Still trying to pinpoint the third season "difference"

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

  1. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, that was in the book "The World of Star Trek". Takei was in the middle of doing "The Green Berets" and when he heard about "The Gamesters of Triskelion" he tried to get the ok from the producers to return to Desilu (or was it Paramount by then?) to film the scenes for "The Gamesters...". I think he had figured out that he had enough time to go back to do the episode and get back to "The Green Berets" in time to film his next scenes. However there were delays, probably due to the weather delays I would imagine, and it ended up being too late to get back to do the episode. He was very disappointed, he really wanted to do the episode and if it weren't for the delays he probably would have been able to do it.

    Not sure about "The Trouble with Tribbles" though, I don't recall seeing that.

    One benefit of Takei's absence is it did give Koenig time to settle into being a (almost) full time cast member, since he had to sort of fill in for Sulu (usually the once named Lt. Hadley was at Sulu's station during those episodes but unfortunately was never given any speaking roles--he's got to be one of the most seen, never heard from characters in all of Star Trek--he was almost on enough to get a billing in the end credits, yet he never spoke a single line; in Turnabout Intruder they should have given him one line almost as a joke, even a "yes, sir" line--fans would have been like Holy S---, HE SPOKE:rommie:).
     
  2. ChallengerHK

    ChallengerHK Commander Red Shirt

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    Overall I think there are many things that render season 3 substandard, some subtle, some not so much.Posters upstream have touched on a lot of them.

    What I think ties them all together is "money." The budget was lowered, and the producers had already been having budget problems all along. Freiberger was hired with the goal of keeping the show on the budget straight and narrow, and rightly or wrongly that was what he pushed. This had big effects (like fewer rewrites to polish iffy scripts) and little effects (like less money for extras, so that the ship suddenly became more "empty".)
     
  3. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think I've heard that George and Walter didn't hit it off at first due to George thinking that the producers were wanting to replace him with Koenig! But they soon got to like each other! Jane Ross was apparently quite the stunner once out of the Tamoon get-up!
    JB
     
  4. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    The parade of female guest stars was on par with the first two seasons. No commentary, just an observation.
     
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  5. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I just thought of another big factor that made the third season feel "off": The loss of stalwart TOS directors Marc Daniels and Joseph Pevney. Together, they directed 29 episodes of TOS, including most of the ones that we regard as classics. Daniels left the series after directing "Spock's Brain," upset with the budget cuts and overall direction the series was taking, while Pevney left in the second season after directing "The Immunity Syndrome," feeling that the actors were less well-behaved on set after the departure of showrunner Gene Coon. But without those two guys directing the lion's share of episodes, the series couldn't help but feel different.

    ...Man, Gene Coon and Robert Justman leaving TOS just had an unfortunate domino effect on series, didn't it? Daniels, Pevney, D.C. Fontana, David Gerrold... TOS lost a lot of their brightest lights after Coon and Justman left.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
  6. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    ^ Agreed. Pevney and Daniels usually alternated directing episodes. That gave the production a one-two punch. I watch some of the 3rd season episodes and cringe at the direction and editing.
     
  7. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Doing some more reading on Memory Alpha, I've seen a couple more elements that affected the third season: Director Ralph Senensky (director of 6 1/2 episodes, basically third in line behind Daniels and Pevney) was fired from the series mid-episode for going over schedule on "The Tholian Web," and director of photography Jerry Finnerman left the show, to be replaced by his camera operator, Al Francis. (Francis also started on "The Tholian Web.")

    Really, with this many departures and changes of personnel behind the scenes, it's kind of amazing that the show didn't change more than it did.
     
  8. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    I imagine it didn't help that Takei was gone for about a 1/3 of the season, so they didn't have much time to work together at the beginning. But yeah, I heard they got to be pretty good friends.

    Can't help but think of the scene in TFF when they got lost. I'm sure the irony was lost on casual fans but a helmsman and a navigator getting lost on a hike was a pretty good bit of humor, at least IMO. I always liked irony :nyah:
     
  9. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Just to be clear, Gerrold never worked on staff on the original show. He was a freelancer. In the 3rd season Gerrold's two "BEM" outlines were both found to be lacking. Bob Justman suggested cutting off the assignment after the first attempt, and Roddenberry wrote, "that it might be worth considering putting Gerrold together "with a good practical TV writer and letting the two of them author the script." He further suggested Freiberger review Gerrold's first draft of "The Trouble with Tribbles" and "assess for yourself whether or not you think he could handle the assignment alone, or in tandem, going either way." This suggests he knew Coon helped a lot with subsequent drafts and was letting Freiberger assess what Gerrold could do unaided. Gerrold's second attempt drew further comment from GR, "What the story lacks is jeopardy, suspense, action, built-in climax, and so on," who went on to detail elements that require fleshing out before concluding, "Recommend we ask Arthur Singer to rewrite this into a professional action-adventure outline, hopefully finding a theme or premise for it."
     
  10. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I remember seeing somewhere that Gene Coon, DC Fontana, and Roddenberry were not as involved in the third season and the scripts suffered for it. It seems to me, they were impressed by the fantastical setting instead of using that setting to be imaginative about how to say something interesting about the human condition. I also read that Gene Roddenberry was just trying to get to syndication (80 episodes) to re-air the show, and that the way NBC had treated Star Trek left a bitter taste in his mouth, meaning his never fully committed to telling stories in the third season; he had moved beyond Star Trek into other projects.

    It was necessary to move Star Trek into syndication, and for that, the letters and campaign for a third season, did save Star Trek. It would gain popularity in re-runs, and its ratings today for episodes that were not new, would make them more popular than the best show on television, today. Changing times, lol. But, the episodes produced for the season, are some of the worst of series, just fillers. Even gem ideas like "Let this be Your Last Battlefield," have not aged well, are much more overt than episodes like "A Private, Little War," and the problems with technology and advancement themed through the Talosians backstory in "The Cage."

    It was a season that lent to commercial success and later stories. Still, as a whole, one of the worst seasons in Trek history.
     
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  11. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I knew, but thank you for the clarification.
     
  12. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Season 3 was probably the worst season of the franchise, but it DID guarantee the episode count for syndication that gave it the second life it needed to end up becoming the juggernaut franchise that it has. We should be thankful for that, anyway.
     
  13. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Coon left midway through the second season to go over to a better-paying gig. Fontana left at the end of the season to focus on being a freelance scriptwriter. Both submitted scripts after they left, with Fontana throwing up her hands and walking away from the show when the new showrunners insisted Bones couldn't have a daughter. Roddenberry was off working on a Tarzan project but was more involved than a lot of people think, still reviewing story outlines and scripts, but was not on the lot and not primarily focused on Trek.
     
  14. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not mad at you guys, but I'm calling bullshit here. I'd take season 3 over:

    4 seasons of Enterprise
    7 season of Voyager
    most seasons of DS9
    some seasons of TNG
    Any of the movies as a whole
    and anything Discovery can do.

    My opinion, of course, but....
     
  15. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I love the third season. And when you factor in the adversity (shorter shooting schedule, lower budget, higher pay for Shatner and Nimoy leaving even less money), they were working miracles with the time and dough they had.
     
  16. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think we need to stop knocking season three!!! It has some pretty bad episodes in the bunch agreed, but there are some absolute beauties in there as well like Day of The Dove, The Tholian Web, The Enterprise Incident and others that we wouldn't have ever had if the show had stopped at fifty five shows back at the end of the second series! :techman::vulcan:
    JB
     
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  17. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No, it's terrible.

    Balance of Terror or The Enterprise Incident?
    Errand of Mercy or Day of the Dove?
     
  18. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "One of" is not calling it the worst. I agree about Enterprise and Voyager. I disagree about Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. That season, the third, is on-par with the first of Next Generation, slightly better than the 7th. I'd take all of DS9, except season 1, over it. And in comparison to how potent Trek was in the first two seasons, terrible. The bar was lowered, later, but it is trash compared to one and two of TOS.
     
  19. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Counterpoint: The Alternative Factor or anything in the 3rd season. ;)
     
  20. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Alternative Factor, all day. It's an enjoyable episode about a man driven mad by his knowledge. Star Trek is subject of its time with mental illness (see Spock's first mind meld). This informs some of the acting choices, but the episode is soundly better than the entire third season.