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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old December 14 2008, 04:04 AM   #1
DostoyevskyClone
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Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

I bought the first season on DVD a few months ago and I have to say that I was surprised by how mediocre it was. I had seen only a few TOS episodes and after having gone through all of TNG and DS9, I wanted to get back to the roots of Trek.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the season, but from things I heard, I thought it'd be better. There were *a lot* of so-so episodes in there and only a few excellent ones to make up for it.

I've heard good things about the second season too, but unless it's a clear step up in overall quality, I don't see myself buying it anytime soon.

So, the question: how does the second season compare to the first?
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Old December 14 2008, 04:13 AM   #2
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Re: Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

Season two is not as good as season one (the best IMHO); season three is not as good as season two; the Animated Series is not as good as season three. TMP is probably on a par with season three eps IMHO. Finally, with TWOK I feel we got back to the level of season one excellence.
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Old December 14 2008, 04:16 AM   #3
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Re: Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

Actually, I think the second season is the best, with season one coming in a close second, and, of course, season three last. Curious, DosteyevskyClone, which S1 eps did you find mediocre? -- RR
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Old December 14 2008, 04:40 AM   #4
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Re: Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

I just made my way through the series about six months ago. I felt that season one was the strongest of the three but season two was really close. I was surprised how much I liked it and it has become my second favorite of all the series (sorry guys I'm a niner at heart.). I'm glad to see that you are giving it a chance. I myself thought that it was to outdated and that I would have trouble getting past the FX and all. I was glad I listened to my brother and watched it. From one trekkie to another give season two a shot. The charachters are iconic and the writing is way ahead of it's time.
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Old December 14 2008, 04:53 AM   #5
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Re: Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

Yes, season one is the best by far. The writing is vastly more imaginative, the stories are better, the performances are fresher and the effects...okay, the effects are TOS effects. Those did get a little better over the years.

There are probably twenty solid season one episodes - only four or five first-rate season two eps.
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Old December 14 2008, 06:56 AM   #6
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Re: Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

Polaris is dead on, though I'd also add that the direction is better in most cases -- the episodes are more atmospheric, the camera work more purposeful, and the performances match. Not as much action as the later episodes, but the show was all the smarter for it.
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Old December 14 2008, 07:20 AM   #7
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Re: Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

Really? If found the stories and well... everything of season two to be vastly better than one. Writing, effects, acting, dialogue... everything just seemed to grow up more in season two.

And the characters just seemed to click alot more aswell.
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Old December 14 2008, 07:40 AM   #8
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Re: Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

DostoyevskyClone wrote: View Post
I bought the first season on DVD a few months ago and I have to say that I was surprised by how mediocre it was. I had seen only a few TOS episodes and after having gone through all of TNG and DS9, I wanted to get back to the roots of Trek.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the season, but from things I heard, I thought it'd be better. There were *a lot* of so-so episodes in there and only a few excellent ones to make up for it.
You're absolutely right. I think 1st season is the worst of the seasons, at least in terms of stinker to awesome episodes ratio. On the other hand, it's got some of the best episodes in the series: Balance of Terror, Menagerie, Errand of Mercy, etc.

The 2nd season is better. There are only two bad episodes. The rest range from decent to amazing. My two favorite episodes are in the 2nd season.

Third season is not as good as second, but better than first in a lot of ways. Basically, there are fewer amazing eps, more moderately decent ones.
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Old December 14 2008, 09:13 AM   #9
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Re: Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

trekkerguy wrote: View Post
Really? If found the stories and well... everything of season two to be vastly better than one. Writing, effects, acting, dialogue... everything just seemed to grow up more in season two.

And the characters just seemed to click alot more aswell.
To each his own. To me, the show became more pedestrian, formulaic, as they found a groove they were comfortable with. As a result, it lost the moody, often creepy sense of the unknown present in episodes like "The Man Trap" and "The Corbomite Maneuver," and while the action and humor quotients were increased, it didn't seem quite as thoughtful anymore. Shatner seems to be trying less and hamming it up more (though nothing like season 3), and Nimoy seems older and less alien, even though there are more episodes dealing with his being a Vulcan(ian). While SFX might have been enhanced, other elements like lighting became less imaginative, and the number of extras in the background seemed to decrease, making the illusion of a big ship less convincing. A lot of this is simply aesthetics, so people will have different opinions certainly.
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Old December 14 2008, 09:34 PM   #10
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Re: Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

I'm a Niner to the core and having only seen two episodes of TOS (and all the movies) I decided to go back and watch them all.

Season 1 bored me for a long time. The Naked Time and The Alternative Factor both caused me to fall asleep half way through. The first episode that really made me sit up and take notice was The Conscience of the King. There was something about it that struck me as different; the Kirk/Spock/McCoy interactions really stood out, the writing was very good and the acting seemed better than normal. I truly cared about the outcome for the first time, and it still remains my favourite episode of TOS. After that I found myself enjoying the shows more.

Season 2 I found to be much better. The actors were used to their roles now, the Kirk/Spock/McCoy dynamic really started to work, there was more humour. They also introduced Chekov who has become my favourite character, and they gave more time to Scotty who is my second favourite. There's still some clunkers, but I enjoyed it far more than season 1.

Season 3. Wow. I had already been warned about Spock's Brain, And the Children Shall Lead and The Way to Eden, but I was not prepared for That Which Survives, The Mark of Gideon or Plato's Stepchildren. The Savage Curtain gets a pass because anything that has Abraham Lincoln beating up Genghis Khan deserves at least a C-, even if the enemy is a giant talking pile of poo. There is one or two good episodes, and there is more time devoted to Scotty and Chekov, but it is not worth buying.

Overall I enjoy TOS because of the characters. I have only two more episodes left to watch, but the journey was definately worth it. I plan on watching the TOS movies again afterwards now that I understand the characters better. So now my list goes DS9 -> TNG -> TOS -> ENT -> VOY.
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Old December 15 2008, 01:56 AM   #11
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Re: Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

^ Lincoln beating up Genghis Khan was beyond awesome.

But seriously, folks, TOS is no different from all the trek series -- it has some moments of exquisite genius along with moments of monumental ineptitude. Even the outstanding DS9 -- my favorite series -- has more than a few embarrassing episodes.

So, OP, I hope you continue to get TOS DVDs, even if each season has its clunkers. All of us trek fans have to accept the fact that although our history is a checkered history, it is a history well worth knowing.
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Old December 15 2008, 03:23 AM   #12
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Re: Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

FWIW I like season the best. A lot of great stories, and character chemistry. its really good
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Old December 15 2008, 04:41 AM   #13
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Re: Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

Here's my take on it.

Season 1 has the most realistic feel to it. The performances aren't as broad, and it's not as cutesy. The characters are, frankly, less likable. But there's more of a sci-fi feel to it, despite a fair number of clunky scripts. It's in this season that the show can still manage to feel creepy and dangerous, something it lost in subsequent seasons.

By season 2 the actors had found their "patter" and the show got a tad less serious. It's more likeable, but it starts being a little silly. More entertaining, yes, as good, not so much.
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Old December 15 2008, 12:08 PM   #14
c5maier
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Re: Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

Tuln wrote: View Post
FWIW I like season the best. A lot of great stories, and character chemistry. its really good
Now - that is a statement at last that we can all agree on!
(As each one can fill in what he/she wants.)

Back to the OP: If you had told us which of the episodes you found great, which ones mediocre and which ones bad, we could better imagine how you might like the episodes in seasons two and three, as not everybody here agrees on what makes a good episode or season (as you can read in the answers).
But my general advice would be to watch every episode at least once. It is neither overly difficult/expensive to do nor too time-consuming for a classic like original Trek is.
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Old December 15 2008, 02:31 PM   #15
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Re: Is the first season *really* the best? If so, I'm disappointed...

Like everything else, it's all a metter of opinion and personal taste. It also depends on what you look for in your Trek. The first season had the stronger and more serious plots. The sci-fi quotent was higher and more imaginative. Kirk was more obviously the lead character, going to the planet with the guest star and leaving Spock on the ship. The friendship aspect of their characters didn't really kick in until about midway as they mellowed Spock out some. The supporting cast got more to do in the "personality" scenes and on the whole, it seemed to be a "larger" show for all of that.

Second season saw a definite change in the atmosphere and releationships. Kirk, Spock and Bones were much more "chummy" and there was a greater sense of humor to the episodes. I find many of these early to mid-second season episodes really click. If you had a clunker, you could count on the big three to salvage it, where early first season duds simply hung there, like a hooked puffer fish. There's more action, more "warfare" and I think the "sailing the open seas" connection was stronger. However, Kirk was played more broadly and the background guys got shafted.

The third season (which I enjoy - me and three other guys) really stresses the friendship and brings the supporting characters back into the spotlight. However, there were too many love stories and weird contrievances. Shatner went hogwild at this point, at times chewing scereny like a fat guy at an all you can eat buffet. Spock got actually less interesting as Nimoy played him more stoic, but he was truly annoying in That Which Survives. Bones, apparently, took a bottle of obnoxious pills early on, as the producers seemed to forget the military chain of command aspect of it all. However, the series got sort of spooky this year. The music became more somber and low key, with very little of the Sol Kaplanesque overdrama (much as I love his work, he was insane with the horns). As such, some episodes really gained a layer of darkness, even the turds. If fistfights are you game, this is a great season for you.

Personally, I prefer the feel of the second season, but thought Spock was more interesting in the first 10 or so episodes of the first year. He was much more alien then, not a pointy eared punchline. My favorite episodes of all time is The Doomsday Machine, in the second season. it had the best qualities of the first two years.
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