Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Talos IV, Jun 25, 2019.
Tholian Web is great. Kirk floating around in interspace playing peeping Tom is cool!
If “brain, brain- what IS brain?!” Isn’t humor, I don’t know what is.
I realize it wasn’t supposed to be funny, although thats part of what makes it funny.
It was my understanding, and I don't remember where I heard this, that "Spock's Brain" was written to be a comedy episode, but the director didn't get the memo on that... so, he shot it as a straight drama. Hence, the general horribleness...
That myth was refuted by @Harvey a while back. Check it out here.
A-HA! Okay, thanks for setting me straight on that one.
It's certainly fun to say! And I think some of my co-workers have had their brains stolen the way they ask me stupid questions!
Just finished a rewatch of the show. First time my wife had seen it. The glaring obvious difference is that nothing is shot on location anymore. I think there are only episode that were actually filmed outside and everything else is on sets. Roddenberry's lack of involvement left some extremely weak scripts on the table, I think.
Also, Scotty's new hair-do and Kirk's growing sideburns.
True, 1 out of 24 episodes (4%). As contrast, Season 2 had 7 of its 26 episodes (27%), and Season 1 had 10 of its 29 episodes (34%).
I rather enjoy the 3rd season, in fact I revisit those episodes more than the late first season. When I look back on it, I see that I generally tend to enjoy the first half of year one and all of year three the most. A friend recent;y said to me, "what you don't like to laugh?" when I mentioned I don't go to see comedy films. I prefer my adventure straight with moments of humor. the "Gene Coon" era tended to emphasize the humor more than the episodes from the Roddenberry/John D.F. Biack/Freiberger/Singer eras. And, until I really started reading into it, the Coon episodes were more repetitive and took fewer chances.
Anyway, what changed in year 3? The stuff people mentioned earlier- Justman leaving, Finnerman stepping down, MArc Daniels leaving - didn't happen until later on. Daniels, yeah, he directed a single episode that year, but the atmosphere was already different. The show was spookier, darker, more straightforward. The music is the first thing: you can tell the difference between the styles of music in each season. Season one had a classical feel (especially the Mullendore library cues), season two was more adventurous and season three was moodier. Even re-recorded cues used for the library had a darker sound. So, that was part one. The humor was dialed back dramatically. Also, there were more high concept stories: Spock's brain being stolen, the Enterprise being sent to a weird dimension, the Enterprise trapped by an energy web, super-fast beings, a duplicate and deserted ship, artificial generation ships that look like asteroids, and so on. It was almost like someone walked in with a hook and then they wrote episodes around them. The look was different with the uniforms and more relaxed hair. Even with Finnerman still there, the photography was more crisp. But really, it has to boil down to the change in management, both creative and studio wise. The money was much less and the story editing was done by people who weren't there from the start. Even if Fred Freiberger and Arthur Singer loved the series, they were hired guns. They were guys hired to grind out episodes for the minimized budget and schedule. They were the right guys to do it, as they were able to get those episodes on the air and ultimately under the yearly budget. But things were off. Fontana was gone, Coon was gone, Roddenberry wasn't as involved as before, a lot of newcomers were writing, and there was a feeling of the two-man rewriting team saying "okay, this is good enough, we need to work on another show STAT."
Having said all of that, I would rather watch Day of the Dove over Devil in the Dark, The Tholian Web over The Apple or That Which Survives over Operation: Annihilate! I love all three seasons but I really have a greater appreciation for the third season - and Freiberger - than most people do.
I don't think it's wrong to say success has the seeds of failure in it. When they started out things were so uncertain but they put their heart into it, then things were more established and some people were just getting it done. The pressure to keep delivering product can really be a burden, sometimes it drives people to great heights but other times it just drives them to get something done.
Which one? He has two new hair-do's!!!
Drives me crazy that Roddenberry put Freiberger in the job, then spent the rest of his life complaining about how Freiberger mishandled the third season, did things differently, etc.
"If you want something done right ..."
Pay someone? Obviously he wasn't able to control the ship he created and needed a person in whom he had trust but it didn't turn out that way! Still the third season has a lot going for it apart from that great Klingon ship and music!
Interesting point about humor in the third season. Just sitting here without making any effort to be comprehensive, I thought of the "accelerating experience" line at the end of WOE, Spock and McCoy hiding from Kirk that they saw his final orders in TTW, the Kirk-as-Romulan disguise ("Captain, please go") bit at the end of TEI, and the backslapping scene at the end of DOTD. SOTG also has a fair amount of comic relief courtesy of Chekov and Scotty, and Spock's weird act in TWS is supposed to be funny, anyway. Then there's SB.
I agree that the show was darker and had less humor but I don't think S3 was overwhelmingly gloomy or humorless or anything.
I always thought the less humor in the third season was just because of the scripts. But now, after just re-watching the entire season and reading about the making of it, there's obviously more to it than that. Try to put yourself in the actors' (and producers') shoes during that third season, and figure what must've been going through their minds:
* Gene Roddenberry essentially checked out. Gene Coon and D.C. Fontana, both beloved, also gone.
* Bad timeslot
* A network that, if it didn't actively "hate" the show, was certainly doing nothing to keep it going
* A studio that had little regard for the show and was focused strictly on the bottom line
* New directors, some of whom weren't very good
* No idea (from anybody, really) that the show was ultimately destined for a cult following and would be wildly successful in syndication
* Science fiction TV shows in general still not taken very seriously
* Reduced budget, reduced shooting schedules, almost no on-location filming
With all that and more, is it any wonder there's an air of austerity to the third season episodes?
Not particularly, no . . . if I accept the premise, which I'm not sure I do, but it is a really interesting point!
I've always maintained that the awesome moments of S3 - and there are many - are all the more remarkable because of the constraints under which everyone was operating.
By the way, remember that almost every circumstance you cited except perhaps the first two were completely in effect during S2 as well.
And Vanna , @johnnybear !
Just thought I'd point out that the exterior scenes of Kirk in "All Our Yesterdays" were indeed shot outdoors.
Nimoy identified one issue in the 1970s book "Star Trek LIVES!":
*("lovely" originally italicized not bolded)
You are correct:
Day 1 – 20 December 1968, Friday – Paramount European Street backlot: Ext. Alleyway; Desilu Stage 10: Ext. Alleyway wall.
I thought is looked like a sound stage along with the fake alleyway, but it was on the backlot and the alleyway was on the sound stage.
Correction: Season 3 had 2 out of 24 episodes (8%).
Separate names with a comma.