Doctor Who on DVD

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by MichaelEl, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. MichaelEl

    MichaelEl Stunt Coordinator

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    Do the DVDs of these shows consist of several 25 minute segments (as shown in the U.K) or a single 90+ minute movie (as shown on PBS), or is there a choice maybe? Online retailers offering these for sale don't seem to indicate how these DVDs are formatted.

    I know many people like to watch these shows as originally presented, but frankly I would prefer the single movie format since I like to watch an entire episode at once and don't see the point of being forced to sit through the credits several times in a row.

    BTW, the few Dr. Who episodes I own on VHS (all from the Tom Baker era) were divided into segments.
     
  2. Scott Kriefall

    Scott Kriefall Second Unit

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    They're presented as originally aired. i.e. in the 25 (or 45) minute episodic format.
     
  3. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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  4. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    I think there's one or two serials that have been reedited with additional footage into movies, but the ones I have are all episodic.

    You do know that the typical Dr Who story involves running around corridors punctuated by the screams of the (female) companion. Usually those screams come the end of the episode, and the corridor running towards the middle. This dramatic structure loses its focus without the credit sequences interrupting the story.
     
  5. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker Screenwriter

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    Actually, just one: "The Curse of Fenric." There was so much unused footage from that serial that, as a special feature on disc two, the story was re-edited into a feature length movie with 5.1 sound and updated special effects.
     
  6. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    And a great re-edit it is, too. Well worth watching. But that was one case where the episodic-structure didn't work for the story anyway, just because they had too much material to squeeze into the first episode, so they had to create a new cliffhanger where none was intended and the actual cliffhanger came five minutes into the second episode. The new re-edited version allows the story to breathe, and really is excellent.

    But generally, the show is concieved as episodic, and as Jeremy said, the story is structured as such. Add to that the fact that the cliffhanger recaps are occasionally different fromt the previous episode (I think this may be in Planet of the Spiders, for one example), or in the early days the recaps were just re-acted, or with The Invasion release mixing animated and live-action episodes, or any future Pertwee releases mixing B&W and colour episodes, and you just get a host of problems with creating a movie edition.

    Plus you would either need to include an entirely seperate movie-version on a seperate disc, or use seamless branching to create a movie version out of the episodic versions (and the BBC apparently have a policy against seamless branching, because of compatability issues).

    In addition, the early Doctor Who video releases were movie-editions, and were not well recieved by the fans.

    The fact is, it was made as a 25- or 45-minute show, and it should stay that way. If you want it any differently, it's easy enough to buy the DVDs (which really are worth investing - Yay for the Doctor Who Restoration Team) and make your own movie version.
     
  7. Tony J Case

    Tony J Case Cinematographer

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    What - skip the COOLEST credits and theme music to ever grace the television screen? You must be mad, sir! MAD!
     
  8. MichaelEl

    MichaelEl Stunt Coordinator

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    On the other hand, if you're only familiar with the show through airings on PBS - as most people here in the U.S. probably are - then you've only seen Dr. Who in movie form. Obviously someone at PBS or the BBC edited the cliffhanger segments of each episode into movies at some point, and so I suppose the question really is: why couldn't they simply release those combined versions on DVD? I'm sure there's a market for such a thing since it's the form of Dr. Who that most fans here are familiar with.

    BTW, I have a similar complaint about the bumpers in Image's TWILIGHT ZONE releases. Without intervening commercials, what these amount to typically is a fade to black at the end of a scene, followed abruptly by *THE TWILIGHT ZONE* flashing across your screen, followed by another scene. While some might argue these are necessary for for historical accuracy, I find them to be nothing more than unnecessary and annoying distractions which only serve to destroy the continuity of the show. They also make no sense within the context of the DVD presentation, since again, the commercials the bumpers were designed to separate are missing.

    I guess what I'm trying to say here is that the studios should take into consideration how people actually watch TV shows on DVD as well as how the shows were originally aired. This is not to say that I support altering aspect ratios or anything of that sort, but including pointless interruptions of continuity such as bumpers or superfluous credits really don't add anything of importance and can detract significantly from the entertainment value.
     
  9. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    Sorry, your PBS may have aired Dr. Who in movie form, but mine didnt. I got to see it as 25 minute episodes. They showed 2, back to back, uncut, and we had to wait a week to see the other 2. I dont want to see it as a movie. I want it the way they made it...the way it was meant to be seen. The Restoration Team does wonderful work by the way!
     
  10. TaiPan

    TaiPan Auditioning

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    I grew up watching Dr. Who here in America on PBS, and they never aired them in movie form in the 1980's. Can't speak for later, but I watched pretty much all of the Tom Baker episodes in the 80's. They were in the standard episode with cliffhanger ending form.

    Tai
     
  11. Lenny Rakes

    Lenny Rakes Stunt Coordinator

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    About 10 years back, BBC America ran a few of the early Tom Baker stories edited together as two part episodes in an hourly format.
     
  12. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    the edits weren't always done well. my local station, which is broadcasting tom baker stuff after years of showing repeated cycles of "tomb of the cybermen" through "planet of the spiders" makes the splices very obvious.
     
  13. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    Then the fans should get to know the show as it was made, rather than maintaining the bastardised versions.

    There are many different variations of how different episodes aired in different parts of the world. Should they create a 25-minute episode version, a 50-minute double-episode version, and a movie-length version for every title, just so that everyone can watch it in the form they are most familiar with? The first series of Sixth Doctor stories were made as 45-minute episodes, but aired in NZ in 25-minute form - should that be an option?

    It's just a multitude of options that will cause confusion to the viewer, increase difficulty in the creation of the disc, and all for what is still a fairly niche title. Show it in the form that it was made in is a much more logical approach, and I for one am glad about that.
     
  14. Tory

    Tory -The Snappy Sneezer- -Red Huck-

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    My PBS, LPB, aired this show first individually. It would air weekdays. At other times o Saturday night in the 80's, for the most part of its time on the air in the 80's actually, it was aired in a movie like format but this was frequently choppy. In the 90's they went back to episode but aired two back to back. I would have most preferred airing the whole story one night but seperating the episodes as originally aired. I may be wrong about this but I do believe that when the later McCoy's were first aired in the US as movies the seems were better and certain events I have seen in deleted material presented on DVD seem familiar to me. I think we may have got an extended movie cut of these that made them more bearable, actually in the case of McCoy I have a strong feeling that many of his stories will improve with the addition of deleted scenes placed in the spots they belonged, making much more sense of the story.
     
  15. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    IMHO, it's a small price to pay for good commentaries, a restored picture and the occasional documentary.
     
  16. Tony J Case

    Tony J Case Cinematographer

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    Nonsense - the cliffhangers are a *VITAL* part of the show. Not nessassarly because of any "Thats how it was shown originaly, thats how it should be now" arguments (those are vaild too, mind you), but because the it totaly screws up the pacing and drama of the moment. Some of the show's best moments were the end of the episode "Oh my god - I dont believe THAT just happened!!" The end of Androzoni part 1 where the Doctor is executed by fireing squad? The end of Bad Wolf, with THOUSANDS of Daleks all screaming for the Doctor's death? The shock return of the Cybermen in the first episode of Earthshock? Without the break in the action, these scenes (and many, many more) wouldnt have nearly the impact that they should.
     
  17. Clay_E

    Clay_E Stunt Coordinator

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    I first saw Doctor Who in compilation/movie format, and mark me down as one who insists on watching it episodically. The cliffhangers are, as Tony correctly points out, vital to the structure and format of the original show, and are as irreplaceable as the theme tune. There are a few stories from the original series that have never yet been released in this format in the U.S. (notably "The Deadly Assassin" and "The Time Warrior"), and I absolutely cannot wait.
     
  18. MichaelEl

    MichaelEl Stunt Coordinator

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    The division into *episodes* seems pretty clear to me. Typically, they begin with the Doctor and his companion(s) getting out of the Tardis on some planet or spaceship. This is followed by a conflict with aliens, robots, or other nasties, and the show ends when the enemies are defeated, and the Doctor and Co. get back in the Tardis (more often than not, in the same location at which the episode began) and zoom off into spacetime. This generally involves around 75 to 100 minutes of screentime, and what constitutes the beginning and end of the episode isn't ambiguous in the least.

    I would guess that most or all of the individual DVD releases contain what I've just defined as an *episode* divided up into the shorter segments shown on the BBC. I would guess further that most people who watch these DVDs probably go through an entire episode at once, and not simply 25 minutes of it, which makes the repeating of credits unnecessary at best, and annoying at worst. AFAIK, it would be entirely possible for the BBC to use seamless branching to allow viewers to watch entire episodes without interruption, and I'm not sure exactly why they would be opposed to this idea, given that they combined (or otherwise allowed someone else to combine) segments for broadcast on PBS.
     
  19. Scott Kriefall

    Scott Kriefall Second Unit

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    Have there been any examples of seamless branching that have actually worked properly? It was avoided for years because no one could make it work, either due to inadequacies in authoring software or due to buggy DVD players (or both).
     
  20. MichaelEl

    MichaelEl Stunt Coordinator

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    Isn't branching essentially what happens when a dual layer disc moves from one layer to the other? I rarely, if ever, notice a layer change anymore, so I think seamless branching is at least possible at this point.

    Actually, I just noticed that DVDEmpire lists Dr. Who DVDs as being single layer (DVD-5), so branching really wouldn't even be necessary. All the BBC would need to do is put the segmented BBC version on one layer of a dual-layer disc (DVD-9) and the combined *movie* on the other. Certainly masters must exist somewhere for the movie versions shown on PBS, and it would be a simple matter I think to transfer them to disc. No question I would buy a complete set of Dr. Who movies, but I doubt I will ever purchase the current DVDs, because I simply don't like watching the show divided up into short segments.
     

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