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A very disappointing season.It is no wonder they cancelled the show after this series. From start to finish the vast majority of the scirpts were basically dire and it made me honestly wonder what the writers were on at the time.
An example - Spocks Brain - the season 3 opener- the most dire story ever? Aliens come and steal Spock's brain to help run the systems on the planet. The crew after being incapacitated have to find the brain and reuinte it with Spock's body before it dies. If the aliens have suchadvanced technology, you wonder why they haven't developed good computers to run the planet. It sounds ridulous and it is. Even Leonard Nimoy (who played Spock) said he felt embarrased during the entire filming for this episode. Unsuprisingly the writer uses a pseudonym.
Other episodes range from ridiulous to just plain boring and attimes you can't even believe it is StarTrek it is that bad. This kind of stuff gives all sci-fi a bad name.
There are one or twodecent episode like The Enterprise Incident -a great plot involving the neutral zone and the romulans - but these are few and far between.
Extras include the unaired pilot called The Cage, both in colour and Black and White/ Colour mix (original version before resotration). I would just rent this disc though. It's cheaper that way
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
Originally started by Gene Roddenberry in 1964 Star Trek quickly established itself as one of the most groundbreaking and intelligent plot led science fiction series ever made. For the first time the genre was targeted at an adult audience and often very problematic themes were dealt with which could only get past the restrictive censorship of the time due to the fantastical nature of the program.
The vision of the future was a benign one where humanity despite having gone through further wars (thought to be an inevitability in the cold war times in which the series was made) the essential human spirit of tolerance and the advancement of technology and science had produced and bright future.
After the highs of season 1 and 2 the third series was set to continue the success. The crew was cast and had become familiar and much loved amongst fans. The advantage of having largely well developed characters is the writer could concentrate on the storylines. However things didn't quite go to plan. The premise of the show was still the same the Starship Enterprise is still on a five-year mission...'To seek out new life and civilizations-to boldly go where no man has gone before.' But in the eyes of most fans series 3 was the worst and some of the storylines were of very poor quality, maybe in this case the success and familiarity of the previous series led to complacency amongst the programme makes and it wasn't long before this (along with disastrous re-scheduling of the series) audiences dropping. Tightening budgets and decreasing creative control by Roddenberry didn't help either and eventually the series was axed at the end of season 3.
The complete season three collection is on a 7-DVD set containing all the episodes the original Star Trek series (first broadcast between 1968 and 1969).
On disc 7 Star trek fans get a real treat, the original pilot episode first commissioned in September 1964 featuring Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike (with no captain Kirk!) Indeed two different versions are included one in colour and one where the action switches from colour to B/W, which was never shown. Apart from Kirk missing we also get to see an early incarnation of a much more emotional Mr Spock as science officer and Majel Barrett who later went on to become Nurse Chapel and Mrs. Gene Roddenberry as the female first officer. Some may be surprised on watching this to recognise some of this footage without having ever seen the original pilot, this is explained by the fact that some of the pilot was used in a season one episode called 'The Menagerie'.
The Enterprise Incident
The Paradise Syndrome
And the Children Shall Lead
Is There In Truth No Beauty?
Spectre of the Gun
Day of the Dove
For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky
The Tholian Web
Wink of an Eye
Elaan of Troyius
Whom Gods Destroy
Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
The Mark of Gideon
That Which Survives
The Lights of Zetar
Requiem For Methuselah
The Way to Eden
The Cloud Minders
The Savage Curtain
All Our Yesterdays
The Cage (Colour)
The Cage (Colour/B&W)
Having said that season 3 might not have been up to the high standards of the previous seasons that is not to say that it didn't include some excellent episodes some of which have come to be the most memorable of the show as a whole.
THE ENTERPRISE INCIDENT- Kirk goes Romulan. A complex story line sees the crew of the enterprise try to steal the Romulan cloaking device. The female Romulan commander tempts Spock and Kirk is killed!... Surely not!?
THE THOLIAN WEB- the enterprise ventures into 'interphase' and is caught like a giant fly in an electronic spider's web created by the mysterious Tholians.
THE PARADISE SYNDROME- Kirk loses his memory and goes native on a world resembling Earth amongst a society very similar to the Native Americans.
PLATO'S STEPCHILDREN- The first interracial kiss on TV. The crew of the enterprise are trapped by psychokinetic beings that can exert physical control over them. During one of the many games they are forced to play Kirk and Uhura kiss.
ALL OUR YESTERDAYS- Time travel antics. Kirk Spock and McCoy step through a time portal and get trapped in the past on a planet about to be destroyed by a dying star.
CAST & CREW
William Shatner...Capt Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ...Spock
Deforest Kelley...Dr Mcoy
James Doohan...Scott (Scotty)
Nichelle Nichols...Lt Uhura
George Takei .... Lt. Hikaru Sulu
Walter Koenig ... Pavel Andreievich Chekov
THE DVDS AND SPECIAL FEATURES
This 7disc DVD collection comes in a brightly coloured red high tech looking box (actually plastic!) The individual DVDs have nice pictures of the individual characters on the front all nicely presented with obvious appeal to Trek fans. The presentation as in the previous two offerings is great and the special features also live up to the season 2 high standards.
Once again there is affair collection of special features included in the box set.
Collectible Trek -
This is a mini-documentary explaining how over the years as the series has gained cult status a huge industry has built up in Start Trek memorabilia and merchandise. Some items being extremely collectible and being worth decent amounts of money the items can be anything to do with the series from original props used in the show communicators, etc to merchandise like mugs, posters or even lunchboxes. The feature included interviews with some collectors, designers and Leornard Nimoy.
To Boldly Go Season 3 -
Members of the cast and production crew tell tales of the making of the third and final series. It seemed likely to all concerned when the ratings started to slip that the threat of cancellation was present. The contributors to this interesting piece tell us of some of the tension and difficulties this caused behind the scenes.
Life Beyond Trek: Walter Koenig
A short profile of Walter Koenig (Chekov) and what he's up to since Star Trek. TV projects are highlighted as well as the different conventions and charity work that he undertakes. We also get a chance to see his home and his collection of Star trek memorabilia.
Chief Engineer's Log -
Sadly actor James Doohan who famously played Chief Engineer Scotty in the series died in July 2005. This short film is one of the last interviews he gave before being forced to retire though ill health in 2004. He began suffering from Alzheimer's disease at this time. A frail looking Doohan discusses his role in the series and the spin off films.
Memoir from Mr Sulu
One of the most groundbreaking aspects of Star Trek when it first began was its use of ethnic characters as part of the crew. Uhura was a woman of African origins, Chekov was Russian quite a statement to make with the spectre of Cold war politics still firmly in the public mind and Sulu was Asian again bringing to mind overtones on the threat of communism and the last war. However all these characters were very positive role models and the show projected a bright united future for the peoples of the world. This can seem quite naïve looking back on it now but at the time it was a bold statement to make. For George Takei the actor that plays Sulu these themes resonated even more strongly as this short film explains. In it he visits the interment camp in which his family were placed during the World War 2. Takei was American born and even though he was only a child at the time his Japanese origins still made him and his family as perceived threat during the war. Of course he was not alone as 120,000 Japanese Americans were unjustly treated in this way. This sad chapter in US history provokes some deep emotions in the Japanese American community and Takei illustrates this in this film.
It seems clear that a vision of a united world at ease with racial differences as that portrayed in the TV show would resonate well with ethic communities at the time and for Takei himself.
Star Trek's Impact
As I have hinted above the vision of Star Trek is above all hopeful for humanity. Created at a time were nuclear war seemed inevitable and had almost happened a few year earlier of the coast of Cuba with the infamous missile crisis Gene Roddenberry put forward a vision of a world were past difference between races and nations had been resolved. The Earth was now a symbol of unity as part of the federation of planets and technology had made life better for everyone. Yes this was only a Sci-fi show on TV but it reached a young audience whose sensibilities can't have failed to be affected by it optimistic visions of the next centuries.
Eugene Roddenberry Gene Rodenberry's son give a personal account of how his father's vision of the future impacted on its' time and discusses some of his father's belief and hopes for the future.
A Star Trek Collector's Dream Come True
This is another short item looking at the collectibility of the shows original props. Model maker John Long tells us how he made accurate reproductions of the original items such as the communicators and phasers.
Red Shirt Logs -
Short interviews and anecdotes form the cast including Shatner and Nimoy of their time on the show, hidden features included.
Region: Region 2
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment (UK)
DVD Release Date: 6 Dec 2004
Run Time: 999 minutes
As I mentioned before on the reviews of the series one and two collections it would've been nice for the producers to have spent a little extra money re-mastering the prints used on the DVD to rejuvenate the picture quality. Despite this the collection is worth having for any series trek fan and will provide hours of interesting viewing in between star trek conventions!
So much as been written about the series and so many interviews have been given that is difficult to find something new to say but by looking at some different aspect of the lives of the people involved in making the show I think this box set just as the previous one adds something worthwhile to the overall Start Trek 'world'. While the possession of the complete list of the TV show will a must for hardened fans I think for new viewers especially younger ones the show still has the ability to captivate and provoke thought even after all these years. It's still the daddy of them all!
STAR TREK: The Original Series-Season Three is available from Amazon £41.97 (at the time of writing this review) & it is delivered FREE in the UK.
LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!
© Mauri 2006