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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 July 2016 at 6:29pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Some discussion of the poor quality of S3 inspired (if that's the word!) me to actually take a look at one or two episodes on my new Blu machine.

Since I'd recently mined (ahem) "The Cloud Minders"' for NEW VISIONS, and found myself hardly recognizing any of the scenes, I chose that episode as the first for my little test.

In a word, ugh. Some beautiful sets for the interiors, though the model of the floating city is pitiful even by 1960s standards. I'd also forgotten how over-the-top preachy the script is. And stilted is a kind word for the dialog.

Beyond its heavy handed preaching, the script is awful. Much like a particularly poor example of fan-fic, with caricatures instead of characters. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest speak in overly earnest paragraphs, while acting in manners dictated by the script rather than and sort of internal logic. In a fight before the opening credits, for instance, Spock has several opportunities to use the neck pinch to end things quickly, yet he resorts to karate chops and punches.

Pretty much a lesson in how NOT to do it.

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Doug Centers
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Posted: 18 July 2016 at 7:39pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

The last time thru S3 I really, truly tried to give it a fair shot. I hadn't seen most of the episodes in decades. 
It was such a chore. As stated above the writing is uninspired. But also,like above, I noticed right off the delivery of the lines by the "big four" characters seemed unnatural ,almost like they were playing poor man versions of the first two seasons.
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Tim O'Neill
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Posted: 18 July 2016 at 8:04pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply




I didn't buy the third season on DVD based on the overwhelming negative references on this very forum. Even with that decision, I would still tune in when a third episode show would air in syndication. I was disappointed by each episode except "All Our Yesterdays", which I still like a lot.




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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 18 July 2016 at 10:33pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

There are elements that are good. Guest-stars. Sets/props/costumes. Music. Visual effects. Lines of dialogue. Moments.

But, as a whole, there's a whole lot of dreck in that season's TREK!


The third season is essentially a Saturday-morning cartoon version of TOS...before that actually came to pass, a few years later. And that cartoon was, in some ways, better TREK than the third season of the original!

I'll still watch the occasional episode when it's on TV, or the entire season, whenever I occasionally run through the entire series. There are always ne insights and observations to be had. And, I kinda find bad TOS to be like bad pizza--even when it's bad, I don't regret it.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 18 July 2016 at 10:45pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

By the way, while Marc Cushman's THESE ARE THE VOYAGES books should be taken with a pound of salt, they do make one thing very clear--

The great success of the first season and a half or so (...because there did indeed seem to be a drop in quality after the loss of Gene Coon and Dorothy Fontana, although a few classics like "The Ultimate Computer" still came along near the end of the second season) really comes down to intense rewriting. Lots of lots of hard, passionate rewriting by great writers who worked very hard to keep the characters and tone consistent, and the material intellectual and provocative. Roddenberry, Coon, and Fontana, in particular. 

Harlan Ellison's complaints about his script for "The City on The Edge of Forever" being rewritten are really only the tip of the iceberg. Every script underwent pretty major revisions, ranging from extensive dialogue replacement to total deconstruction/reconstruction of stories.

The third season already had a lot stacked against it (budget cuts, the bad timeslot, Roddenberry stepping back, Fred Freiberger not really getting the tone of the show, etc.), but a lot of of those third season episodes had only a handful of drafts and revisions before going in front of the cameras, and that might have been the biggest problem. Because I think that a considerable portion of STAR TREK's success and longevity comes down to the quality of the writing in those first two seasons.
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 6:06am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

There are elements that are good. Guest-stars. Sets/props/costumes. Music. Visual effects. Lines of dialogue. Moments.

***

I agree, and not a few, given that there are 24 full length episodes.

Yet, the aggregate, doubled and tripled and taken to the power of ten doesn't justify that season's existence, no matter how much a true fan might appreciate those many (widely scattered and fleeting) good elements.

But further yet... I too get in those moods, like Greg said, where I will still watch (some*) Season 3 episodes. Unlike so almost all superhero movies, which feature virtually nothing recognizable from the comicbook originals beyond the names, I can -- in the right mood! -- suffer through an episode here and there to enjoy a little genuine Star Trek nugget.


*I cannot stand "The Empath"! That's one (and there are others) that I just never revisit.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 7:21am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I've mentioned before what a staggering disappointment the Third Season was, after the whole write-in campaign (in which I participated). We fought so hard to get STAR TREK back and we were rewarded with. . . "Spock's Brain"??

Looking at the episodes in production order reveals a great loss of... something. The first to go before the cameras were "Spectre of the Gun" and "Elaan of Troyius".

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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 8:35am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

The Paradise Syndrome, The Tholian Web, and The Savage Curtain are all good third season episodes too. There are some diamonds in the rough, but I will grant you there was a lot more rough in Season 3 than in Season 1 or 2.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 9:09am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

The Paradise Syndrome, The Tholian Web, and The Savage Curtain are all good third season episodes too.

Everyone's taste is different. What a godawful boring place this old world would be were that not the case!

That said, I find those three among the weakest of a weak season. "Web" and "Curtain" most especially. Contrived plots and characters out of character. Which pretty much describes the whole of S3.

(With the sudden intrusion of Sixties stylings, characters even LOOKED out of character!)

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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 9:32am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

What do you think of "Wink of an eye" Mr Byrne?

I do have rather my doubts about a Starfleet security officer who is willing to betray his superior that quickly.
Is it realistic?
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 10:17am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Fred Freiberger's job on Season 3 foreshadowed his abysmal Season 2 of SPACE: 1999  (why were they so well armed?).  A shockingly dumb stretch of TV.


Silly as it is though, if "Way to Eden" is on, I'll watch it for the music.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 11:16am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

To reduce the number of "what do you think of...?" questions, let me state that there was only one third season episode of which I had fond memories, and that was "All Our Yesterdays." Unfortunately, a recent viewing told me it had not aged well.

(It's also been badly stepped on by fannish follow-ups.)

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Peter Martin
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 11:24am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I quite like All Our Yesterdays -- like Tim above. I find Wink of an Eye entertaining enough and I think Requiem for Methusaleh is actually pretty good, though falls victim to the out-of-character bits that JB mentions (Kirk falling deeply in love in the wink of an eye and then Spock altering his memory without permission!).

There are some lesser but all right episodes there (I'd lump Spectre of the Gun and Is There No Truth in Beauty? in this category), but the majority are stinkers. Cloud Minders, Spock's Brain, Let That Be Your Last Battelefield, etc.

And then there's The Paradise Syndrome... Which I consider an out and out oddity. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 11:56am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

The one thing I remember about "The Paradise Syndrome" is being in class the next day to find all the boys -- who had previously protested they NEVER watched STAR TREK -- having nothing else on their minds but those final scenes of Sabrina Scharfe lying on her cot wearing most UN-Native American structural support!
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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 1:00pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

(Kirk falling deeply in love in the wink of an eye and then Spock altering his memory without permission!).

*****

Oh man, I forgot about that one, and we had such a big discussion about it before on this forum.
I recall being quite disgusted by using such a cheap solution to solve Kirk's problem. It goes against Kirk's character and against Spock's.
Please forget that I brought that episode up.

I guess with fannish follow ups to "all our yesterday" the Star Trek Yesterday books are implied.

I guess on reflection that Season 3 is absolutely wank with out only a few somewhat amusing episodes.
Even "The Enterprise Incident" which I thought was received well falls through.


Edited by Marten van Wier on 19 July 2016 at 1:03pm
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 2:10pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply


I revisit the Third Season (along with the first two) every 5 years or so.

Personally, I enjoy about half of the episodes for the most part... oddly enough, aside from "The Paradise Syndrome," I have no real memory of seeing any of the third season episodes, back when I would catch the re-runs in the late '70s and early '80s. It wasn't until the 20th anniversary of TREK (in 1986) that my interest went into overdrive, and I made it a mission to watch every single episode (with the STAR TREK COMPENDIUM to help guide me along the way), so that's where my nostalgia for these eps begins!

The first half of the season seems to have just enough leftover Season Two mojo to get me to sit through them with no real problem (from "Spectre of the Gun" to "Day of the Dove," in terms of production order), but once I get to "Plato's Stepchildren" and onwards, the quality takes a definite nosedive, and the rest are an admitted slog.




Edited by Shaun Barry on 19 July 2016 at 2:11pm
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 6:37pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I made it a mission to watch every single episode (with the STAR TREK COMPENDIUM to help guide me along the way)...

This was me post TWOK. The Compendium and TV Guide made it possible to catch up on all the TOS episodes on local stations rather quickly, as they were shown daily...usually at least two consecutive episodes, for awhile, on one station. I was a binge-watcher before it was it a thing!

I remember quite liking quite a few of the Season 3 episodes at the time. And I've seen some recently on Blu-ray, but haven't tried to push through the whole season in a long time. I fear most won't hold up for me...
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 7:45pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Some third season episodes were bad right out of the gate. But some snuck by for a while. Hey! It was all the TREK we had, right?

But unlike the First and Second seasons, S3 just did not age well.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 8:55pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Yeah, there's a lot more topicality in the third season. A few "ripped from the headlines" plots. Hairstyles, costumes, space Hippies--it all feels more late-1960s than the "timeless" style of the first two seasons.


I'd almost be inclined to substitute TAS (the good episodes, at least) as the "real" third season!
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Ted Downum
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Posted: 19 July 2016 at 8:56pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I've often thought that many third-season episodes have the seeds of interesting stories buried in them...the key word being "buried."

It might have been interesting to see a more artful take on Sixties race relations than "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," for instance, or a less dopey approach than "The Way to Eden" to the concept of Federation citizens rebelling against their harmonious, high-tech society.

The stories that actually made it to the screen, though? Mostly regrettable. 


Edited by Ted Downum on 19 July 2016 at 8:57pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 20 July 2016 at 3:43am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I sat thru first broadcast of "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" waiting for some REVEAL to make sense of it. Nope.

It's an episode also representative of the pretentious long titles that featured in S3, the winner being, of course, "For the World is Hollow, and I Have Touched the Sky".

(My recently completely Gorn story has the closest I have come in NEW VISIONS to an S3 length title: "More of the Serpent than the Dove". Hopefully that's ALL it has in common with S3!!)

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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 20 July 2016 at 6:30am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

The PC games Star Trek 25th Anniversary and Judgment Rites which I consider a sort of unofficial Star Trek season 4 is definitely an improvement on season 3, even if some of its stories are sometimes a bit off or very off in certain parts.
The games do seem to have picked up a few weak plot elements from S3 and The Animated Series. The writers of these stories probably were also inspired by these at the time when they made them.

I would have loved to have seen all these game episodes be made into real episodes with the characters but the ones that stand out the most for me are.

* No Man's Land. While searching for missing starships Kirk and the crew run into Trelane again who has now developed an interested in World War 1.
After having defeated his biplane in a space fight (come on, everyone would love to see this happen, the Enterprise fighting a WW1 in space just for the surreal-ness of it) Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are transported to an inaccurate portrayal of World War 1 Germany made by Trelane and must find a way to escape it and rescue the missing starships and their crew and perhaps finally make Trelane realize the horror and waste of lives wars truly detail and not the glory of victory.

* Federation (well that would require Vengeance to be made into an episode as well as Dr Breddell appeared in that game to the public for the first time).
After receiving a warning from a starship from the future that the Federation will be destroyed in four days Kirk and the crew must go to Espoir station to find the source of the destruction.
Once there they discover that Dr Breddell has survived the last encounter with the Enterprise crew during which his copy of the Enterprise was destroyed. Now the good doctor is working on a doomsday weapon that can destroy worlds over interstellar distances.

(yeah I know, not a very cerebral plot and more Star Wars-y but even Trek had room for exciting sci fi adventurers next to more deeper stories, plus it would be awesome to see Kirk face the genetically enhanced Antarian Mankiller Breddell spliced together. The whole doomsday weapon that can strike planets over interstellar distances was there way before The Force Awaken's Starkiller base, plus it did not have a stupid name, it was just a weapon)

Sorry for going off subject but I am glad that despite Season 3 that Star Trek spin off media still gave us a lot of fun and entertaining stories that match the quality of the earlier seasons more)

Mr Byrne, would it be okay if I opened a thread here in which we can bring up and discuss the best inspired Star Trek media spin off material such as comics, books, and games?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 20 July 2016 at 7:30am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Mr Byrne, would it be okay if I opened a thread here in which we can bring up and discuss the best inspired Star Trek media spin off material such as comics, books, and games?

Sure, why not?

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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 20 July 2016 at 1:29pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Greg: I'd almost be inclined to substitute TAS (the good episodes, at least) as the "real" third season!

**

I'd be very interested in your "real" third season, Greg. Would there be a combination of the best S3 episodes and best Animated episodes that got you there?
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 20 July 2016 at 8:29pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply


(Oooooooh... I'll wait 'til Greg submits his list first, but I may need to start crackin' on that myself...!)


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