I Just Saw Episode Three

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by Andrew, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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    This afternoon I saw Part Three of Back to Earth in its (mostly) completed for for the first time. Still a lot of FX to add, offline sound, but otherwise there.

    Honestly, I think it's terrific. An amazing piece of television, both wholly Red Dwarf and massively something new and special. I've been a fan for a long time and - entirely truthfully - I was too chocked up, to breathless, to speak when the closing music came up. In front of Doug.

    It was not entirely unembarrassing.
     
  2. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    Brilliant!
     
  3. connell

    connell First Technician

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    Oooh, it all sounds even better now!!! I'm litterally jumping up and down!!

    Eeep!
     
  4. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    Wonderful. It still feels amazing that we're going to see some new Red Dwarf episodes. For years I thought it was all over.

    Just three weeks now to D-Day.
     
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  5. Snow Cloud

    Snow Cloud Console Officer

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    It is weird to think. This time last year I would have thought all new dwarf was out of the question. I have all series on DVD nothing really new dwarf to get excited about. Who would have thought brand new red dwarf was going to be appearing before me soon.

    One thing I am wondering about, the old episodes were half an hour cause they were on BBC, are these new ones only 20 minutes cause Dave has ad breaks.
     
  6. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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    Twenty-three.
     
  7. Daniel

    Daniel Console Officer

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    Why is it they are only twenty-three minutes when G2 (I refuse to call it by its current name) allocates a 40 minute timeslot to what it shows?
     
  8. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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    The channel has Lister's name. I like it.

    The timeslot thing's pretty obvious when you think about the difference between showing repeats and creating original programming.
     
  9. Daniel

    Daniel Console Officer

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    Do me a favour and pretend I'm an idiot. I can understand the 40 minute for a 30 minute programme from the BBC or somewhere like that, i.e. Red Dwarf. And yet for some other shows, such as the hour long ones they just cut it up, i.e. Top Gear. Inconsistencies drive me mad in this way (obviously I would rather not see them slice and dice with Red Dwarf though!). Even their original programming gets a 40 minute timeslot though. At twenty-three minutes running time, that leaves 17 minutes for adverts! Thankfully a lot of those usually apepar at the end, although to what extent that will be "thankful" is questionable to all those who will watch the entire 'Back to Earth' in the single-sitting repeat (myself included).

    It just doesn't make much sense to me why they do this...
     
  10. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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    Okay, let's get the obvious thing out of the way: they're not going to put a 23 minute show into a 40 minute slot. That would be insane, you're right - it doesn't make sense. And it's not happening.

    A show that fits a standard 30 minute slot on a commercial station - one that shows adverts - is generally between 22 and 24 minutes long. That's seven-ish minutes of adverts, four of which are generally in the middle of the show. Just like ITV or Channel 4.

    It wouldn't even be legal to show 17 minutes of adverts on Dave in a 40 minute slot. That's pretty much the duration of a hour's worth of ads. These things are governed specifically.

    When you talk about the channel's original programming - what shows do you mean? They haven't made a narrative show before, a scripted comedy. Argumental is the only example I can think of. But that's a panel show, and one which needs to conform to a schedule of related shows to survive - it's always going to be scheduled next to QI or whatever. (UKTV's Richard and Judy, meanwhile, was commissioned for one hour slots, not 40 minutes or an hour twenty.)

    When a commercial station shows repeats, it has two choices. Either cut the show to fit the standard slot, or make your schedule around the existing size. That Dave mainly choses the latter option is hugely commendable - since they're essentially missing out on revenue to do so. Why? Because only having ad breaks in 20 minute intervals puts you behind the income of the other broadcasters, since they're breaking every 15 minutes in prime time. That's one lucrative ad break less every two hours they're missing out on, during the period when the most people are watching TV.

    They don't show the shows in 40 minute slots wholly out of choice, it's because that's the duration of the shows when you include ads. (And since without the ads, the channel doesn't make revenue, they're kinda necessary.) When Only Fools switched to 50 minute eps, how long are the Dave slots? I've not checked, but I'm betting it's a 65 or 70 minute one. They have no say about the duration of the programmes they buy in - most are BBC, of course, thanks to the Beeb connection, so aren't made for commercial slots - beyond choosing to cut them down or leave them alone, so that forces the shape of the schedule.

    For the first time now, though, they are doing something new. They're commissioning narrative comedy. Shows that could become the first of a huge catalogue, that they can repeat and repeat. And when you're starting something, you can either adopt the problems of the other shows you have - repeats you can't change the length of, no matter how inconveniently sized - or you can set a new precedent. So when you make the next show, and the next one, and the next one, all with different companies, they can be the length you want them, because "That's the length we make our scripted comedy shows."

    So, in time, you have a slew of shows that fit a regular commercial slot, that generate more efficient revenue and that are infinitely easier to sell overseas, where a 28 minute run-time is a severe problem. (The Japanese broadcast versions of Red Dwarf had several minutes edited out to make them viable for the big national channel it was shown on. Without that, it's be unknown over there, as opposed to being a bit of a cult smash. Another thing that makes argumental different: it has about a 50th of the repeat and sale value of Red Dwarf. It's unlikely to be shown in South America or still be in rotation in fully a decade's time. It's main value is in being part of the existing Dave schedule, not shaping the future one.)

    That's not the only reason to make the choice this way - for Dave - but it's a good one. Though it's strictly theory on my part. You work backwards from the obvious point - these decisions aren't made 'just because', they always come on the back of discussion and thought - and realise why.

    As to how this works for Red Dwarf - well, it works just fine. Because the episodes are edited - and even written - with the breaks in mind. They add dramatic punctuation, just as they do to, say, Buffy. It works.

    Wow, that one went on!
     
  11. moss

    moss Skutter

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    It's worth noting, incidentally, that some *BBC* sitcoms were made with lengths around the 25 minute mark. Series 5 of 'Allo 'Allo was 26 episodes, each lasting 25 minutes each, to aid sales to America.

    Perhaps more startlingly, Series 3 of Steptoe and Son - from 1964 no less - is also made up of seven episodes, each 25 minutes long. And Ray Galton reveals in this book that not only was this due to the BBC wanting to make it easier to sell the programme overseas, but they'd been trying to make them do this since the very first series! Galton and Simpson begged them to allow them a 30 minute slot, with long and impassioned speeches that whilst some comedy shows easily suited a 25 minute slot, for the depth of characterisation Steptoe relied on, it was vital they had a 30 minutes. They got their way at first... but eventually lost the battle for Series 3. Series 4 returned to 30 minute episodes, though.

    The characterisation debate is interesting, and I generally agree that for certain shows - I think Dwarf included - the longer slot is preferable. Having said that, I don't think it's that much of an issue in a three-part story!
     
  12. Cpt_Darling

    Cpt_Darling First Technician

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    It's astonishing the way the excitement is building up over 69 minutes of TV (+ the making of, of course)..

    We all get worked up when a new series of our favourite programmes come about but this seems to be creating a whole new form of expectation. GNP have always orchestrated the lead up to releases to maximise discussion and debate (DVD's etc) but with Dave on board as well as other sources like SFX and even Coronation Street's involvement, there's something of a frenzy going on.

    People talk about too many spoilers, assume cross-overs and even accuse Doug of jumping ship, but frankly, nobody has a clue.

    Never before can I recall appetites being wetted quite so much.

    Wonderful..
     
  13. replicon1

    replicon1 Third Technician

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    Can I ask why they decided to show you the last of the 3 episodes and not the first or all 3?
     
  14. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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    I've seen a pretty-close cut of episode one already - plus various edits along the way - and all the bits of episode two, but for logistical reasons we're actually having to lock the cut of part three first. They're being edited simultaneously, but three's the first one to get locked off.

    I consulted on the script from its first draft and I was still surprised by what happened!
     
  15. Keir_FTGL_Shiels

    Keir_FTGL_Shiels Catering Officer

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    I am on tenterhooks! I can't wait!
     
  16. brautigan

    brautigan Third Technician

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    If the episode that Andrew saw was 23 minutes long I'm assuming the other two are also of the same length. Is the Red Dwarf special a three episode story (much like 'Back in the Red') or are they three separate shows? I'm asking because I have felt in the past that a few of the BBC shows had storylines that seemed rushed towards the finish and that occasionally 27/28 minutes was not enough to tell a good story. I'm worried because I don't want the new shows to follow the pattern of build-up, build-up, build-up BANG! - CONCLUSION - FINITO!!! You see I love my Red Dwarf and I want it to be sweet, and not rushed out of the way so that Dave viewers/consumers can learn about a new type of egg whisk, or car insurance, of malted drink that will make you 'five pounds thinner', or some instrument to remove nasal hair or somesuch product during those all important ads.
    I suppose my main point is that I don't want the quality of Dwarf to be sacrificed merely for squeezing banal (albeit necessary to the funding of new shows etc blah blah blah) advertising into our once placid/haphazard/bizarre universe.
    Thanks, I'm going to have a lie-down now...
     
  17. Keir_FTGL_Shiels

    Keir_FTGL_Shiels Catering Officer

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    It's a BITR style three parter.
     
  18. Lee

    Lee Third Technician

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    CANT WAIT!!!!!!
     
  19. aceduder

    aceduder Catering Officer

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    Behind you!!! Ha Ha made you look!
    I'm getting more excited by the day!
     
  20. Sandi4

    Sandi4 Skutter

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    one question: is it funny?
     

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