Still trying to pinpoint the third season "difference"

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Talos IV, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. Talos IV

    Talos IV Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Since I'm doing an original series re-watch in reverse order, I just went from "Spock's Brain" to "Assignment: Earth." Wow. The third season "atmosphere" is just ... different (and not in a good way).

    Granted, "Assignment: Earth" isn't a typical episode -- and I've always liked it more than a lot of people do -- but the "aura" of the second season compared to what I just watched in all of season 3 is incredible.

    Honestly, I can't figure it out. Same cast. Same standing sets. Same director (at least in "Assignment: Earth" and "Spock's Brain"). Same cinematographer (for part of season 3, anyway).

    I'm not talking about the scripts -- we all know how much better those were in seasons 1 and 2 -- but the vibe of the show itself. Yes, the music is different and the material of the costumes changed -- but it's more than that.

    To quote Scotty in "That Which Survives": "The ship feels wrong." Substitute "show" for "ship" and that sums it up.

    Any thoughts?
     
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  2. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    Bob Justman quit during the 3rd season, partly because he was exhausted but he also said the family atmosphere of the set just wasn’t there anymore.
     
  3. Farscape One

    Farscape One Commodore Commodore

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    I think it can be summed up in one word... humor. Season 3 didn't have nearly as humor intertwined in the dialogue like either of the previous seasons. It took itself TOO seriously.

    At least, that's my theory.
     
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  4. Armus

    Armus Commodore Commodore

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    I like some of the changes in season 3.

    The music is much better in season 3 in my view. It's much more subtle than in season 2.

    The uniforms are made with a different sleeker material.

    Shatner has a groovy new toupee.
     
  5. Armus

    Armus Commodore Commodore

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    In Season 3 the characters act more casual and informal with each other.

    I like Requiem For Methuselah but Kirk doesn't seem to be the same man in that episode that he was in first two seasons. Kirk loses control and becomes depressed. Spock helps him by making him forget. It's a beautiful ending but that isn't the kind of thing you'd see in the first two seasons.

    In season 3 the secondary characters are utilized even less so the focus is even more Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. When they are not together the emphasis is on the fact that Kirk has been separated from both Spock and McCoy, such as in The Tholian Web, The Paradise Syndrome, and All our Yesterdays.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  6. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    Supposedly Issac Asimov recommended to GR that TOS should focus on the Big Three’s characteristics of logic, emotion and decision.
     
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  7. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    But not in EVERY episode. Too much of a good thing is...sometimes too much. I like the secondary characters, too.
     
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  8. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    Scott has plenty to do in S3, so it's not just the KSM show. And Sulu and Chekov are together far more than in the past.

    The scripts aren't just inarguably worse in S3 (although TEI, which most S3 detractors love, is a disaster). Many of them are great. TSC and WOE have some of the best dialogue in the whole series. The show is darker and there's far more worldbuilding. There's a gritty, visceral feel that really resonates. And they show a TON of the Enterprise, which is fantastic.
     
  9. trynda1701

    trynda1701 Captain Captain

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    As others have said, there are still good shows in Season 3.

    The big thing that changes for me in S3 though, is that I see William Shatner playing Captain Kirk, not Captain Kirk, as played by William Shatner, in S1&2? Does that make sense?
     
  10. gottacook

    gottacook Captain Captain

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    I have a very clear memory of the positive elements of season 3 because those were the first episodes I saw (on NBC). The ship effects were damn good on their own terms (I didn't realize how much they had improved upon the earlier seasons until I saw the latter in reruns). Of course the music was great. And there were all the ladies (or virtual ladies), most of whose names ended with "a" - Luma, Mara, Marta, Rayna, Deela, Natira, Irina, Losira, Mira (with and without the "manee" suffix), Odona, Zara(beth), et al.* - whose presence almost single-handedly redeemed many of the episodes. Indeed it's a miracle that anything about these episodes has merit, given the quality of the scripts, nearly half of which were credited to first-timers (how on earth did Shari Lewis and her husband wangle a writing assignment?).

    Regarding the music: The usual eight-note fanfare was often used verbatim in establishing shots (i.e., the ship in orbit) in seasons 1 and 2, in several different orchestral arrangements characteristic for each season, but it was much less often used in season 3. Or when it was used, it might be inverted (the first three notes descending instead of ascending by fourths) or otherwise transformed so that it wasn't immediately identifiable.

    *Yes, dammit, these are all from memory.
     
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  11. Gary Mitchell

    Gary Mitchell Admiral Admiral

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    She had compromising photos of Fred Freiberger with Lamb Chop.:eek:
     
  12. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    I used to think Season 2 was best, but recent analysis made me feel it was just the most "competent" there were less strange flubs and we actually had a Federation instead of future Earth with conquered Vulcanians and other oddities that have been swept under the rug or debated ad infinitium from season 1 but season 1 had a lot of science fiction in it and I think 3 tries to go back to that. The success of the endeavor is debatable but the good episodes of season 3 really do that. But then we have those "others" that I rather not remember, there's more in season 3 than any other, and some I'm much more forgiving of than a lot of others.
     
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  13. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I hate that fucking Lamb Chop
     
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  14. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    Fred Freiberger Flew to Frankfort on Friday.
     
  15. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    Lamb Chops taste better with sour cream.
     
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  16. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Season 2 really does fall into a rut after a certain point. After the fifth or sixth time we get a planet whose whole population are based on some aspect of Earth history, it dampens things for me. Season 3 had its problems, but the stories are creative and, yes, in places feel like they're at least trying to recapture some sense of the wonder and science fiction that Season 1 (and the first half of Season 2) had in spades.
     
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  17. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    S2 is IMO the best, on balance. But like another poster above, I am reasonably sure that I grew up watching S3 episodes first. I was four or five or something so I'm not sure, but I think that's right and it may explain some of my love (yes) for S3. And I think your assessment is a good one. There are so many S2 eps that follow the same pattern, and where the ship is immobilized, some agency freezes the landing party's phasers to write around them, a godlike dood/ette appears, the mission to the planet is of dubious motivation, we feel the compulsion to visit the Paramount backlot and costume trove, etc. Then there's the weird need to have a bwah-hah-hah or heh-heh ending irrespective of how many people have just met their doom. (The worst offenders? Maybe The Changeling and The Apple?)

    S3 really tried to fix a lot of that. It wasn't always successful, and S2 is still superior pound for pound (as is "later S1" once they figured out that Doohan was fantastic and ironed out some of the kinks), but the fact that it's so compelling despite the preposterous budget constraints is remarkable. Take The Cloud Minders. Sure, there are problems, but I feel like we learned more about the Federation (and some of its dodgier members) in that episode than half of S2. Wink of an Eye is an absolutely spectacular episode with fast-moving (ironically!!) action and crackling dialogue, and at the end the Enterprise just straight flies away, effectively condemning Deela & Co. to death. Geez! The Savage Curtain is the third member of the You May Now Watch Your Captain Battle on Your Viewscreen Trilogy, but I can remember almost the entire script because the dialogue is so darn good. I posted elsewhere a few days back that Elaan surprised me on a rewatch for the first time in years because it was so good. Then there are the ones seemingly everyone can agree on like Day of the Dove and The Tholian Web.

    S3 is a dark science fiction show with an utterly beautiful ship inside and and out and incredibly compelling characters and top-drawer acting. When it's bad, it drives people batty. But sometimes I think the perceived lows obscure a whole lot of great.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
  18. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    Sorry to post twice back-to-back by mistake. You did a great job with all the names! Nice musical note (heh), too. BTW, Vanna also fits your naming pattern, while Droxine, Elaan and Gem do not. But in different ways they all fit into your larger point. I think it's amazing that S3, set at the close of the sixties, produced so many strong and interesting female characters. Not quite the dismissive "Kirk gets the alien gal" stereotype that detractors often apply with particular gusto to S3, IMO of course. Odona and Deela, in particular, were legitimately ruthless under their intriguing exterior guises.
     
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  19. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, I’m not a huge fan of Hodgkin’s Law of Parallel Planet Development, or whatever it was called. I mean, what was next? The Disco Planet?
     
  20. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Glen Larson thought so.
     
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