THERE WAS, BUT NOT ANYMORE: DOOMSDAY HAS ARRIVED!
Before getting to my review of the new “Doomsday Machine,” let’s get through the preliminaries first. First up, let’s address why it’s sacrilege to screw with the original Star Wars Films (ok, really SW and ESB, I never really cared what they did with Jedi – although putting a new song in Jabba’s court was not really a step in the right direction) and not Star Trek. The answer: because George Lucas, for all intents and purposes, is supplanting the original Oscar nominated versions of Star Wars (which resides in the Library of Congress among other places) for all time and, frankly, making them worse. The Enhanced Star Trek, on the other hand, is an alternate version of the original episodes which continue to be in syndication and on DVD and are not intended to replace the original 1966-69 versions, but rather exist as a companion piece to them.
Secondly, while I admittedly get a visceral kick out of watching the updated Trek episodes every week, I feel the original opticals have gotten unfairly maligned in the process. Many of the elements that have been labeled as cheesy such as the Styrofoam rocks and cardboard sets haven’t changed (nor will Jimmy Doohan fainting in “Spock’s Brain” as a distraction). All the new spaceship shots in the world aren’t going to change that. In most cases, I prefer the original opticals (is there a better special effect shot than that iconic image of the Enterprise firing its phasers from the cover of “The Making of Star Trek?” I think not and there’s probably no more grand and stunning visual effects scene than the Enterprise miniature leaving drydock in Star Trek: The Motion Picture) and have generally preferred miniatures over CGI which is why the initial decision by CBS Digital to remain utterly faithful to the original shots was a dramatic mistake, in my mind. The CGI often looked shoddy and fake compared to the best opticals from Classic Trek and even the new CGI model of the Enterprise pales in comparison to the original miniature.
The dirt on TOS-R
That said, let’s get to the real reason CBS has embarked on re-working the Trek visuals and to call it a dirty little secret, literally, would not be far from the truth. The fact is that the original elements that were optically composited to create Star Trek’s visual effects in the 60’s are long lost to the ravages of time and, the result of the many passes it took to create these effects in an optical printer are so dirty that they simply wouldn’t be up to spec for HD transfers. As a result, CBS needed to recreate the visual effects if they were to port the original episodes to the new high-definition formats. OK, fine. Right? Wrong. From day one, CBS hasn’t invested the time in R&D or money necessary to get the job right. Fortunately, their efforts did involve hiring several people passionate about Star Trek including Dave Rossi and Mike Okuda which was a step in the right direction. Unlike previous incarnations of Trek, these are people who have an affinity for Classic Trek and will do their best to protect it, even if their judgment isn’t always right on the money. Now I will tell you this, I like Dave a lot personally, but I was mortified to read Rossi’s comments on this very site that fans should simply give them a break and lay off their criticisms because they were doing the best they could. Now, I’m paraphrasing, but the fact is, when you put yourself in the public arena and take on a monumental task like this which is clearly going to inspire passions, both pro and con, you have to accept the reality that you will be both praised and damned. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the cage and go back to Rigel – or something like that.
What is gratifying to see is the braintrust behind the new Trek has learned from their mistakes and since the underwhelming “Balance of Terror” has showed marked improvement over recent weeks. Ironically, some of their best work has been when they were inventive and moved away from slavish devotion and verisimilitude to the original episodes and stock shots. “Space Seed” was a notable highpoint, particularly when the Enterprise discards the Botany Bay from its tractor beam, and in “Journey To Babel” when the shuttlecraft lands in the shuttle bay which I regarded with almost fetishistic delight as well as the video game-like battle with the Orion ship. By contrast, not changing James R. Kirk to James T. Kirk in “Where No Man Has Gone Before” is unforgivable — even if you justify the fact that Gary Mitchell mistook Kirk’s middle name for something else. So much for being a god…
But it’s no accident that when you think about revisiting the visual effects of the original series, there’s one episode that towers above all others and that is, of course, “The Doomsday Machine.” It has inspired numerous fans to take a crack at their own versions, most impressively Daren Dochterman’s re-imagination which he recently completed (and I won’t discuss as Daren is a good friend and it’d be inappropriate for me to sing his praises here). And now CBS Digital weighs in. How’d they do? Stick with me and I’ll tell you.
A great episode – or the greatest?
If there’s a better episode than “Doomsday Machine” in the history of Trek; it’s probably only because “City on the Edge of Forever” packs more of an emotional punch and “Mirror, Mirror” boasts an even more off-the-wall sci-fi premise, but “Doomsday” has the whole package; great space action, a sensational sci-fi conceit, a memorable Sol Kaplan score and powerful human drama. I think one of the reasons the troika of Kirk, Spock and McCoy works so well in “Doomsday” is because instead of their animus being directed towards each other, they all are united by their disdain for broken Commodore Matt Decker, played with unhinged panache by William Windom (it’s hard to believe anyone could be better than the great Robert Ryan who was originally considered for this role, but Windom nails it). Even when he leans uncomfortably back in Kirk’s captain’s chair and crosses his legs, he makes it clear that every fiber of his being has been shattered by his unforgivable mistake of beaming his crew to the ill-fated “third planet.” There’s also something really powerful about Kirk being isolated from Spock and McCoy and having to watch not only their potential demise, but, perhaps even worse, the demise of his ship — and not being able to do a thing about it. Not to mention there are perhaps even more great throwaway lines per minute in this episode than any other episode ranging from Kirk’s kudos to Scotty “that he’s earned his pay for the week” to Spock’s rebuke to Decker, “Vulcans never bluff.” (hence, why they are such bad fizzbin players) to Kirk pleading with Spock, “Gentlemen, I suggest you beam me aboard.”
But all of this wouldn’t mean a thing if “Doomsday” didn’t deliver first-rate visual effects spectacle in which the Enterprise battles the massive planet killer or, as Kirk labels it in a strained allegory to the 20th Century, “a Doomsday Machine.” The original visual effects were pretty miraculous for a late-60’s television budget and even hold up overall today. There are some notable weak spots, particularly the Enterprise strafing the titular weapon with the animated phaser effects bouncing off its impenetrable neutronium surface. But, ultimately the Doomsday Machine itself, along with the wrecked AMT model kit that was the Constellation are all pretty effective and never get in the way of the story.
For the most part, CBS Digital does a nice job with some of the showier moments including Decker’s attempt to destroy the Doomsday Machine with a shuttlecraft as well as the Enterprise caught in the maw’s tractor beam as well as the wrecked Constellation being held in tow by the Enterprise. The most impressive enhancement however is the damaged Constellation herself in which large chunks are taken out of the primary hull – although the damage to the warp nacelles is probably too severe. There’s an interesting shot of the Enterprise strafing the Doomsday Machine with phaserfire which, like much of the ship’s recently rendered movement, is borderline Star Wars, but it works here in illustrating the futility of the Enterprise’s attack on the planet killer.
Unfortunately, what doesn’t work is the Doomsday Machine itself — along with its destructive anti-proton beam. It looks like it was drawn in Crayola (much like my many sketches of it in the fourth grade during math class) and lacks the surface texture and sense of scale that the original miniature had. In fact, one of the real missteps here is the fact we rarely see the Doomsday Machine in whole, but rather only glimpse pieces of it so we never really get a sense of the machine’s true scale until the end. I would have definitely preferred to see more scenes where the camera wasn’t so tight on the Enterprise rendering the size of the planet killer less imposing. And for all the original opticals over reliance on stock shots, there’s one angle CBS Digital has revisited time and time again which I can’t stand which is an angle from behind the warp nacelles, overlooking the primary hull. It’s an unflattering angle for the ship which looks far better than when shot from below or straight-on looking down at the primary hull.
Overall, the episode is an incredibly ambitious undertaking and while it’s not a misstep in the way “Balance of Terror” was, it’s not a complete success either. It’s easy to say that time and budget considerations led to an imperfect result, but then that’s just as true of the original effects, which for the most part, work just as well as they do here. Ultimately, do the new special effects enhance the drama of the episode and make it anymore special? Not really. Are there moments that are totally cool? Absolutely.
What would have been ideal (and, admittedly impossible) would be a melding of both old and new. For instance, there are some minor modifications in Doomsday which are simple and effective in which an easily visible cardboard painting of the bridge viewscreen is replaced by CGI and this helps a lot and is unobtrusive to the story — as do the new effects on the display onboard the Constellation. In a perfect world, it would’ve been great to utilize the original miniatures of the Doomsday Machine itself and the Enterprise miniature (which still looks far better than CBS Digital’s new Enterprise “model”) while replacing the phaser blasts and the Constellation with CGI. But, of course, this is impossible without the original uncomposited effects — although this would have truly would been the best of both worlds.
Looking to the future
So what can I expect to float my Constellation-class boat in the future? Well, I’ll tell you what I’m most interested in — and it’ll probably surprise you: “The Cloud Minders,” for one. I’m very interested in seeing what they do with Stratos, the original cloud city. “Errand of Mercy” is also something I’m looking forward to, although don’t expect to see the Starfleet/Klingon battle as one thing they can’t do is change anything that would require altering the sound mix and adding a prolonged sequence would do just that. And most of all, “The Ultimate Computer.” If they lift the rest of the fleet from Franz Joseph’s Technical Manual instead of simply duplicating the Enterprise, all will be forgiven, and I, for one, will be positively giddy (and, I’m sure a few of you will be as well).
In the end who knows what the future holds for Trek. There’s rumors of recently unearthed unseen footage from the original series which could potentially be added to the show, even better revamped visual effects, re-imagining the animated series in CGI and, of course, the inevitable reworking of The Next Generation whose video composited low-res effects won’t stand up to HD scrutiny and will require a complete overhaul as well. And, of course, J.J. Abrams new Star Trek re-imagination. But then, that’s a story (and a trek) for another day.
More: Doomsday Machine Remastered Video & Images
MARK A. ALTMAN is the co-writer/producer of the Trek-centric cult classic, Free Enterprise, and Editorial Director of, appropriately, Geek Monthly. His books include Trek Navigator and the Captains Logs’ series for Little Brown & Company and he has written numerous Star Trek comics for DC and Malibu Comics. Altman, along with Free Enterprise director Robert Burnett and others discuss the remastered Star Trek on their podcast available at geekmonthly.com
A Fantastic Reveiw! Plus a welcome addition for Mr. Altman to be here.
Like your review, I do not agree with all of it, but well done and glad to have you contributing :)
I do have to say one thing that is just plain wrong to me…
Franz Joseph’s Technical Manual in no way belongs in canon Trek. His tech manual is an abomination of conjecture and just plain silly stuff. The specs for many things are inaccurate or just plain wrong.
It’s interesting that the CBS-D team really is getting to decide some of these “canon” issues. Such as the infamous Bridge off center argument (please let us not get started) once the CGI team presented the viewscreen, in The Menagerie, as facing forward – – is it not now “canon” once and for all? Just an example there are others to come I’m sure.
I dream of the day Mark Altman gets done with his perpetual anti-George Lucas/anti-Star Wars hissy fits and zips his pie hole. Whether you agree or not, Lucas conceived, created and owns his films and has the right morally and legally to present them in the manner he sees fit. There is no “collective ownership” of the Star Wars films. They don’t belong to the fans and they certainly don’t belong to Mark Altman. Films have been altered after release decades before Lucas did it and artists for centuries have been revising earlier works later in life. This is nothing new. Yet Altman still can’t seem to forgive Lucas for not consulting him on the best way to handle his franchise. Star Trek, on the other hand, was always a corporate product. If Roddenberry wanted to retain total control he could’ve made Trek on his own, not sold the rights and not cashed the checks. THAT’s the difference. Lucas is the original artist working to complete HIS vision of HIS work. I wish Altman could get that through his head.
Oh my. We are rolling out the canon again.
4. Dip Thong
To me, since the original versions of the original Star Wars trilogy have been made available on DVD, it no longer matters whether or not Lucas has made altered versions.
The same holds true for Star Trek. Remastered Star Trek is fine as long as the originals are still available.
Well, I just have to say, I saw the episode a little while ago and I loved it. Fantastic job by the guys at CBS Digital!
It’s fun to read the comments by everybody here, and to learn about the different approaches people would have taken with the project, but at the end of the day, I think we’re really lucky to have the remastered episodes. These guys are keeping Trek alive during a difficult time for the franchise. Thanks to them, I’m getting to enjoy episodes I haven’t seen in a while all over again.
I also want to add to the reviewer’s comments about what a well told story this episode is: while watching I was struck by how Doomsday Macine has a pitch perfect climax that still holds up. I really felt the tension as the Constellation enters the maw and Scotty’s in the Jeffries tube, and Kirk’s sweating over whether he’ll be beamed out in time–even though I know how it all ends.
In contrast, I’ve also been watching episodes of Enterprise on the SciFi channel, and too often I feel like I know the story already, even if I’ve never seen the episode before.
It was so cool to see mention of what I consider the Trek Bible – Stephen Whitfield’s, Making of Star Trek and the front cover photo. I actually had to get on a waiting list to get that book and when it finally arrived I read it cover to cover several times and used it for reference for years. I still have the poor devil but it is now only held together with 35 year old masking tape.
Mark makes reference to unearthed unseen footage. I would really like to see that. I also agree that it would be fabulous to have a best of both worlds approach to use models and CGI but alas this is just oo expensive for the constraints of what CBS digital must work in.
Stratos is also one of the overhauls I can’t wait for. 15 years prior to the Star Wars cloud city and with a cooler name.
Anyhow – great review. I can’t wait to read the thread.
I for one am glad someone finnally mentioned all the crap the original series takes on it’s special effects. There were and are still fantastic, especially when you consider the time and the work required (models/optical printers time constraints). Don;t get me wrong I really enjoy this alternate version tremendously. Ever since i saw the Deep Space 9 episode with the Greg Jein model of the big E- I was always hoping Paramount would do a remaster with real models and computer assist. But I remember being 8 years old sitting down to watch a new show show Star Trek in Sept of 1966. When we I saw the Enterprise for the first time-well. That’s all I wanted to say. But enough of picing on the original effects. For the time up until recently there were great. It madde my imagination go bonkers. Live long and Prosper all.
Good Lord, but this was awful. Rambling, incoherent, obsessed with the irrelevant (get over the STAR WARS alterations already, Mark–the films at best are pop art, not indelible masterpieces) and the trivial (James “R.” Kirk is not “unforgivable”–it’s a choice, and arguably a justifiable one). What happened to the Mark Altman whose informed, detailed covereage of all things Trek I enjoyed so much in the pages of Cinefantastique?
yeah I love The Making of Star Trek, I’ve had two different editions of it.
He gives an okay review. Some of his ideas wouldn’t stay true to Star Trek the original series. Introducing ships from the tech manual, is not a good idea.
I just finished watching my favorite Star Trek episode, and the syndication cuts hurt. The live action looks great as usual. Although I do love the original effects, amt wiggling nacelles and all, I am happy with the facelift they gave Doomsday.
I disagree with Mark’s comments that the ships moves are borderline Star Wars. I think the ships all have moved very Trek like within the parameters we saw on Star Trek and in the 6 Star Trek movies. Since they were able to show Doomsday and Enterprise in the same shot the scale of the vessels reminds me a lot of Star Trek The Motion Picture.
The over the nacelle shot is right from the series, so Mark’s attack on the cgi guys is unfounded. I also liked the sweeping shot of the shuttle, again it’s within parameters of what we saw the shuttle do in Star Trek The Final Frontier.
I also think the new planet killer if anything it is more threatening than the original made it out to be. It shows the real futility of Decker’s attack run. Some of the DDM shots are right out of the original as well.
As to the tombstone, again an unfair attack. They should be applauded for preserving a piece of Star Trek lore / history. Maybe it will get some of the new fans to learn the history of the classic series we all love.
Great job CBS-D!!!!!!!
#6 — Stanky
I know that’s how a lot of people feel and it’s the same point Altman is making here — Lucas’ “sacrilege” is his desire to replace the earlier versions entirely and view the original cuts as earlier drafts. My point is that if that’s what Lucas wants to do, it’s his choice and he’s morally and legally entitled to it. The only “sacrilege” is when people like Altman start dictating to artists what they can and cannot do to their work.
What is he talking about? Rumors of recently unearthed unseen footage from TOS? I haven’t seen this rumor yet.
I appreciate the review but overall find that I liked the remastered DDM a lot more than the reviewer did. I just got done making my wife watch it (she likes ST but is not a nut). Even she found the new DDM very exciting, scary, and beautiful. I thought the remastered DDM was wonderful. There were many views of the both the starships going after the DDM, yielding some which showed the huge scale of the planet killer. The strafing phaser fire scene by the E was, as has been stated, a lot like the Enterprise and V’ger in its beauty and scale. And how cool, cool, cool was the attack. The Constellation blowing up in the fusion “Sun” inside the DDM was gorgeous and exciting and nothing in the original could do anything like that. The original effects were better than people are saying. Some are good and some horrible, but what a treat this remastered DDM is.
Two words for CBS: THANK YOU.
The even-handedness of these reviews in this world of political agendism and spin is a kudos to its author.
#4: “I dream of the day Mark Altman gets done with his perpetual anti-George Lucas/anti-Star Wars hissy fits and zips his pie hole.”
Don’t make suggestions that you’re not willing to take yourself.
I noticed they have been showing the port side of Enterprise a lot, a shot we would never see on the show since the model’s port side was unfinished and had wires hanging out of it.
…so-so review. I will say the part about recently rumored TOS footage being unearthed, intrigues me. Anthony needs to snoop around some and see what this is all about. Lost footage would make for one hell of an extra feature on the upcoming DVD’s.
#17 – DB
If I’d spent an entire decade on the same silly rant, I’d consider it.
Shouldn’t you be commenting on the article and not making smart comments about a poster?
Oh, I think that if you’re able to shoot off your mouth in a vulgar manner about people you don’t know “shutting their pie hole,” you can just grin and bear a few “smart remarks” about your pomposity. And if you can’t or would rather not…who cares?
“Ultimately, do the new special effects enhance the drama of the episode and make it anymore special? Not really.”
I completely disagree there, at least insofar as the assertion that it doesn’t enhance the drama. Totally disagree there.
However, I have always loved Mark’s writing and I admire his take on all things geek whether I agree or not. Mark, love the movie and love the magazine. Still looking forward to “William Shatner vs. The World Crime League” or “Free Enterprise 2”, whichever comes first.
Since when is offering a fair and even-handed critique considered an “attack” on the artists at CBS Digital? Sheesh.
The unfortunate truth of the matter is, Mark is right–the new Doomsday Machine just doesn’t get the job done. I’ve watched the remastered episode four times now, and I just can’t get past the unconvincing surface textures and the animatic-like appearance of the CGI planet killer. The papier mache and tinfoil version from 1967 was much more menacing and satisfying than the 2007 electronic version.
(On a side note, the fact that I agree 100% with everything Mr. Altman said should take nothing away from the fact that I am also impressed as hell that Anthony was able to snag him for this review. “The Doomsday Machine” is one of the two or three greatest episodes of the original series, and I’m pleased as punch for trekmovie.com that it was able to snag a professional writer of Altman’s caliber to write this review. Kudos, Anthony!)
If Lucas wants to destroy Star Wars, let him he produced them. At least the original SW movies are out now on DVD.
I think there is a difference in what CBS-D is doing and what Lucas did.
Reading Mr. Altman’s review, and the various reactions to it, reminds me of something my grandfather used to say: “We can’t all like the same thing or everybody would be after your grandmother.”
(Actually an old Gary Mule Deer joke – one of my favorites, just like DDM.)
I have to agree with Dip Thong on this one. The whole Lucase special edition thing is getting so damn tiresome. I wanted to read a review on a trek eposode, not hear uneccissary ramblings on another beloved franchise. Lucas changed Star Wars. How is that any different than what there doing now with Trek? Hypocrits!
With due respects to Mr. Altman, I prefer Jeff Bond’s review style in which he just reviews the subject matter without the soapbox banter.
Personally, I think that this review is completely off the mark, and it’s a shame that such a fantastic effort was put in your hands to critique.
Colour you unimpressed? Tell you what? We’ll give you a call when the guys at CBS-D learn to walk on water. Maybe then you’ll give them a little more credit.
I’d rather listen to Hitch’s postive spin than to this…
#21 — If anyone finds “pie hole” “vulgar”, I apologize. I always felt it was more jocular and irreverent. Thanks for pointing out my error.
#24 — “I think there is a difference in what CBS-D is doing and what Lucas did.”
I agree that in the case of Trek, the originals should remain available in the future. Though Roddenberry was the principle creative force for many years, Trek is a corporate artistic entity. It’s more of a collaboration between a lot of people all working for hire by the studio. Lucas, on the other hand, IS the studio and the sole creative entity. Yes, he had other artists working for him along the way, but those artists exchanged their creative rights for a paycheck. It’s Lucas’ story and his to tell as he pleases — even if that means he wants audiences to think Greedo shot first. You don’t have to like that decision, but he’s entitled to say “this is the story I want to tell” and not have fans pick and choose which version they consider to be “real” or “right”.
I think the review was a bit harsh but I cannot completely disagree with it. I love the improved Constellation and the shuttle sequences. I was thrilled with the Enterprise straffing sequences. Unlike the review, I liked how the Doomsday machine turned out just fine. I like how it maneuvered around. Actually, the fact that only part of the machine was showen at any given time demonstrates the size of the device. It was as though it was too big to fit on the screen. So in my mind the shots worked. I think the impulse engines of the Constellation were lit perfectly. I like the flickering as the engines were sputtering during startup. The was, it seemed to me, some depth to them like in TMP.
All in all I give this remastered episode a 10+ out of 10. I think I give it high marks not because it was perfect but rather it was not a complete failure. I do agree that I cannot wait for Ultimate Computer, Errand of Mercy and Tholian Web.
It’s good to be a Star Trek fan!
As for “Looking to the future”, I think a potentially HUGE episode for CBS-D is “Assignment Earth”. They have GOT to change the Saturn V moon rocket into something that actually looks like a dangerous weapon system. Replacing that stock NASA footage, including the launch, would be a huge accomplishment!
He lost me with his insistence on wanking around with the Lucas bashing and his anal fan crap about how horrible it was that they didn’t change the “R” in “James R. Kirk”.
I… Wow. I really respect Mark Altman, generally, but I don’t read authorship of articles until I’m done for a reason: it lets me form an unbiased opinion.
As I read this review, I found it slip-shod, unfocused, moderately inconsistent, and far too critical of the amazing work done on TOS-R. It is too long-winded by half (yes, I know, that’s hypocritical coming from the guy who wrote the four-and-a-half page analysis of Alias and Star Trek XI for TrekMovie.com a few months back), and, in general, the worst review I have seen on TMR to date.
I don’t have time for a full rundown, but, in brief, the Star Wars ranting, trotting out Franz Joseph (again!), the unforgivable “unforgivable” comment about the tombstone (what happened to the Star Wars hating? James R. is turning into Star Trek’s “Han Shot First!” moment), and the general hating on the new effects just made me go “blech!” I hope Mark, if he reads this, takes none of these comments personally; I disagree with his style and substance on nearly every point, but feel no malice towards him.
For me, the only review of DDM-R I needed was the one given to me third-hand, from my little sister’s eigth grade friend. This girl, who, like so many among the young, found TOS’s stock SFX so cheesy as to make the show utterly unwatchable, randomly caught DDM-R over the weekend. And she came to school and told my sister that it was, quote, “AWESOME!” I understand that she’ll be watching again next week. Thus is a new fan born.
Thank you to the CBS-D Team for making Trek relevant to the current graphics-obsessed generation.
The only episode that I think is a mistake to add new FX to is Spock’s Brain. The complete and total cheesiness of it is the only thing that makes it watchable. If the ridiculous looking head gizmo Spock wears on his crainium is updated with something that looks like it could actualy animate a brainless corps, it may take away from the episodes only great attribute. You know, the whole so bad and cheesy its good thing.
I agree with all of Mark’s points save the appearance of the DM itself. I was satisfied with it. I think I’d cry tears of joy if I saw one of the Starfleet Tech Manual ships in TOS-R but I’m not holding my breath. But I’d be giddy just to see the TOS era version of the Miranda class or something similar.
Mercy. How much more mid-guided and wrong can a review possibly be?
Talk about sour grapes and missing the point.
Someone should get Michelle Erica Green from whatever website that is to review these episodes, I laugh a hearty one every time I read her episode reviews. Talk about jaded lover syndrome.
It helps to be objective in a review if someone has an actual passing tolerance for the material, not outright jaded cynicism.
I actually enjoys reviews with a bit of an attitude. It makes for entertaining reading and great comments. However, where’s the disclaimer at the very top of the review in bold type face “DD is a buddy of mine and I helped him with his DDM TOS enhanced project – so keep that in mind when you read this review.” Instead, that isn’t mentioned until halfway into the article.
if you want to read some of the best reviews ever!!! then check out the reviews here for Enterprise. Awsomely funny stuff . http://www.firsttvdrama.com/enterprise/index.php3
This episode was perfect! Thanks, CBS-D.
I watched this episode last night, and darned if I wasn’t hanging on the edge of my seat from the suspense. That suspense was heightened by what I feel is the high water mark for CBS Digital with their amazing FX. I love the new DDM. In the original FX, the scale was always way off base and the anti-proton beam didn’t live up to it’s destructive potential visually. CBS Digital paid close attention to scale; the DDM drawfed the Enterprise. It looked heavy, ponderous, beastly; like a huge crocodile and the Enterprise and Constellation were poor gazelles standing too close to the water’s edge.
The strafing shot as the Enterprise passes over the DDM worked so much much better than the original scenes. We actually got to see the spacecraft interacting. I’m so glad CBS Digital is becoming more lively with the composition of their FX. The panning shot from behind the Enterprise to the DDM as they advance toward each other was a bold choice. It was a much more modern composition, reminding me a little of shots from the new Battlestar Galactica, but it worked perfectly.
I will gladly accept the Remastered version of this episode over the original. I believe CBS Digital effectively enhanced both the visual and emotional aspects of this fine episode, easily one of Trek’s best.
RE: Upcomig episodes. I, too, am looking forward to seeing what CBS Digital does with Stratos, especially the scene where the Troglyte pitches himself over the balcony and falls to his death. Also, “The Ultimate Computer.” Though I don’t want to see any of Franz Joseph’s speculative designs, I would like to see some differences in the other Constellation Class ships. I think of them much like modern car models, later editions of the same car have improvements in design learned from previous years’ models. I’d like to see that idea transferred to the other ships in that episode. Nothing drastic, but a few noticable differences would be cool.
Long Live the new Doomsday Machine! What’s on next week?
So he didn’t like parts of the episode, (I wish I could at least have had the ability to see it) so what? We can’t all like the same things now, can we?
I believe I will para-quote Montgomery Scott, “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, now drink your drink!”
Really, this is the most exciting thing to happen to TOS in along and there are sure to be all sorts of opinions.
I won’t be expecting a Starfleet/Klingon battle in “Errand of Mercy”, however it would be a pleasing surprise if we saw a glimpse of both fleets, (comprising of various Starfleet and Klingon vessels) even if it were for a couple of seconds.
The only oppurtunity they will have to showcase a Klingon fleet is the brief shot of Torpedoes impacting the underside of the Enterprise.
They could always feature a different perspective for the camera behind the Enterprise either topside or underside, allowing for a huge fleet approaching with a couple torpedoes impacting the old girl.
I could not disagree more with a review. What silly things to say – the original opticals were better. Hey, I preferred Free Willy to Free Enterprise.
I would liked to see some other StarFleet ships in orbit around the Space Station in “Ultimate Computer,” maybe some of the assembled fleet and some supporting ships.
“Errand of Mercy” could show some fleet action, if only fleeting shots.
We should have seen some other vessles in Orbiting Space drydocks in “Court Marshall.”
Maybe a glimpse of the “Antaries” in Charlie X, if even on some screen.
I guess I just want to see what the rest of the 23rd “Kirk/Spock glory days” universe looks like.
I’m gonna have to go w/ meh on the review. Some I agree with, some I don’t. Why the whole Lucas took my childhood thing was introduced is beyond me.
I agree that CBS has not put enough money into these. If they had stuff that should have been changed would have. I agree that some shots of the DDM actually seen firing on the Enterprise would have given more scale and made the DDM more frightening.
Some spots were a bit harsh. The term “unforgivable” is something applied to someone that rapes your sister, not someone that doesn’t fix something on 40 year old tv show. I’d like to see other fixes as well (I’ve always said, it’s not what they’re doing, it’s what they’re not doing) but I don’t think I’d use the word “unforgivable.”
I also think that extended effects would be great. Yeah, it’d require some changing of the music cues. I know I wouldn’t mind… of course I know that CBS would pay for that kind of extensive treatment either.
After about of a week of Doomsday madness I find it very refreshing to have a different point of view and am happy to have Mark Altman as a reviewer here. This was his first TOSR review and so he also wanted to say some things about the whole TOSR project as well. Mark will be doing a couple more reviews later in the year and I imagine for those he will jump right into the episode…but you never know
Maybe the plomeek soup will be CGI when Spock throws it against the wall in “Amok Time” this weekend.
But seriously, I thought Mark Altman would have been more ga-ga over the revamped “Doomsday Machine.”
Can’t wait for “Tomorrow is Yesterday,” with the Enterprise chased as a UFO by the air force.
So, where’s FREE ENTERPRISE 2?
And yeah, let’s get the story on any lost effects footage from the original series.
And how about those home movies that were shot on set? Let’s put those on dvd…
Mark Altman wrote: > “‘Errand of Mercy’ is also something
I’m looking forward to, although don’t expect to see the
Starfleet/Klingon battle … one thing they can’t do is
change anything that would require altering the sound mix
and adding a prolonged sequence would do just that.”
(#43) Lord David wrote: > “I won’t be expecting a Starfleet/Klingon
battle in ‘Errand of Mercy’, however it would be a pleasing
surprise if we saw a glimpse of both fleets …
even if it were for [just] a couple of seconds.”
(#44) Josh wrote: > “The only oppurtunity they will have to
showcase a Klingon fleet [in ‘Errand of Mercy’] is the brief shot
of torpedoes impacting the underside of the Enterprise.
They could … feature a different perspective …
[showing] a huge fleet ….”
(#47) Kevin wrote: > “I also think that extended effects would be
great. Yeah, it’d require some changing of the music cues.”
Here’s a suggestion on how CBS-D could seamlessly incorporate
extended CGI material as optional extra content on the DVDs.
Since “Errand of Mercy” was mentioned, I’ll use it as an example.
The idea is to add several bonus clips showing ships and fleets
in battle, and seamlessly incorporate them into episode playback
in the following way.
In the DVD extras menu, provide a ‘special edition’ of the
episode, containing these bonus clips. At appropriate moments
during the battles, the episode playback shrinks temporarily
to a small ‘window’ at the lower-left corner of your screen,
while the bonus material fills the rest of the screen.
(Audio remains unchanged.)
The following examples show how this could work in “Errand of Mercy”.
[“Errand of Mercy” Bonus Clip #1]
Sulu: “… The automatic deflector screen just popped on ….”
(We see the remastered view of the Klingon torps hitting the E.
Then the bonus clip begins: Episode playback shrinks
to a small window at the lower-left corner of your screen.
The bonus material fills the rest of the screen with a
dramatic view of the two ships in battle.)
Spock: “… We’ve hit him ….” (The bonus clip continues,
showing the end of the battle as the Klingon ship is
damaged and destroyed.) Sulu: “… We got him.”
(The bonus clip ends. Episode view expands back to full screen.)
[Bonus Clip #2]
Sulu: “… A large number of Klingon vessels have just arrived …”
(We see the remastered view of the E being attacked
while in orbit. Then the bonus clip begins:
Episode playback shrinks to the small corner window,
and the bonus material fills the rest of the screen, showing
the Klingon fleet approaching the planet and firing on the E.)
Kirk: “… Get out of here ….”
(We watch the E leaving orbit and warping away,
as the Klingon fleet nears the planet.)
(The bonus clip ends. Episode view expands back to full screen.)
That bonus clip could be further extended to show the “eight”
Klingon vessels coming into orbit — followed perhaps by
a contrived CGI view of the “several hundred” Klingons
beaming down into the city (though I guess the latter
may be too difficult to do convincingly).
[Bonus Clip #3]
Kor: “You will be interested to note that a
Federation fleet is on its way here ….”
(Bonus clip begins; episode playback shrinks to the
corner window, and the bonus material fills the rest
of the screen, with a view of the approaching Fed fleet.)
Kor: “Our fleet is preparing to meet them.”
(We see the Klingon fleet forming up for the confrontation.)
(The bonus clip ends. Episode view expands back to full screen.)
[Bonus Clip #4]
Sulu: “… We were just closing in on the Klingon fleet
when every control on our ship became too hot to handle.”
(Bonus clip begins; episode playback shrinks to the
corner window, and the bonus material fills the rest of the
screen, with a view of the two fleets facing each other.)
Sulu: “Our power is gone.” (We watch the loss of power on
all of the Fed and Klingon ships; lights and nacelles go dark.)
Kor: “My fleet — it’s helpless.”
(The bonus clip ends. Episode view expands back to full screen.)
As noted above, the general idea is to shrink the normal
remastered episode playback into a corner window temporarily,
while the bonus extended CGI material fills the
rest of the screen (with no changes to the audio,
and no breaks in the ongoing playback of the episode).
Episodes enhanced with such extended material would be
provided as ‘special editions’ in the DVD extras menu.
Just an idea.