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Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

The third and final season of Star Trek: The Original Series was produced and filmed from May 1968 to January 1969 by Paramount Television and premiered on NBC on Friday, September 20, 1968 and concluded on Tuesday, June 3, 1969. In the United Kingdom, the season premiered on the ITV network on Sunday, March 25, 1984 as a mid-season replacement, and ended on September 2, 1984 with the final episode "Turnabout Intruder" as part of the beginning of the Autumn season and just before the film's premiere is held on September 3, 1984. It consists of 24 episodes. Star Trek: The Original Series is an American science fiction television series produced by Fred Freiberger, and created by Gene Roddenberry, and the original series of the Star Trek franchise. It features William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock and DeForest Kelley as Leonard McCoy.


Title Episode Production number Stardate US release date Remastered airdate
"Spectre of the Gun" 3x01 60043-56 4385.3 1968-10-25 2008-07-19
"Elaan of Troyius" 3x02 60043-57 4372.5 1968-12-20 2008-03-29
"The Paradise Syndrome" 3x03 60043-58 4842.6–4843.6 1968-10-04 2007-02-24
"The Enterprise Incident" 3x04 60043-59 5027.3–5027.4 1968-09-27 2008-04-05
"And the Children Shall Lead" 3x05 60043-60 5029.5 1968-10-11 2007-04-14
"Spock's Brain" 3x06 60043-61 5431.4–5432.3 1968-09-20 2007-06-09
"Is There in Truth No Beauty?" 3x07 60043-62 5630.7–5630.8 1968-10-18 2008-03-22
"The Empath" 3x08 60043-63 5121.5 1968-12-06 2008-07-26
"The Tholian Web" 3x09 60043-64 5693.2 1968-11-15 2007-03-31
"For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" 3x10 60043-65 5476.3–5476.4 1968-11-08 2007-01-27
"Day of the Dove" 3x11 60043-66 Unknown 1968-11-01 2008-01-05
"Plato's Stepchildren" 3x12 60043-67 5784.2–5784.3 1968-11-22 2007-06-16
"Wink of an Eye" 3x13 60043-68 5710.5–5710.9 1968-11-29 2007-01-13
"That Which Survives" 3x14 60043-69 Unknown 1969-01-24 2008-03-15
"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" 3x15 60043-70 5730.2–5730.7 1969-01-10 2008-01-19
"Whom Gods Destroy" 3x16 60043-71 5718.3 1969-01-03 2008-05-24
"The Mark of Gideon" 3x17 60043-72 5423.4–5423.8 1969-01-17 2008-05-31
"The Lights of Zetar" 3x18 60043-73 5725.3–5725.6 1969-01-31 2008-06-07
"The Cloud Minders" 3x19 60043-74 5818.4–5819.3 1969-02-28 2008-07-12
"The Way to Eden" 3x20 60043-75 5832.3–5832.6 1969-02-21 2008-06-14
"Requiem for Methuselah" 3x21 60043-76 5843.7–5843.8 1969-02-14 2008-06-21
"The Savage Curtain" 3x22 60043-77 5906.4–5906.5 1969-03-07 2008-06-28
"All Our Yesterdays" 3x23 60043-78 5943.7–5943.9 1969-03-14 2007-04-21
"Turnabout Intruder" 3x24 60043-79 5928.5–5930.3 1969-06-03 2008-08-02


With Star Trek having narrowly avoided cancellation, the basic format remained the same as Season 2. The season opened with "Spock's Brain", a story in which Kara, the priestess-leader of the underground Eymorg city, steals Spock's brain and transfers it to a receptacle so that he can rule their society.

Other episodes continued to serve as political parables. "Day of the Dove" carried a strong anti-war message, while "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" dealt with racial hatred, ending with the Enterprise unable to prevent the destruction of a civilization or even dissuade the two survivors from continuing their feud. "The Empath" told a tightly constructed morality play with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy teach an alien woman the value of self-sacrifice. While "Plato's Stepchildren" may not have featured television's first interracial kiss, it was still groundbreaking enough to be banned in some states.

Kirk had one of his most significant romances in "The Paradise Syndrome", as he spent three months stranded on a planet, fell in love, and married, only for his pregnant wife to be killed in a tragic misunderstanding. He also fell in love with an android in "Requiem for Methuselah", inadvertently bringing about her death. Spock attracted female attention in episodes like "The Enterprise Incident", "The Cloud Minders", and "All Our Yesterdays", and McCoy and Scott found love in "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" and "The Lights of Zetar", respectively.

Of the junior crewmembers, Chekov had significant roles in "Spectre of the Gun" and "The Way to Eden", the latter giving a rare insight into his past. Sulu was given a chance to command the ship in "Spock's Brain", for the first time since "Errand of Mercy", and accompanied Kirk and McCoy on an away team in "That Which Survives", while Uhura and Christine Chapel finally had an opportunity to get closer to the two leads in "Plato's Stepchildren", albeit at the behest of telekinetic aliens.

The Klingons made two major appearances in "Elaan of Troyius" and "Day of the Dove". The latter introduced the character of Kang, who was later seen in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. The Romulans appeared in person for the first time since "Balance of Terror" when they returned in "The Enterprise Incident", and the Tholians were introduced in "The Tholian Web". "The Savage Curtain" saw Kirk and Spock forced to play out the battle against good and evil, with three of the other participants, Phillip Green, Kahless the Unforgettable, and Surak, reappearing in later series as their original selves. The episode also marked the last appearance of Uhura on the show.

The season closed with "Turnabout Intruder", in which Kirk found himself trapped in the body of bitter former lover Janice Lester, who proceeded to charge his comrades with mutiny.



Also starring
All cast


Creator / Executive Producer
Associate Producers
Story Consultant
Theme Music / Music Composer and Conductor
Music Composer and Conductor
Directors of Photography
Art Director
Film Editors
Unit Production Manager
Assistant Directors
Set Decorator
Costume Designer
Photographic Effects
Sound Effects Editor
Music Editor
  • Richard Lapham
Re-recording Mixer
Production Mixer
Script Supervisor
  • Glen Glenn Sound Co.
Casting Directors
Make-Up Artist
Hair Stylist
Head Grip
  • George Rader
Property Master
Special Effects
Production Companies
Executive Vice President in Charge of Production

Uncredited crew[]

Background information[]

TOS Season 3 Head

The blue logo in Season 3

  • Some production staff members were disappointed with season three. In a 2006 interview, Leonard Nimoy called it "very weak in general, but it was especially not good for Spock." [4]
  • Ira Steven Behr once said that both he and his sister were disappointed with this third season. [5](X) He also commented that his disappointment with the season was similar to the reaction of "most fans." (AOL chat, 1997)
  • For the third season, the title and credits were in a light blue color, much like the credits of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • Kirk no longer wore a green wrap-around shirt in any of the episodes, though officers were seen wearing the full dress uniform in "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" and "The Savage Curtain". Also in the third season, Scott's dress uniform was accompanied by a traditional Scottish kilt. The uniforms were no longer made of velour (which shrank every time it was cleaned), but of double-knit polyester.
  • Each episode of the third season now cost about US$175,000, the budget having been reduced even further, while the salaries of the main cast increased. Consequently, only two episodes out of the twenty-four this season ("The Paradise Syndrome" and "All Our Yesterdays") featured location scenery.
  • Gene Roddenberry was initially promised an early evening time slot (Mondays at 7:30 pm) by NBC. However, this would have required their top-rated series Laugh-In to be moved from its 8 pm time slot to 8:30. Laugh-In Producer George Schaltter threatened to take his show to another network unless it was guaranteed the 8 pm slot. NBC capitulated, forcing Star Trek to air its third season in the only remaining slot on the schedule – Fridays at 10 pm. Roddenberry threatened to leave Star Trek entirely if it wasn't put back to the promised time slot, but NBC rejected his threats due to the show's low ratings. He technically kept the post of executive producer for this season, but had actually left for MGM to work on other projects.
  • Because of Roddenberry's withdrawal, scripts were no longer revised or re-written by him, nor by either Gene L. Coon or D.C. Fontana, who both left the series earlier. Script quality greatly suffered because of this. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story)
  • After Roddenberry and most of the writing staff left after the second season, Fred Freiberger took over as producer, with Arthur H. Singer replacing D.C. Fontana as script consultant. According to Fontana, Singer came to the set one day, and asked, "By the way, what does that transporter thing do again?" [6]
  • Robert H. Justman was promoted to co-producer, but left the series after "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield". Gregg Peters became the new associate producer.
  • A most important change was the departure of cinematographer Jerry Finnerman after "The Empath", and his replacement with his former camera operator, Al Francis, which affected the visual style of the series.
  • Several new writers were brought in. Many of them were non-professionals, who sent in story outlines, which were read and recommended by Justman. These included Jean Lisette Aroeste, Joyce Muskat, and Judy Burns.
  • While a few directors from prior seasons returned, none of them (save for John Meredyth Lucas and Ralph Senensky, the latter of whom was fired midway through his second episode) worked on more than one episode. The season was therefore mostly handled by a new set of directors, with Jud Taylor and Herb Wallerstein being the two most frequent.
  • According to Star Trek Lives! writer Joan Winston, NBC passed on an option for two additional episodes (a twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth) for the third season. William Shatner would have directed the twenty-fifth episode, "The Joy Machine". Ultimately, it was another two decades before Shatner got the opportunity to direct a Star Trek production (the film Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, which was released almost twenty years to the day after TOS series finale "Turnabout Intruder") and twenty-one years before a Star Trek episode would be directed by a member of the cast (TNG: "The Offspring", directed by Jonathan Frakes).

See also[]

External links[]

Previous season:
TOS Season 2
Seasons of
Star Trek: The Original Series
Final season in series