Production order VS Transmission order on TV boxsets

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Craig: Mclaren, Dec 18, 2003.

  1. Craig: Mclaren

    Craig: Mclaren Second Unit

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    Most US/UK shows were often made in a certain order that for various reasons was never how they were shown on the box. Is this considered by the studios? Proper production order is the only way to sequence them on DVD cos thats the way the makers intended.

    Whats everyones views on this?
     
  2. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Negative.


    Often enough there are problems that happen with an episode's production, so an ep that is meant to be seen first gets a production number that is later in order than an ep that is meant to be seen second. It's still show in the proper airdate order, but your method would have it "corrected" to production order and mess up continuity.

    An infamous example of what I'm talking about occurs in Season 4 of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The first ep of the season was "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", which resolved the cliffhanger from Season 3. The next three eps in production order are "Suddenly Human", "Brothers", and "Family". Yet "Family" was aired immediately after "BoBW2", because it shows the Enterprise-D in drydock and undergoing repairs from the battle with the Borg, and Capt. Picard dealing with the emotional fallout of the events of the 2-parter. It was, in essence, the conclusion of a 3-parter, unofficially. If "Suddenly Human" were aired first, then that would make no sense. Especially if you are familiar with that ep, and know that during the story Picard is stabbed by a teenage boy in his care.
    Everything that happens in that episode obviously cannot occur before the events of "Family"...and the stardates on the Captain's logs reflect the correct order of the episodes.


    Saved By The Bell is the perfect example of what you are talking about, though. They should have aired in production order, but didn't. So the "introductory" episode was actually seen after 14 other episodes had gone by. Firefly was another good example: the "pilot" 2-parter aired last!


    So the RIGHT answer is that some shows should be on DVD in production order, and others should be on DVD in airdate order. Some are best put on DVD in a different order than either one of those (just ask fans of The Prisoner).


    There's no one correct way to do it. The producers and fans should all be considered (and consulted) prior to making such a decision. Always.
     
  3. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    TNG Season 4 was not the only set that did that. It happened also in the Season 1, 2, and 5 sets as well. Cases in point:

    Season 1: When Denise Crosby left the series toward the end of the first season, her final episode she filmed was "Symbiosis" (if you look really hard, you can see her waving goodbye!). This was filmed after
    her character of Tasha Yar was killed off in"Skin of Evil"
    . Yet Paramount reversed the airing order of those two episodes. The Season 1 DVD set has the episodes in the airing order and, therefore, in the correct continuity order for the series.

    Season 2: My mind is a blank on this one, but it involves two early Season 2 episodes.

    Season 5: "Unification - Parts 1 and 2" were filmed in reverse order because of Leonard Nimoy's availability for filming.

    Ironically, the original Star Trek series has been released on VHS, laserdisc, AND DVD in their original production order, with the exception of Episode 1, "The Cage", which wasn't aired for the first time on TV until October 1988 and was on the end of Volume 40 of the Original Series DVDs.
     
  4. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    Dave pretty much said it all. The right order is the order that those behind the creation of the show intended the show to be shown in. If that order happens to be transmission order or production order, then so be it. If some other order was intended, follow that.
     
  5. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    David pointed out a good example of both, I didn't know about the TNG deal, but I did know about the Saved by the Bell thing its a little odd to watch all these episodes with AC Slater in them and then watch the episode that introduces AC Slater.
     
  6. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    There are some scrambled episodes on the What's Happening!! box. From looking at TV Tome's episode guide for the show, there is some confusion (possibly on their part) about the order of the show, since some episodes were apparently filmed to be aired about a month before they actually did air. I'm not sure if their guide is correct or not, but the box set's order is slightly different from their guide's. Since the show did not rely heavily on continuity (though, there were enough references to past shows to make it interesting), it shouldn't be a problem even if it is the box set that is incorrect. It may explain one discrepency I've seen so far, though: in one episode, Mrs. Thomas told Raj she wouldn't allow him to work, even though he had jobs in previous episodes. Since the job he had in a prior episode involved working at a supermarket, and that is the job he accepted against his mother's wishes, that could be an example of the shows being shown out of order.

    Edit: It looks like the episodes cited above are played in the same order no matter which list you use. So, it was a writer's error.
     
  7. GarySchrock

    GarySchrock Second Unit

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    Babylon 5 is another that often had different production order than air order. For that show, one of the reasons that would happen is if episodes needed more cgi work they'd get shot early so they'd get the extra time needed, and hence would have a production order earlier than they're intended to be viewed. The proper order for dvd's should be the order that the episodes are meant to be viewed in, which may not be either production or airdate order.
     
  8. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Most TV series do not have serial story lines and therefore it makes no difference at all what order is used for either the original transmission or the DVD sets. Seasons are generally not planned in advance on series that are primarily "episodic" and many shows are no more than one to two scripts ahead of shooting during most of their season.

    The production order on these shows becomes the order they happen to get made in based on various factors. It is not the producer's "intended" order. Apart from a season opener (if there's a cliff-hanger to be resolved) the producers may not even have a "first episode" in mind. They shoot the scripts that they have to hand and they and the network look at the finished episodes and decide which one is the "strongest", and most likely to hook an audience.

    OTOH the producers may plan certain episodes in advance. A Halloween episode will obviously be slotted to coincide with Halloween week, ditto a Thanksgiving or Christmas show. If that's one of the first scripts written, it will be shot early in the production schedule, even if they won't air until a month or two into the season. Similarly if there is a major guest star or a cross-over with another series that they want to promote for the November sweeps, they'll shoot that whenever that guest star is available or when it is easiest to coordinate with the other show.

    In the case of serialized shows other factors can come into play. If a guest star or location or major set is to be featured in the 1st, 12th and 19th episode of a 22 episode season, it might be prudent to shoot those episodes back-to-back-to-back rather than risk not having one of those elements available or spend the money to get to that location/build that set more than once. With B5 it was often effects work that determined a change in broadcast order. In other cases (like S1's "Mind War") it was a matter of the network liking an episode and wanting it for a sweeps period. During the original run of S5 the show went on hiatus for several weeks during the NBA play-offs. The planned schedule was changed so as not to go out on a "downer" episode, while at the same time airing something that could serve as a mini-cliffhanger to encourage viewers to return after the playoffs. (This resulted in an obvious continuity problem as two characters popped up on the station one week in the middle of a multi-episode arc where they were actually on a distant planet.) This and some other scheduling oddities were corrected when the series went into reruns first on TNT and later on Sci-Fi. Other deviations from the producer's originally planned order were judged so minor that they were left as is, and in some cases the show's creator is on record as saying that an unplanned order actually works better than what he'd planned, so he left it that way.

    Any way you look at it the notion that the production order is the "intended order" or the "right order" doesn't hold water. It is either irrelevent or actually wrong in most cases.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  9. Joel Fontenot

    Joel Fontenot Supporting Actor

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    The VHS releases did number the original Star Trek series in production order. The laserdisc releases were done a little differently. The episodes were paired off on each disc in airdate order, which meant that you'd have to stack them in airdate order because the "Next Week..." preview at the end of each side would be the next episode originally aired. The back covers still had the episodes numbered in production order. But you would get, for example, on one disc: "Shore Leave" (#17) and "The Galileo Seven" (#14) which was airdate order.

    The DVD's did put them back in the proper order, which is most helpful - especially for the first part of Season 1.

    Joel
     
  10. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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    The Transformers also falls into that third category.
     
  11. Kim Donald

    Kim Donald Stunt Coordinator

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    I Copied this from somewhere last year when I wanted to watch the Prisoner (sorry I don't remember where it came from maybe from someone on this forum)

    The American order is considered the official running order, as it came later that the UK order which had several episodes moved around in placement due to episodes not being finished on time. However, this order does not take into account "Living in Harmony" which was not shown in the US in the original run, but is now inserted after "Check Mate" as it would have been had it shown in the US during the original run. What follows are the original UK and US Broadcast orders:




    Original UK Broadcast Order
    1. Arrival
    2. The Chimes of Big Ben
    3. A, B, & C
    4. Free for All
    5. Schizoid Man
    6. The General
    7. Many Happy Returns
    8. Dance of the Dead
    9. Checkmate
    10. Hammer into Anvil
    11. It's You're Funeral
    12. A Change of Mind
    13. Do Not Foresake Me of My Darling
    14. Living in Harmony
    15. The Girl Who Was Death
    16. Once Upon a Time
    17. Fall Out

    Original US Broadcast Order
    1. Arrival
    2. The Chimes of Big Ben
    3. A, B, & C
    4. Free for All
    5. Schizoid Man
    6. The General
    7. Many Happy Returns
    8. Dance of the Dead
    9. Do Not Foresake Me of My Darling
    10. It's You're Funeral
    11. Checkmate
    12. Living in Harmony (not shown on first US run, but placed here during later runs)
    13. A Change of Mind
    14. Hammer into Anvil
    15. The Girl Who Was Death
    16. Once Upon a Time
    17. Fall Out


    There are many orders, and these come from looking at each episode separately and very carefully noting dialogue and how Number 6 is treated to give clues as to when in his imprisonment that story takes place. Since some things, even when approached in this manner contradict themselves in various ways in various running orders, there is no PERFECT or CORRECT order in which to watch the episodes other than playing "Arrival" as #1 and "Once Upon a time" and "Fallout" as #16 and #17 respectively.

    However, all is not lost, as Patrick McGoohan himself has a preffered order of what he considers the core seven episodes of the series which "really count." That order, taken from The Official Prisoner Companion, is as follows:

    Patrick McGoohan's What "Really Counts" Order
    1. Arrival
    2. Free for All
    3. Dance of the Dead
    4. Checkmate
    5. The Chimes of Big Ben
    6. Once Upon a Time
    7. Fall out (Conclusion)

    Apparently he originally only conceived around seven to ten episodes, but the producers wanted a minimum of twenty-six for world-wide syndication (finally 17 due to production difficulties etc.). The series therfore had to be padded with filler episodes; many of which like "The Girl Who was Death" (an unproduced Danger Man story) and "Do not Forsake Me Oh My Darling" (containing very little McGoohan due to him being off shooting "Ice Station Zebra") ending up being somewhat ridiculous and morethan a bit out of sync with the rest of the series.
     
  12. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    I always prefer that the shows be presented on DVD in the original aired order, although I can think of one glaring exception. I am so glad that the Firefly DVDs corrected Fox's screwy order and instead presented them the way the creator originally intended them to be seen.
     
  13. JohnAP

    JohnAP Second Unit

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    It's really something that needs to be looked at on a case by case basis. The Prisoner has already been mentioned as a show whose broadcast order has been changed around a lot and fans still debate the proper order of the episodes. When A&E released the series on dvd, they took all factors into account, but tried to put them in the order that makes the most sense and preserves the continuity best and I think they did an excellent job.

    Firefly's been mentioned as well. Fox mishandled this show in so many ways. The dvd was a chance for the creator to put them back in order the way he intended them. Thankfully, Buffy and Angel were never aired out of order by their networks. (with the exception of earshot that is).
     
  14. Jim*F

    Jim*F Stunt Coordinator

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    Regarding The Prisoner, A&E did an excellent with the order of the episodes (and explanations of why they placed each episode in its location) with one exception -- A,B,&C and The General! It is painfully obvious when you watch the episodes that The General ("Who are you?" "The new number 2") should precede A,B,&C (the #2 from The General is still in charge, as reflected in the opening "Who are you?" "Number 2," and I think it's clear in the episode that #2 is much more agitated and desperate for success in cracking #6 than he was in The General). Luckily, these two episodes appear on the same disc, so people that know The General comes first can simply play that episode first.

    And I suppose my only other quibble with this otherwise A+++ series is that A&E's DVD set should be 6 or 7 discs top, not 10!
     
  15. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

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    Thankfully, Earshot was a largely stand-alone episode, and was easy to show out of order.
     

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