The Enterprise Incident Review + Screenshots & Video

by Mark Altman

It’s certainly an established fact that the third season of Star Trek was a relative disaster (which still makes it light years better than most subsequent Trek series) with a new  Executive Producer at the helm, Fred Frieberger, budget slashing at Desilu and a lousy new Friday night timeslot on NBC. That said, there are still a few pleasures to be mined from the lackluster year, including the minimalist theatrics of The Empath, the surreally cornball but moody Spectre of the Gun, the swashbuckling sadism of Day of the Dove and, most notably, the Cold War machinations of The Enterprise Incident.

Although the espionage story in which the Enterprise is covertly dispatched to steal a Romulan cloaking device is dealt with only superficially, the real juice is Shatner’s over-the-top histrionics as he apes being an unhinged commander in an attempt to convince the Romulans he’s gone cuckoo for Coca-Puffs. It’s a perfect storyline for Shatner, who milks being coming completely unglued for all it’s worth, no more memorably than when he gets iced with the steely Vulcan death grip by Mr. Spock. Psyche! There is no such thing as a Vulcan death grip, sucker. Kirk manages to steal the Cloaking Device from under the noses of two moronic guards and it culminates with some genuine suspense as to whether or not Scotty can get the device online before the Romulans close in for the kill.

Less effective, despite a terrific performance from guest star Joanne Linville, is the romance subplot which always sets female Mr. Spock fans hearts aflutter since it’s clear, his subterfuge was not a complete act (unlike in This Side of Paradise where the spores force him to go all horizontal on Jill Ireland). I believe some fan fic in the 70s even contemplated that Spock had fathered a child in this episode and it was even briefly considered as an explanation for Saavik being half-Vulcan/half-Romulan. That said, Sixties sexism rears its ugly head when we realize how surprised everyone is that the Romulans are being captained by, gasp, a woman. Not to mention how quickly she’s willing to forsake her obligations as a leader to get into Mr. Spock’s pants. Of course, stranger things have happened in real life, so maybe it’s not so goofy after all. That said, Nimoy’s subtle performance as well as Linville’s credible turn as the Romulan Commander help sell it despite the relative hokeyness of the premise.

Ultimately though, Enterprise Incident remains a fun romp with a memorably bombastic score and a great macguffin in the form of the Cloaking Device which turns starships invisible (yet another prescient invention of the original show foreshadowing stealth technology two decades before it was implemented in real life). Even the ham-handed explanation of the Klingon-Romulan alliance which only existed to explain the use of stock footage of Klingon ships, instead of Romulans, in the original episode, spawned decades worth of fan speculation, and later some great episodes of Deep Space Nine.

As for Enterprise Incident 2.0, like virtually all recent episodes of the remastered project it’s a mixed bag. Lacking any matte shots, which have all been superlatively realized from day one, the starship visuals are problematic. Stock flybys are adequate including an effective boom down on the primary hull, but lack the metallic sheen of the original miniatures. The new shots of the Enterprise being surrounded by two Klingon D-7 cruisers, emblazoned with the Romulan Star Empire insignia, and a Romulan Bird of Prey, are better in conception than execution. The Enterprise looks particularly badly rendered and fake, when surrounded by the troika of three ships, and the D-7’s don’t come close to looking as good as the K’t’inga Klingon miniatures in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. That said, for the most part the scenes are all well storyboarded and shot, often following the original composition, despite only appearing marginally credible. The actual cloaking of the Enterprise is handled adeptly although the overall visual effects for the episode remain maddeningly inconsistent. With only a few episodes remaining, I continue to be frustrated by the many missed opportunities and often sloppy rendering being performed on these episodes which are likely to supplant the original versions in both syndication and on DVD.

Mark A. Altman is writer/producer of the Star Trek homage, Free Enterprise, as well as numerous other feature films and telefilms. 



by Matt Wright

by Matt Wright

Enterprise and D7 schematics

The Romulan Commander

Oh man I needed to stretch

“It this how the salt vampire attacked you?”

“It’s hard to belive that I could be so moved by the touch of an alien hand”

Sort by:   newest | oldest
April 7, 2008 6:32 pm

I set my VCR but the local station didn’t air it.
I was justly pissed.

April 7, 2008 6:39 pm


April 7, 2008 6:40 pm

Hearing “DUN DUN DA DUN” strung together so many times is easily the best laugh I’ve had all day.

April 7, 2008 6:47 pm


Thomas Jensen
April 7, 2008 6:49 pm

In the teaser, Spock states, “A second ship has appeared” then we see the exterior view with the three ships around the Enterprise. Strictly speaking, this was correct, but I would have liked to see that last Romulan ship materialize after Spock’s proclamation.

It was interesting seeing the sliding port turn Sulu put the ship into after Kirk order a change of course, quite different.

I always enjoy the Enterprise leaving behind a planet, a star in nova, a space station or, in this case, the three Romulan ships, at high speed. It is a simple, but effective way to show the speed of the Enterprise as it goes into warp. I’m of the opinion that it’s not necessary to show the ship with a ‘warp effect’. I just like seeing it go faster in relation to the stars.

The Enterprise cloaking effect was effective and worked nicely.

A good episode for the CGI.

sean's clone
April 7, 2008 6:51 pm

Mark’s review is spot on. how sad that the remastered effort has decided to go out with a whimper. With great shows like TUC, EOT and E Incident to really cut loose with, we get some very mediocre stuff. Aw well…what could have been.

Maybe CBS / Paramount can release some hi-res copies into the public domain and let fans take a crack at a remaster effort….

April 7, 2008 6:51 pm

Thank you very much, you’ve just given my 1 3/4 year old son a new bit of music that he’s determined to turn into a vocal symphony.

April 7, 2008 6:52 pm

Mark Altman, now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. Dang I missed your reviews of Trek in Cinefantastique, you were the only source of unfiltered unbiased opinion in Trek until Berman had you banned from the sets.

April 7, 2008 6:53 pm

I like the “Vis-a-Vis” -Angle between the Enterprise and the romulan flagship!

April 7, 2008 6:54 pm

Strange that many people rank this episode as a favorite. For me there are just too many nagging, unanswered questions. Why didn’t Starfleet use the stolen cloaking technology? Why hasn’t Starfleet been able to detect cloaked Romulan vessels since stealing it? Why didn’t the Romulan Commander order troops from the three ships to board the Enterprise the moment the cloaking device was discovered missing? Scotty is given fifteen minutes to install the cloaking device while the Romulans just sit there waiting.

I didn’t care for the Romulan Commander either. Not a favorite guest actress.

The new effects were better than “Elaan”, though. Not bad.

Lord Garth, Formerly of Izar
April 7, 2008 6:54 pm

Agreed !!!! Now where is Free Enterprise 2?????

April 7, 2008 6:55 pm

It wasn’t stock footage of the Klingon ships… most of the footage was new for this episode (principally the shots from below/behind the Klingon ship.)

The problem was that the Romulan BoP model was too far gone for filming by then, and it was too expensive to build another one.

April 7, 2008 6:57 pm

8. Hear here! Altman’s Cinefantastique critiques were priceless!

April 7, 2008 6:58 pm

Great episode, although it kind of makes Kirk’s righteousness in ‘”Dove” kind of hypocritical– “The Federation doesn’t specialize in sneak attacks!” — but sneak spy missions are OK. Not to mention they’re doing what the Romulans did in “Terror”. Just an observation, not judgement. Still a fun episode in every way.

Thomas Jensen
April 7, 2008 6:58 pm

Are we ever going to see those iconic shots #3, 10, 11, 12 on the right side from the top recreated in CGI in any episode?

Those could use some love at some point! Heck, 10 and 11 are on the original “Making of Star Trek’ (well, the second cover, anyway). I’m still hoping CBS digital will get to it.

Let’s have a balance between new and old shots!

April 7, 2008 7:00 pm



April 7, 2008 7:01 pm

Just remembered I think they got this one from the Pueblo Incident (Navy spy ship captured by foreign powers.

April 7, 2008 7:01 pm

10… “Why hasn’t Starfleet been able to detect cloaked Romulan vessels since stealing it?”

The non-canon explanation most commonly used is that the Federation gave up cloaks while the Romulans gave up the plasma weapon from BoT.

“Why hasn’t Starfleet been able to detect cloaked Romulan vessels since stealing it?”

Why should they, when the Romulans themselves couldn’t?

“Why didn’t the Romulan Commander order troops from the three ships to board the Enterprise the moment the cloaking device was discovered missing?”

Bad editing? It was supposed to be longer before the Romulans realized the cloak was missing.

April 7, 2008 7:07 pm

mad that our local station didnt air it…missed it. hope it was a one time thing and that they havent changed schedules

April 7, 2008 7:08 pm

just chiming in to say Thanks to Mark for his review and to Matt Wright for his great vid and screenies….dont know what we would do without him

April 7, 2008 7:11 pm

Klingons — er, Romulans — must like a nice view. Their forward portholes look to be as big as garage doors. I know TOS-Classic never really lit up the D-7s, but this is a tad much. At the distances we’re looking at, cabin lights should barely register.
I do appreciate the compositions, though. The view of SubCommander Chump’s ship firing into empty space is nice.

And I’m just gonna ignore the flaming in your first very first sentence, Mark. Other than that, nice review.

April 7, 2008 7:11 pm

On the view screen in the conference room, before the incoming message, blu-prints of the enterprise are on the viewer. I think those were added in!

April 7, 2008 7:17 pm

Thanks to Channel 9 in NY changing times constantly I missed it. Damn it Jim!

April 7, 2008 7:18 pm

Mark Altman is a cool guy. Met him once at Comic Con in 2005, and my wife and I are HUGE fans of “Free Enterprise”. Even have an autographed copy of the movie at home! However, I have to disagree slightly with his analysis of the new VFX. I thought the new Bird of Prey digital paint jobs looked much more distinctive. And the K’tinga ships from TMP looked great on a big screen; all that kit-bashing on their exteriors for scale. But on the small screen, they’d lose all that. Besides, what the Okudas and CBS are trying to do (and by their own admission, not always successfully) is keep the look of the old ships, etc., but with updated movement, excitement and scale. And if they keep a new generation from laughing out loud whenever a ship shot appears on screen, I’m all for it. But he is very right on the most important elements of the show; the music and Shatner’s wildly over-the-top histrionics, “I’LL….KILL….YOUUUU!!” Fun stuff! Anyway, I still keep all of my original, unaltered DVDs, until CBS Paramount demands me to turn them over for “renewal (ala Logan’s Run).”

April 7, 2008 7:19 pm

22 no thats the same

April 7, 2008 7:26 pm

It’s “Cocoa Puffs”.

April 7, 2008 7:28 pm

“Why hasn’t Starfleet been able to detect cloaked Romulan vessels since stealing it”

Oi. I’m guessing nobody here has a background in military history? ANY kind of ELINT tech is always a game of leapfrogging. Today’s stealth technology is tomorrow’s bullseye. One major reason the F-117A is being decommissioned – there are several integrated defense systems that it can no longer ‘fool’.

This is even more obvious when something large, like a warship, is concerned. Submarines considered ‘stealthy’ in WW2 can be picked off from dozens of miles away by anything even mid-80s vintage. ECM systems that could effectively stop any SS-N-2 attack are useless against SS-N-19s, forget a TASM.

Granted, sometimes such a ‘leapfrogging’ requires capturing the offending technology. In this instance, the Romulans developed a new cloak the Federation had NO way of detecting – even to detect if one was present or not (you’ll recall, in ‘Balance of Terror’, that while the cloak rendered the Romulan invisible and impossible to directly target, everyone knew it was *there*…*somewhere*.) So the Federation capture it, and presumably develop the sensor improvements needed to know when it’s running nearby (if not necessarily target the attacker). Within a few years, the Romulans will have a new version out that can’t be so easily detected again.

And so it goes.

April 7, 2008 7:39 pm


HILARIOUS… anyone who has seen this episode even once knows what this is… LOL!

Mike T.
April 7, 2008 7:40 pm

I really wish CBS / Paramount or whoever would air these shows either on Sci-Fi or CBS. Hell, put them on at 10:00 PM on Saturday night, it would probably get better ratings.

It would be better than what we have now. If I didn’t have DISH network, I would hardly ever be able to watch any episodes, and what I do watch I have to record after midnight.

I can’t understand investing all of that money into upgrading the FX and then dump the episodes into syndication. Trek Remastered could have easily been on Sci-Fi instead of that crapfest know as Flash Gordon.

ster j
April 7, 2008 7:51 pm

#1 On So Calif, the local station changed TOS’ time slot to an hour later. Nice of them to tell us! >=^P

[The] TOS Purist aka The Purolator
April 7, 2008 7:59 pm

See, here they used a better version of the green disruptor shots as the Romulan D7 was warping away; why couldn’t they have used effects that good in “Elaan of Troyus?” Those green Jello blobs really didn’t cut it, for me…

The Realist
April 7, 2008 8:00 pm

21. CmdrR – April 7, 2008 – Yeah I’ll ignore the needless flaming also.

April 7, 2008 8:03 pm

Purist, are you kidding? What’s the one thing everyone fears the most at family gatherings? That’s right. Aunt Tillie’s glowing green Jell-O. If the Klingons have gotten their hands on her recipe, the Federation is in real trouble. Just pray they haven’t learned to put those little orange mystery chunks in there, too, or it is all over.

April 7, 2008 8:04 pm


Another non-canon viewpoint holds that it was progress made in penetrating cloaking technology, advanced by the events of “The Enterprise Incident”, that allowed the Enterprise to identify the distortion field created by Kruge’s cloaking device in ST III.

(Either that, or the Romulans were giving the Klingons, low-grade second hand crap).

Spock with a Crowbar
April 7, 2008 8:07 pm


Where I am in Portland, OR, the new shows do run at 10pm on Saturday night on UPN(with the previous week’s episode running 10pm Sunday). I don’t even have cable. Where are you that you have to watch them after midnight?

April 7, 2008 8:09 pm

This one has always been a favorite. Always loved the re-dressed Enterprise corridors for the Romulan ship ( even the doors had the same sound, just a bit lower in pitch). The new effects weren’t bad. The shot of Tal’s ship firing after the Enterprise changes course is pretty cool. You see torpedos and the green stuff.
Funny how they go to warp 9 nine without freaking out like they used too. Maybe they kept the upgrades from the aliens in “By Any Other Name.”

April 7, 2008 8:10 pm

I recently read the Fred Friedburger took over for the second season of Space 1999. Now, I wasn’t really a fan of that one, but does this guy have the kiss of death when it comes to sci-fi?


The Lensman
April 7, 2008 8:10 pm

“an established fact that the third season of Star Trek was a relative disaster (which still makes it light years better than most subsequent Trek series) ”


I agree with the poster who said CBS has had some eps lately that should’ve been really top notch, but were just totally lacklustre.

capt mike
April 7, 2008 8:11 pm

Thank god for tivo. It records star trek not matter what time it comes on. I liked the effects but they could have been better. i thought it was a nice touch in seeing the romulans firing at open space trying to hit the enterprise when she cloaked. the best cgi is when the enterprise went to warp 9 and she is leaving the romulans. also when the d7 cruiser was closing on the enterprise. This was a good episode and the fx was good. but i think it could have been better.

April 7, 2008 8:14 pm

#6: Sean’s clone.

Contact me. Gears are already spinning on TOS-R 2.0.

April 7, 2008 8:16 pm

Lol! After all these years I never really noticed how annoying the DUN DUN DA DUN..was! I love that–excellent post!

capt mike
April 7, 2008 8:19 pm

ok. wasn’t dum da dum dum the theme from dragnet. i keep expecting joe friday to come on.

Jorg Sacul
April 7, 2008 8:26 pm

so, just HOW FAST can Romulan D7s go? Enterprise was at warp 9, yet SubCommander Chump (!) was right there, over taking her.



capt mike
April 7, 2008 8:27 pm

well i think with klingon and romulan technology they had a little more speed. maybe warp 9.9

Jorg Sacul
April 7, 2008 8:31 pm

LMAO! I just watched the sfx reel. DUN DUN DA DUN! is all over the place

also, I noticed that SC Tal’s ship was firing torpedoes from the bow, just like the AMT kit instructions said it could! Coolness. (some sources had that aperture marked as “Main Sensor”.) Isn’t this the only instance of a Klingon ship firing from that point, at least in TOS?

(key change)

April 7, 2008 8:41 pm

#21 — ” At the distances we’re looking at, cabin lights should barely register.”

I don’t think that’s true. When it’s truly dark outside, even small lights can register remarkably clearly over distances. Here in Albuquerque, there’s a little restaurant at the top of the mountain, while the city is down in the Rio Grande valley. At night, you can see the twinkling lights from the restaurant windows quite clearly (and brightly) from many miles away.

April 7, 2008 8:57 pm

“It’s certainly an established fact that the third season of Star Trek was a relative disaster (which still makes it light years better than most subsequent Trek series)”

I understand that reviews reflect opinion, but that statement truly was an open flame and unneeded in the review. It had no bearing on this.
I expected better from this reviewer.

Joe Atari
April 7, 2008 9:02 pm

As far as the original VFX go, might this have been the last time the large Enterprise model was filmed for TOS (for the #s 6, 7, and 9 “surrounded” shots above)? Offhand I can’t think of another original shot of the Big-E for the rest of the third season — and only one other overall for S3 (the #1 approach shot above used in practically every S3 ep). Older shots were composited into new effects (like Tholian Web and All Our Yesterdays), but it seems like the model was in mothballs for practically the entire season.

April 7, 2008 9:07 pm

Dissapointed by the display screen D7 schematics (shown above). Could have been updated to look at least as good as computer screens in 2008. I wish they would have also updated the radar between Sulu and Checkov in each episode. It looks like a painting. Missed opportunity.

April 7, 2008 9:24 pm

I like the cloaking-scene. The short moment of absolutely silence after the disappering of the enterprise!