This is the one I’ve been waiting for! Airing this weekend in syndication is “The Ultimate Computer” on Star Trek: Remastered. Next to “The Doomsday Machine,” this episode potentially stands to benefit most from the remastered treatment’s new effects.
As I mentioned last week, I was really hoping we’d have a couple of pictures to show you prior to this episode. The Star Trek: Remastered gang came through and was kind enough to provide four sneak-preview shots from “The Ultimate Computer.” Since The Film Frontier is more of a niche site rather than a TrekWeb or TrekMovie scale mega site, I’m always very grateful to receive stuff like this.
In “The Ultimate Computer,” the Enterprise is outfitted with a new, experimental computer. During a war games test with four other Federation starships, the computer malfunctions and begins firing full power on the other vessels. Will Kirk and crew find a way to disable the computer before the rest of the fleet is forced to turn on them?
As you can see from the photos below, the Remastered team resisted what had to be a huge temptation to change the overall designs of the four starships that the Enterprise combats. The Excalibur, the Hood, the Lexington, and the Potemkin have been well established as Constitution Class ships, like the Enterprise, so I think this was a great call on their part.
Though there’s just no good way to work them in, I would’ve loved to see some other TOS-era starship designs make actual appearances on Remastered. It must’ve been tough for them to make the right decision on this one. I know I would’ve been torn. Though it’s not “canon,” I still want to see the Federation Class dreadnought from the Star Fleet Technical Manual one of these days. I used to pore over that book as a kid (okay, maybe I still do sometimes). An extended battle with other vessels would make a great bonus clip on a future DVD release.
[Quick side note…. The dreadnought is listed as “Under Construction” in the Technical Manual. I remember when I saw the first commercial for Star Trek: The Next Generation back in 1987. It was just a title card with a voiceover saying something like, “Coming this Fall, Star Trek: The Next Generation.” For some unknown reason, my twelve-year-old brain took this to mean that construction on the Federation Class dreadnought was finally complete, so I jumped off the couch screaming words to that effect–frightening the more sane members of my family.]
William Marshall turns in a notable performance as the creator of the faulty computer and software, Bill Gates, er, excuse me, Dr. Richard Daystrom. In all seriousness, Daystrom is one of the original Star Trek‘s best examples of a significant, non-stereotypical role for an African American.
“The Ultimate Computer” originally aired in 1968, less than a month before the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. I think it is difficult for those of us who were born after the civil rights movement to truly comprehend how much the United States has changed since then. Television is often a reflection of the times, but Star Trek was on the cutting edge in more ways than just technology.
Marshall continued acting well into the 1990s–including the title role of “Blacula” in two blaxploitation horror movies and the “King of Cartoons” on Pee-wee’s Playhouse.
Below are the press release and pictures for “The Ultimate Computer.” Click on each picture to view larger versions, and be sure to watch this weekend (see links below to find channel and airtime in your area).
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“The Ultimate Computer” premieres this weekend
The remastered version of the fan-favorite Star Trek episode, “The Ultimate Computer” premieres in syndication nationwide during the weekend of February 9, 2008.
In “The Ultimate Computer,” the starship Enterprise crew is replaced by an experimental computer, and the ship is tested in war games with four other starships.
Unfortunately, the new computer shares the frailties of its all-too-human creator, and the Enterprise becomes a deadly killer, hunting down unsuspecting starships with deadly results.
“The Ultimate Computer” stars William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, with DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy and William Marshall as the brilliant – but unstable – computer scientist, Dr. Richard Daystrom. The original episode was first aired in March 1968. Teleplay by D.C. Fontana from a Story by Laurence N. Wolfe. The episode was directed by John Meredyth Lucas. Star Trek was created by Gene Roddenberry. Star Trek is distributed in nationwide syndication by CBS Paramount Television.
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Images are copyright, © 2008 by CBS Studios Inc. All rights reserved. Star Trek and related marks are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc.