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Doctor Who and the Case of Mild Peril


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Old 24-04-2013, 11:16
mirrorman74
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There's several threads and comments on this forum raising concern to the lack of two parters this season.

For me, part of the fear factor of classic Who was the cliff hanger at the end of most episodes where the Doctor or a character that the audience cares for is placed in genuine peril. The episodes were all part of one story (part one, part two etc), which allowed for the show to act as a serialised drama where anything could happen.

Perhaps this is why there are complaints of rushed episode resolutions this season and the apparent over reliance of the sonic screwdriver to save the day.

I also don't understand why the two parters that we do get are titled as two separate stories. Should it not be "The Almost People part 1" etc?

This week's episode, "Hide" started to build nicely as a ghost story then moved to a monster story, then resolved itself as a love story. So technically, there was no peril involved at all - not for any of the characters. The story would have segued nicely into a two parter placing the supernatural 'threat' in part one and the threat of the monster from the bubble universe in part two. But instead we got it all crammed into 42mins and then had a twist at the end which dampened the entire episode IMO.

Bring back some peril. And please, someone destroy that sonic screwdriver!
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Old 24-04-2013, 11:30
CD93
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I agree that we're missing some classic cliff-hangers and moments of genuine peril. Though I don't mind the differently titled two-part episodes. Hasn't been an issue since 2005.
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Old 24-04-2013, 11:54
johnnysaucepn
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Peril? The Doctor was trapped inside a collapsing universe, with no way to get out. Isn't that enough peril?

Classic Who didn't always work with cliffhangers, particularly when they were tacked on because the end of the episode was coming up, and had to be disposed of quickly when the next episode started. They didn't always flow naturally from the story. And when they were clearly not a threat at all.

Personally, I'd rather have a rushed ending in one long episode than four episodes that drag an interesting premise out too far.
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Old 24-04-2013, 12:02
stud u like
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I wish they would bring back the old format. This modern stuff is rushed and the stories poor. There isn't enough to engage the viewer. It is also written these days for the stupid people with the attention span of a sloth.

Bring back intelligent "Doctor Who"!
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Old 24-04-2013, 12:04
Duncan270566
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The reason why they moved away from "part one, part two" etc was because the casual viewer would be put off if they saw in advance that it was a "part two" and may not have watched if they hadn't seen "part one". Hence the seperate titles. I read that back in 2005 in an interview with RTD.

As for the cliffhangers, I really miss them. I was always a fan of classic Who cliffhangers and it helped me to keep watching each week.

They could be used to good effect today by adopting the same style as old shows such as Lost in Space and Quantum Leap. Just before the end of an episode, we are introduced to the next story briefly which ends in a cliffhanger and is picked up the following week.
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Old 24-04-2013, 12:18
DiscoP
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The reason why they moved away from "part one, part two" etc was because the casual viewer would be put off if they saw in advance that it was a "part two" and may not have watched if they hadn't seen "part one". Hence the seperate titles. I read that back in 2005 in an interview with RTD.

As for the cliffhangers, I really miss them. I was always a fan of classic Who cliffhangers and it helped me to keep watching each week.

They could be used to good effect today by adopting the same style as old shows such as Lost in Space and Quantum Leap. Just before the end of an episode, we are introduced to the next story briefly which ends in a cliffhanger and is picked up the following week.
I still find it incredible that viewers are put off by the notion that they would have to watch a second part to a story the following week. Are TV audiences really that fickle now? We used to watch stories play over up to six weeks back in the day!
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Old 24-04-2013, 12:26
Duncan270566
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Only those that didn't watch part one may have been put off as it would mean fropping in halfway through a story. I'm sure if those that enjoyed part one would tune in to see how it all pans out the following week.
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Old 24-04-2013, 12:30
johnnysaucepn
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The reason why they moved away from "part one, part two" etc was because the casual viewer would be put off if they saw in advance that it was a "part two" and may not have watched if they hadn't seen "part one". Hence the seperate titles. I read that back in 2005 in an interview with RTD.
I also like that the name of the second episode gives a little teaser to the new events happening in the next part.

They could be used to good effect today by adopting the same style as old shows such as Lost in Space and Quantum Leap. Just before the end of an episode, we are introduced to the next story briefly which ends in a cliffhanger and is picked up the following week.
I think the Next Time trailers are their attempt to do this, much easier than trying to come up with a logical reason that they were on a space station and now have to go to the Wild West.

Also, we do have cold opens now, so that we have mini-cliffhangers of that sort before the credits.

Originally Posted by DiscoP
I still find it incredible that viewers are put off by the notion that they would have to watch a second part to a story the following week. Are TV audiences really that fickle now? We used to watch stories play over up to six weeks back in the day!
I think the idea is that if you haven't happened to have seen part 1, you'll be less interested in seeing part 2, even though you'll pick up anything you need to know in the recap. I'm sure they had the same problem in the old days too, and that was back when there were fewer channel choices anyway.
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Old 24-04-2013, 12:58
DiscoP
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And yet series such as Broadchurch are perfectly successful, playing out over eight weeks. Or is it just that they are two completely different types of program, broadcast on different days of the week and attracting a different type of audience?
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Old 24-04-2013, 13:17
Corwin
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They could be used to good effect today by adopting the same style as old shows such as Lost in Space and Quantum Leap. Just before the end of an episode, we are introduced to the next story briefly which ends in a cliffhanger and is picked up the following week.

That has been done on the odd occasion, The Beast Below for example where we see a Dalek shadow with Churchill or Closing Time where River is captured.
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Old 24-04-2013, 13:22
Granny McSmith
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Peril? The Doctor was trapped inside a collapsing universe, with no way to get out. Isn't that enough peril?

.
I agree. I thought that particular peril was pretty perilous. I was chewing my nails.

Sometimes 2 parters are a total let down. The Pandorica Opens had loads of peril all nicely set up, then it all dissipated with the daftness of The Big Bang.

And why is everyone getting at the sonic screwdriver, and it's supposed overuse? I think it's fine.
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Old 24-04-2013, 13:41
CoalHillJanitor
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They could be used to good effect today by adopting the same style as old shows such as Lost in Space and Quantum Leap. Just before the end of an episode, we are introduced to the next story briefly which ends in a cliffhanger and is picked up the following week.
... and, erm, ... *cough* Doctor Who.
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Old 24-04-2013, 13:59
Duncan270566
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Yes, on occassions. But I am sugesting bringing back the cliffhangers permenantly and doing this each episode.
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Old 24-04-2013, 14:48
Mrfipp
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I have no problem with the current format, and I think it handles cliffhangers well in New Who. In Classic Who it sometimes it seemed like they had a cliffhanger just because they ran out of running time (Dragonfire).
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Old 24-04-2013, 15:51
johnnysaucepn
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Sometimes 2 parters are a total let down. The Pandorica Opens had loads of peril all nicely set up, then it all dissipated with the daftness of The Big Bang.
Really? The peril stayed, they just switched tracks. If anything, they deliberately completely subverted the cliche of cliffhangers by setting up a terrible situation, and then not resolving it, and instead bringing in a whole different set of questions, weaving them into the peril. I think it was downright beautiful.
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Old 24-04-2013, 16:04
CoalHillJanitor
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Yes, on occassions. But I am sugesting bringing back the cliffhangers permenantly and doing this each episode.
As they used to do all the time in the Hartnell era, I meant.
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Old 24-04-2013, 16:38
TheSilentFez
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I agree that I miss a good cliffhanger, but let's not forget that cliffhangers aren't always good. There are some pointless and terrible cliffhangers in Classic Who.
I think 45 mins is ample time to tell a story and I'd hate the idea of all stories being multi-part, but I do think we need the odd two or even three part story every once in a while.
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Old 25-04-2013, 01:57
neutralned
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There have been quite a few two parters, and I don't think I'd like EVERY episode to end on a cliffhanger, as it's pretty cheap dramatic tension, and gets less effective with every time it's done.

Also they haven't handled the cliffhangers that well, it wasn't that long ago that Amy appeared to have shot the girl in the spacesuit (who I thought was a boy) and then they jumped in to the second episode about ten minutes after the shot when apparently she had fired and missed and everything felt really jarring. I thought that was going to be because of some hocus pocus by the Silence, but no, it was just really bad linking between the two episodes.

I do think some of the one parters seem rushed but I think some of the two parters seem slow (monsters under the earth in Wales) so I'd rather see the mix go on with good and bad examples of each. A proper, sequential story arc of multiple episodes would be nice though, there are more than enough characters to do that now, and the BBC could just keep them on iplayer longer for the people that don't want to come in the middle of a story.
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Old 25-04-2013, 02:30
johnnysaucepn
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it wasn't that long ago that Amy appeared to have shot the girl in the spacesuit (who I thought was a boy) and then they jumped in to the second episode about ten minutes after the shot when apparently she had fired and missed and everything felt really jarring.
Which was deliberate - making you feel like you're missing events that you really should have experienced was one of the devices they used to disorient you and make you feel like the characters, having events blacked out of their memory by the Silence.
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Old 25-04-2013, 02:40
neutralned
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like I said, that's what I thought they were trying to do, but it wasn't effective cos they explained it with a throwaway line later, "oh you missed." That was it, it wasn't a big mystery. It wasn't like Memento, where what you weren't being shown was seriously important to the plot.

It was like they ended one episode on "argh that boulder is about to crush us to death." And then they opened the next episode with them strolling down the corridor, dusting off their jackets, saying, "Oooh what a relief that bounced over us, eh?"
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Old 25-04-2013, 08:19
Tom Tit
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For me, part of the fear factor of classic Who was the cliff hanger at the end of most episodes where the Doctor or a character that the audience cares for is placed in genuine peril. The episodes were all part of one story (part one, part two etc), which allowed for the show to act as a serialised drama where anything could happen.

Sorry, but I think anyone who ever watched Doctor Who believing him or any of the companion characters was ever in 'genuine peril' needs to maybe wise up a little.

I can't think of any less interesting a format than trying to con us into believing that the Doctor is about to die because anyone with the slightest shred of intelligence knows he isn't going to. There's no tension in that at all. It's for that reason that the best cliffhangers were never ones where the Doctor (or companion)'s life was imperiled but ones where the story took an unexpected or shocking twist.

But as far as pushing the envelope of truly trying to convince us it might be death for the Doctor... I can't think of any better, or more concerted attempt than in 'The Impossible Astronaut' were they actually show it happening and kidded for the whole season that it was the real deal. It seems to me they went quite a lot further with that than they ever did in the classic show. Surely that's an example of a format where anything can happen?

To me, ideas, spectacle, wit, scares (for the young or sensitive) and pathos are the real heartbeat of Doctor Who, not some artificial peril that blatantly will not pay off. And it's as abundant as it ever was. It's just paced differently.
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Old 25-04-2013, 09:37
johnnysaucepn
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It was like they ended one episode on "argh that boulder is about to crush us to death." And then they opened the next episode with them strolling down the corridor, dusting off their jackets, saying, "Oooh what a relief that bounced over us, eh?"
Well, it was more like "the boulder's about to crush them to death", followed by "wait - what just happened? What's going on? Why are they in the pub?" The mystery is for our benefit, not theirs. And that story was all about setting up mysteries.
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