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VINE VOICEon December 22, 2009
The Program:

Since the A/V quality of the episodes is quite similar to the previous two sets, I will spend a little more time on the episodes in this set. Season 3 is generally regarded as the weakest of the Original Series (TOS), and I won't offer much argument. Several episodes have rather silly premises. But that said, there are still several gems, the actors all still give it an earnest go, and the characters they have created carry the day. Season 3 is still entertaining and charming, if not as cerebral as the prior two seasons. Here are the episodes you get, with my own humble opinion and ratings (out of 5).

Disc 1
Spock's Brain - a decent SF premise marred by silly execution. Spock as a radio controlled automaton is just a bit hard to take seriously. 2/5
The Enterprise Incident - A classic show in which Kirk and Spock infiltrate a Romulan vessel to steal vital technology. 5/5
The Paradise Syndrome - Kirk loses his memory on a planet with a "Native
American" style culture. A decent show. 4/5
And the Children Shall Lead - Ugh, what a stinker. A very annoying alien uses children to do his bidding. 1/5
Is There in Truth No Beauty? - Diana Muldaur in her 2nd TOS appearance. A decent show. 3/5

Disc 2
"Spectre of the Gun" - Some love it, some hate it. I love it. The sparse design is visually stimulating, and the "western" setting is a precursor to later 'holodeck' shows. 4/5
"Day of the Dove" - A pretty good show featuring the Klingons and a rage-inducing alien presence. 4/5
"For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" - Good sci-fi concept, but one TOS has done before, a society controlled by a computer. 3/5
"The Tholian Web" - Kirk trapped in another dimension while aliens attack. Decent, but the pacing is a little sluggish. 4/5
"Plato's Stepchildren" - Absolute telepathic power corrupts a race of beings who once visited ancient Greece. Decent concept, but what of "Apollo?" 3/5

Disc 3
"Wink Of An Eye" - Some fun bits with an alien race that is sped up beyond our ability to see. 3/5
"The Empath" - a weird, sluggish, kind of boring show about a trapped telepath who is the subject of alien experiments. 2/5
"Elaan of Troyius" - A royal alien irritates the crew with her demands. She irritates the viewers, too. 2/5
"Whom Gods Destroy" - an ex-captain attempts to escape an insane asylum. 4/5
"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" - one of Trek's most hackneyed attempts to address a 'Big Issue,' that of racism. 2/5

Disc 4
"The Mark of Gideon" - An overpopulated planet concocts a crazy scheme to use the Enterprise to depopulate. Creepy and interesting. 4/5
"That Which Survives" - a rather pointless episode about the last survivor of a dying race. 2/5
"The Lights of Zetar" - a strange cosmic storm attacks the Federation library world. 3/5
"Requiem for Methuselah" - Interesting show about an "immortal" man from earth's history. 4/5
"The Way to Eden" - Space hippies. One of the worst Trek episodes ever. 1/5

Disc 5
"The Cloud Minders" - One of the most overtly political shows in TOS, a race of aristocrats in the clouds subjugates a race of workers down below. 3/5
"The Savage Curtain" - I don't know how they made "Abraham Lincoln in Space" work, but somehow it does. 3/5
"All Our Yesterdays" - a great s/f premise, in which a dying world sends its inhabitants back in time. 5/5
"Turnabout Intruder" - an almost unbearably sexist show in which an ex-girlfriend of Kirk's envies his job and his gender. 2/5

Disc 6
"The Cage" (2 Versions) - What Trek could have been. Amazing to see in HD. The original adventures of Captain Pike, Number One, and Spock. Quite a brainy show, with many interesting characters. 5/5
"Where No Man Has Gone Before" (Alternate) A slightly different edit of the classic 2nd pilot. This cut has a voice-over intro, a few extended scenes, a different theme song, and title cards that say "Act 1" etc. While it was transferred in 1080p from an original film print, it has not undergone the cleaning and color restoration that the other episodes have. All the effects are original as well. Definitely one of the top 5 TOS episodes ever, so it's nice to have this additional stuff. 5/5

The Blu-Ray:

Like the previous 2 sets, the HD transfers of these shows are absolutely sparkling. Detail is through the roof, making every smile line, button and dial, star, and ship detail just pop right off the screen. Black levels are rock solid, especially in space scenes. Color saturation is deeper than deep, and bright colors are radiant in a way that the previous DVDs just can't replicate. The show is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio.

The only shots that don't enjoy the same quality are shots with original optical effects in them (e.g. a phaser blast, the transporter). These shots are blurrier and grainier, because the film elements were scanned twice or more back in the 60s to introduce optical effects. These account for maybe 5% of each broadcast.

Special effects sequences have been redone with modern CGI and in high definition. They look uniformly great, and they respect the original design aesthetic of the 1960's material. All the original effects are on the same disc, and you can either watch the show with either set of effects all the way through, or switch on the fly with the "angle" button on your remote.

Also included are several extra features. Several mini-documentaries, mostly reprised from the previous DVD set, are included on the final disc. New features include include several panel discussions from a recent convention, and a set of "home movies" from an extra on the Trek set. Unfortunately, there are no text or video commentaries on any of the episodes.

The packaging has its issues. It doesn't match the previous two sets in size, though it does in design. Again, my main beef is the fact that episode information is placed INSIDE the liner of the case. This means that ALL of the episode information is covered by the two discs in front and back. Having to pop out discs just to see what's on them is really dumb. Why not put the episode titles on each disc's face? Instead, I flipped the insert around so I could read it more easily.

Even though the content is not as strong as the previous 2 sets, the quality is still stellar, and the extras (especially the "Cage" episode) are very good. There are several classic shows, and even the ho-hum shows still have that Shatner-rific and Nimoy-tastic character magic.

For a Trek fan with a Blu-Ray player, this is a no-brainer. It's essential to any HD Trek collection, and the quality of the presentation is top-notch. For everyone else, try the first set instead, see if you like it, and come back to this later.
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VINE VOICEon November 25, 2008
I reviewed most of The Original Series episodes during the initial DVD release which began in 1999. So, the comments here focus on this new, remastered, edition.

Doubtless, Paramount will eventually release these episodes on Blu-ray. But even at standard definition, the picture has never looked better. The colors pop off the screen, scratches have been removed, and grain, while noticeable, has been reduced to a bare minimum. Unfortunately, with the improved picture, flaws in the original production are also more noticeable: shadows from boom microphones are occasionally detectable, and the 3rd Season budget cuts show in some of the temporary sets. Still, the picture shows the obvious care taken with the lighting and composition of the original shots (very different from today's flatly-lit, smash & grab style of television filming).

Of course, the primary feature of this new release is the new CGI visual effects. Season Three had a number of effects heavy episodes, including "The Tholian Web" and "The Enterprise Incident," and they benefit the most from the new effects. Most of the new space shots are very convincing, remaining in the original spirit of the series. Only a few of the shots are major deviations from the originals, such as when the shuttle is seen exiting the Enterprise from the outside. Restraint seems to be the watchword here, and I would have liked to have seen a little bit more done, such as the replacement of some very dated tricorder screen graphics in "The Empath", and some faulty dialog looping in "The Cloud Minders." But the enhanced castle in "Requiem for Methuselah" is simply stunning, and the expanded backgrounds seen in "Spock`s Brain" and "The Way to Eden" (two otherwise weak episodes) are subtly done. By the way, my uncle, James Drake, was a background extra and can be seen in "The Way to Eden" as an orderly in sickbay. Blink and you'll miss him as a red shirt in "Turnabout Intruder".

Also included here is a totally remastered and restored version of "The Cage", the original, rejected, pilot which was shot in 1964 and starred Jeffrey Hunter. 64 minutes in length, it almost looks like a feature film, and in tone is more like an episode of The Next Generation than the Original Series. The new CGI visuals feature a slightly different version of the Enterprise (based on the original pilot model) than seen later in the series. The unrestored version, in alternating color and black & white, is also included.

With the exception of The Cage, the episodes also include audio tracks in Spanish and French, although my partner (fluent in Spanish) tells me many of the Spanish translations are not faithful to the English originals. As for bonus features, most are carried over from the 2004 reissue, but the real highlight is Billy Blackburn's behind the scenes movies, which show the actors in costume but out of character - a real treat.
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on December 4, 2009
Though I've never been a huge fan of the third season, I must say that watching them in beautiful blu ray really makes it an entertaining experience. The transfer, like the previous seasons, continues to impress. You can tell whoever worked on the show really loved what they were doing when they made the blu ray, as it looks spectacular. In fact, its so clear, little nuances can be notice that weren't seen before, details in aliens skin, or special effects that were little more than blurry are now easy to see, and so clear you'll never want to stop watching.

As to the season, it was pretty evident that budget cuts had severly limited certain episodes, but were still largely good. What makes up for the clunkers (spock's brain comes to mind) are the amazing special features, which include no less than three versions of "The Cage" and a never-before-seen variation on "Where No Man Has Gone Before." Even if you have reservations for getting the "weaker" star trek season, the gorgeous picture, the great special features make it a must have for any star trek fan. If you have the first two seasons, you owe it to yourself to add this to your collection. Highly Recomended
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Although not as well regarded as the first two seasons of "Trek", the third season still has some gems. Gene Roddenberry got his wish to have the show renewed but the show was moved to Friday evenings when their core audience would be out on dates or in bed. Roddenberry wasn't as involved in the third season as previous ones and the loss of Gene L. Coon was noticable even if he did contribute some good scripts (and one particularly bad one that appeared under Coon's nom de plume "Lee Cronin" that I suspect was drastically rewritten by new producer Fred Frieberger entitled "Spock's Brain"). What's odd about the third season is that it's almost like the characters don't know each other in some episodes where Kirk refers to Spock as "science officer" or just calls "Bones" doctor. I really never noticed this when it was in syndication.

The third season like the previous two looks extremely good and the new visual effects are a highlight in episodes such as, "Spectre of the Gun", "The Tholian Web" and "The Enterprise Incident". In "Gun" the art director uses imaginative surreal set designs consisting of the facades of buildings and the insides present without walls or ceilings which add to the surrealistic element of the episode.In the latter the "new" Klingon designed Romulan War Birds sport the traditional "warbird" painting on the bottom of the ships adding details that no doubt would have pleased Roddenberry.

The third season set also includes the original pilot episode for "Star Trek" starring Jeffrey Hunter with new visual effects and titles. As with the previous set, the original version with the introduction by Gene Roddenberry is included. The latter version is cobbled together from a B&W print of the pilot episode. The only two new extras are a tribute to Associate Producer Robert Justman and "Billy Blackburn's Star Trek Treasures" which features behind-the-scenes home video footage of the cast rehearsing, clowning around on the set and some footage of make up tests. The remainder of the special features are ported over from the previous set although it should be noted that not ALL of the special features were brought over (which is a bit bizarre).

I still really dislike the packaging as the plastic holder I received was broken (and it was a chronic problem with my second season set). Still, the image quality is very good with nicely cleaned up episodes and new, sharp looking visual effects. A pity there was no way for Paramount to include the original episode visual effects as part of the DVD. My guess is that we'll see that when the show receives a high def transfer to Blu-ray as an extra.

For hardcore fans, the third season is highly recommended even with the weaker episodes. I am disappointed that Paramount chose NOT to have any commentary tracks. I'm sure
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"Star Trek: The Original Series - The Complete Third Season (Remastered)"
(Released: Fall, 2008)

With the third volume out, the latest digital overhaul of the original "Star Trek" series is complete... As with the first two volumes, this "remastered" edition features enhanced special effects designed to make the series more marketable to present-day viewers. New special effects have been digitized in to make it look more modern and "realistic." The stars look starrier, there are more of them, and the motion of interstellar objects looks more convincingly 3D. The exterior shots show a more detailed model of the Enterprise, and planets look more realistic as the starships circle them (with swirly clouds and layered atmospheres) And, perhaps, if my eyes don't fail me, the non-special effects interior shots look like they may have had their color and contrast punched up a bit.

As noted in an earlier review (of Season Two), I have my qualms about the decision to goose up this classic old show -- at a basic level, I feel that digital alterations of this sort are intrinsically dishonest and also unnecessary: "Star Trek" has been attracting fans for decades without anyone altering the on-screen images, and much of the fun of the original show is that it was funky and cheesy and produced on a relatively small budget. It's a product of its time, and it's more valuable to students of pop culture to see what something really looked like than to have a fancy, shiny update. Besides, how long will it be before someone decides these alterations aren't "cool" enough -- that Spock should have blond hair, or that the female crewmembers shouldn't wear midis anymore, or that the whole show should be presented in 3D. The whole altering-the-past thing is a slippery slope.

That being said, these new discs do look really good. The colors are vibrant, the plot and acting (and most of the interior shot details) are still the same, and it's still basically "Star Trek". And, while I find the digital alterations morally abhorrent, they look cool, too -- there's nothing quite as elaborate as the planet-eating gizmo in Season Two's "The Doomsday Machine," but there are some neat looking spaceships, marvelously detailed asteroids, flashy lasers and other cool stuff that wasn't there before. Maybe the digital revamp wasn't necessary, but it looks good, and it's fun to watch. Beam me up, Scotty! (Joe Sixpack, Slipcue film reviews)
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Star Trek fans can be a picky bunch, and I reference the mixed reaction to the reboot film as an example. However, I can't imagine that any fan would approach this Blu-ray set with anything but enthusiasm and grateful anticipation. As I said in my title, the shows have never looked better, including in their original broadcasts on NBC. The restoration process for this presentation was performed with reverence from the original film negatives. Defects in the picture due to tears, stains, and other causes were painstaking cleaned up after the scan to digital files. Colors and contrasts were adjusted correctly. Even the famous theme music was rerecorded using the original arrangement and an orchestra of the correct size and mix of instruments.

I like to let people know in my reviews of Star Trek products that I watched, with eagerness, the first episode broadcast. Back in those days networks sometimes did what they called a "sneak preview" week. Each fall the premier week for new series was more of a big deal than it is today, because you only had three networks and limited choices. For a kid, in particular, it was always an exciting time of promise and adventure. I never felt that more than in 1966 when I saw the lead up commercials for Star Trek. The "Sneak Preview" week was just a tactic to try to get in ahead of the other networks, but they were all three quickly doing it. I had just started to become interested in science fiction, having recently read my first science fiction book (Robert Heinlein's "The Star Beast"). When I finally saw the Star Trek's 'sneak preview' episode, "The Man Trap", at first it was a bit disorienting for a 9 year old. I thought maybe the bridge was the only working area of the space ship, for example. LOL As the series progressed, though, I quickly caught on. I loved every minute of Star Trek I could watch, and that has pretty much remained true now for 44 years.

In making a Blu-ray presentation of the Star Trek series, the producers of this product knew they had an issue to resolve. Although the resolution of the live action scenes was more than sufficient to create high definition images, the special effects shots just were not on the same scale. So they took the amazing action of recreating the effects shots. I'll have to say, they did a great job of it too. For purists, the original effects shots are also included ... in fact you can skip back and forth between the two sets of shots 'on the fly' as you watch an episode! However, a lot of thought went into the creation of the new effects. They are a distinct improvement over what the original production crew was able to do with the limited budget and technology available during the show's production. I only wish Roddenberry could have seen the results of this work. It is precisely what he would have done in the 1960s had he the means to do so.

The special features are a nice addition to the episodes, particularly the HD tour of the Enterprise, and the documentary about the restoration and effects.

Season Three has some memorable episodes, but due to a reduced production budget, it also had some pretty weak ones. A few highlights:

* The Paradise Syndrome: Kirk is marooned on a planet with a native american type civilization. After a head injury caused amnesia, Kirk assimilates and marries into a local tribe. Yes, a bit iffy on storyline, but a beautiful episode nonetheless.

* For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky: One of the coolest titles in the series gives McCoy his one great romance, and a cure for a terminal illness.

* The Tholian Web: Kirk becomes trapped in another dimension, and his appearances on the Enterprise, where the crew thinks him lost for good, cause some little commotion.

* Plato's Stepchildren: Famous for the interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura.

* Wink of an Eye: I'm always amused by the scene in Kirk's cabin where he is sitting on his bunk pulling on a boot, while the alien woman brushes her hair at his mirror. LOL

* The Empath: This was a case where the producers did a lot with absolutely nothing. Most of the show takes place on a dark, empty soundstage, yet the story is still very compelling.

* Whom Gods Destroy: Batgirl with green skin and very brief wardrobe ... a former starship captain who is now a homicidal maniac ... fun show.

* Let That be Your Last Battlefield: one last chance for the writers to make a strong social statement, about just how ridiculous judgements made on physical appearances really are.

* Requiem for Methuselah: Very interesting show where Kirk falls hard for an android.

* The Cloud Minders: Another gal falls for Spock, and the Enterprise solves a touchy labor relations situation.

* All Our Yesterdays: Very cool story about a planetary population which escaped their world's destruction by disappearing into their own past.

* Turnabout Intruder: The last episode broadcast. I though Shatner and his female guest star did quite good jobs in "trading personalities". A powerful show, yet many don't like it.

And the stinkers:
* Spock's Brain: a silly story where Spock's brain is stolen to stand in for a broken computer.
* The Enterprise Incident: Fun but silly story that has Romulan's believing a surgically altered Kirk is one of them. I always wonder why Star Fleet Command always chooses Star Ship Captains for missions like this rather than specially trained spies. LOL
* And the Children Shall Lead: A malevolent entity causes children to kill their parents, and even worse, chant in a very annoying fashion for most of the episode.
* Specter of the Gun: Another bargain basement effort on the sets. Some really like this show. I thought the whole thing was pretty weak.
* Day of the Dove: Another malevolent entity, this time forcing the Enterprise crew and a Klingon crew to fight an eternal battle. Possibly the silliest ending ever ... not just for season three Star Trek ... for any TV show, at any time.

If you're a Star Trek fan still without a Blu-ray player ... well ... this gives you a great excuse to get into Blu-ray and hi-def. Luckily the road is paved and Blu-ray players now cost what had at one time become common (and low) prices for DVD players. Even HD TVs are a fraction of what they once cost. The "early adopter" period is long passed, and prices are good on these wonderful viewing technologies. There is no better way to enjoy hi-def programming than by viewing an outstanding transfer of a long beloved series of programs like this.
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on July 21, 2011
Star trek was evolving in Season 3 and the promise of where it might go given a chance to complete it's five year mission will never be answered. I didn't find this season weaker than the others at all, in fact, the plots were reaching a new level. Kirk tantalizes us with an observation lending an explanation as to why there are so many humanoid races in the universe, something a real story arc could have been built on for Season 4. Season 5, I've always envisioned a concluding storyline of the characters coming home in a Homeric way and written by the greatest Sci-fi authors of the day by special invite.
But that was not to be. At least be thankful we got Season 3 and it is very good. The chimps in suits who don't know gold from garbage eventually got their way, but the show was great beginning to end without question.
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on May 12, 2012

Excellent remastering of the original STAR TREK SEASON 3 source material. The new CGI Enterprise, planets and stars are seamlessly integrated and the 35mm episodes are given a vivid makeover. It all looks and sounds fantastic and there's no doubt that the visual impact on display here would have been just what the creators had in mind over forty years ago (despite lacking the technology and the budget to make it a reality at the time). Has it been worth the wait, then?

Absolutely...and yet, in the cutting-edge 21st century, there's still a tiny part of me that can't quite let go of the old 15ft long starship model (complete with rubbish matte lines) in orbit above the same old alien world - Alpha 177 - every other week. Nostalgia can be a double-edged sword.


What The Format Stands For: Episode 9 THE THOLIAN WEB

Sounds Of The Future: Episode 20 THE WAY TO EDEN

The Torture Of Innocents: Episode 12 THE EMPATH

Stereotype Reinforcement: Episode 1 SPOCK'S BRAIN

The Ground And Sky Dwellers Of A Mineral Rich Planet: Episode 21 THE CLOUD MINDERS

The Lower Lip Of A Female Guest Artist: Episode 18 THE LIGHTS OF ZETAR

An Alien-Enforced Shootout At The OK Corral: Episode 6 SPECTRE OF THE GUN

The Cliched Depiction Of Mental Instability: Episode 14 WHOM GODS DESTROY


Despite being hampered by budget cuts - resulting in a bit less action and a bit more standing around explaining things - Season Three is STILL nowhere near as bad as you may have been led to believe. Great fun throughout, in fact. The original STAR TREK remains the best sci-fi series of them all.

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on February 1, 2010
Alot of people critcise Star Treks Season Three. Considering many of the budget cuts that where put on production many of the stories where in my estimation some of the best Trek. Alot of Star Trek canon that lives on today was established in season three. Granted they had some duds like "Spocks Brain" but other episodes such as "The Enterprise Incident" and "Let That be Your Last Battlefield" was top sci-fi.

The restoration of the Season Three is absolutley awesome. The colors are clear and have depth. Detail (visual and audio), not seen in many of the old releases were hidden until now. I have seen each episode of Star Trek many times for years. The blu ray releases are like seeing them all for the first time. The new CGI of the Enterprise adds depth to the enjoyment of the story.

Whats been the most enjoyable to me is introducing my 7 & 9 year olds to the original Star Trek. They saw the new Star Trek movie and really liked it. One has to understand the Star Trek roots to appreciate the expansive tree that Star Trek has grown into. The original series can seem alittle campy and dated but when you understand the times it was created in and the current events of the 1960's they tried to make commentary on, one can understand why Trek has endured.

I have enjoyed Trek and all its incarnations, but its still the original cast and stories that still drive the Enterprise to boldly go where no one has gone before. The remastered blu ray of the original series will allow the Trek to continue.
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on December 30, 2008
While I was somewhat concerned that the re-mastered version might diminish my enjoyment of season three, after watching several episodes, I have to say that the enhanced graphics do nothing but improve the viewing experience. Sure, it may not be quite the same as with the original graphics, but it really is much better. The exterior shots of the Enterprise and many of the space shots, including the planets around which the Enterprise orbits, are so much more realistic and visually appealing. Definitely two thumbs up from me. I now wish I had the re-mastered versions of seasons one and two. Alas, I'll just have to settle for the original versions that I already own...for now, that is.

My two kids, ages 12 and 10, love watching Star Trek. They just can't get enough of it, even though the series is 40 years old. Great stuff!
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