Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
 

DS Forums

 
 

Episode lengths - is 45 minutes long enough?


Reply
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 27-07-2013, 22:21
Analysethis
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Kent
Posts: 1,991

There were a few reviews for Season 7 episodes which said that 45 minutes didn't seem like long enough to do some of the plots justice, and that as a result things felt rushed or contrived in places.

Even Neil Gaiman mentioned on his Tumblr that he was was slightly miffed how much important stuff was cut out from his original Nightmare in Silver script to make it the required length.

Given the lack of two-parters (and assuming they won't be coming back any time soon, because Moffat decided they weren't cost-effective), would it be better to see 10 episodes of 58 minute length across a series, instead of 13 of 45 minute length?

It would mean the same amount of Who to the minute as a result, but would allow for higher-impact stories, and would give writers breathing room.

On the other hand, it obviously would mean a smaller number of actual stories per year, which could be a problem if they keep the series split: two opener episodes and two finale episodes only leaves room for six 'standard' episodes per series.

Thoughts?
Analysethis is offline Follow this poster on Twitter   Reply With Quote
Please sign in or register to remove this advertisement.
Old 27-07-2013, 22:25
LurkingGood
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 484
45 minutes is fine.
LurkingGood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-07-2013, 22:43
Fire Host
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 494
I would prefer an hour as the norm but understand and accept why it won't happen.
Fire Host is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-07-2013, 22:46
bp2
Forum Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 977
6 2 part stories with each part being 45 minutes and a 2 part story at Christmas.
bp2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-07-2013, 22:50
AG Verve
Forum Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 133
Would much rather prefer hour episodes but it won't happen unfortunately.
AG Verve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-07-2013, 22:55
f_196
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: West Yorkshire
Posts: 10,243
Given the lack of two-parters (and assuming they won't be coming back any time soon, because Moffat decided they weren't cost-effective)
That doesn't make sense.

Surely two episodes sharing the same costumes, cast, crew and locations would save on budget?
f_196 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-07-2013, 23:03
Analysethis
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Kent
Posts: 1,991
That doesn't make sense.

Surely two episodes sharing the same costumes, cast, crew and locations would save on budget?
Nope. He's talked about it at length, it's a false efficiency apparently.
Analysethis is offline Follow this poster on Twitter   Reply With Quote
Old 27-07-2013, 23:12
Mrfipp
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 605
That doesn't make sense.

Surely two episodes sharing the same costumes, cast, crew and locations would save on budget?
Generally, the second part of a two-part story doesn't get as many views as the first part. Even if it's a really good story, not as many people will see it the next week.

As for the main topic, no, I don't think 45 minutes is bad. Ultimately it comes down the to writer and what they can do. They need to use that time to it's fullest, or otherwise things will be too quick (a number of New episodes of gotten this complaint), or simply drawn out too long (Classic is a bit guilty of this).
Mrfipp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-07-2013, 23:30
Piipp
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,082
There were a few reviews for Season 7 episodes which said that 45 minutes didn't seem like long enough to do some of the plots justice, and that as a result things felt rushed or contrived in places.

Even Neil Gaiman mentioned on his Tumblr that he was was slightly miffed how much important stuff was cut out from his original Nightmare in Silver script to make it the required length.

Given the lack of two-parters (and assuming they won't be coming back any time soon, because Moffat decided they weren't cost-effective), would it be better to see 10 episodes of 58 minute length across a series, instead of 13 of 45 minute length?

It would mean the same amount of Who to the minute as a result, but would allow for higher-impact stories, and would give writers breathing room.

On the other hand, it obviously would mean a smaller number of actual stories per year, which could be a problem if they keep the series split: two opener episodes and two finale episodes only leaves room for six 'standard' episodes per series.

Thoughts?
Surely the two parters are cheaper to do than single stories because you can mostly use the same sets?
Piipp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-07-2013, 23:36
GDK
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Wigan
Posts: 2,808
45 minutes has been too short for some of the stories, but that time limit isn't likely to change anytime soon for reasons already discussed ad nauseum. Surely Doctor Who's writers and editors have to up their game and simply get better at fitting their stories in that limit.

Many other series do very well within the same time restriction, so why can't Doctor Who?
GDK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-07-2013, 23:36
TheSilentFez
Forum Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: In the corner of your eye...
Posts: 9,024
I'd much rather have thirteen 45 minute episodes than ten 60 minute episodes because I still think it's entirely possible to tell a brilliant story in that time and a reduced episode count doesn't necessarily mean "more quality episodes". Instead you could have the same number of "duds" (as some people call them) and thus less good ones.

The solution to this problem is to reinstate two-parters (This is the first I've heard with regards to Moffat not liking them). Not every story should be a two-parter because that means rubbish stories last longer and you have less variety per year, but the usual 3 two part stories per year is good enough. Finales should be two-parters, as should stories dealing with popular foes such as The Daleks, The Cybermen or The Sontarans.
Another suggestion is to extend to 50 minutes. The extra five minutes may mean the difference between a rushed conclusion and a well paced conclusion and probably wouldn't cost all that much extra.

The absolute worst thing they could possibly do is return to 4-part serials consisting of 25 minute episodes. I don't believe such a format would work in this day and age.
TheSilentFez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-07-2013, 23:49
Pull2Open
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: The Id
Posts: 8,989
The absolute worst thing they could possibly do is return to 4-part serials consisting of 25 minute episodes. I don't believe such a format would work in this day and age.
Sadly, I agree! Those were fun days though...loved those cliff hangers!

I would prefer an hour but 45 mins is fine!
Pull2Open is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-07-2013, 23:52
bp2
Forum Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 977
Another suggestion is to extend to 50 minutes. The extra five minutes may mean the difference between a rushed conclusion and a well paced conclusion and probably wouldn't cost all that much extra.
That doesn't work either, didn't Journey's End have a running time of 65 minutes? That had an awful conclusion, the most important factor is how effectively the time is used. I think they should experiment next season and focus more on plots and less on character development or reintroducing characters who have very little or no impact on the story.
bp2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-07-2013, 23:53
Xuri
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 74
I'd like to see them at a standard BBC drama 60 minutes. Never really understood why they're 45 minutes.
Xuri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-07-2013, 00:02
Westy2
Forum Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: West Midlands
Posts: 2,992
I'd like to see them at a standard BBC drama 60 minutes. Never really understood why they're 45 minutes.
Overseas sales.

Don't forget an US hour, including ads, is about 45 mins on yer non commercial BBC!
Westy2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-07-2013, 00:24
Xuri
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 74
Overseas sales.

Don't forget an US hour, including ads, is about 45 mins on yer non commercial BBC!
I get that. But it's not the BBCs problem. Or at least it shouldn't be. I love that Who is popular internationally. But it's a BBC show -- as such it should be the same length as any other BBC show. Top Gear is popular and is sold internationally. They don't reduce that to 45 minutes.
Xuri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-07-2013, 00:40
Tassium
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: It's Grim
Posts: 16,961
If two-parters were not saving money it can only be because they were using the concept incorrectly (from a budget point of view) and making sequels rather than serials.

---------------
Reading Moffat's view of two-parters is like listening to a ratings obsessed BBC executive.

"....
The viewing figures always go down. The AI [Audience Appreciation Index] goes down, even if the second episode is the better one. The press coverage goes down. The trailers are a bit boring. I want to be able to say, every week, we’ve got a big standalone blockbuster, and then a trailer that makes it look like nothing compared to what’s going to happen next week! That’s the form for next year.”



It's this kind of "of the moment" measuring that is killing television. The last series had noticeably less social impact, precisely the opposite of what he claimed would happen.

It's strange but it's the same thing that is going on with the US film industry at the moment, over-hyped blockbusters that always disappoint.


Building character, building story; is actually what made Dr Who work so well since it came back.
Tassium is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-07-2013, 01:17
f_196
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: West Yorkshire
Posts: 10,243
Top Gear is popular and is sold internationally. They don't reduce that to 45 minutes.
That's because they don't need to.

It's frequently chopped to fit on Dave, and you wouldn't realise.

Chopping 15 minutes of Dr Who would make it a mess.
f_196 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-07-2013, 01:31
Xuri
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 74
That's because they don't need to.

It's frequently chopped to fit on Dave, and you wouldn't realise.

Chopping 15 minutes of Dr Who would make it a mess.
Sure.

Not really the point I was making, but ok. I know nobody is going to accept that the BBC should not be pandering to other networks. It's just my opinion.
Xuri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-07-2013, 01:54
Kapellmeister
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Taedet animam meam vitae
Posts: 35,415
Nope. He's talked about it at length, it's a false efficiency apparently.
Reading that just made me realise how much I dislike Moffat and how I long for the day he slings his hook as the showrunner.
Kapellmeister is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 28-07-2013, 02:57
Joe_Zel
Forum Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 16,818
Sure.

Not really the point I was making, but ok. I know nobody is going to accept that the BBC should not be pandering to other networks. It's just my opinion.
They're not pandering, they're doing it for the cash.

It was the point you were making, that they don't cut Top Gear to 45 mins to fit an hour on commercial stations. But it's true, you take a few items out of the show and it would be unnoticeable to someone who didn't know any better.

Take 15 minutes of footage out of a story, a piece of fiction and it's much more noticeable.
Joe_Zel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-07-2013, 09:27
joe_000
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 327
A lot of the recent episodes do seem very rushed. It's like bam bam bam ... There u go explanation made and plot resolved and you're left thinking what... Didn't get that!!! Have to watch it again A lot if US shows do it a lot better in the same amount of time.
joe_000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-07-2013, 10:07
mikey1980
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3,312
45 minutes is too short in my opinion. I first noticed it in 'Victory of the Daleks' on series 5 - a good story that needed more time to breathe and unfold.

I suppose it may be simply down to quality of writing - some writers put too much stuff in their stories, making it hard to resolve all the threads in barely 45 minutes. Stories like Blink, Midnight, Turn Left and Dalek were all stand-alone 45 minute stories and worked well.

However my preference would be 60 minute episodes, with a series of 8-9 episodes, rather like Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes.
mikey1980 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-07-2013, 10:32
TheSilentFez
Forum Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: In the corner of your eye...
Posts: 9,024
I get that. But it's not the BBCs problem. Or at least it shouldn't be. I love that Who is popular internationally. But it's a BBC show -- as such it should be the same length as any other BBC show. Top Gear is popular and is sold internationally. They don't reduce that to 45 minutes.
The thing is, most series with 60 minute episodes on the BBC run for 6 or 8 episodes and sometimes less. I'd much rather have the usual 13 even if that means slightly shorter episodes.
People keep mentioning that they'd rather have quality over quantity, which is fair enough, but reduced quantity does not necessarily mean better quality.

That doesn't work either, didn't Journey's End have a running time of 65 minutes? That had an awful conclusion, the most important factor is how effectively the time is used. I think they should experiment next season and focus more on plots and less on character development or reintroducing characters who have very little or no impact on the story.
At the end of the day, the conclusion is up to the writer. Longer episodes don't necessarily mean less rushed conclusions. I've seen 6-part Pertwee stories with rushed conclusions.
What I'm trying to say is that for some episodes, an extra 5 minutes might allow the writers to create a better thought out and well paced conclusion. The extra five minutes would also probably still allow for 12-14 episodes per year.
TheSilentFez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-07-2013, 10:42
alfster
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 3,728

Even Neil Gaiman mentioned on his Tumblr that he was was slightly miffed how much important stuff was cut out from his original Nightmare in Silver script to make it the required length.
That story was let down by being rushed with no real feeling of jeapardy when there was just a few minutes from the end of the episode and they were still just starting to fight of 3 MILLION cybermen...if the important stuff was explanation etc I can see would Gaimen was annoyed.

The problem it seems is that the BBC just see it as another show but one they can make lots of moeny from but even then they treat it with disdain by chopping it about everywhere.

What the should do is cut back on SFX and use the money for more shorter episodes and have the show over a longer period of the year in the UK like it used to be then cut it together into 45minute shows for the US market...because that's how they want their shows.

Essentially, the way shows are being made is to fit in with how the US want shows made for their channels and no doubt BBC Worldwide telling the BBC they can get more money and will return more money to the BBC if they are filmed that way.
alfster is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 
Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 14:24.