“The Alternative Factor” Remastered Screenshots [UPDATED + Video]

Summary: Good effort, but not a lot to work with

Not a lot of new effects for this weekend’s episode. Then again some might say that no amount of new coats of paint can do much for this less than stellar outing. You have your usual orbital shots, but all nicely done. They mixed them up with some new angles, including one dramatic flyby from under the saucer. The parallel universe shots seemed to be the same (or if they were enhanced it was subtle). The phasering of the ship appeared to have some minor tweaking.

NOTE: Remastered video and images below taken from the Standard Definition DVD side of the new Star Trek Season One box set.

VFX Video

VFX Screenshots

Remastered & Original









Bad Lazarus

Good Lazarus

Lazarus v Lazarus: Parallel Pugilists

Hellooooo Ladies

Kirk as Force Ghost


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….Oh god, now I’ve done it.

Talk about trying to “fancy up” one turd of an episode!!

Oh rats, they didn’t do something funky with the “alternative warp” corridor? That needed FX more than anything.

And who was that sexy engineer gal in blue?

I suppose it had to be done, but it would have been a lot more fun to have a better episode that is more effects driven, such as the “Enterprise Incident”. This one was bad even when I was a kid.

You can’t polish a turd.


I didn’t see the episode, and I usually like the TOS-R shots, but I think I prefer the original shot of the E firing on the planet surface. It’s a straight-ahead shot (meaning that the beam is parallel to the main axis of the ship), and unusual angle. I also like how the original shot has the beam narrow with distance, while that isn’t as obvious with the new shot. The original is just more aesthetically satisfying for me.

It’s all in the lighting.

Take a look at pic #1 vs. pic #2.

For the New movie, just keep the high contrast look (lights and shadows) and the ship will look a good as it possible can.

Overall, it’s nice to see the ship’s hull, but #1 looks great with the shadow areas almost going to black. Someone has done a better job balancing the color in these new screenshots than has been the case in the recent past.

As someone said in one of these “Remastered” posts…I know it’s more “realistic”, but all the dull brown planets are getting kind of old. The bright red and orange planet orbits was one of the cool things about the old series.

^7. They look better because they’re from the remastered DVD. Past screenshots taken from TV broadcasts looked worse because the FCC only requires that TV stations broadcast digitally. Stations that don’t feel like replacing “perfectly good” analog equipment can record digital shows off satellite with their old analog tape deck and feed that through their old analog control room all the way to their new digital transmitter where it gets redigitized, and they can keep doing it for years until competition threatens their ratings enough to open their pocketbook.

^6. I agree it looks better to have the ship firing straight ahead. They should have thought about the drama of the whole ship pointing like a gun. The original show went out of its way to film a new angle of the Enterprise for this scene so it’s not just another bit of stock footage to replace.

This is (arguably) the worst episode made, in the whole Trek series. Every time it comes on I watch it just to see if I’ve missed something so that it will finally make some sense. I doubt if adding any new FX will make it any better.

It *is* the worst episode ever, no argument necessary. Its a real shame they didn’t take or have time to tart up the dimensional corridor shots with something really snazzy, just to distract you from the pointless storyline with something shiny and pretty to look at. If there was ever a place for the CG artists to really do something visually impressive, that was it.

#8: “The bright red and orange planet orbits was one of the cool things about the old series.”

But those usually didn’t match the surface of the planet. Did they? I thought that’s how they came up with the new look of the planets for the remastered episodes.

They most likely didnt redo the corridor shots because of the footage they had. I’d assume it was already negatived or whatever and they couldnt do much for it.

Startrek.com has a new video with remastered special effects, including a few shots from episodes that haven’t aired yet:


It looks like they cleaned up the Phaser effect a little. I noticed they added a central core to the beam and there are some neat shimmering effects on Lazarus’s ship.

What could they have done to the corridor shots? Anything that would make it less crap-tastic would also be a violation of the spirit of the original. There’s no implied shot that wasn’t see for budgetary reasons. There’s no fuzzy at the edges chromakey or matte shots. It’s JUST PLAIN BAD. They could CGI a new kind of corridor, but that’s not the plan here. So, live with the fact that some turds float in the Trekiverse.

maybe it’s better with plastic:


11. – NOT the worst episode of trek… not even close. I agree its not a favorite of mine but its not the worst episode made. I could name at least 6 episodes of that are far worse than “The Alternative Factor”

1. And the Children Shall Lead
2. Plato’s Stepchildren
3. Requiem for Methuselah
4. Who Mourns for Adonais?
5. The Way to Eden
6. Spock’s Brain

Well looking at Lazarus I see where the makeup department got the idea for Klingon goatees.

Oddly this episode aired after the Klingon debut in “Errand Of Mercy” even though it was made 7 episodes before it.


#17- All terrible episodes, I agree- all signiicantly worse than “The Alternative Factor.”
Except “Who Mourns for Adonais?” That was IMHO, a very good episode, detailing the humanistic, Enlightenment-based thinking of Star Trek, that humanity has progressed and “grown up” and can depend on itself, not “gods.”

Interesting departure shot for this episode.

I really think that fixing the corridor shots, and the “translucent nebula” could have made the episode at least LOOK less cheesy.

I still think that phasers should have a bit more of that particle look to them.

In other news, the college BCS is full of chaos…

#17 At least those other epidodes had a followable plot. BTW Requiem For Methusuleh is a major character developing episode. It’s just as poiniant every time Spock says “Forget.” – Even more so when contrasted w/ TWOK, & TSFS.

#18 I think the Lazarus beard kinda looked like the main Klingon from The Trouble With Tribbles. ….”It should be HAULED AWAY AS GARBAGE!!!”

I like “Who Mourns for Adonais?” One of my favorite Star Trek quotes comes from that episode:
“Mankind has no need for gods. We find the one quite adequate.” – James T. Kirk


Although to each his own….I’ve always liked Plato’s Stepchildren. Those two guys are more fun than the two old men in the balcony from the Muppet Show. “Careful Mr. Spock, Cupid’s arrow kills Vulcans….bwa ha ha ha”

Requiem for Methuselah….I’ll go with you on that. A weak episode.

And And the Children Shall Lead. Sheesh. Melvin Belli…the man who represented Jack Ruby, for free….Good Lord I hate this episode. What were they thinking?

Who Mourns for Adonais? Now, I’ve always like the way they touch ancient Earth history and explain the mythology of the gods.

Spock’s Brain, well that’s a no brainer (ha). We all hate that one.

But The Way to Eden………..I take issue every time someone says it’s trash. I believe Doohan said it was “nothing”. But to a boy who grew up in a house where pop music was not allowed, this was my earliest introduction, along with The Monkees, to something other than classical music. Plus dig that groovy dialogue. Just transcribe the conversation between Spock and Adam in his quarters and you’ve got the basis for a whole new colloquial vernacular and culture. “Can?” “Can” Spock is practically ONE now.”

“I reach that brother, I really do.”


Yes, and furthermore, it expresses not only the thought of how those gods might have been the basis for the entire Greek civilisation but it also shows that Kirk was able to think beyond his 23rd century rationalism.

“They gave us so much. The Greek civilization, much of our culture and philosophy came from a worship of those beings. In a way, they began the Golden Age. Would it have hurt us, I wonder… just to have gathered a few laurel leaves?”

In addition to that, this episode once more gave us a classic literary reference by using a line from “Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats“ by Shelley for the episode‘s title. And by applying the ambiguity of the word „Adonai“ (a Hebrew name for God, literally meaning master or lord) the episode‘s concluding statement is emphasized.

As regards “The Alternative Factor” – surely not one of my all-time favs, although I’ve always liked the Jekyll & Hyde perspective of the story which sort of made it possible to see the plot holes, the matter/antimatter inconsistencies, from a more metaphorical angle.

Ahhhh, bitter dregs….
…ahhh, in cold morning light.

Did anyone notice that the broadcast version of this episode used the original first season theme music over the opening credits and not the re-recorded first season opening theme muisc?

Does the DVD set also use the original version opening theme as well on this episode??

This has happened on at least one other episode from the second season.

WHile this episode isn’t the best, it surely isn’t the worst. I still enjoy watching Kirk get on edge and get all snappy with the crew. The consequence at hand couldn’t be more dire…the pending non-existence of everything. It was photgraphed well, had some location shooting and the guest star was capable enough. I can watch it, and enjoy the individual scenes and performances. It’s just that, when it’s all over, I’m like….what???

And what about some of the other candidates mentioned for worse episode..like Spock’s Brain or Way to Eden?. Well…at least they entertain me. So they aren’t up to par with much of first season Trek, but even in their badness they are damn entertaining. Leave it to TOS to pull off a feat like that. Even most of the bad ones are still fun to watch!

For a real stinker tune into the third season entry, Is there in Truth No Beauty. Lord, everybody tripping over their feet to pine for the attention of the wonderous Miranda Jones. The music is painfully sappy and the characters are out of character. This particular episode, despite the very capable Dina Mulduar amd despite the coolness of Spock freaking out, could fit right in with TNG, right alongside Sub Rosa……nuff said.

#26-Nope, on the dvd it is fixed and so is “The Conscience of the King”. Did I think the price was too high on the dvd set? Yup, as always. Am I glad I bought it anyway…ABSOLUELY!

Re: #6 Cranston:

I agree with you. Aesthetically, the original shot is better-composed. In fact, I find a lot of the new shots, while technically pretty (others can quibble about that), often rather artlessly composed.

And I’ll agree with anyone who puts “Alternative” in their bottom 5 list. To my mind it’s the ONLY true stinker in the First Season. But boy, what a stinker!

Scott B. out.

DREW – I like 2 & 3 on your list. It just shows there’s some wiggle room here. Although, I think most Trekkies strongly dislike And the Children… and Way to Eden. (Ya, brother.)
I don’t even HATE this episode, although it veers into duh land. Trek is best when it’s character driven, with bold themes. This has a HUGE risk-factor (2 universes!) but really, so what? It’s not something anyone at home can relate to. Lazarus isn’t sympathetic. How is he like us? He’s not. Kirk and Spock dutifully save the universe, but again, so what? Are we saying that had the E not been in the neighborhood, two whole freakin universes woulda winked out?? Dang!
I would hope that eps like this (not to mention STV) would have convinced JJ to keep the story in XI relatively small and intimate. Let’s get to know these characters all over again, before they find God or save universes.

I recently watched the first half of this episode for like the second time ever. and let me say this…. I am like a third generation trekie meaning that I was there for TNG when it was on, but was most tuned into DS9 and VOYAGER. I am now going back and watching the original series. All that is new to me, so it’s like “hey, 75 new episodes of Trek to watch, yipee.”. And although TNG is still my favorite incarnation of this universe, TOS fantastice, especially for it’s time. And as for “The Alternative Factor” unless they really screwed it bad in the end, then this is a rather interesting episode. I liked the part that I rewatched recently at any rate. I will have to see the rest soon and write back.

#15: “It looks like they cleaned up the Phaser effect a little. I noticed they added a central core to the beam and there are some neat shimmering effects on Lazarus’s ship.”

I did notice that shimmering effect on the ship. It’s a nice, but subtle, touch. The Enterprise shooting from orbit looked a whole lot better too.

Hey Guys,

Point well taken on Who Mourns for Adonais?. I just didnt like it but it seems like the other episodes we are all in agreement – pretty terrible stuff.

It hasn’t aired yet here, but I am happy that I can watch it at my leisure on the new HD-DVD’s and not at 1:00am tonight!

Though agreed, it’s a weak entry only note worthy for the unique phaser shot. I wonder if John Drew Barrymore could have saved it. Doubt it! Perhaps his absence altered the script(?)

Oh yeah, Requiem is one of my third season favorites and I wonder if Adonais would have been stronger if they left the original ending in with Carolyn pregnant. It has some merit, Chekov’s first show, Scotty going nuts of Carolyn and a fun idea fictional idea for the origins of the Greek gods.

We have twice all your telekinetic ablilities. “NOT TWICE MINE!”

LOL!!!! For my money, that’s one of the funniest parts of that episode, #36.
I rather enjoy Plato’s Stepchildren as it’s one of the greatest unintentional Trek comedies ever!


Good point. I didn’t think of the fact that the color portrayed in the “orbit shot” rarely matched the color of the surface.

Hey Drew,
I think “Plato’s Stepchildren” is a great episode. It uses a quite unusual, but nevertheless or perhaps for exactly that reason, very impressive and poignant approach to reveal that absolute power corrupts absolutely. It‘s a story about misguided philosophies, domination, humiliation and how we can overcome them. Convincing acting by everyone involved made for the impact this episode’s topical statement has.

Sorry to contradict, but I don’t see this episode as a comedy – neither an unintentional one nor an intentional one. IMO, the moments one might regard as funny, in fact are the most severe ones.

But what is most important – TOS keeps us talking!

Boy, I agree with the comments about that ship phasering the mini ship shot. The original angle was better, being closer to the ship from our viewpoint. That’s one shot they should have just copied verbatim.

Worst episode? Not this one, for my money, “And The Children Shall Lead”. Pure garbage.

Besides being brown, the planets continue to lack any atmosphere (barely any trace of clouds). The planets look like Mars rather than a breathable place like Earth.

#39 I hear what you are saying – To me its still one of the worst episode

#17, I don’t know, “Turnabout Intruder” was pretty bad in my opinoin. I actually felt bad for William Shatner having to act those scenes.

#43 – Turnabout Intruder was pretty bad. But Sandra Smith as Kirk in Janice Lester’s body did a great job! >;>}

Actually John Drew Barrymore’s absence did alter things according to the various Trek books I have here in my library.
There was also a romantic subplot between Lazarus and Lt. Masters that was filmed but later excised due to the fact that interracial romances were not welcome on network TV in the 60s.
As to the episode itself:
I watched the remastered version last night after I got off from work.
Yes it is one of the subpar Trek adventures.The scenes are still very confusing, even after multiple viewings.
Which one is the good Lazarus?
The bad one?
And why does his beard disappear?
Or reappear?
Why is Lazarus wandering around the ship not under guard?
Why is engineering away from it’s usual location?
Where is Scotty? He would have raised hell if Lazarus got within 10 feet of his engines, not to mention the dilithium crystals !!
I’m disappointed that CBS-D did not get rid of that old-timey twisting rectangle shape used while traveling through the dimensions. Also, why was the nebula kept in for the “winking out” sequences? C’mon, if we are talking about nonexistence make it look similar to how John Huston depicted the “before creation” state in the film “The Bible: In the Beginnning”.
That’s NOTHING, no star field, no nebula, nothing. Couldn’t the CBS-D team have digitally added something like that?
Just a little more effort from CBS-D would have made this study in chaos more bearable.

Why is engineering away from it’s usual location?
Should have been
Why is engineering away from its usual location?
Sorry for the typo!

I’m not sure that The Alternative Factor is deserving of worst episode.

Apparently, most of you have not recently endured The Gamesters of Triskelion. How can anyone watch that episode without having some other activity to fall back on–like sleep!

The episodes that fail to capture full attention–even after multiple viewings–should be candidates for BAD, IMHO.

“And The Children…” is THE WORST. EVER! C’mon. You gotta admit.

# 43, 44

Right, a comparatively quite bad episode, but Shatner as Lester was TERRIFIC! I’ll eternally treasure the picture of him filing his nails while talking to Bones…

You forgot about the image from the end of the episode, when the Enterprise is leaving orbit, you get to see the planet shrink from the rear of the ship.