TOS-R Producers Talk “Ultimate Computer” and Share New Images

EXCLUSIVE: This weekend on the digitally remastered Star Trek airing in syndication we will be treated to a brand new version of "The Ultimate Computer." This effects-heavy episode features the USS Enterprise facing off against four Federation Starships in a wargame that turns deadly. The TOS-R producers talked exclusively with about the episode and also shared some new preview images. 

The TOS-R team chose this episode to be their ‘big event’ sweeps episode for the 2nd year of the show (last year it was "The Doomsday Machine"). talked with Star Trek Remastered producers Mike Okuda, Denise Okuda, and Dave Rossi about what we can expect.

TREKMOVIE.COM: Do you consider "The Ultimate Computer," the most challenging episode for the ‘second season’ of Trek Remastered?
DENISE: I think our friends at CBS Digital will agree with that, although sometimes an episode that you think will be relatively easy will surprise us.

Four Federation starships join the Enterprise in war game exercises
(click to enlarge)

TREKMOVIE.COM: In the scenes showing the four ships, did you consider using different ship types instead of just using Constitution-class ships?
DAVE: We sure did. This was the only time in the entire series that we saw anything like fleet maneuvers, and our first thought was to use this episode to show that there’s more to Starfleet than just the Enterprise.
DENISE: We talked about this at length. Mike and Dave were excited about coming up with new ships, but eventually we all decided that it was best to honor the expectations of fans who had grown up seeing four Constitution-class ships.
MIKE: One of the ideas we considered was to have a Reliant-type configuration for a couple of the guest ships. The problem with a smaller ship is that you don’t want the sense that the Enterprise is more powerful, because that would hurt the drama of the story. Ultimately, keeping all four ships the same emphasizes that the only variable is that the Enterprise is piloted by the M5 computer.
DENISE: We did make some really, really subtle changes in the other ships. At least, they were really subtle to me. I’m sure some fans will pick up on them.

DAVE: You’ll have to watch and see!

Under the control of a malfunctioning computer, the Enterprise fires a deadly phaser blast at another starship (click to enlarge)

TREKMOVIE.COM: The original show had a rather cheap ‘copy and paste’ shot  with the 4 ships on screen….how did you guys decide to mix it up?
MIKE: Well, first, I’d disagree with the suggestion that the original series effects were in any way substandard. Certainly, they were on an extremely tight budget with distinct limits, but those optical printer effects were cutting edge technology for the time.
DAVE: That said, we really wanted to help tell D.C. Fontana’s story of how the Enterprise, under the uncanny control of this superhuman computer, was able to outmaneuver four Federation starships. One of the things that always bugged me as a kid was that the maneuvers they talked about were often shown visually with stock shots that had nothing to do with what was just discussed in dialogue. One of our missions with this project was to rectify that whenever possible. In the case of this episode, we can SEE the Enterprise bearing down on the hapless Excalibur and then peeling off for its next victim. The Enterprise becomes this methodical killing machine. Oh yeah, that was fun!
DENISE: Which means they were two kids playing with starships! We have a couple of little Enterprise toys that we used for planning shots during meetings. Dave and Mike would take turns flying the ships around the room, showing each other how they thought they should maneuver. Sometimes Niel [Wray] and Wendy [Ruiz, visual effects coordinator] would join us, and they’d take their turns, too!

The Starship Lexington leads an armada whose mission is to stop the Starship Enterprise
(click to enlarge)

TREKMOVIE.COM: I understand you have changed out the automated freighter that was a reuse for the Botany Bay from “Space Seed”…is this a new ship and if so where did the inspiration come from?
DAVE: The cargo ship Woden is now based on the automated grain ships in the animated episode, “More Tribbles, More Troubles.” You may recall that we saw the Antares in the first shot of “Charlie X,” which was based on the same design, although we added a crew module for that one.
MIKE: I’ve always liked that ship design. It’s not just a kitbash of Enterprise components. It’s very different from the Enterprise, nowhere near as sleek and powerful, but it really looks like something that might have come from Matt Jefferies’ drawing board.

Antares alongside USS Enterprise — from "Charlie X"
(click to enlarge)

TREKMOVIE.COM: Any more surprises for “The Ultimate Computer”?
DAVE: Hmm. Well, the space station is now based on the Vanguard starbase from the Star Trek novels published by Pocket Books. Looks pretty cool.

The Starship Enterprise arrives at a space station to test a new computer system
(click to enlarge)

The Starship Enterprise dpearts the station
(click to enlarge)


More this will have more “Ultimate Computer” coverage this weekend.


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The shots look pretty cool….but those ships seem a bit too close!

those images look fantastic. Can’t want to se the episode

Cool pics! Really can’t wait, the Enterprise against the other three! Anyone notice the Lexington is slightly different? Only thing I see is that it has two sets of two circular windows/ports on the front rather than the three center forward.

hmmm….anyway, cool!

That’s about all I can see at the moment. And while I’m OK with the shots, would’ve been a nice touch to see one or two of the Connies with WNMHGB markings and nacelles.

Good job guys!

Can’t wait to see this one!

^ Guess it actually mentions differences in the article (posted before reading it all). Still from the images the forward ports are the only thing I can make out different, maybe if there are more angles when the episode pics are up.

Looks good! so…what will be done with the “romulans using klingon design” problem in the episode: the enterprise incident?…will spock’s dialogue be cut and will we see birds of prey of klingon battle cruisers?

personally I would prefere to see birds of prey and spock’s line cut..but that is just me!

I’m sure they will be the same D-7 type, probably with the bird marking on the bottom. I can see spocks line (maybe) being cut for commercial/broadcast time but it would still be there on the dvd release.

3 – Yea, I noticed the gap-toothed, er, ported, Lexington myself right off the bat.


I understand the impact on dramatic tension but a TOS-era Reliant style configuration would have been soooo sweet.

Frakkin’ yahtzee on these shots alone.

#6 – They’ll hopefully just paint Romulan “birds” on the underside.

#6 – We should see Klingon battle cruisers with Romulan signage, just like in TAS – maybe with some minor Romulan modifications like different nacelle tips, some added superstructures and such.

See the Romulan insignia here:×06/thesurvivor_150.JPG

And the custom-painted bridge superstructure here:×03/thepracticaljoker_015.JPG

That’s exactly I would expect, and I’m sure Okudas can do it right.

Its starfleet, i want fleet variety…

#12 Scott Xavier

Totally agree. I would have far rathered a bit of variety in the ‘Starfleet’ style for this sequence, even if just ONE of the ‘opposing’ ships had been different to a ‘Constitution-class’ type design just for some interesting variety. Yet another missed opportunity in my book, although this upgraded sequence is welcome in general.

Well, there’s no way of getting around it. The chart from “Court Martial” listed only Constitution Class starships. I can recognize in the pictures the U.S.S. Hood (NCC-1703), the U.S.S. Excalibur (NCC-1664), and the U.S.S. Lexington (NCC-1709).

Wow. The new station looks great. Note- nacelle balls are lighter, as they usually appeared, They finally got the phaser beams the right color blue!!
I’m having a Constitution-gasam! (And not because of the primaries.)

Love the images. They show what beautiful designs have been lying at anchor on low budget’s docks.

That’s true enhancement – to take the original and bring out the best possible quality, but to leave the original imagination unchanged.

im sure budgeting was the reason for the original calamity of consts…

There are four… windows! Oops, wrong trek.

Anyway, I’ve been living where I don’t see any of the remastered Trek, and I have mixed feelings about the results based on the screencaps and vids I’ve seen here.

Having said that – the shot of the E from “Charlie X” is the best one I’ve seen yet!

Its the first one I’ve seen where I could really feel like it was a real ship and not CGI.

16: Hey, Iowagirl…pretty good nautical references for a landlubber! :^)

Given the interview above, I doubt now that we’ll see Romulan Birds of Prey in the “Enterprise Incident, with their reluctance to have anything other than Constitution class starships in “Ultimate Computer”. Cutting two lines of dialogue would really be altering cannon.

Polar Lights released a fairly accurate model of the Klingon Battle Cruiser (as well as the Enterprise) a few years back. They included a nice deal sheet to customize it as a Romulan ship (a la Bird of Prey-type markings). Would be nice to use this as a guide. The Enterprise kit was also customizable as the ISS Enterprise (altering the markings for the pilot version of the Enterprise). Would have been nice to see that version, too, but CBS-D barely altered the Enterprise for “Mirror, Mirror”

Oh boy, another night of low lights and popcorn! This looks great! Did they use some type of 3-D computer graphics to show the “Fleet” movements during the attacts?

I wish I could see some behind the scean (sp) footage of these people flying Starships around the room laying out and planning shots…. Fanboys and girls in action…. Did anyone climb on a desk – or think “three demitionaly”????

Thanks inadvance is someone answers these questions.

That shot of the E leaving the station is great. The colors and shading are exactly what I expect.

And again, these shots are composed in 16:9 with some regard for the 4:3 it will ultimately be viewed in. I still think that having the option to watch the episodes with 16:9 effects shots on the HD DVDs is a good idea.

I always wondered how the Enterprise managed to kill the whole crew of the Lexington with one shot yet not damage the ship in any way. This is inconsistent with what we have always seen even when a ship is hit without shields. If the M-5 somehow redirected power magically to the phasers they should have made this modification to the other ships after the war games. It was learned at a high price!

IF the Enterprise somehow hit the Lexington in just the right spot and knocked out the inertial dampeners and then the ship did some type of barrel or other maneuver I can see the whole crew dying in a “chunky salsa” way.

The first shot of four ships is from an angle that is not canon. Good. And they look great.

Like classic cars, seeing one alone makes it unique. Seeing many of the same model at the same time takes away from that uniqueness.

Among the best TOS episodes. It just kills me to see so much trimmed away for syndicated broadcast. At least this line will sure to be in:

“Pull out the plug, Spock.”



(Good thing Dr. Daystrom believed in corporal punishment.)

Can’t wait! These shots look fantastic.

#23 and 24… you mean the entire crew of the Excalibur? The Lexington suffered casualties, but Wesley survived to tell the tale.

This looks great… I’ve always loved the Constitution Class! I’m looking forward to seeing the other ‘subtle design’ differences in the others, besides the windows.

Regarding other designs… it’s too bad they couldn’t fit another design in with any of the other Starbases shown, either in orbit or docked. I know some have been opposed to a Miranda-style TOS design, but I think it only makes sense. The version made for Star Trek: Legacy was good, and the one in the upcoming Star Trek: New Voyages also looks pretty deece.

Not being able to see all the new shots in their original 16:9 glory is a real shame, hopefully they’ll add that option to future hi-def releases, that shot of the four starships in formation would be ruined pillarboxed to 4:3

These folks are great. I wish they were working on Abrams’ movie.

Ridiculous. Everyone knows that when you get four Connies in close formation the warp fields form a cross-shaped intersection where stars vanish! Why can’t CBS-D get it right??


Nice! Love to see the Connies out to play (rough).

Pants = soiled…great interview, it’s always fun reading about how they decide on certain aspects! Been following the Okudas’ work for years and this will be an awesome episode.

OK, see it now. Lexington has four anti-collision lights in the front, to Enterprise’s three. At least I think that’s what those lights are. They’ve always been way too big (2 1/2 decks) to be viewports.

Do all these Connies’ registration numbers begin with 17? TOS used so much stock footage, the only other one I can remember is Decker’s wrecked Constellation being 1071.

Arrrr… I thought the four Connies were called the Francis, the Mack, the Rice and the Selleca… some of them be pretty ships indeed

Guess they won’t touch the computer itself?

Happy to see darker, more vibrant blues for the phasers. I never could understand why they made them light blue in earlier episodes. They looked less powerful, and it wasn’t needed.

So Anthony— Did they give any indication of when we might see season two on HD-DVD?

I am getting the feeling now with no announcement made yet, that it will be late in the year, and they are probably going to dump HD-DVD, after I bought the player with the Season One pack. It will tick me off a little, I would rather have them all in Blu-ray anyway, but then I would have to buy Season One again!

Anti-collision lights? Good god man, have ya gone mad? Of course they are windows! Most likely some cushy lounge along the lines of Ten Forward (perhaps… Seven Forward?)… I am quite sure they are not lights.

This is like basic Trek Trivia… the four Connies that take on E in the episode are: Lexington, Hood, Potemkin, and Excalibur. I dare someone to argue that.

DENISE: We talked about this at length. Mike and Dave were excited about coming up with new ships, but eventually we all decided that it was best to honor the expectations of fans who had grown up seeing four Constitution-class ships.

so it seems I will not get to see any Saladins in TOS. :(

Oh well: maybe JJ can sneak one in for me ???

I know it was due to limitations of time, technology and money back in those days, but I always thought it was kind of cool that all star ships looked like the Enterprise. Except she was special.

I’m very happy and extremely relieved they did not change up the starship designs for this one. Their wanting to “show that there’s more to Starfleet than just the Enterprise” in my opinion works both ways. If they always show ship designs other than the one you are familiar with it can make it seem as though there’s only one of that particular design no matter how many times the characters might hint there are more. That was always my problem. I like seeing new designs, but I was thrilled when we got to see another starship on TNG, for example, that was the same class as the Enterprise D. It drove me batty seeing them use designs from the TOS films like the Excelsior and the Grissom, although I realize it was most likely due to budget contraints. Never did care much for the alien ship designs…especially when those budget constraints forced them to use practically the same one for every race. The exceptions being the Ferengi and the Cardassians, both of which have extraordinary ship designs. Very cool ships…for not so cool aliens in the case of the Ferengi. Anyway, back to my point even though it’s exciting to see new ship designs/configurations, to me it was far more exciting seeing several of the same design on screen at the same time as is the case in this particular episode.

This is going to be a great weekend, just like the weekend “Doomsday” was shown. I’m looking forward to it, as is my dvd recorder!!!!

Thumbs up! Can’t wait to see what they come up with…

TO be totally nerdy, in all the Episodes, most of background and most of the dialog said or Kirk himself said that there were only 12 Constitution type craft “patroling” federation space or the nuetral zone, in fact, all the books I read, suggested nothing different. I took a small umbrage that on the failed plotline of “Enterprise” with Scott Backula or first Contact, that Vulcans had the first starships and had fought a war or they were just tooling around the galaxy.

in TOS, the Vulcans did not have much of a history. You just had a sense that Vulcans had some kind of ship cause a bunch of them up and settled on Romulus.

Although I am looking forward to ST 2008, there is far richer ground that Paramount seems to overlook. Who threw the first punch in the Romulan War with the fledgling Starfleet? What pissed off the Vulcans about the Andorians? The big question on my mind, if there is no dythumium on earth, how did warp drive ever get invented? I had always assumed Earth traded for it. The book that was most expressive was Enterprise, Commanded by Robert April with George Kirk at his side. But there are many books ought to be made into movies. Enterprise alone is getting awfully thin.

They should just launch anther Generation and crew after Picard, instead of retreading the past?

Noticed the 4 lights at the front of the Lexington straight away.

I don’t know whether to be happy or sad about that :(


Must get out more. :D

I’m disappointed that they didn’t use new ship designs — even just one variation would have helped. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Constitution class, but this gives the impression that the Enterprise is part of a cookie-cutter fleet. It lessens her mystique somewhat. That said, these shots are terrific and I’m really looking forward to the episode.

Showing two Constitution Class and two un-refit, pre-ST II Miranda Class would have been exceptional!

Unles I’m wrong, the Miranda Class was also classified as a cruiser (and not a destroyer), correct? Hence the reason Khan’s crew was able to pull off the hatchet job they did on the Enterprise when they took over the Reliant (yeah…yeah…I know the Enterprise hadn’t fully raised shields before the initial hits).

good start, I hope there are a lot more space scenes then what they share with us now. Yeh on NCC-17xx thing, too bad they didn’t chnage numbers on the Constellation to say NCC-1710 ot NCC-1707… I always liked the idea that USS Constitution is NCC-1700, and the others followed…

Rereading the comments and to be really nerdy, most vibrating energy weapons would probably not even be visible, sorta shoot a phaser and you nuke your enemy to death.

In the time travel remake, they made the ship wobble and look like it was flung away from the sun, I thought it was impressive, and made the show watchable.

in the TOS series, there was a lot Starfleet could have learned from, but the show was like any other TV series, one episode had nothing completely to do with another. Only in the last movie and it was an outtake did Picard get a seat belt!. I kinda think Paramount doesnt know much about science, Cochrane ran his ship right after WW III, I still wonder where he got antimatter or an inertial dampener from when Earth was barely rebuilding??

45. Elrond L. –

Well, if memory serves…they established that the fleet consisted of 11 or 12 other ships just like the Enterprise. Back in the day (before Enterprise) it was assumed that these were pretty much the first batch of Star Ships to explore the cosmos. I don’t think it’s unbelievable to have 12 ships made from the same design.

14, 32, 47 — I believe I read somewhere that the reason Constellation was dubbed NCC 1017 was that only the existing number decals for NCC 1701 were on hand, so they were simply rearranged. I agree that it would correcting that on The Doomsday Machine would have been a nice touch.