“The Return of the Archons” Remastered Screenshots and Video



Summary: Good episode, but almost nothing to do for CBS-D
This weekend’s TOS-R episode, "The Return of the Archons", is one of the better Original Series episodes with a high concept story of a planet full of mindless drones controlled by a computer seeking perfection decades before the Borg were even conceived. This is primarily a ‘planet episode’ with just a tiny smattering of Enterprise in orbit shots. Even though they had little to work with, CBS-D did mix up the angles of those orbital shots a bit, including a nice close-up fly-by.

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

SFX Video


SFX Screenshots

Remastered & Original








I am Landru

No I am Landru

Pull my finger

Peace man!


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The close up shot was awsome, especialy the way it was used to reveal the city on the planet being visable from orbit. Great work. First!!!


I liked that Google-Earth feature too!

Just as a part of the CGI wishlist, I would like to have seen people moving about in the windows of the close-up flyby at the beginning of the episode.

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

Festivus for the rest of us!

Sorry, had to.

OP: “‘The Return of the Archons,’ one of the better Original Series episodes…”

You know, maybe this was the syndication cut that ruined it for me, but -really-? This is one of the few TOS episodes I’d never seen (yes, heresy, I haven’t seen them all, feel free to burn me, but I’m almost afraid to see ‘The Ultimate Computer’ and ‘Metamorphosis’ because, once those are done, there’s no more Original Star Trek for me. Ever! Now, back to ‘Archons’:). and, like I said, it’s possible that it was the cuts for syndication that got me, but this episode came across as bordering on insane. When we reached the end, my entire family–Trekkies all–were already chuckling at the stupidity and absurd ease of the defeat of Landru. We burst out laughing when Kirk changed instantly from grim to cheery with, “Well, you’re on your own now! I hope you’re up to it!” and had to pause and rewind to hear the rest of the line–which, again, made us burst out laughing, with both my sisters on the floor. (That line is, “You can get rid of those robes… If I were you, I’d start looking for another job.”) And then, just to top it off, there’s that wonderful moment when we have the shot of the bridge, where Scotty says, “Mr. Sulu’s back on his feet” or whatever, and Sulu makes the most hilarious gesture at the camera with his hands, like he’s the presenter of some children’s television show saying “I, Mr. Sulu, am back! Hooray! Bring out the dancing bears!” to all the kids. We rewatched the last two minutes five times before we began to stop laughing. It was like the writer had decided to call it a day after killing Landru, and the producers were just telling everyone to ad lib it.

So, to say it mildly, I found this episode extremely difficult to take seriously. What’s more–and I’m -sure- this is just the syndication–the purpose of Red Hour was never explained (which drove my youngest sister nuts).

Very silly hour, well worth the laugh–and there are some excellent moments in it, as well–but I would find it terribly embarrassing if this were the episode my non-Trekkie friends happened to see on late-night TV. The main contribution of the episode to the world is that FiveMinute.net’s parody of the show led to the creation of the increasingly famous Kirk line, “I’m sorry; I can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.”

P.S. Oh, but the CGI close-up was awesome. As were the usual vanity shots of the Big E. Great job to CBS this week.

Classic Trek just seems so much more dumb ever since its been remastered. I think cleaning up the prints was a big mistake.

3. – At the beginning of ‘Court Martial’ they put a couple of visible crew members in those windows. One was looking out into space and the other was a redshirt walking by.

Where is the Enterprise Incident?

5# Dude, you should totally see The Ultimate Computer, it’s one of Trek’s masterpieces. That said, maybe wait for the CGI-ed up version and watch it for the first time in its pimped up form? There are some space battles that would look outstanding in digital form.

no phasers shots fixed then? I seem to remember the phasers looking really bad in this episode.

Like others have mentioned this episode freaked me out as a kid with the robes and Landru. Later and now its one of the flattest episodes of the series. No real character drama.

Yeah, nice looking closeup shot of the ship. Well planned.

They should have tried to remaster the Landru computer room. It looked outdated — big boxes with colored lights.

The opening to Act I was awesome.

The story was classic TOS (out “logicking” a computer — an idea so good it was repeated in “the Changeling”, “I, Mudd” and “the Ultimate Computer”)

First season greatness. From the imaginative other-worldliness of the society and creepy music to the period costumes and winderfuyl lighting. Why don’t they take the time to light sets anymore for dramatic flare? The spin-off Treks were always so evenly lit in their attempts to look “real” that it was totally uninteresting, visually.

The effects were superb, and that reveal of the city below was a real treat and on the HD DVD, it’s absolutely stunning.

Reminded me of how good the Trek fanfares over the Captain’s Log could be. Who did the music for this one?

One of Trek’s best.

If Landru met Seven of Nine: “You are not of the… Whoa! You ARE of the body! Hubba hubba! Isn’t it about time for Festival?”

Re:#5 James Heaney—

The function of “Festival” was to allow the expression of pent-up passions that were usually blocked while Landru was controlling the minds of the populace in order to promote “harmony.” Given the superior intellect you and your companions clearly have in seeing how “dumb” this episode is, (resulting in your laughter) I am surprised the meaning of “Festival” escaped you.

(Should I put in the phrase “I’m laughing at the superior intellect” here? No, that would be too belligerent even if appropriate).

In my opinion this is one of the very best Trek episodes. It is a great allegory for the dangers of any overbearing system on individuality, be it the potential abuses of organized religion, authoritarian political systems (i.e., Communism, etc.) and the like.

I can not believe they didn’t change the shot of the “Landru” computer at the end of the show…. OMG… Talk about one of the fakest looking shots of the show…..


MTV, Playstations, sugar comas and Ritalin really work great, lol!

Landru Jackson, 7th President of Festivus.

In any case I must agree with “19. Gary Seven – December 9, 2007,” sociolgilcally, the more repressive the system the greater the backlash. Look at the Victorian world of the late 19th century.

The trick it so find balance between the Standard Culture and the Counter Culture.


Right on man. What are we gonna do when these ADD Babies are supposed to be in charge of the country in a few decades?

It take more than snarkines to earn a living and raise a family.

Here in Vegas, we will Finally be able to watch the Re-mastered Trek in High-Def starting this week with the CW now carried in HD. Hurraahhhh!!!!

That opening shot and close-up flyby were possibly the first times where the CGI E really looked like a model, rather, like it was really there!
You could see the red doors inside the windows. My HD disc set should be here tomorrow. Yes!

The phasers were not fixed in this episode. With so little for CBS to do in this particular outing, why wasn’t this done??

I absolutely love that shot of the Big E viewing it head on when the title comes up. That is the best looking shot of her that CBS has done so far. Further, it shows how good the ship can look when spruced up and in HD. besides the deflector dish I don’t think it looks dated at all.

Matt Jeffries was a brilliant man that was ahead of his time.

Are you not of the body?


Just watched this remastered episode on DVD (Netflix rental). The “full” episode doesn’t make any more sense of the story than the broadcast version (for whatever difference there might be). One of the more tedious and cliche-ridden episodes.

Still, I could sit and watch the new CGI space scenes all day. It’s only after now seeing a few of these episodes on DVD that I realised what a small part (in duration) of the overall show these new shots make up. But they are beautiful!

#18. navamske – December 9, 2007

“If Landru met Seven of Nine: “You are not of the… Whoa! You ARE of the body! Hubba hubba! Isn’t it about time for Festival?””


Wonderful episode, has all the classic Trek tropes. The beginning, with Sulu and soon-to-be-dead-ensign running for their lives, is one of Trek’s most exciting teasers. How can you not love such true Trek – Kirk kills the machine God/Commies with nothing but reason!

Regarding how many found the ending dated or cheezy… well, sheesh, the show is over 40 years old man.

Not a horrible episode, but not a great one either. The acting seems quite “community theatre-ish.”

For the good effects: Awesome space shot of the town. That was really cool. See what can be done if you give it a modern twist?

The phasers weren’t fixed, which was a disappointment. There were some good opportunities to make a new “wide beam” and vaporization of rock. Also, why were heat rays not added, or at least something given to show tha Enterprise was under attack?

Another thing: Was anyone else bothered by the end sequence of effects. The viewscreen to ship pass to viewscreen to ship pass again seemed really choppy on tv; almost as though they either couldn’t decide what to use or that someone changed their mind and tried to change it, but got the “blue screen of death” and it made a glitch that they dind’t have time to fix. Also, they clearly leave the sight of the planet, only to have the planet be close in the next shot. Come on guys, you gotta be on top of these things…

THis episode was okay and the effects were pretty good. One thing that confused me though was that when they “absorbed” McCoy and the other guy and tried to do it to SPock and Kirk, they had to put them in this big machine. But to do it to Sulu, all they had to do was touch him with the staffs. Does that make any sense to anybody? I think that they did change the Phasers but only subtly.

#26 “The phasers were not fixed in this episode. With so little for CBS to do in this particular outing, why wasn’t this done?? ”

Honestly, I didn’t notice anything about the phasers that was broke and needed fixing. A blue beam of light is a blue beam of light, not just a whole lot you can do there. . The hand phaser FX looked just fine to me.

I watched this on HD at 1080i and i noticed the colour “gradiants” on the hull during the flyby. I was quite startled by this obvious digital “paint”.

#19 (and #23 to a lesser extent): I surmised the function of the Festival from the episode, and later had it confirmed by a check of the ST Encyclopedia. Nonethless, I was waiting for explanation and how it would be involved in the climax for the entire episode. It is… dumb… not to have it explained at any point. They set it up as a mysterious mystery thing and then never paid it off. And, I looked up the transcript, and, you know what? It -wasn’t- the syndication cut that killed it. They just didn’t include an explanation of it in the script. The way it was presented, that’s plain bad writing, even though I *did* understand it. Combine that with the absurd ending (by far the worst example of Kirk beating a computer I’ve ever seen–I mean, compare to a great show like “The Changelling”) and you have yourself an episode that pales in comparison to the other February ’67 episodes (“Space Seed”, “Court Martial”, and “A Taste of Armageddon”.)

OTOH, the Khan quote is entirely acceptable. I just bought a Christmas ornament that says that.

Now, you give me an episode like “A Taste of Armageddon” or even “Patterns of Force” and I’ll give you an episode with a better sense of itself and its theme. “Archons” missed the mark, and missed it badly–even sloppily. That’s got nothing to do with my ADD or lack thereof; #23’s ad hominem criticism, however, might charitiably be due to a poor education.


And to #31: Yes, the show’s forty years old. But the rest of TOS proves that the writing of forty years ago was better than this.

Again, I’m not trying to hate on this show. But I have been hated on for the amusement I took out of it, and honor demands that I respond!

One minor bit of trivia about this episode is the actor who played Lindstrom was also in an episode of Space: 1999 titled: The Immunity Syndrone. How’s that for coincidence. I thought I recognized him!

Must be the only actor or one of a few to appear in both shows or a Trek spin-off Well, Nick Tate was in TNG and DS9, nevermind.

The Clock “Bongs” of the Red Hour have been replaced.
The original had a lot of background noise associated with them.

For my money, and speaking as a long-time TOS fan, James, you’re right on the money on this show. Whatever value “Archons” may have as an allegory about repressed individualism, and whatever creepy production values were brought to the story (and I’ll gladly second the praise CBS-D has received on the orbital shots), the script itself is an uninspired mishmash of what came to be some of Trek’s worst cliches.

TOS purists tend to deride modern Trek for many reasons, and some of them are certainly justified. But at least captains Picard, Janeway et al didn’t routinely argue computers into popping their fuses.

I’ve always enjoyed this one. Yes, the defeat of Landru is horribly easy (but that’s just something )we have to accept about computers in the Trek universe), but the atmosphere is suitably creepy and I like the overall vibe.

One thing that was pointed out recently to me by my wife — a TNG fan from way back, but who had never seen much/any TOS — is how Landru’s henchmen/enforcers/robed guys really come off as a sort of proto-Borg. All that “You will be absorbed.” and “Your individuality will merge into the unity of good” and all.

This one’s never been my favourite episode, duer perhaps to the directing, not the writing. Glad to see others have enjoyed it, though.

One of the people who apparently enjoyed this episode was big Trek fan Ben Stiller — he named his production company “Red Hour” in its honour.

Another pale, washed-out planet.


I’ve always loved it.

Now that you’re about to see it all the way through remember….

“You will experience…the ab-solute GOOD.”

Remember this being on for some random reason about 9:00 at night one evening. On a Saturday. My mother had brought home hamburgers from McEplen’s Drive-a-teria which made square hamburgers and put mayonnaise on every damn one of them. I always pleaded with her to get them to put mustard on them instead. For some reason that was too hard.

At any rate, this episode was on out of the blue that night. It was such a treat and made up for the fact that I had to eat a mayonnaisey square hamburger.

#44- Andy Patterson:
That is one of the most touching, emotionally-gut wrenching stories ever told. May we discuss movie rights?

Great opening sequence! (Though I think I’ve seen all these angles and shots of the Enterprise before.)

This was an excellent episode to start with, and the newly remastered Enterprise is just extra icing on the cake.

Mike :o

My local affiliate (WUXP) instead of showing “Return of the Archons” tonight as scheduled, just broadcasted a full sixty minutes of their station logo (I still have it on my TiVo). Seriously. No sound; just the logo. No explanation either. No “we are experiencing technical difficulties”. And they had no problem with the show scheduled directly after Star Trek.

They have had some issues with ST in the past (broadcasting the same episode two weeks in a row, substituting a totally different show and not changing the schedule, etc) but this is just plain silly.

29. Mazzer:

How do you rent these on Netflix? All I can find are the original (first release, 2 episodes per disc) standard def DVDs. It mentions HD-DVD but no link to put them in my queue, I have HD-DVD enabled on my account, and I can see HD-DVD versions of other titles. Thanks!

I’d like to hear what Sid Haig (Lawgiver #1) has to say about being on Trek. I’ve never heard him talk about it.

This was actually the first Star Trek episode in which a computer is undone after Kirk presents it with a logical paradox. That plot device may not be carried off as well here as it is in some later episodes, but one can not call it a “cliché” the first time it was used. This is also Star Trek’s first “stagnant society” (pre-dating even “Paradise Syndrome”) and its first society run by a hidden computer. It’s also the first time that the Enterprise comes under attack from a planetary defense system causing Scotty to report to the landing party just how much time the ship has left.

Whatever one’s opinion about “The Return of the Archons,” it is the ORIGIN of several plot devices that would be used in later episodes.