06th Jul2017

Trek to the Past – Star Trek: TOS Season Three in Review

by James Morrell

Star Trek is probably the most successful science fiction franchise of all time spanning six decades of science fiction storytelling. In this series, I will be looking at the highlights of all the past episodes from each season of all five TV shows that went before leading up to the new series Star Trek: Discovery that will be airing in the fall of 2017.

Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 3

st-tos-cast

Development

As Season 2 was airing the last few episodes of the season, NBC had decided to not to renew the Star Trek for a third year due to low ratings, but a group of fans decided to start a letter-writing campaign to get the show renewed for a third season. NBC had thousands of letters coming through the post, so much so that they announced they had, finally, renewed the series for a third season.

Many changes were made during the final season of the original series. Gene Roddenberry was made Executive Producer of the show NBC reduced his involvement in the shows production. Future Space 1999 producer Fred Freiberger replaced Roddenberry as Producer and made a few change to what went out in this season, which fans and cast members were not pleased about and resorted to ‘Monster of the Week’ episodes or episodes that were set on just the Enterprise to save money as NBC had drastically cut the budget.

NBC also decided to move Star Trek to the Friday night death slot at 10pm, as it was called by producers, which had seen many shows get cancelled the following season. Roddenberry even famously said “If the network wants to kill us, it couldn’t make a better move.” He was right, the show dropped to an all time low to 181 out of 210 shows on NBC.

Writers

This is the season that some fans really love to hate, but are we [the fans] being unfair with hating on Season 3? Perhaps so, The writing isn’t up there with the first two seasons but it did bring out some good episodes like ‘The Enterprise Incident’ which was written by DC Fontana. The other good episodes in this season being ‘Spectre of the Gun’, ‘Day of the Doves’ and the underrated ‘That Which Survives’ – which I found rather enjoyable but isn”t talked about as much as the three I have mentioned.

The tragic loss to this season was Gene Coon, who left the series at the end of Season 2 due the clashes with the cast and producers. He did however continue writing for the show but his writing for this season wasn’t up there with his past attempts; and he wrote, in my opinion, the weakest Star Trek episode Spock’s Brain, which shows how the writing had declined during this season and they were putting some largely forgettable episodes.

Top 5 Episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series – Season Three

5) That Which Survives

As I said earlier this is one of the underrated ones that’s largely forgettable but yet it’s enjoyable to watch at the same time and don’t drag on and has some good tension throughout the episode with Kirk and co.

4) Spectre of the Gun

This is a fun episode where Star Trek does a western and is landed in the an re-enactment of the OK Corral where they’re playing the doomed cowboys but downside to this episode you can tell the budget has been slashed pretty hard throughout this episode with incomplete sets and that sort of thing.

3) All Our Yesterdays

This a pretty good episode where you don’t see how Kirk, Spock and McCoy are gonna get out of this one after being thrown back in time on planet where the sun is about to go supernova it’s a really tense episode and your thinking are they going to get out of this one alive.

2) The Enterprise Incident

Kirk and Spock go undercover to steal Romulan clocking device, with Kirk acting strangely to keep up appearances and and the one with the Vulcan death grip. It’s one of the best episodes that season 3 has to offer and don’t drag either.

1) The Tholian Web

Now I struggled to which one to choose for number one but this is probably the strongest episode of Season 3 it’s a very Kirk light episode but it’s shows Spock a capable commander, Kirk’s message to Spock and McCoy is rather touching I found this episode should of belonged in Season 1 or 2 – it was that good.

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