By upgrading the ship, Phase2 removes one of TOS' greatest stars, that era of USS Enterprise. While there is obviously a time period between the end of TOS and the start of TMP, I think they overestimate anyones interest in it. Also, while I really look forward to Bread and Savagery I foresee some real troubles doing Mind Sifter.
Lets face it, that's a very heavy story and it only worked in book form where you can tone down the imagery yourself, in filmed form I think it would be like the Khan ear worm sequence going on for 45 minutes.
Whatever the issues with their earlier episodes I don't think Cawley as Kirk was ever the problem and (other than this one
) I wish he'd learn to ignore youtube and forum comments and keep doing the part.
As for what is the Phase 2 pinnacle, I say it was the first version of the Chekov episode with the wonderful original music and before they chickened out on the ending.