can hope, anyway! It is hard to keep a good fan happy!

39. Buckaroohawk - February 10, 2008

An excellent episode that, like “The Doomsday Machine,” deserved extra special treatment. It got that, for the most part. The only thing I found troubling was the lack of close-ups on the other Starfleet ships, especially during the battle. They were always far in the distance, with the Enterprise dominating the shot. Why didn’t CBS-D give us some closer shots of the ships so we could see some of the damage inflicted during the battle? Some nice shots like the wonderful close-up of the Constellation in “The Doomsday Machine” would have added a lot to the carnage and destruction described in the dialog.

I, too, have noticed the apparent scaling back of the “fixes” CBS-D have been doing, and I am disappointed. Some of their work may be inconsistent, but it was wonderful to catch a few real “gee whiz” moments every now and then. It will be a pity if we won’t see any more of those.

And finally, a note to James…errr…Jeff Bond. It’s great to see these reviews again, and I enjoyed this one very much. I share many of the same opinions and it was great to see them so deftly put to words. Excellent work!

40. Leonel - February 10, 2008

4, 17.. The scenes of the Enterprise in spacedock. My favorite as well. And the music for that scene is perfect. *sigh*

Back to The Ultimate Computer: I’m not sure if its a morbid sense of humor or what, but surely I’m not the only one that gets a chuckle out of Daystrom’s reaction to the Vulcan nerve pinch. Could his genious be the cause of him being able to remain upright, towed off the bridge by Spock?

41. The Vulcanista - February 10, 2008

#40

I thought that was a great reaction shot as well!

Maybe it’s his intractability regarding his baby, the M5, that keeps him upright.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

42. Spock's Brain - February 10, 2008

#19: “I love his matte shots and they are probably the highest on my list of favorites of TOS-R. That and the film scanning crew.”

YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!!!

43. penguin44 - February 10, 2008

Is it me or did they tweak the power beam m5 uses to connect to the warp drive. It looks the same, but a little more ‘wavey’ to me when the power is cut off to the unit. And I noticed and it’s not me to notice these things, but the power beam seems to be reflected in the floor of engineering. was this there before?

44. OR Coast Trekkie - February 10, 2008

#40

OVER acting to the nerve pinch I think may #1 be a reflection of the acting style of the time and #2 would probably be necessary in a time and date where you didn’t have a way of recording programs to see over and over, so you could memorize details. Therefore, the audience needs to be reminded of the Vulcan nerve pinch. Plus, a more realistic reaction, which would mor likely be expressionless crumpling, would look kind of lame on camera, and may, in fact, make the audience wonder “what the heck…”

However, I do understand what you are saying… :-D

45. StarTrekRockerGirl - February 10, 2008

#40

Perhaps this is Spock’s special “I can keep him upright until I hand him over to the gaurds” neck pinch?

Just guessing… ;)

46. Andy Patterson - February 10, 2008

45

That was always my thought.

47. Thats 2 Goofy - February 10, 2008

The stills shown here and elsewhere seem cloudy with a lack of sharp detailed focus. Also….the overall pics appear to take on the oveall tone
or color of the primary picture.
Now I’ve just noticed that here in the pictures but is that also evident in the stations that broadcast the episodes in HD? We have the vibrant colors but it seems to be at the cost of the overall quality of the picture itself.
Does anyone else notice this or is it just me?

48. Trekboi - February 11, 2008

i think the remastered process was altimately successful for its original intent and purpose- to restore the original film negative to HD quality and to replace the technologicaly inferior and jarring dirty effects film with new- more expansive effects shots.

what it failed to be was a “special Edition” of the series or even just the five or ten heavyest effects episodes.

i just hope now that the episodes exist in high Quality HD with FX shots re done the powers that be eventualy get Eden FX to re-remaster the standout FX episodes for a special edition box set of the biggest 15 FX episodes.
both going all out in replacing exististing FX and re-editing the episodes to acomadate extensively revised TMP style indulgent FX sequences- maybe for the 45th or 50th anniversary- or the three seasons with uncut standout episide as extras along with the original remastered episodes.
one can hope.

49. Fleet Captain Kor'Tar - February 11, 2008

Just a quick note , for every one affected by the Dallas area climax blackout here are the E-mail addresses to the station’s Captain Dunsels . I have already given them my 2 cents , every one affected should do the same .

sebrooks@wfaa.com
dozymy@wfaa.com
ndavis@wfaa.com
ashank@wfaa.com
kmoeller@wfaa.com
jdodson@wfaa.com

Just please remember , get your point across with out cussing , just be respectful and courteous.

50. Anthony Thompson - February 11, 2008

The main problems with the remastered episodes are an unconvincing virtual Enterprise and moves by the ship which are awkward – looking. A prime example of this problem is seen as the Enterprise approaches the space station in the Ultimate Computer. It’s so bad that it’s almost laughable. The team should be ashamed that a 40 year old TV show with a low budget did better effects than they are capable of producing!

51. OR Coast Trekkie - February 11, 2008

#48 – If you have read my posts, you know I’m not satisfied with what they have done.

Yes, they delivered on film restoration, but the effects were never even part of the original intent. They only became a part of the project because the space shots could not be restored to HD quality.

I am one that think that EdenFX or ILM should be given the reigns for this. While CBS-D has done some awesome stuff (the Vulcan bridge matte, the Enterprise alongside the Anteres, the Google-Earth like effect on the town from space, the quasar, Doomsday mMachine) for most everything else, I would call their work “ok.”

They say they want to keep with “the spirit of the show.” But doesn’t the spirit of the show include moving forward, improvement, advancing, optimism of the future, the exploration of the new and unknown? I think they are confusing “what they would have done” had they had the time and budget to “what it would have looked like.”

But this should also be more than just restoring the film and redoing the SPACE effects. Obviously, once film is restored, make-up flaws need to be digitally fixed, zippers need to be digitally fixed. If these things were never meant to be seen or made so obvious, that would help in “keeping the spirit of the show.”

Fix the hand phasers and vaporizations/disintegrations (that simple, glowing fade out is just plain hokey) lightning, other weapons used in ALL the shots. I can’t imagine that some of the hand phaser shots look good in HD. “Wink of an Eye” proves it can be done. Tweak the transport effect a little bit (soften the lines, make it a little more translucent, give more of a depth look to it… but keep it the same color).

Keep the sound of the original effect, but digitally re-record it (so in other words, keep the same door swoosh, bridge sounds, weapons fire, transporter) sounding the same, but have them digitally rerecorded so we can get more of a true, pure sound out of them. Plus, re-record all of the original music as composed. It works well with the opening theme, who wouldn’t love to hear the “fight theme” in all it’s true glory? Plus, you have to have it for the ending gredits too.

Just for fun: digitally reproduce and rerecord one of these:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbA1o5cm_wU&feature=related

I’ll give CBS-D credit: they gave us a peek at the potential, but if I am going to spend my money, I need there to be more. I need “whoa” and not “eh.”

52. The Last Maquis - February 11, 2008

I’m a fan of “The Old School” Trek, (or different TOS) about 30 years now.
As far as wanting to see Some other new classes of ships in this episode. Yes that would’ve been cool,but you have to realize that The Original Series was Kind of based on the Idea that there were like 14 to 15 Constitution class ships all on five year exploration Missions. again this was not The True concept for the show, by no means, But It Is Established Star Trek Cannon. so I’ve always been Fine with seeing the other four “Connies” in the this episode,even though I’m aware that There are Other Classes(Reliant Style) Plus it’s How I remember it.

as Always a Great episode!! it’s Daystrom’s Show man.I’ve Been wanting to See this One again for a long Time Now. I didn’t Hate the New Effects, but after seeing The AMAZING job They did on “The DOOMSDAY MACHINE” ( I mean come on!! the Enterprise does An Attack run On the “Planet Killer!!”How EFFING cool is That?) yeah this One was Not nearly as cool as I had hoped. the Attacks on the Other ships just wasn’t as Dynamic or Inspired as they could’ve been. Come On CBS we All Know This Is about money, but if your gonna Screw with OUR show, at Least make It worth it. Geez.

53. Vulcan Soul - February 11, 2008

So, how about a return to regular, solid TOS reviews instead (or at least on top) of all the “fluff content” added recently? Judging from the comments recently that’s what a lot of readers want.

54. Dick Tracy - February 11, 2008

Are the episodes with the missing downloadable videos ever gonna pop up?

55. doubleofive - February 11, 2008

Since I’ve never seen most of the episodes until the remasters, I was excited to see what all the fuss was about in this one. I thought the whole episode was great. Kirk’s fears, the battles, the gamble at the end, everything was perfect. I loved it.

As for not having different angles (like from the ship taking damage’s point of view), they couldn’t have a shot right next to a ship taking hits and exploding when they’re not touching the audio. It’s bad enough having huge new explosions with no sound (I know, I know, there’s no sound in space), but if we heard the phasers firing while we’re watching the ship take the hits and explode, it would be real disorienting.

56. CmdrR - February 11, 2008

Good review. Thanks.

I’ve said before and will repeat (because I can) that I agree, this will not be the last update to TOS’ fx. The downside is that anyone who plunks down 300-400 bucks now will be disappointed down the line. These effects look like 2007. (Actually, they look like 1998.) In ten years, these remastered episodes of having the oddity of looking half 60’s and half 00’s. Think about the colorized version of Casablanca. As bad as the idea was to begin with, it’s impossible to watch now and not think ‘half 1940’s and half 1990’s.’ For that reason, I would urge anyone who’s doing a remastering project (at home or at a big shiny studio) to ALWAYS include a cleaned-up edition of the original cut.

Having said all that, on the whole I really enjoy TOS-R. As Jess ALSO pointed out (get out of my brain, Jeff!) the main value here is to give us all an excuse to watch the show with fresh eyes. Trek really is a classic, warts and all.

57. CmdrR - February 11, 2008

Jeff. oopsie.

58. Heywood Jablomee - February 11, 2008

Man, I wanted to see more starship destruction! Some lingering shots of heavily damaged constitutions would have been cool… with like, dudes floating off into space and stuff…

59. Holo J - February 11, 2008

51. OR Coast Trekkie

“I’ll give CBS-D credit: they gave us a peek at the potential, but if I am going to spend my money, I need there to be more. I need “whoa” and not “eh.” ”

I agree with all you say. Especially the bit about them giving us a peek at the potential of what could be done to these episodes given the time and money. I would love to see this done again. But I doubt that Paramount will be in any rush to spend any more money on this anytime soon.

I really wanted to see the damage to the ships in this episode. I was looking forward to seeing a close up of the damage on the Excalibur but instead we got a long shot that you’d need a pair of good binoculars to see if there was indeed any damage to the ship. This effort wasn’t really bad but it wasn’t that great either. Maybe I am being a bit harsh.

It seems as Anthony mentioned earlier CBS have been “pulling back. Getting more conservative and also getting less polished” in their approach. It really has felt like they have been rushing to get these final episodes finished as soon as possible and any of the love the artist and the guys involved had in this project has long gone. Maybe the impossible time frames they have been given to turn the new effects out each week has contributed to the feelings these guys have about what is acceptable as finished work, but I have to say on the whole I have been disappointed with what has been done more times than I have been pleasantly surprised.

I have said this so many times before but its a real shame!!!. There has been moments when its been good but there are too many missed chances most of the time.

I would love to see them take their time remastering the effects to the highest standard. Re-recording some of the sound and music scores would be fantastic.

It would be great if the fans could write up a list of the most wanted improvements for each episode and then the effects house then had the time and money to make all the changes with the help of an art director who would know how to make the most of some of the space shots that have been wasted a lot of times during this current project…. Yeah I know that never going to happen but I really am interested in owning a more complete update on DVD. I will not be buying these versions. I never thought I would have said that at the start of this project as I was really keen but this half finished work doesn’t cut it for me and so for now I am going to stick to the original DVD’s for now.

60. Holo J - February 11, 2008

I really do wonder if I am alone in this thinking. Are there just a handful of us that would like to see more done before we buy another copy of this series or are most happy with the standard of work produced for TOS R? I know its not all been bad and the matt paintings have been great.

I know Jeff has made the point fans will probably do their own version of the effects over the years to come, which is cool as I have started to enjoy and look out for such work but I am a stickler for official DVD box sets and would very much like a balanced more complete official DVD set of TOS R.

Does anyone think CBS Paramount will listen and act to some the recent criticism? I know the answer is probably no. I mean it seems to me most people will take TOS R or leave it as it is. I have enjoyed seeing the updates but I see this current work more as a work in progress than a finished piece of work. It seems most people aren’t really that bothered about TOS R, we seem to get less and less people comment on it here each week, which is sad because it one of the main reasons I visit this site.

I don’t mean to bash the hard work the CBS D guys have done as I know the probably have worked very hard on what has been produced. Its not all been bad and I still enjoy looking out for what has been done each week but I always feel this could have been so much more if who ever was in charge of the time and money of this project had a bit more of a vision. I hope one day soon the penny drops for whoever is pulling the strings and they give this another go.

61. Cervantes - February 11, 2008

#60 Holo J

I hope we get a better ‘bells and whistles’ attempt at this in the future too. Perhaps when we get the inevitable ‘widescreen’ release in the future, as Japan seemingly got some kind of widescreen showing according previously… But this will have to do for now, and there is a lot that has been improved overall, though not to the standard I would have ideally liked myself.

62. Dr. Image - February 11, 2008

Anthony,
Any chance we’ll be seeing a follow-up interview with the CBS-D team? Love to know what they’ve learned, how they’ve changed things, what improvements they’re making, etc., since the project has started.
Also if, like JJ &co, they drop by here and READ some of the critiques?
If they don’t, they should.

63. Holo J - February 11, 2008

61. Cervantes

Hey Cervantes I am glad to know there is another person out there who feels the same! I agree that this effort is an obvious improvement overrall but I would really like to see a more complete update sooner rather than later. I am sure it will be done again one day but I just hope I am still a fairly young man when they do decide to do more and take it further.

64. The Guardian of Forever - February 11, 2008

Nicely written review.

I too have been disappointed at some of the effects in TOS-R so far, but The Ultimate Computer was great. I’d been looking forward to it in particular because, as much as I love the original effects (however ‘cheesy’ the cut-and-paste effect may be), the showdown with the other ships really deserved to be done again with new angles.

65. Doug L. - February 11, 2008

Well, from strictly a visual standpoint I’ll sum up my dislike of cbs-d’s take on this vs darren docs… Hopefully you’ve all seen his Big E standing off against a Klingon Battle Cruiser in a still shot for one of the Fan produced Trek shows…

I’m sorry I don’t have a link, but everytime i see this pic, I see everything done exactly as I believe it should be done. The angle, the colors, the sense of scale… it’s pretty great.

The CBS-d still shots for the Ult Comp, look flat, small and fairly grey in tone.

I’m not saying every shot CBS-D does is bad, but the lows far outweigh the highs for me.

Doug L.

66. Scott Gammans - February 11, 2008

#59: Holo J, you expressed my exact sentiments about this effort. After eagerly awaiting this episode ever since it was put on the schedule, I actually shouted “That’s ALL!?!?” at the TV screen more than once yesterday afternoon as I watched this episode. What a tremendous disappointment.

67. dan - February 11, 2008

TOS remastered is at its best when he FX shots enhance what is there. Enhance is the keyword.

Not re-create.
Not re-imagine.

Time and time again I see that the angles and FX work from the 60’s looks much better than the cheap video-game like quality now.

We are thrilled when we see the effects have a subtle polish or finish to them but remain true to what we grew up with.

I stopped getting excited about the FX work and Ultimate Computer is just another example of the underwhelming work of this effort.

68. Sean4000 - February 11, 2008

Knowing I am not alone makes me very happy! :)

69. TJR - February 11, 2008

CBS D has done an admirable job considering the time crunch they are on. But if my understanding is correct: Three years ago Darren D. First pitched the idea of Star Trek Enhanced to Paramount. The idea was to start then (three years ago) on updating the special effects, in preparation for the Trek’s big anniversary. Paramount passed on the idea. I will never understand why though. This would have been a no brainer for reinvigorating the franchise. Look at Darren’s test reel at Trek Enhanced.com and imagine the whole series updated like this. Imagine starting the special effects work with 3 years head start? Imagine all those cheesy planet sets given the kind of depth that CBS D has been to rushed to be able to do? Imagine them having the time to have Kirk fight a CGI Gorn? I could go on, but imagine if Paramount/CBS had made this an all out balls to the walls project? And then have it aired in primetime? The audience is built in. The ratings would have gone through the roof. Trek would have been introduced to a whole new audience, an audience that would have been primed to get it on DVD after seeing it on TV without all those syndication cuts. Done with care and the proper presentation this could have been HUGE. Instead the only reason Paramount did this is because the original effects didn’t transfer to HD. Talk about a missed opportunity.

70. British Naval Dude - February 11, 2008

arrr… I saw odd things…….

…effects including what was clearly a Hallmark Holiday Enetrprise ornament dangling above another Hallmark Holiday Enterprise ornament whilst a red lazer-pointer dot went between them as someone shouted “blooooop! powie!” …

OK… that was just the rum…

In all truth, the effects went by SO FAST that I hardly had time to appreciate anything… why bother re-doing a shot that is less than 2 seconds?…

unless yon DVD has an additional ten minutes of battle blowing the holy hell out of me beloved Excaliber… arrrr….

.

71. DarenDoc - February 11, 2008

Well, TJR, that’s water under the bridge…

But in any case… it was longer than three years ago that I brought it to Paramount… LOL was around 2002.

But I’m glad I didn’t have to do it all in a year and a half, that’s for sure.

72. Poorly done - February 11, 2008

This isn’t a mindless rant. I just feel it’s necessary to share my underwhelming appreciation for the work that went into this episode…

Like “The Doomsday Machine” CBS-D set the bar fairly high for what they could do to “The Ultimate Computer.”

Yes, I appreciated the various touches: The subtle changes to the other Constitution-class starships (inside and out), the “new” Woden, the Vanguard-inspired space station, the energy beam murder scene by M5 in Engineering.

But it felt like recycled, rehashed FX. The planet looked exactly like one used in a previous episode. The starship movements looked recycled. (I won’t complain about the Woden because at least we saw the recycled Antares, er… new starship added, not the rehashed S.S. Botany Bay ship.)

Where was the damage to the Hood, the Potemkin and the Lexington?

And the biggest issues: The LACK of showing the damaged Excalibur up-close. While I understand the original episode showed the starship from afar, this was one instance where a close-up, whether on the viewscreen, or external shot, could have shown the battle damage. Damage from the Enterprise’s phaser beams across the primary hull, splitting open the top from the impulse engines across the bridge to the bow; severe damage to the secondary hull, crippling engineering and other sections.

Whether a visible, albeit distant shot or a close-up shot, we saw neither. We got a very, very distant, barely visible shot of the Excalibur.

After seeing the damaged Constellation in “The Doomsday Machine” we know CBS-D is capable of greatness. It was missing here.

I also had issue with the creative direction. In one of the Star Trek: Ships of the Line calendars, there was an inspired view of the Enterprise sending shuttlecraft to the damaged starships. (Now I realize the E had a reduced crew, so this may not have been possible.) But to have the E fly away at the end… that didn’t work. All four starships towing the Excalibur–or starting rescue operations–would have been MUCH better.

It’s obvious that CBS-D is being underfunded as this point. The lighting on the shots haven’t been stellar; in recent episodes, few shots have matched some of the excellence showcased in earlier episodes. (How I wish they’d fixed “Balance of Terror” before the HD-DVD release. Yet another reason I won’t buy the HD-DVD set.)

On the plus side, I REALLY enjoyed the review by Mr. Bond. Exceptionally well-thought, well-written. It’s speaks volumes about why I visit TrekMovie.com. Thank you.

73. Ali - February 11, 2008

I just it had all been more ambitious

74. Marian Ciobanu - February 11, 2008

-ds-9 is more better than Voyager….
a…Voyager.looks now so cool…is so much better than …ENTERPRISE..wich is so much better than TOS remastered
-This is really cool..isn’t it..?

75. Marian Ciobanu - February 11, 2008

TREK is like wine…

76. Cafe 5 - February 11, 2008

When they first announced that they would re/master the effect shots for TOS I as many fans were extremely elated at the prospect of seeing the episodes anew. We are getting what they paid for. As consumers of their video products we should demand they produce to a standard worth our while. I don’t wish to waste my time and money on an inferior product. If CBS/Paramount is not willing to go the extra effort needed to give Star Trek its due then we as viewers and consumers should not avail ourselves of the products they produce. Paramount has a chance to refine Star Trek through feedback from the viewers more than any other series or movie. The viewing public has been behind Star Trek for over 40 years and deserves more than a cursory effort on their part. I have found some of the re/mastering to be extraordinary, while others were woefully superficial. It time they reexamined what they are doing. The end product must be viable for both of us not just something they can make a quick profit with at our expense.

77. Krik Semaj - February 11, 2008

#69 Sorry to burst your bubble, but CBS could spend all the money in the world on this remastering project, and it wouldn’t reinvigorate the franchise. I love Trek – I am on this site after all, but outside of the hardcore fanbase not many people care about TOS. Even when they first announced the project, it was shown on in pretty thin syndication. Face it, outside of us it’s an old show that most people just don’t care about anymore. I have an annual 4th of July party at my home, and about 200 people show up. I know almost all of them. I can count on one hand how many people even knew about the remastered series. I have a friend who loves Trek, but didn’t even know about the new movie. The new movie will do more to garner attention for TOS, but even then it will be short lived. You are never going to see TOS in prrimetime again.
Sorry for the bad news.

78. thomoz - February 11, 2008

I voted “b” on the effects grade this time ’round,
because the shots of the ships where the whole ship
is in the frame (and small) looked crappy,
I’m sorry to say.

When we’re so close to one of the ships (usually 1701)
that only part of the ship is in-frame, the whole shot
just looks better – it’s probably a “visual scale reference” issue.

(I would have liked to see a crunched-up Potemkin as well)

79. JMD - February 11, 2008

It is too bad that the fans do not know the budget that cbs needs for this project . We could donate the bucks to the Remaster Star Trek Right Fund. Therefore we could be the arbiters of the effects that we like. I think there are still a couple fans out there! Maybe if we all donate a dollar to the fund we can have more say to who handles and how the effects are handled. Until then I guess the pencil pushers at cbs will call the shots as cost effective as possible! But hey none of us could please all of us so it would be a complete battle for which look is the right look! win some lose some!

80. Fan since the 70s - February 11, 2008

I think what a number of posters have been getting at is the lack of artistry in the shots the folks at CBS digital are providing. For example, the shot of the Enterprise approaching the station is utterly and completely uninspired. It’s simply a plain old architectural front elevation with a shot of the Enterprise approaching slapped in front of it. There had to have been more they could have done with that, once they’ve got a 3d model created…

81. DreamerOutThere - February 11, 2008

Okay, I’ve seen TOS-R Ultimate Computer, and I gotta say, I enjoyed it.

The new effects made it feel like the Enterprise was actually a threat to the other ships, and like there was an actual fleet formation out there.

Some people have complained that the attack scenes were all static shots of the Enterprise just firing on other ships and that there were no real close ups of any of the other ships getting messed up. Honestly. I think this is how it should be.

They TOS-R crew isn’t changing the sound effects and or sound track and thus, the sound effects are of the Enterprise firing on something far away and we don’t hear any kind of close up explosion. So, going by the sound FX, I think they did it right. And thus, I enjoyed it.

All you really have to do to enjoy this is, A. Suspend disbelief and try to forget about the fact that having a phaser fight at warp speeds is impossible and B. Suspend disbelief that the M-5 unit would be that bulky vs. today’s standards.

The whole idea as far as I understand it is, when the Federation was formed, all the member worlds put their tech with Earth’s tech to make what becomes Federation tech. And around this time, duatronics were new, and as all new types of techs were being developed, everything became bulky and retro for a while, and by the time we get into TNG, everything gets small again like it is in ENT.

Anyway, all that said. This is a fun episode. Every TOS fan should check it out.

82. TomBot2008 - February 11, 2008

Re: #49, in Channel 52’s defense… they will be at least ReRunning it next week, already. Frankly, compared to other markets where it’s been buried at 3am somewhere, I think 52’s been rather decent. Heck, gotta luv a station that runs the Original Twilight Zone. At least I now have an explanation why my VCR(yep) didn’t get the space battle!!! Oh, well, I believe most of the comments. As per usual, the effects looked better on the tube than the computer… but I still don’t get the far awayness of everything. Are all the CG artist, farsighted? LOL! This was a good review, sums up a lot of the highs and lows of this endeavor so far. Frankly, I don’t see myself buying these, but then I’m still in the DVD stoneage. LOL! Maybe if Star Trek XI does well, we can get a ReReMastered Set, with TAS included!!! *Doubt it, but we can dream. It’s cheap still.

83. Scott Gammans - February 11, 2008

#79: JMD, I think you’re definitely onto something here. Judging by the lackluster efforts we’ve been seeing lately, I’d hazard that the budget on a per-episode average basis is well under $100K by this point in time… and sadly, the penny-pinching really shows onscreen.

#72: I couldn’t have said it better myself. Unfortunately. :(

84. Xindi1985 - February 11, 2008

@CBS-D
The battle between the enterprise and her sister-ships looks like a fight against insects!!!! Why you using an old remastered stock-footage? Look at the first phaser-attack on the Lexington! In the next scene the Lexington looks like a fly!!!! WHY???? In the main-battle-sequence there is no close-up of the other ships! WHY???? When M5 first attacked the Lexington with full power, there is no close-up of the Lexington, but in the next scene we see commodore wesley. And you don’t show the Excalibur, getting her deadly blast, from a nearly camera-angle! WHY????
Sorry CBS-D but you did a very bad job! Call EdenFX for a training, you have to learn more!

I hope Paramount brings a better Remastered-Version for a blu-ray-release! And please consult EdenFX or ILM for this job!
I HOPE YOU READ THIS!!!!

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER

85. DreamerOutThere - February 11, 2008

I think they did it like that cuz the sound effects were of the Enterprise firing at something far away, not a ship up close getting hit.

86. Ty Webb - February 11, 2008

The only TOS-R that really made me think, that’s bad, was the ‘Galileo Seven’ on the HD-DVD (RIP). The CG in that looked so much like a cartoon it hurt. The majority of CG has been in my view perfectly acceptable and sometimes very good.

87. LostOnNCC1701 - February 11, 2008

For all it’s flaws, I think it can be said that, with the exception of the earliest remastered episodes (such as Balance of Terror), these remasters have been a success. I really hope they continue to do this with a TNG remastered (one of the few highlights of the Enterprise Finale was the CGI E-D). I think they would have to do TNG in chronological order though, since A) TNG had alot more serialization to it then TOS (where most stories were selfcontained, with 2 or 3 exceptions), so if it is partially to “reintroduce trek” it might make more sense to do so in order and B) The special effects in the early seasons of TNG were, by inflation, actually CHEAPER then those in TOS… and in some ways, it shows.

88. Doug - February 11, 2008

Okay, I graded the new effects, giving them a “B” on the polling site, BUT c’mon guys slow down and spend some more time on this project.

1) When the Entperprise approached the space station it looked too cartoonish. I’d rather have the K-7 shots then something that looks fake.

2) The shots of the Enterprise firing on her sister ships looked too X-Box game-ish.

I really like the fact that CBS/Paramount wants to do the update thing, but let’s do it right (pretty please). ;-)

89. Doug - February 11, 2008

I also would have believed the pain that Kirk was feeling a bit more if we had seen some of the battle damage the M-5 unit had inflicted on the Enterprise’s sister ships… something akin to what we saw in “The Doomsday Machine.”

I don’t need to see the grizzliness of dead bodies floating in space, but some twisted wreckage, or showing the ships adrift (tumbing even) would have added a sense of realism to the new footage.

We were spared all of this due to the time constraints of an heavily edited (for airing) episode. I wonder if this is more telling on the full length episodes on the new DVD packages?

90. sean's clone - February 11, 2008

Like the original series itself, it seems the remastering effort is slowly losing steam.

A real oppotunity to WOW us here and is pretty much missed. I done with the remasters – but where will I get my Trek thrills? Oh well – Christmas is not that far away…

91. Fleet Captain Kor'Tar - February 11, 2008

Ok, I got a reply from the station’s engineer about last night’s black out problem , apparently the “bug” they use to put the station ID logo in the bottom right of screen was having issues, and nothing was wrong with the transmitter, this signal it self was bad . They say the problem has been fixed now . I’ll have to see this next Sunday during the encore.

92. Sean4000 - February 11, 2008

#90,

It’s over for me too. The series has a mediocre CG makeover and what a shame that is. :(

I’ll buy Enterprise on HD-DVD (dead format) before I buy TOS-R on ANY format!

93. dil - February 11, 2008

Was nice but I hoped for more

94. Ty Webb - February 11, 2008

Even when it’s not always succesful I’d happily take TOSR over the original episodes any day. Unfortunately with Netflix and best Buy dropping HD-DVD I have no faith in continuing to buy them. I’ll wait for the eventual Blu-ray sets.

95. Commodore Z - February 11, 2008

I finally ordered my HD-DVD player today, so I will finally be able to see TOS-R in full HD glory!

96. Kregano - February 11, 2008

It’s a shame that the CBS Digital team is so badly handicapped in terms of budget and time. I kind of wish CBS had decided to get Eden FX to do the space shots and the CBS Digital team do mattes, planets, and some other things. But CBS Digital is giving it’s all with what little they’ve got, and they seem to save their best efforts on the big events.

Hopefully, TPTB will learn from their mistakes and do the next inevitable remastering right.

97. mctrekkie - February 11, 2008

Great episode- CBS D should have done a lot more with it.

I think, if their mission is to stay within the spirit of the thing- perhaps they should look at the writers notes from the 60’s- where does it say “4 identical star ships meander around in space”?

When the US Navy has war games- does it use identical ships?

Super Geek moment-

There was a “Voyage to the bottom of the sea” Episode where Captain Crane was left alone aboard the Seaview with a computer running things.- IN that instance it was the soviets that messed things up.

However it is interesting to note that many of the first Season “Voyage” eps did have some Star Trek worthy concepts.

98. Balock - February 11, 2008

… too bad they didn’t go over the top with closer shots of other ships and battle damage, ala TWOK… The Doomsday Machine was an over the top effort, guess I was hoping for too much here.

As for next time around, maybe someone will try again at 100th anniversary… For those viewing this post in 2064, have some fun with remaking it…

99. dan - February 11, 2008

It’s obvious that the only reason CBS-D put so much effort on Doomsday Machine was because of Daren Dochterman’s orginal efforts – they felt that had to have superiour visuals.

I can’t say enough how Darren D.’s efforts to get this project going were really mishandled and ball dropped many times by CBS-D. Had Darren chose to do Ultimate Computer, I’m sure we would get a better effort.

100. martin - February 11, 2008

@#95- You BOUGHT an HD-DVD player today?

— I bought my HD-A3 for TOS-R, both were bought at Thanksgiving. Sent in my phaser offer that day, as well as my 5 free HDDVDs offer. Neither have been received yet. I am starting to wonder if it is.

I also think after today’s news, we won’t be seeing Seasons 2 & 3 on HD-DVD. This is the biggest blunder by Paramount to follow the foundering HD-DVD format into oblivion. Hopefully, Paramount will offer the HD-DVD Season One owners some sort of exchange toward the Blu-ray sets– and hopefully they will get those Blu-ray sets out this year.

101. Simon - February 11, 2008

#100 agreed. Paramount chose HD DVD because they were CHEAP.
They formed CBS-D because they were CHEAP. They didn’t want to spend the money for Eden FX.

Look at “In A Mirror Darkly, Part II” on Enterprise. It shows what a Constitution class starship can do when it kicks butt.

This “firing on some distant object” thing doesn’t work. “Star Trek II” and all subsequent shows (taken to the nth degree by DS9 in “Sacrifice of Angels”) shows starships getting close, letting loose, and doing a lot of visible damage. ILM really set the tone on how TREK starships should look, either flying or in combat. Massive ships that pound each other.

102. the king in shreds and tatters - February 11, 2008

Yeah, while some of the shots have been okay, Eden’s absence is really quite bizarre.

103. Anthony Pascale - February 11, 2008

Dr. Image
follow up interview yes…look for that next week

104. OR Coast Trekkie - February 11, 2008

I’m almost afraid of what they would do to TNG if they remastered it… but then again, were TNG’s effects shot in high enough quality film to need to be redone if they are digitally restored?

105. Simon - February 12, 2008

TNG’s FX were shot by ILM & Image G on film.

Problem is that the show was edited on videotape. Once the filming for the day was finished, it was transferred to video, and edited. The visual effects were shot on film transferred to video, edited and composited. FX like phaser shots & transporters were completed in the video domain.

So the “real” way to do it would to be find all the existing raw set & FX footage, transfer that to HD video, re-edit, recomposite filmed FX, and re-do those FX done in the video domain. Much, much more difficult.

106. Simon - February 12, 2008

I forgot to mention that is why the TNG DVDs look “fuzzy”. DVD actually has better resolution than the late 80’s era video transfers.

By the 4th season, they had better video transfer equipment, that is why the image is much sharper on those and subsequent shows like DS9 and Voyager. On that note, DS9 later seasons and most of Voyager would need their FX completely re-rendered for HD resolution since it was just about all CGI by then.

Since the CG of the TREK films were rendered at film resolution and output to film there will be no problem for HD versions of those. Only the Director’s Edition will need additional work since that was output at DVD resolution by Foundation Imaging. Dave D has already said their CG models are film quality (just in case the Director’s Edition was released theatrically) so they would just need to re-output their FX at the higher resolution.

107. seangh - February 12, 2008

I gotta say, my hopes were really high for this episode – one of my faves. Reading the interview Anthony had with the Okudas earier, really got me looking forward to this. But gee, I think I’m somewhat disappointed.

Everything just seemed so flat. Movements of the ships were not dynamic – there were a few shots that could be considered cinematic (the LExington’s saucer section in full frame and the other ships hanging off in the distance) but other than that, not much going on.

Is it me, or have the visuals really gone down in quality? The CG work with the E at the space station seemed really video gamey. Another shot of the E pulling away from the station, made it seem that the station was moving on it’s own – very strange shot.

Just not well executed I think.

108. Ty Webb - February 12, 2008

106# “I forgot to mention that is why the TNG DVDs look “fuzzy”. DVD actually has better resolution than the late 80’s era video transfers.”

DVD resoluton is standard definiton. The resolution is the same. The quality might be different, but the resolution is the same. The only reason later seasons of TNG look better is because they used early digital processes which were less lossy. Prior to that they were working in the multi-generational video domain.

109. FredCFO - February 12, 2008

I,too, always found it disconcerting that after all the death and mayhem that there was a joke at the end of a given episode — “My son the doctor” (4 billion people killed) or “I found one quite sufficient” (400 people killed) or “The resulting torrential flood of illogic would be most entertaining” (400 to 800 killed).

The humorous tag was something that was mercilfully discontinued in future series. Never really liked it.

I wish CBS-D could expand the special effects to flesh out the action instead of being straightjacketed by the limited time caused by 1960’s budgets and technology.

110. Bob Jones - February 12, 2008

The thing that has always bothered me about this episode is Kirk’s dogged insistence on issuing orders. Seriously, how many times does Kirk give an order, only to have the bridge crew say, “M5 has already done that,”? Once or twice is understandable. But Kirk does it so often it makes him look like an idiot. What part of “M5 drill” don’t you understand?

111. seangh - February 12, 2008

#106 – #108
Rodenberry and company made a mistake with TNG early on, trying to save money (and speed up post production) by using mostly video composited effects in post, as opposed to optical effects composited on film.

I find the early episodes almost unwatchable and I think that the shelf life of TNG was hurt tremendously by this short sighted method. Indeed, even as early as 1980, high definition television was clearly seen on the horizon. So it is puzzling that this great visionary, Rodenberry, couldn’t even see 20 years down the road and anticipate this issue. What’s even more perplexing, is that TOS was in syndication for 15 years by the time TNG was slated for production, clearly the Great Bird must have anticipated that his next great Trek show would have a similar shelf life – so why not prepare for the future?

I think TNG will be stuck in the SD realm for some time to come.

It’s all kinda of ironic I think.

112. Simon - February 12, 2008

#108:”DVD resoluton is standard definiton. The resolution is the same. The quality might be different, but the resolution is the same. The only reason later seasons of TNG look better is because they used early digital processes which were less lossy. Prior to that they were working in the multi-generational video domain.”

That’s what I’m getting at. When you dub generations (excuse the term) you lose RESOLUTION. The “signal” may be NTSC, but the actual resolution of the final result is still less than the 720×480 DVD.

VHS (250 lines at best) was standard definition. So was broadcast TV (which tops out at 330 lines). I’d be surprised if the early TNG masters reach that of broadcast TV, since later seasons looked a lot better after they switched to D1 & D2 digital video.

113. Sean4000 - February 12, 2008

If TNG-R is green lit, and I hope it is not, Paramount will have to rescan all the original film elements for immediate recompositing. This was stated be several people before. I feel that rescanning the ship shots is pointless when CG could give much better angles and dimension.

Now we can use Enterprise’s “These Are The Voyages” as our benchmark for EdenFX’s possible work on TNG-R. The excuse, the FX are too jarring nolds NO WATER for TNG-R. EdenFX is the perfect company.

Can you guys imagine what “The Best Of Both Worlds” would look like with Eden at the helm. OH MY GOD!

114. Dave in RI - February 12, 2008

For people who are hoping Paramount will go back and improve ST-R (myself included) once this project is completed, I’m afraid are in for a real disappointment.

This upgrade was done purely for TOS to be commercially viable in the HD age. Upgrade the visuals so that they are passable and if time/money permits, some minor tweaking here and there. Nothing more.

I agree this has been a major lost opportunity for some spectacular SFX, but from Paramount’s point of view, I think they feel the appeal of TOS is very niche. If that is true, then I understand the time and budget restraint they have imposed. You can’t blame them, really. It’s all about the bottom dollar. Always has been, always will be. That’s business.

115. Sean4000 - February 12, 2008

Then I’ll have to say, as an educated consumer, I’m not buying the set. I have some DVR’d and they’ll do.

As I said before, I’ll buy Enterprise on HD-DVD (dead format) before I buy TOS-R on any format.

116. Thomas Jensen - February 12, 2008

I’ve been very, very supportive of this project.

I’m very glad to have the updated effects. I’m a ‘glass half full’ type of person and have been enjoying the upgrades. But I have to agree with many of the posts above that the project is not realizing it’s potiential.

Not all, but many of the suggestions are things which could be done as part of the mandate of the project.

I’d like to hear more from the people doing this after all the work is done. I’d think they could be honest about the situation and the problems after they’ve received their last paycheck. At this point, we’ll only be getting positive spin. I’d bet the people putting this together know they are stopping short, but can’t do enough for lack of a sufficient budget.

117. sean's clone - February 12, 2008

I’m sure Anthony has plans to do a TOS-R post-mortem with interviews from the CBSD folks.

When it’s all done – how many unique effects shots will CBSD recreate? Hundreds?

118. Garovorkin - February 12, 2008

114 Dave Paramount took a page from George Lucas, who updated the effects of his first three Star wars film re released them and made millions. Paramount is doing the same thing with Star Trek Updating the effects and repackaging them which will also earn them millions. Very smart way to do business by both Lucas and Paramount.

119. OR Coast Trekkie - February 12, 2008

#114

The sad thing is: I know you are correct. The only reason we even get new effects at all is because the old effects didn’t hold up in digital restoration. I only wonder if that was something was considered when they decided to upgrade TOS to HD? Was the budget and time frame given before this gaffe was realized? Are the effects being remade on the “letovers?” Or was this something that was clearly thought out, yet not given the money it deserved?

As for TOS being for a niche market, you are absolutely right. However, I would use that logic in this way: KNOWING your niche. Fans of Star Trek have certain expectations when it comes to special effects. If you contract Eden or ILM to do them, you know you can deliver a product. Plus, you can charge more money for a higher profit percentage, because if you have mind-blowing effects, Star Trek fans will buy.

For example: I myself would not pay $179 for the upgraded effects that I am getting. Yet, if ILM or Eden did the effects and camp up with what I’ve seen posted in other categories on this site, I would be willing to pay $250 for that set.

However, as I have said before, the error in this also comes from marketing the effects, rather than just simple HD. If they had pushed “HD HD HD” and kept the effects as more of a sidebar, I think there would be totally different reactions both opinion wise, and also, more people would be willing to buy this new set.

120. Sean4000 - February 12, 2008

I’ll top you OR Coast Trekkie, if CBS had used Eden FX for TOS-R I’d pay 349.99 a season! I don’t care what they charge for Enterprise, I”LL BUY IT!

121. OR Coast Trekkie - February 13, 2008

Well Sean… I still have rent to pay…. lol

122. Sean4000 - February 15, 2008

Has any news on more Trek on HD been released?

123. X-Box Game CDs – Excitement on its excellence | Ipod Movies, Music And Videos - May 5, 2009

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