"For The World Is Hollow and I Have Touched The Sky" is a rather typical 3rd season Star Trek episodes. The story generally can take place on a soundstage and is mostly character driven. The first point is simply a function of lower budgets of Trek’s last year and is one of the main complaints for Season 3. Therefore the lower budgets relied more on the the story to carry the load and "For the World is Hollow" does try to put some of the elements together for an interesting mission. There is the impending peril of the asteroid ship Yonada smashing into a densely inhabited planet, McCoy’s terminal illness, and of course, a computer for Kirk to disable.
Insert plot device here
The plot is rather generic with a couple of twists. McCoy’s sudden diagnosis with ‘Xenopolycythemia’ is totally out of left-field and is never properly explained. Before you can think too hard about how a Chief Medical Officer can suddenly find himself terminally ill we find a nice distraction of an asteroid-that-is-really-a-ship. Naturally the people inside don’t know that they are in a generational ship. I have to give credit to the writers for using a generational ship; warp speed often acts as a way to skip past the issues associated with the vast distances of outer space.
So the real twist isn’t McCoy’s rather contrived illness, but the fact that the leader of the asteroid people named Natira takes a liking to McCoy and wishes to marry him. Since Kirk usually gets the space babe of the week, this is a nice change of pace. I do find his interest in Natira a bit forced. While Natira seems quite nice, what we have seen of McCoy is generally a more down to earth fella’ who likes to flirt with the cute yeoman in "Shore Leave" and doesn’t usually do well with formal functions, which being the co-leader of an entire society would certainly entail. Perhaps more importantly McCoy isn’t one for imposing ignorance, joining the Fabrini would mean giving up his knowledge of the true nature of Yonada. So we just know this can’t work out…and of course it doesn’t.
McCoy not wishing to be blown out of the sky, since it seems like Yonada’s course won’t be fixed, has found out where the manual for the ship is located and proceeds to tell Kirk, thus enraging the third major element of our story: a computer that rules over a society. This is Kirk’s specialty: he loves to disable any computer that keeps a society in the dark (Prime Directive? What Prime Directeve?). Alas, he doesn’t get to use his trademark "logic loop overload" that apparently works on all advanced computers of the future — I guess preemptive multitasking operating systems don’t exist in the future? Kirk and Spock find the key to getting into the computer room just in the nick of time to fix the automated course, and lo and behold the Fabrini have a cure for McCoy’s illness just hanging out in a memory bank! …and all is right with the world.
The little things…
Rewatching the episode there are actually a number of little elements to the production that make the episode worth a second look. I am starting to agree with many of our community members that assert the 3rd season has a lot going for it. The 3rd season might be light on budget but they knew what they were doing with what they had and the staff had started to branch out with some more imaginative camera angles. I have always liked the shot of the landing party being escorted down into the tunnels of the city, this is a shot that is actually rather typical of late 1960’s film, when I see it I am always reminded of the second to last Planet of the Apes film where they find a ruined human city. I have a fairly clear picture of this same tight stair well shot being used. It seems like a good way to introduce a subteranian city and also provide a mild sense of paranoia as the shot doesn’t follow any one character nor is it a tradtionally framed shot of action or actors.
Marching down the steps
The second nuance was during the scene with the old man whose diatribe is the source of the episode’s title. As he enters our hero’s sleeping chambers a music cue from the Cage is heard. The old man is played by Jon Lormer who also played the illusory encampment leader ‘Theodore Haskins’ from The Cage.
He seems familiar…
The last element of interest is that the writers left an opening for a sequel, this is one of (if not the only) instances of this. Kirk says that "The Fabrini descendants are scheduled to debark on their promised planet in approximately 390 days, I think that we could manage to be in that vicinity at that time." If Star Trek had made it through the full 5-year mission we would have been treated to a reuniting of Natira and McCoy somewhere in the late 4th or early 5th season. However it was not forgotten, the recent novel ‘Ex Machina’ by Christopher Bennet picks up the story of the Yonadans (although it is set after ST:TMP).
Their truth – of their world
The CGI from CBS Digital is generally very good in the recent episodes, the newer Enterprise model helps immensely. As I mentioned earlier, I have started to see the value in 3rd season production. The 3rd season is easily the best for the Enterprise bluescreen shots. Space shots made for the 3rd season (as opposed to one of the many reused shots) look quite good. If you take a look at our comparison shots for the episode here, take a look at the shot labeled ‘Course Change’ I feel the original actually looks better. Part of that is due to the details of the Enterprise. I would say the biggest shortcoming of CBS Digital is their inconsistent attention to detail. The original shot has lights under the shuttlebay that aren’t there in CBS-D’s version and the lights that are there above the shuttlebay aren’t lit up.
What CBS does quite well are the new angles of the Enterprise as it travels ahead of Yonada. The new angles are a nice change and make the space footage a bit more interesting then just stock Sci-Fi filler between the filmed sequences. Yonada is also a bit more realistic, it doesn’t have groovy rainbow rocks making up the surface. Sadly this does render it blander, but a bit closer to reality.
All in all an average episode to begin with and an average effort on the part of CBS Digital…now bring on "Journey to Babel" and "Doomsday Machine".
Hey, I’ve always been a third season defender. But my favorite episodes of Trek have always been the weird ones. Like the cowboy world in Spectre of the Gun? What is going on with that? Or fighting alongside Abraham Lincoln? Totally weird/awesome.
This one I didn’t remember very well, but I thought it was a pretty interesting story, handled in a pretty decent way, although as you said, it is sort of convenient that everything wraps up so neatly in the end.
Not their best episode, even for the third season. Nice asteroid, though.
Agree with Spectre of the Gun. Disagree with the deadly, dull Savage Curtain (Abe Lincoln episode). :-)
A nice “what if” …
What if they didn’t cure McCoy at the end of the episode? And what if the original plot to “Way to Eden” was maintained? Plenty of room for great character interaction between McCoy and his daughter, and perhaps even let Dr. Severin cure McCoy. The more I think about, the more story beats keep popping in my head. It certainly would have made “Eden” a better episode.
But, it would have been pretty crazy for a TV show back then to not tie up all the loose ends in one hour.
Where’s the love for “Requiem for Methusaleh?”
Flints appearance and moral and ethical dilemma served as the catalyst for many a future sci-fi spin the least of which is “The Highlander.”
I think that “Spocks brain” and it’s reputation entirely overshadow some Third Season jewels and the season as a whole.
“The Savage Curtain, The Enterprise Incident, Day of the Dove, The Tholian Web, etc. ”
Actually, truth be known there are ALOT of nice little gems in this season far outweighing the lesser episodes.
Far more concerning and eye-catching to me than a “Spocks Brain” or ” Turnabout Intruder” is the characterizations of some of the characters in the Third Season.
When and why did Spock become such a smartass? No, a smartass doesn’t characterize it adequality, but rather dismissive and condescending.
“Please Mister Scott contain your leaps of illogic.”
The cast evidently knew their time was up and didn’t dedicate themselves to the extent they had previously in the series.
nice review, and i couldnt agree more about that camera angle on the stairs. it caught my eye again too, and i think there was a similar one in “little girls made of” — dr. corby’s underground chambers?
the redone effects here were just great — they sure didn’t seem out of place, just blended right in, and there were some majestic E moments that made me push my dvr repeat button over and over again.
now, that fight scene at the beginning is one of the funnier ones of the series. it’s a solid brawl, true, with arguably the best 3rd season blast of fight music, but those costumes on the yonadans never fail to crack me up. those hats especially! and that “love at first sight moment” accented by a cue from the music score … priceless.
after this mission, it was written into the starship captain’s manual: never let the entire landing party turn their backs on a collection of brightly colored cylinders that are obviously big enough to hide a bunch of alien soldiers!! same notes apply to giant cubes, monoliths, obelisks, and pyramids.
Nimoy in particular seems especially disassociated from the scenes in many of the third season episodes. You can tell he’s just phoning in the scenes and not putting forth the acting effort he did before.
Nimoy, being as smart and concerned about the character as he was, probably saw how silly the writing was becoming and just distanced humself from being concerned about it for the sake of the job.
He’s just not “there” for many of them. And it’s not his Vulcan demeanor. It’s when he’s just going through the motions of a plot-driven script. In the few instances where he gets to really do something character-wise, he’s back. Like the moment when he helps McCoy up in this show; his love affair with Zarabeth; his dallying with the Romulan Commander in Enterprise Incident; and “The Empath.” But he’s not the dynamic “catches-your-eye-no-matter-what-he’s-doing” actor he was in the first and second seasons, when he was always “on.”
Josh T… I agree with you about Requiem. In my opinion, it is one of the truly underrated episodes in all of TOS.
Especially noteworthy is the final scene, one of the most touching and deeply moving in the entire series. It is a tribute to the writers and actors that so much power and meaning could be evoked through a single word: “forget.”
I still get chills when I watch that, as it so subtely showcased the true bond of friendship that existed between Spock and Kirk.
It IS a shame that the third season gets a short shrift so many times, as I think the diminished budged did force the writers to focus on character interaction and, lets face it, what made Trek, Trek was the characters.
ONe HUGE improvement in the 3rd season of Star Trek were the much better made uniforms. They finally got rid of the terrible Velour material which kept shrinking when they were washed. By the third season, the uniforms had been totally perfected. Take note of the quality of the early first seaon uniforms compared to third season uniforms….a vast improvement.
There are a number of exciting philosophical and ethical discussions in the 3rd season, far more so that 1 & 2. If there is any basis to the myth of a “Star Trek future vision” it is in season 3.
The Oracle is designed to maintain the people in a state of ignorance via a pseudo-religion. Why?
It could be a typically 1960’s cut against “organized” religion, but it also speaks to a fundamental of human nature: the Lowest Common Denominator. Presumably, the first crew represented Yolanda’s Best & Brightest. But who believes their offspring will also be the Best & Brightest? Ha! Not! They will fall out along a normal distribution as homeostasis and dysgenesis take their toll. How then do you maintain a population under (what can only be called) adverse and inhuman conditions for a journey that dwarfs the Exodus? Knowledge of their true status would likely induce claustrophobia and then what????
So the Oracle — and the original Pioneers — decided that a compartmentalized and “need to know” basis was best. Typcial government control, but it works –until things go wrong and they are helpless.
Compartmentalized command-and-control versus independent actors with full knowledge and free will.
Great idea and not too shabbily portrayed either, inconsistencies and expediences not withstanding.
And Kate Woodville… ohhhh….. Google her under the image search tool. She, like so many promising young starlets, “went Hollywood” and aged what looks like twenty years in five. Bummer. “Sex, drugs ‘n’ rock’n’roll” really was a stupid thing to do.
not to be picky… cuz I think cbs digital has done some great work,…
but has anyone noticed the round white balls at the back end of the nacelles aren’t lit up in the shots of Enterprise wever they show the rear view?
I just ImageGoogled Kate… AND SAW HER NAKED! I’ll never look at Natira the same again…
#13 diabolik — Whoa! The Oracle would not be pleased! The Punishment for Googling Natira is
Matt, very nice review. I agree with the ‘course change effect’ being good to start with.
14 – That still shows one of the big drawbacks to many third season episodes. By this point, Shatner has a serious case of Elvis ass.
6 – I totally agree that many of the season three eps also miss the point (points) of Spock’s character. Just watched the unremastered version of “That Which Survives.” Jeez. Spock’s not logical on a ship full of emotional humans. He’s just a jerk. Other episodes turn him into SuperSpock, saving the ship as if no one else on board is worth a darn. In the best episodes, we see a combination of the characters’ strengths playing off each other to win the day. In fairness, this happens in “The Tholian Web, ” which is one or my favs.
So… for any STXI writer who may be looking in here for ideas (yuh right) please focus on characters, not caricatures.
The only other thing I can ever remember seeing Kate Woodville in was an episode of Kolchak The Night Stalker from 1974. Maybe I wasn’t watching the right shows? She looked attractive enough in that but as Natira she was definitely in va-va-va-voom territory. Trek’s people really knew how to make their female guest stars look their best. I watched “What Are Little Girls Made of?” and “Who Mourns for Adonais?” earlier this week ans the female guests are really gorgeous.
I don’t get how CBS-D can look at their replacement for the “course change” shot and NOT see their own screw-ups.
I’d love to know what’s going on over there besides tight deadlines.
“All our yesterdays” is probably one of my favorite 3rd season episodes.
It was an awesome script idea. Some of the acting by the guest stars was pretty bad but I really think that was one of the best episodes for the entire series. Looking forward to seeing Beta Niobi go nova in the remastered version.
#17 Dr. Image refers to these (old vs new):
The old one still looks best however the new one does convey “mass” and is not bad in itself. It just needs a little something . . .
#18 Mr. Atoz – Agreed! Always waited for that Beta Niobi explosion and Warp out!!
The novel ‘Ex Machina’ by Christopher Bennet is an excellent read; highly recommended for those of you who like your TREK in print.
Good sense of scale on the new asteroid. I miss the funky colors, though.
18 – Mariette Hartley in a leather mini? How can I not love it?!?!
“All Our Yesterdays” is also a shining gem in the third season. There’s a well done Spock-McCoy thread, excellent trek countdown to disaster timing, and… well, Mariette Hartley in a leather mini.
(still kicking myself because it took so long to get the pun in your namesake’s appelation)
19 – Almost none of the lights are on! Scotty must have forgotten to pay the bills.
Re #19 I think CBS is trying to tone down the interior lighting of the ship. The 3rd season shots show much brighter light shining from the windows. The ship simply isn’t that bright on the inside.
I never got the impression they were lit up in the original shots, just white metal. So the new shots don’t bother me in that respect.
Talking bout the rear nacelle balls (space matrix restoration coils), in that last post.
Anyway, I never noticed inner illumination on those. Did everyone else?
Just a note about something mentioned in the review… that McCoy would be giving up knowledge about the nature of the ship by accepting the obedience chip. He still knew. He just got punished for revealing sensitive info to outsiders.
Jon Lormer also played Tamar in “Return of the Archons”
#27 right he still knew but he would have had to give up acting upon that knowledge, and he would do well to try and forget it considering they were going to crash into another planet or be destroyed by Starfleet, at least at the point in time he conceded to “become one of the people” of Yonada those were to two outcomes.
Maybe the CBS people have decided that is there isn’t a shuttle launching from or returning to the hangar bay, then there’s no point in having the lights on back there, whether the original model had them on or not.
As for the “nacelle balls” being illuminated from the interior, I never noticed that they were originally.
I’m with some of the rest of you here. I think those hangar bay lights should be lit up when a shuttle enters or exits. Not at all times. As far as nacelle balls and windows being lit up, I STILL say they will look brighter and better on HD. In all comparison shots I see on baord the ship, on a planet, in space, where ever…the lighting, sharpness of color, clearness of picture, and so on is just not as good on “remastered”. I truly think it’s because it’s not shown in HD or watched on HD. But, what do I know. I’m the guy with perfect vision that needs glasses! ha-ha
This is not much of an episode.
Mr Shatner was piling on the pounds by season 3 and coupled with the 2 inch lifts in his boots he tended to stand belly and ass out. Not a nice sight at times.
LOL, I think Dennis (#32) very succinctly summed it up.
Wow, I’m amazed at the number of people who are defending that third season misfire! Yeah, there were some marginally decent episodes (Paradise Syndrome, All Our Yesterdays, Tholian Web) and some isolated nice moments (the end of Requiem for Methuselah, the Klingon battle in Elaan of Troyius) but nothing in this season can compare with City on the Edge of Forever, Doomsday Machine, or Errand of Mercy. Sloppy direction, cheap(er than usual) sets, almost NO location shooting, idiotic scripts (Spock’s Brain, That Which Survives, Savage Curtain, the list goes on). Yechhh!
#35 — I don’t personally defend Season 3 as a whole. S3 has a lot to like in various smaller aspects one of them being the quality of the space shots seem to have reached an all time high in S3. But yes on the whole S3 is quite mediocre, you can see the cast and crew are phoning it in in many episodes, thanks mostly due to network pressures and cutbacks. Remember Season 3 is the “season that almost wasn’t.”
The old enterprise looks like a more real in the third season…i vote thet dont replace the third season enterprise shoyts, only enhance them, if anything!
PLEASE DONT DESTROY THE COOL NEW SHOTS OF THE ENTREPRISE THEY MADE TO REPLACE THE OLDER LAMER SHOTS FROM 66 67 AND PART OF 68!!!
KEEP IN THE “NEW”SHOTS OF LATE 68-69!
stop with the all caps and stop spamming the same stuff over and over Shay
and pick a single name xena
if all you are goign to do is say how much you hate TOSR over and over and over and oever you are just trolling or spamming or something that is pissing me off
Steve- No one is saying the season three was as good season 2 But I and many others feel there were many excellent and relevant moments and wonderful epsiodes in season 3. There were some turkeys but The Alternative Factor was season 1 and I find it to be the worst episode of the series. Season three had All our Yesterdays, Tholian Web, and The Empath and to my mind they were some of Trek’s finest moments. I also found that the finest moments of the bond between Kirk, Spock and McCoy were most prominant in season 3. And I loved the goofy fun of Spectre of the Gun and The Savage Curtain and yes Whom God’s Destroy (“I am LORD Garth!!”) Great stuff and always very enjoyable.
THE THIRD SEASON 12′ FOOT MODEL OF THE ENTERPRISE WAS PERFECTED BY SEASON THREE W/GREAT NEW SHOTS!~
NOTHING TILL TREK ONE HAS ANYTHING MADE THE OLD GIRL BETTER LOOKING THAN THE 1969 EX….YET!
ooops sorry bout the ca0ps,….i like xena, i am Sgay6 is my name..thanks
Yes it is just a show and it would ruin the plot device, but wouldn’t those Feds have the technology to just slightly adjust these big asteroids with thrusters placed on them?;) Funny it just hit me today reading this review as that is a way we might do it in real life if we had a killer asteroid heading towards earth. Of course there would go your story and some tension points.;) Still this was a fair episode and there are some other fun episodes of this season, although I still feel the first season really had a superior mood and feel to it. Of course in the other asteroid episode the plot had a device that repelled instead of blowing up the big space rock so points for that, even though once again the Feds seemed beside themselves about the situation. Of course it was the 60’s. Fun stuff in the end though.
Still where were those shuttle crafts in the split Kirk epis…;)
#42 — Remember that Yonada isn’t an asteroid actually, therefore you can’t just put some thruster packs on it and adjust the course. Yonada is an actual starship and was following a deliberate course under active power.
Go to iTunes and click on the Space Seed preview- the fx look, well, yeah, about a hundred times better than the broadcast version!
The CBS-D Enterprise looks fantastic. It looks like it’s REALLY there.
For some reason, the broadcast versions are NOT representative of what they’re actually capable of.
I’m buying Corbomite. Careful, though, some of the broadcast remastered versions are NOT on iTunes yet.
This may be old news, but it’s new to me.
I agree with #39 – Star Trek’s first season was astonishingly good – easily better than any of the later series’ first seasons and, I dare say, better than the first seasons of most hour long dramas, period. But season one’s “The Alternative Factor” was, for me, by far the worst episode of the whole series. And I understand they had problems with their guest star, but even so, its just a badly constructed and poorly executed episode. Season three’s “Spock’s Brain” and “And the Children Shall Lead”, which are often cited as “the worst Star Trek ever”, at least had some camp elements to enjoy and they were fun to watch. Nobody’s having fun watching “The Alternative Factor”.
# 44 — I’m lost… the iTunes versions are simply 640×480. They can’t be much better then what is broadcast. Certainly not what you get from a local affiliate’s over the air digital TV broadcast. I record the digital broadcast of my CW station, it is the SD feed upconverted to 1080i, since it is a digital feed of the SD version it is clean. I have a hard time beliving the iTunes versions are significantly better. The Xbox 360 versions which are natively 720p, that I could certainly understand being better.
Are you guys just watching the analog broadcast of these shows? If at all possible watch the HD feed of your local affiliate, you should get a nice clean SD version.
FYI the screenshots of For the World is Hollow… are not mine and they were done pretty obviously from an analog broadcast. If that is what you guys normally see, then it is no wonder the pure digital direct from CBS sourced iTunes versions look quite a bit better to you all. I will qualify this by saying I personally have not seen an iTunes version yet, but you are making me want to check it out for comparison sake.
Picard and Steve,
Well, I confess that some of the 3rd season episodes were campy fun like the old Batman TV episodes were ( and I think, like some of the other TV shows of the period like Man From UNCLE, owed a debt to Batman’s popularity at the time). But as bad as Alternative Factor was, it still didn’t belittle its characters like That Which Survives belittled Spock. Spock was nothing less than a buffoon in that show. And how much did we learn about the characters during the third season like we did in Conscience of the King, Obsession, Amok Time, and Journey to Babel? They became cardboard characters.
Refresh me – how did “That Which Survives” belittle Spock?
and regarding #48, I’ll speak for myself here and no one else – I’m not suggesting that the third season isn’t the weakest of the three. I think its fairly obvious that it is, for a number of reasons. But I don’t agree that the whole season can be written off as garbage compared to the first two. There are many very entertaining episodes and some wonderful character moments, particularly for McCoy. I don’t understand how anyone could watch, for example, “The Empath” and say those were cardboard characters, but then my taste clearly isn’t everyone’s.