Trekathon Season Review: The Original Series, Season 3

Overall there’s probably more good than bad in the third season of Star Trek, but only just. I think that there were five or so good episodes, another dozen mediocre episodes, and then about six really dreadful episodes. But almost all of the good episodes are in the first half, and a fair chunk of the bad episodes are in the second half. The loss of key production staff, cuts to budgets, and (I suspect) a fatalistic attitude on a series that was doomed all contributed to some fairly poor episodes.

The bigger problem with Season 3 I had was all the boredom. ‘Bad’ episodes at least give you something to write about. But about half of the season were episodes where I was wistfully glancing at the fast forward button. Slow developed, uninteresting, and full of padding to stretch out scripts that didn’t quite go the distance.

I think that had I been watching back in the 1960s I wouldn’t have been sad to see the show go. Clearly the better days of the show were behind it, even if it was largely due to the wilful neglect of the network.

But I do think that Season 3 is better than its reputation. Some of the good episodes are very good indeed, and when the material gives them something to work with the actors still cared enough to make it work. I certainly wouldn’t recommend skipping it – there’s a lot of important Star Trek established here.

Certainly the weakest of the three seasons so far, but not without its charms.

The rankings so far:

1. TOS Season 2

2. TOS Season 1

3. TOS Season 3

Next, to cross over the second longest period of ‘No Star Trek’ (1,558 days) since the first episode aired, and start The Animated Series.

79 episodes and 3,950 minutes down.