Third season episodes that have the quality of the first two seaons

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by CrazyMatt, May 4, 2014.

  1. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Third season episodes that have the quality of the first two seaon

    The thing with Battlefield for me has always been that somewhere in the back of my mind while watching it, were these guys...

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Re: Third season episodes that have the quality of the first two seaon

    Wait! What about "House of Quark" and "Little Green Men"? Those are great episodes!
     
  3. ToddPence

    ToddPence Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Third season episodes that have the quality of the first two seaon

    Here’s my attempt to rank all twenty-four episodes of the third season.

    1. THE EMPATH - When I compiled my exhaustively researched list of the sixty greatest television episodes of the 1960‘s, I selected “The Empath” for a slot (along with “The City on the Edge of Forever” and “Journey to Babel”. I realize that this is a polarizing episode which usually winds up at either the top or bottom of other people’s list, and probably the series’ most misunderstood. I’ve always felt that it was an inspiring tale of self-sacrifice and the triumph of emotion over logic that made effective use of the most minimalist of sets. Also, George Dunning’s magnificent score is doubtless a major factor in my ranking this one as high as I did.

    2. IS THERE IN TRUTH NO BEAUTY - A magnificent script with a memorable premise, characters, conflicts and scenes. Another great musical score which elevates the episode. The scene where Spock channels Kollos and experiences human feeling and sensation for the first time is one that I feel is one of the most defining moments of what makes the original series great, and is the kind of meaningful, humanistic scene you’re sure to never see in an Abrams Star Trek film. Interesting that both my top two choices were written by amateurs with no previous sales.

    3. THE THOLIAN WEB - Yeah, don’t really feel the need to defend this choice (except maybe for ranking it so low!) The title of this thread is “Third Season Episodes Which Have the Quality of the First Two Seasons”, but I honestly feel that some of the earlier episodes in season three actually display a vigor and confidence not seen in the first two seasons. Sadly, this would change drastically in the latter half of the season. “Web” is one of the original series’ genuinely spooky and eerie shows, and has fantastic special effects to boot. The episode is marred only by it’s behind the scenes ugliness which led to the firing of popular director Ralph Senensky and his replacement with the extremely unpopular Herb Wallerstein, a man who inspired the “Herbert” in-joke jab which later featured in “The Way to Eden”.

    4. THE PARADISE SYNDROME - An epic story which features spectacular location shooting (the last to be employed in the series). Yet another memorable musical score. The ending still tears me up after all these years. Still a major story flaw - in “A Taste of Armageddon” we’re told the Enterprise has the capacity to destroy an entire planet, but here they can’t destroy one lousy asteroid?

    5. ALL OUR YESTERDAYS - Penultimate TOS episode, memorable guest appearance by Mariette Hartley, compelling and suspenseful storyline. Great scenes between Spock and McCoy. Incidentally, the only episode of the original series to make use of no Enterprise interiors.

    6. DAY OF THE DOVE - Terrific entry featuring maybe the most memorable Klingon ever to appear on TOS. Intense in tone and highly influential on later Trek series.

    7. THE ENTERPRISE INCIDENT - Another influential segment and another example of the quality of the early part of the season.

    8. ELAAN OF TROYIUS - If you’re gonna steal plots, steal from the best (Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew). Nuanced and rich script. Features arguably the best space battle of the original series.

    9. FOR THE WORLD IS HOLLOW AND I HAVE TOUCHED THE SKY - Another epic story which might have worked better as a two-parter.

    10. REQUEIM FOR METHESULAH - An episode whose reach exceeds its grasp, “Requeim” has some serious story flaws (mainly that the story’s motivator, a shipwide plague that threatens to wipe out the entire crew, never appears to be as grave as such a thing should be) but is elevated by the magnificent performances of James Daly and Louise Sorel. A poignant final scene, but I can’t help feeling that it probably would have been more poignant if it had been used at the end of “The City on the Edge of Forever” instead.

    11. WHOM GODS DESTROY - And again, a story which is enhanced by outstanding guest star performances. Taut little thriller with overtones of horror and one of the series’ great villians. Climactic “which is the real Kirk” scene became iconic, being replayed in both the motion picture Star Trek VI and the DS9 episode “The Adversary”.

    12. THAT WHICH SURVIVES - A lot of people do not like this episode. I think it’s a neat little fast-paced thriller. Spock inexplicably acts like a supercilious, sarcastic jerk throughout the episode. Kudos to the anonymous redshirt who saves the day at the end.

    13. THE WAY TO EDEN - I don’t hate this episode as much as most Trek fans. I can overlook the cheesier elements and see the good points, such as Skip Homier’s performance and the fact that it is probably Chekov’s best show from a character standpoint. The relationship between him and Irina is really well handled. Also, the idea that there are malcontents within the supposedly utopian society of the Federation is an interesting one.

    14. THE CLOUD MINDERS - Cloud cities are cool. A somewhat cliched storyline of class warfare competently executed.

    15. WINK OF AN EYE - Hampered by some logistic story flaws, nonetheless an enjoyable action episode.

    16. SPECTRE OF THE GUN - Essentially a poor man’s “Arena”, but it’s fun to send Kirk and company back into the old west. I have to question the historical stance of portraying the Clantons as the good guys and the Earps as the bad guys, however.

    17. TURNABOUT INTRUDER - The idea of a female villain possessing Kirk’s body is a good one, but this episode never does as much with it as it should. The big problem for me is that the rest of the crew don’t do anything or solve any problem to get Kirk back in his body at the end, Janice’s transference simply wears off at the end of the hour. Nonetheless, this episode seems to get an inordinate amount of hate, far more than it deserves. I wonder if that has to do with the fact that it was the last episode, and fans expected something more spectacular. Would TI be as reviled if it had aired in the middle of the season as opposed to being the finale. Kirk’s final line “If only . . . if only . . .” always struck me as a coincidentally appropriate epitaph for the show.

    18. PLATO’S STEPCHILDREN - Routine trope tale of the Enterprise crew being captured by superior aliens until they discover their weakness and escape is augmented by Michael Dunn’s performance and the pathos of the character of Alexander.

    19. THE MARK OF GIDEON - What could have been an interesting and thought provoking story is totally sabotaged by a ridiculous central plot device, major plotholes, and a hopelessly muddled storyline.

    20. THE LIGHTS OF ZETAR - This gets an A+ for creepiness and eeriness, although the story isn’t very compelling. The romance between Scotty and Mira doesn’t ring true despite several nice character moments between the two.

    21. LET THAT BE YOUR LAST BATTLEFIELD - This is about as heavy handed as the original series got. And they really could have come up with a better make up job than that done for Gorshin and Antonio.

    22. THE SAVAGE CURTAIN - I said earlier that “Spectre of the Gun” was a poor man’s “Arena”, well this is a really poor, poor man’s “Arena”. One major pro of the episode was introducing figures to Trek lore such as Sarek, Kahless and Green. Major con is that it’s depressing to watch. In many of these episodes made towards the very end, there’s a weariness and a tiredness that comes across in them, as if the series’ stars know the end is in sight and are just going through the motions.

    23. AND THE CHILDREN SHALL LEAD - As goofy as all get-out. “Children of the Damned" taking over the Enterprise is a cool idea but ineptly executed. Melvin Belli as your guest star? Seriously, Melvin Belli? Horrible acting overall in this one - perhaps Shatner’s most embarrassing performance of the entire series. Trivia note - the child cast featured three future Brady Bunch guest stars.

    24. SPOCK’S BRAIN - Inarguably the worst episode of TOS. Contractual obligation script which Gene Coon doubtlessly never intended to go before the cameras. Obtained an iconicity for its badness, with tributes paid by the series The Wonder Years as well as the Tom Cruise-Sean Penn movie Taps. Seems to worsen upon each viewing.
     
  4. Memory Alpha

    Memory Alpha Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Third season episodes that have the quality of the first two seaon

    "The Enterprise Incident"
    "Day of the Dove"
    "For the World is Hollow. . ." (Another statement on religion that I like)
    "The Tholian Web"
    "Elaan of Troyius"
    "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"
    "That Which Survives" (this one is just weird in a way that's cool)
    "The Cloud Minders"
    "All Our Yesterdays"

    Some good social commentary there, circa 1969! There was the height of the Cold War going on and some good commentary on religion.
     
  5. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Third season episodes that have the quality of the first two seaon

    Very well thought out reviews, Todd, and while I don’t agree with them all, a few comments motivate me to respond a little…

    Not quite true. It is the last extensive location shooting of the series, but apparently the street scenes in All Our Yesterdays were shot outside. They were so badly lit and shot they LOOK like interiors.

    Like so many others, this was another “out of character” love story this season. Scotty got one, McCoy got one, Kirk got one, Spock got one and so did Chekov. This is my main problem with the season. Far too many of these “head over heels in love” plots that have to be resolved in 49 minutes (gotta save room for the credits and previews). Some worked better than others, but piling a “disease of the week” on was just too much this time. Requiem for Methuselah was the one what needed to be two parts if they wanted us to buy Kirk’s sudden devotion to Rayna.

    Nah, it gets a bad rap because it’s lousy. Yeah, it’s a crappy way to end the series, but it’s a sloppy script with bad characterization. It’s a guilty pleasure and a lot of fun, but it deserves its rep.

    Actually, it’s very arguable. Now THIS is an episode that I feel gets a worse rap because of its position in the run. After all of the hard work and sweat to try to keep the show on the air, the Network rewards the fans with THIS? Not one of the other better episodes, but this one? Whatever their reason (for all I know, it was the only one ready to go), fans must have been aghast and very disappointed. However, I see a number of episodes being a lot worse than this (And the Children Shall Lead, The Way to Eden, Mark of Gideon, etc.). But it’s all opinion anyway.

    Again, nice post.
     
  6. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Third season episodes that have the quality of the first two seaon

    I can argue about Spock's Brain, too. I think the worst episode of the series is a tie between Alternative Factor, The Changeling, and And The Children Shall Lead. But 2 of those aren't third season which is off the topic thread.

    I've liked this thread, but I don't really have a "list" for it, I just think the third season, while it is the weakest, is also put down more than it should be.

    I haven't run the numbers in a long time, but I came up with 10 episodes that I really didn't like out of the 78 and 8 of them were in the third season, but some of my favorites are in that season, like Day of the Dove and The Enterprise Incident.

    I would really liked to have seen more seasons, but then maybe they would have been even worse, and it seems like a lot of Star Trek's staying power was over the "what could have been" of an early cancellation. What if it continued until everyone really just didn't want anymore, that would have really hurt the magic that's kept it alive, but then maybe it would have been great and cement it's place even more. I can't say now, but I would have really loved to see it for myself, if it happened.
     
  7. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Third season episodes that have the quality of the first two seaon

    Watched "Is There in Truth..." again last night. Still love it. Still love the music and the fisheye lens, and the 60s moral.
     
  8. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Third season episodes that have the quality of the first two seaon

    Yes, the music was often melancholy, but beautiful at the same time.
     
  9. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Third season episodes that have the quality of the first two seaon

    Watching Return to Tomorrow last night. Yes, wonderful new music!
     
  10. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Third season episodes that have the quality of the first two seaon

    There are only a very, VERY few episodes with music I'm not entranced by. I Mudd being the biggest example. For the most part, the original series scores were exceptionally well done, some of the best music on television.
     
  11. benjaminh

    benjaminh Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Third season episodes that have the quality of the first two seaon

    This is a good question. I hesitate to even answer, since my list lines up quite well with the episodes given by others as matching the quality of the best of the first two seasons, but here goes.....

    1. The Enterprise Incident
    This episode might even be my favorite of the whole show. As a kid, I wondered the first time if Kirk was going mad. The Cold War stuff in space here is great. A section 31 operation if I ever saw one. Joanne Linville's Romulan Commander is outstanding. Were the Romulans ahead of the Federation when it came to women's rights and equality? D. C. Fontana at her best can't be topped imho.

    2. The Tholian Web.
    Even though Kirk is off the ship for most of it, this is perhaps the climax of the whole Kirk-Spock-McCoy triad episodes. McCoy is truly vicious to Spock, but then apologizes and collapses in Spock's arms. That, and Kirk's farewell speech, both choke me up after all these years.

    3. The Paradise Syndrome
    This is a prejudiced portrayal of Native Americans, but it's still an epic and heartbreaking episode. One of Shatner's best performances. Also makes this grown man cry a little at the end.

    I think that's it for me, although I'd give honorable mention to (in broadcast order): Is there No Truth in Beauty? (IDIC episode), For the World is Hollow, The Empath, The Way to Eden, The Savage Curtain, and All Our Yesterdays.