Norman Spinrad, the writer of "The Doomsday Machine" has now seen the new remastered version and gave some of his reactions to TrekMovie.com.
TrekMovie.com: What did you think of it?
Norman Spinrad: I haven’t watched it at all for a while and it is a strange experience. My first take is that everything looked cleaner – not just the effects but the whole episode looked cleaned up. For the new special effects it seems the biggest change is that they seem to be able to do motion a lot better. Things are moving in a more complicated way. The doomsday machine isn’t that different. The way I conceived it, it was something else. It should look both alive and robotic..and neither the new or the old looked either.
TrekMovie.com: CBS has tried to be as faithful the original as possible, would you have liked to see them go back to your original design?
Norman Spinrad: Well this is a philosophic question. I don’t have the original design and they don’t. I guess they could have contacted me and we could have talked it through. In a way it is like the argument if black and white movies should be colorized or not
TrekMovie.com: Where do you stand on that?
Norman Spinrad: (laughs) well I guess it depends on the movie. There are some black and white movies that are meant to be that way and only work that way, but something that was made before color was available maybe could be colored to some advantage.
TrekMovie.com: The parallel to that with Star Trek Remastered is that it is now being prepared for high definition…
Norman Spinrad: Well the technology now is way improved over what they could do back then. The reason they couldn’t follow the design originally is because it was too complicated and expensive. It was all model work, now it is just computer stuff and easier and cheaper to do. The decision originally was not a creative decision it was a question of budget and technology. I don’t think Gene [Roddenberry] or I or [director of ‘Doomsday’] Marc Daniels or anyone involved with the original episode would have felt slighted if they had done whatever they wanted to do with the doomsday machine itself, because nobody was passionately involved with the way the thing ended up. And I would imagine that this would apply to many episodes of Star Trek. There were just many more limits than what you can do now. The other side to this is that if you just put the original effects into high definition they would look bad. I have seen these episodes projected up on a large screen and the effects didn’t hold up well at that size. High definition will expose these things like the stars shining through and the blue fringes which you don’t see on a regular television set.
TrekMovie.com: So you feel CBS shouldn’t be so concerned with being so faithful to the originals.
Norman Spinrad: No they shouldn’t – well I don’t think thing should be messing around with the actors and screwing around with that. Although later on in the 3rd season when some of them put on some weight they might have the occasion to do that (laughs) maybe some electronic liposuction.
…an extended version of my interview with Spinrad and other Doomsday coverage should be available in an upcoming issue of Star Trek Magazine.
Spinrad talks ‘Save Star Trek’ Campaign:
As he suggested in his last video message, Norman Spinrad has made a new video about the campaigns to keep the show on the air back in the 60s. The writer pokes a few holes in the myth that the campaign was just a grass roots effort from the fans.
…and this brings an end to the wall to wall ‘Doomsdayapalooza’ coverage on TrekMovie.com…bring on Amok Time.