Review: Star Trek Season Three Blu-ray

Today CBS Paramount Home Entertainment finishes a great year for Trek on home video but releasing the third and final season of the original Star Trek TV series on Blu-ray. Finally "Spock’s Brain" is available in high definition! Find out how it all works out in the TrekMovie review below. 



REVIEW: Star Trek Season Three Blu-ray

Star Trek Season Three – not the best, but some gems
There can be no doubt that the final season of Star Trek was not the best. After falling out over time slots series creator Gene Roddenberry left. Budgets were also cut and it was the shortest at 24 episodes. However, there were still many gems to be found in the rough such as the Kirk making peace with Kang in "Day of the Dove," fighting the most alien of enemies in "The Tholian Web", Spock falling in love in "All Our Yesterdays", and one of my favorite episodes "The Enterprise Incident", featuring some of the best Kirk/Spock/Mcoy interactions all against the backdrop of a secret mission in Romulan territory. Even the much maligned "Spock’s Brain" is fun to watch, for its camp value alone.

Transfer & Effects – some of the best
Seeing these episodes rendered beautifully in 1080p high-definition video gives you a chance to fall in love with them again (or laugh again if that is what you are after). Like previous seasons, episodes are presented "pillar-boxed" in their original 1.33:1 broadcast aspect ratio. The quality of the transfer to HD, like the previous two seasons, is superb. Star Trek has never looked so good, and is an improvement over when these episodes were broadcast in 2006-2008 as part of the ‘Star Trek Remastered’ series in syndication.

Like with the other two season releases, you can chose to watch with the original effects, or with the new digital effects, even switching back and forth with ‘seamless branching.’ There is a bit of an irony with the third season in that some of the best work done by CBS Digital with new effects were done in the least well-regarded season. By the third season in 1968-69, lower budget (and perhaps lower standards) started to show in many of the effects shots. There was heavy use of recycled material from previous years. But CBS Digital took the time to create new shots, so now the Klingon ships in "The Enterprise Incident" have Romulan paint jobs, the city of Scalos in "Wink of an Eye" finally gets realized with a new matte painting, and even "Spock’s Brain" gets a cool new ion-drive ship. Also, most of the third season episodes were the last to be done during the Remastered project, so the CBS Digital team had worked out all the kinks. Some of the best work was done in this set, and their digital Enterprise never looked so good as it does in some of these episodes.

New Romulan ship in "Enterprise Incident" and new matte painting of Scalos in "Wink of an Eye" — Some of the new season three effects
(NOTE: images are examples from SD broadcast and not not HD Blu-ray)

Bonus Features -weakest of the sets – but some cool stuff
Firstly the Blu-ray set contains most of what was on the Season 3 DVD set, except for the production art gallery, the two Okuda text commentaries and the ‘Red Shirt Logs’ Easter eggs (although those are likely to show up on BD Live). But the set does include some new featurettes, the best of which is the all too short Billy Blackburn Treasure Chest of home videos. Like the previous seasons, these are a very fun way to see what was going on behind the scenes. There are also some new mildly entertaining HD featurettes shot at Comic Con 2009 (David Gerrold Hosts 2009 Convention Coverage, The Anthropology of Star Trek Comic-Con Panel 2009, The World of Rod Roddenberry Comic-Con Panel 2009). The biggest disappointment with the set is that there are no "Starfleet Access" video commentaries like there were for the first two seasons.

Season Three also has Easter Eggs on at least four of the disks (possibly more). The set is also comes with BD-Live which should allow for more content, and it is Mobile-Blu enhanced, allowing you to use your iPhone in conjunction with the set (however I couldn’t get this to work, but apparently is pretty cool).

The set also includes previews of other Trek DVDs and the upcoming Star Trek Online Game. In addition, it comes with a special STO code for you to get a "Wrath of Khan" admiral’s uniform for use in the game. 

The Cage & Where No Man Has Gone Before
Like with the DVD set for Season Three, the Blu-ray set has two versions of the unaired "The Cage" (regular and ‘extended’), but now both are in HD and look great. The zoom into the bridge that opens "The Cage" is one of the most impressive of all of the work done by CBS Digital, and is amazing to see in HD. You may want to watch it a couple times to try and spot the transition from digital to live action. 

The brand new feature is the inclusion of the original extended version of "Where no Man Has Gone Before." A 35mm film print of the second pilot as presented to NBC  get the show greenlit, was obtained from a German collector and fully restored in HD (with the original effects). This includes a new intro and alternative opening monologue from Shatner along with different music cues and some new footage. For a Trek fan this new version is of historical interest, but the version aired during the first season (and in HD on the Season One Blu-ray) seems to be an improvement.

See the original cut of "Where No Man Has Gone Before"

Bottom Line
If you are only going to pick up one season of Star Trek on Blu-ray, this should probably not be your first choice. However, for those who have picked up the previous two seasons, this set continues to deliver Star Trek beautify in HD. Even for those with the first DVD set and with HDTV, this is worth the double dip (although that is a harder call if you picked up the Season Three Remastered DVD set).

Star Trek Season Three is available now, and also as part of a new three season set.


Full Details

Disc One:

  • Spock’s Brain
  • The Enterprise Incident
  • The Paradise Syndrome
  • And the Children Shall Lead
  • Is There In Truth No Beauty?
  • Special Features:
    • Preview trailers for each episode
  • BD Live enabled, Mobile-Blu™ enabled

Disc Two:

  • Spectre of the Gun
  • Day of the Dove
  • For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky
  • The Tholian Web
  • Plato’s Stepchildren
  • Special Features:
    • Preview trailers for each episode
  • BD Live enabled, Mobile-Blu™ enabled

Disc Three:

  • Wink of an Eye
  • The Empath
  • Elaan of Troyius
  • Whom Gods Destroy
  • Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
  • Special Features:
    • Preview trailers for each episode
  • BD Live enabled, Mobile-Blu™ enabled

Disc Four:

  • The Mark of Gideon
  • That Which Survives
  • The Lights of Zetar
  • Requiem for Methuselah
  • The Way to Eden
  • Special Features:
    • Preview trailers for each episode
  • BD Live enabled, Mobile-Blu™ enabled

Disc Five:

  • The Cloud Minders
  • The Savage Curtain
  • All Our Yesterdays
  • Turnabout Intruder
  • Special Features:
    • Preview trailers for each episode
    • Preview trailers for each episode
    • Life Beyond Trek: Walter Koenig
    • Chief Engineer’s Log
    • Memoir From Mr. Sulu
    • Captain’s Log: Bob Justman
  • BD Live enabled, Mobile-Blu™ enabled

Disc Six:

  • The Cage
  • The Cage (Extended Version)
  • Special Features:
    • Where No Man Has Gone Before (The Unaired Alternate Version of the Pilot)
    • David Gerrold Hosts “2009 Convention Coverage”
    • “The Anthropology of Star Trek” Comic-Con Panel 2009
    • “The World of Rod Roddenberry” Comic-Con 2009
    • Billy Blackburn’s Treasure Chest: Rare Home Movies and Special Memories Part 3
    • “To Boldly Go…” Season Three
    • Collectible Trek
    • Star Trek’s Impact
  • BD Live enabled, Mobile-Blu™ enabled
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When I move to Blu, TOS and the Movies (starting with Trek 2009) will be my first titles.

C’mon stop pickin’ on Season 3 – there are still some pretty good episodes and alot of fun moments. I for one wouldn’t want to do without the classic “Brain and brain…what is brain?” :)

Looking forward to getting this for Christmas to complete my collection!!

I m looking forward to this, still great fun watching season 3

Season 3 of TOS was great. Can’t wait to get the set.

You don’t like Season 3? Herbert!

For the World is Hollow…. A great ep about overbearing religious dogma that keeps its civilization in the dark AND one of the few McCoy love stories. One of my faves!

Also love Paradise Syndrome. Overlooked imo as great carefree love interest for Kirk – as one of few times he was TRULY happy – but with a gut-wrenching ending, even for me as a little boy. One of the saddest endings Ever. And the wonderful soundtrack (available for purchase) adds some original flute-like music to the series.

Yes, 3rd season had some true gems.

Season 3 was the worst season in my opinion, but it did have some pretty good episode like The Empath, The Tholian Web, Requiem for Methuselah and All Our Yesterdays. And Plato’s Stepchildren is worth watching for pure entertainment.

This box better come with the bonus “unique admiral uniform” for STO, like they said it would, it’s the only friggin reason I bought this thing…

Whereas I may delve into this 3 season Bluray release at some time, I’m satisfied for the moment w/ my HD/TOS-R sets. I have been spending a great deal of $ on BD’s lately, not to mention ALL 11 Startrek films, all 4 Terminator films, the Xmen trilogy, both Fanstatic 4 flics and others.
Maybe a bit into the new year, I’ll be able to afford the 3season boxed set.
But if you have the HD/TOS-R on dvd, how much more, REALLY can these look that much better to quadriple dip buying this series again?

Ok, why won’t this thing let me post a comment?

Weird, I tried twice…, it does. My thoughts about season 3 on blu ray:
Ahhhhhhhhh……ahhhhhhhhh……ahhhhhhhh….ahhhhhhh, bitter dregs!

A nice (and useful) review, Anthony. Thank you.

I’ll be waiting until I can get all 3 TOS seasons on Blu for $200 or so… if not a boxing day special this year, then probably next year.

Now that all the films and TOS are on Blu, any bets on where Paramount will head to the gold mine next? As TNG would require the effects to be remastered for High-Def, I think they’ll go with ‘Enterprise’ on Blu next.

Actually season 2 is a perfect example of the difference between HD and SD. I can’t stand watching the included trials and tribulations because it looks so horrible in comparison with the breathtaking spectacular image quality of the all the original series episodes. I can only hope that paramount will take the time to recut all of the original footage for TNG, DS9, and VGR since no final print exists (final print is on betamax tapes). I suspect ENT will be next (looking forward too as well) since it shouldn’t require any work of any kind to get it ready for blu-ray.

Having now bought ALL 11 Trek films on BD…..the STMP has only 15min. of prior footage ported over from the dvd’s! The other 5 films get over 2hrs each. Now there’s no way I can gte rid of the standard direct. cut, A. Due to this version not yet on BD, and B. NONE of the previous featurttes extras are on BD, w/ the excpetion of the deleted scenes/trailers/tv spots! WTF!?
We KEEP hearing Bluray HOLDS SO MUCH MORE INFO. than standard dvd’s but Paramount cheaps out on this??????? Come on! I understand SOME of the featurettes are specific to the direct. cut, but not ALL! = Censorship

And have you noticed how Paramount has jacked the price of Season 1 and 2 right before Christmas? Guess they don’t want to sell as many units.

Looking forward to the Cage and the original WNMHGB. I have a very crappy internet version of the latter. Reminscent of a Quinn-Martin production with the Act cards at the beginning of each segment. It also shows a little more of Gary Mitchell in the corridor — he’s a definite space hound dog. Kirk’s intro would have been a good way to setup the series.

The Tholian Web was the best of the 3rd season for me and among the best of the series. This was truly an ensemble effort as Shatner was in interspace for most of the episode.

I am disappointed at the lack of any commentaries on the episodes. Those were a lot of fun.

This set looks great. We viewed “Spock’s Brain” last night and “The Cage” which really is improved with the remastered effects. WNMHGB is interesting during the opening sequences and for the historical value, but if you want to see that episode in its glory, go back to the first season set for maximum viewing enjoyment.

I always loved the third season, it was a time when I started recording the episodes and listened to them much more than I actually saw them.

Even episodes like “Spock’s Brain” have scenes where the personal interaction between the cast is amazing. Even though the material wasn’t all that good, the actors played it serious and that actually keeps the intensity up when many moments could have degenerated into a complete travesty.

Now onto the Directors Editions of the original cast movies?…

The problem with the 3rd season, is that even in the DECENT episodes you still have a bloated Shatner with a ratty-looking toupee, those long, cheap-looking nylon uniforms, and a bunch of actors who appear to be completely bored and disinterested.

I frankly have a hard time watching any of it.

I wish they added some Starfleet Access commentaries to some of the episodes like Tholian Web, Enterprise Incident, Elaan of Troyius, Let That Be Your Last Battlefied.

Although Season 3 was pretty uneven in quality, it did have some highlights for me.. Tholian Web, Enterprise Incident, Elaan of Troyius, Lights of Zetar, The Paradise Syndrome, That Which Survives

#16 – I recall seeing somewhere that the reason the TMP Director’s Cut has yet to receive a BD release is that the CGI effects were done in 720 resolution, not 1080; they’d have to be redone for BD. Also, I also seem to recall something about Sony precluding the release of non-theatrical versions of films on BD (though that restriction, if it actually existed, may have since been lifted).

#17 – Censorship? Really? I’ve often found that when people start screaming “censorship!”, they really mean “they won’t let me say anything I damn well please, even if it’s vile, disgusting, illegal, immoral, waaaah, mommy, those bad men are being mean to me!” But, I’m sure that’s not what you meant, right?

Picked my copy up yesterday. The third season gets a bad rap. While the first season is the difinitive Trek, in my book, the 3rd season has some great episodes. Fortunately, growing up, the episodes aired in syndication were not stripped in any kind of order whatsoever, so I had no idea what seasons the episodes came from. So I never really subscribed to that particular “party line” of fandom.


“When I move to Blu, TOS and the Movies (starting with Trek 2009) will be my first titles.”

It is THE reason I got bluray. And it’s really cool.

The DVDs of TOS-R are slightly nicer looking versions of the old DVDs, the Blu-rays are phenomenal. Where No Man Has Gone Before in it’s original form is a delight.

There is nothing Sony has ever done to preclude non-theatrical versions. There are director’s cuts all over the place. Look at “Blade Runner” TMP (as mentioned) is simply waiting for a remaster of the additional footage which was not rendered in 1080p (but can be without too much hubbub)

My only complaint about season three is that the box doesn’t match the first two seasons. It’s not a big deal but what’s up with that Paramount?

27 – Thanks for the clarification. I probably heard it as a rumor, and should have treated it as such. Not that it really bothers me, of course, as I have yet to enter the realm of HD, thus I (unlike others I’ve seen) don’t cream my pants every time someone merely mentions Blu-ray. (Both the economy and my paycheck have to improve before I start spending money on HD.)

The original Where No Man looks great in HD — I strongly disagree that the broadcast cut is superior! Thanks to CBS Video for the effort … now I can retire my VHS bootleg from 25 years ago …

… Howerver, the HD also exposes the lack of frame-by-frame restoration. I’ve only watched the first 20 minutes and have seen an egregious green scratch plus some speckles in obvious places like credits.

@27 — Yeah, why the slim box for the 3rd season that now doesn’t match the first two seasons? Just to save a penny or two? CBS Video makes some baffling decisions … as a huge fan of “The Fugitive,” don’t get me started on those horrible music substitutions!!!

And why does the boxed set cost more than buying the individual seasons separately?

I watched “Where no man” last night. The restoration was done from a print, not the original negatives like they were for the series. I didn’t notice much difference other than the credits, and the opening sequence. What else was different?

Can’t wait to get mine…pre-ordered from Amazon way back and got the email yesterday that’s it’s on the way…hopefully tonight! :)

One of the most interesting items for me regarding Season 3 is what folks consider to be the “good” 3rd season shows. Most agree on “Enterprise Incident” and probably “Day of the Dove” and maybe “The Tholian Web, as being “good” shows” but beyond those episodes, opinions vary widely (which is perfectly fine of course).

For instance, I still very much enjoy “Elaan of Troyius” even though I know it’s a bit on the campy side. And it hardly ever gets mentioned as a 3rd season standout by anyone else :) . The battle sequence at the end is totally fun and fairly tense actually (for a low budget, 1960’s TV show!), and Shatner is so fun to watch as he again does everything he can to save his (Kirk’s) ship. Plus we technically get our first look at what would become the basic design of a Klingon ship (even though I know that this episode, while produced before “Enterprise Incident,” was in fact aired after the latter).

But I would never name shows like “The Lights of Zetar” or “For the World…” as standouts. I enjoy them both, mind you, but I would put them firmly in the “so-so” category. Scotty is just too much out of character in the former show, and the romance in “For the World” is too forced for my tastes (even though I realize that this is primarily due to the limitations of an hour long drama format).

And hey, I even had a friend once tell me out of the blue several years back that she had just caught a broadcast of “Plato’s Stepchildren” and thought it was one of the best of the whole series :o .

Bottom line: I enjoy them all on at least some level, and certainly respect any other differing opinions…


I once again must say to beware of this release. For some odd reason, the opening shots of the Enterprise in full color version of The Cage, with the original effects, are presented in black and white. To my knowledge, these were always presented in full color on the other editions. The titles and bridge inside the ship was in color, but the ship itself was in black and white. Somebody call the management!

I look forward to getting this set…next Christmas. I’m still working on Season 1, and S2 is on my shelf. It’ll take me at least a year to get to S3. :)

Pity about the packaging not being the same as S1 and S2.

No screen grabs from the new set? :(

On another note, remember that episode where the Enterprise had to put these satellites in orbit over a planet to cure it of some plague or something, (I think it was “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”). CBS added a sound effect for the satellites activating (a stock sound because I recognized it from a few other places too). How does this work with the seamless branching? If do you hear the sounds in the original version? Is there one extra soundtrack just for that one episode? A standard one, one with the newly recorded music, and one with the music plus the sound effect?


I don’t yet have S3 yet, but on the S1 set, the sound effect is present on both enhanced and non-enhanced versions of “Operation — “Annihilate!” when the satellites are activated that kill the nerve cell critters (when you use the 7.1 audio selection).

It does sound out of place if you happen to watching the non-enhanced version.

But if it bugs you, you can always just switch to the original mono sound track :) .

When we’re talking about standout third season episodes, I would have to add “Is There In Truth No Beauty”. As a child I was not that fond of it, but as I grew older ( and listened to it on audio cassette over and over ) it grew to be one of my favorites.

I will say that ,in this case, I kind of prefer the original psychedelic colors and look for the other dimension that the Enterprise becomes trapped in to the rather bland green and blue of the new version. To me, that muticolored universe looked far scarier and alien. I also miss the look of rippling energy in the original galactic barrier which I found more intimidating than the rather nebulous new version that CBS Digital came up with. Personal preference, I suppose.

“Blu-ray? Blu-ray? What is Blu-ray?”

See if you can get some screencaps of the openning of The Cage, with the original effects. They are seriously in black and white!

Every season of every Star Trek show has at least one episode worse than ‘Spock’s Brain’. Some seasons of Voyager have more than twenty.


“as a huge fan of “The Fugitive,” don’t get me started on those horrible music substitutions!!!”

They changed music on The Fugitive?! I assume you’re talking about the David Jansen show. What did they do?

I always liked “Spectre of the Gun” and “The Savage Curtain”. I was always sad Abe Lincoln got stabbed in the back. That bothered me a lot when I was a kid. I thought the actor who played Abe Lincoln did a great job on that episode. Also, Sarak was classic. I really liked it. It’s still one of my favorites because you’d never see anything like that on TV today.

I read two or three books about Abe Lincoln after I saw that episode in 3rd grade.

Can you imagine Captain Picard or Janeway or Archer fighting to the death with George Washington or Ben Franklin against a Klingon and Ghangis Khan?

Who was that weird witchy lady in “The Savage Curtain” Zorba the Greek? I never could figure that one out. She creeped me out. Colonel Green was a good bad guy who I think made an appearance in Enterprise Season 4.

The inclusion of WNMHGB is a fantastic extra! I saw the other evening. While there is a couple of long green scratches and lots of specs and dust, it’s intact. I never heard the dialogue that was cut before. When Kirk is playing chess with Spock, and talks about terrible having bad blodd like that. He ends by saying to Spock, “Maybe someday you’ll learn to enjoy it” Refering to emotions. Now that was the single most relevent new thing I’ve ever heard in 40 years of Star Trek since this originally aired in the cut version.

That’s wonderful accidentail foreahadowing to Star Trek The Motion Picture!

in addition to all the praise/criticism, i’d like to mention:

main theme: since the addition of the female-singer to the arrangement during the 2nd season, i’d felt the 5.1 recreation of the theme presented the vocalist far to forward in the mix (to my tastes). this 3rd season theme was even more distracting. to begin with, shatner’s “space the final frontier” intro used to have some audio-effect (reverb, perhaps) applied until he utters the word “Enterprise”. i always found that unique and effective. it appears to be completely dispensed with. and even the arrangement seems to do little to emulate the original. very odd.

and as with previous seasons, there are often some shots having so much debris in them that it’s difficult to believe any human-eye was applied to the restoration. it’s evenpredictable during any layered-shot (such as “beaming-in” shots and especially during viewscreen shots). because there are several film layers overlapping for these FX, it frequently increases the dust in the shots and it’s so obvious to the viewer.

in fact, a superior clean-up of the end-credits and, especially, the original-FX should have been accomplished.

also, with the wonderfully sharp, bright, colorful imagery in the episodes restored, scenes that fading from one to the other look totally washed-out. perhaps additional color restoration and sharpening should have been individually applied to help improve their appearance (relative to the superior footage surrounding the edit).

finally, i can’t caution boxed-set collectors enough. when you’ve purchased one, it can be months or years before you discover that one of the discs is defective. then, it’s obviously too late to return the thing and this is extremely likely to happen – as i found in my STTNG 7season-box set (49discs) and Stargate SG-1 (10seasons).

a bit surprised none of these criticisms have been mentioned at all on the reviews on this site (with advance-apologies if i’ve simply missed them).


The remastered version of “The Cage”‘s zoom into the bridge was phenomenal, as you said. It was on TV here in Canada this past summer.

Just watched “Enterprise Incident” on blueray. Man that was AWESOME!

What is up with the small case compared to the larger case for season 1 and 2? Looks silly on the shelf….

Also, it is anoying to have to take a disk out to read the episode list.

But over all the blueray was worth the money. My Trek collection is now complete….(until the 3D holgram version somes out in 2035! )

#46 I agree with you on the new recording of the theme. It puts the singer out in-front of the music more then necessary. At the time when they were actually doing the remastered episodes, I commented on it many times here, hoping someone would notice.

The third season arrangement is somewhat different, as are the first two seasons and it’s uniqueness is somewhat lost in the new release. Allthough I find in my 5 speaker surround system, it isn’t as bad as listening on my computer.

Also, yes it would have been great if they had done further restoration to many of the film elements. I suspect the budget didn’t allow for the extra time to do so as Toshiba had pulled back from the project.

All in all, however it’s a big improvement over the past releases on DVD.

“main theme: since the addition of the female-singer to the arrangement during the 2nd season, i’d felt the 5.1 recreation of the theme presented the vocalist far to forward in the mix (to my tastes). this 3rd season theme was even more distracting. to begin with, shatner’s “space the final frontier” intro used to have some audio-effect (reverb, perhaps) applied until he utters the word “Enterprise”. i always found that unique and effective. it appears to be completely dispensed with. and even the arrangement seems to do little to emulate the original. very odd.”

Those are some things I also found disconcerting about the re-do of it all. There was a sound those musicians of the ’60’s had that wasn’t quite the same as the recent recording. And the original vocalist wasn’t as polished as the newer singer. I kind of liked her rawness. It’s all the aesthetic, the personal sensibilities of it all. Stuff that I’ve found through the years, doesn’t bother, or isn’t noticed by others. My wife says I have issues. Maybe so….my ears are always open (and I’ve abosorbed a lot through the years), and I just know what I like.