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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Doctor Who 6x09 Breakdown

Okay, so the 6x12 episode's not quite ready yet but thankfully 6x09 has completed its run.

Here's what I've managed to put together with the help of my little spreadsheet template -- note: one show is only going to give you so much info, once you've got 3 done you tend to be able to make better judgement calls but this is a decent jumping off point.

Total Running Time: 41:37

'A' Plot Run Time: 29:11 <-- this is a bit high as when I wasn't sure (usually some odd scenes with tertiary characters) I tended to lump them in with the A plot.

'B' Plot Run Time: 9:45 <-- this is much easier to track as the B plot was pretty solidly divided.

'Runner' Run time: 0:59 <-- a weird little micro-plot about the father owing rent money that only existed to tie the landlord into the story... was pretty odd.

Five Acts??

As the episode played out I tried to pick out where the Act Breaks would be if it had natural Act Outs. What surprised me was that often there were these fantastic build-ups, with tension and the whole nine yards, very noticeable points in the story where in a regular American program you'd cut out and go to commercial. This show chose not to do that, but they're still there and seem to make sense.

I found a total of 5 potential Act Outs (Spoilers from here on down)

Teaser is self explanatory.

Act Out Number One was at 12:55 where the Doctor confronts George and says that he's 'here to talk about the monsters'. It's significant because it's the first real moment the Doctor being 'the Doctor' - he steps from the shadows and recognizes the boy and his call for help; maybe the boy's right, maybe something IS up after all. It's a great moment that bumps up the intrigue aaaand, if this were a North American production, commercial!

Act Out Number Two, for me, came at 19:14, a natural extension of Act the end of Act One - the Doctor, now finally getting a proper reading off the cupboard (where the family has hidden all the things that George fears) is surprised to find out that the readings are actually off the scale. Freaked out by this revelation, and further agitated as Alex (George's father) tries to open said cupboard, the Doctor turns to Alex and stops him. Why? Because "George's monsters are real". WHAAA?!
Aaaand commercial!

Act Out Number Three seemed to pop up at 28:35 where, after a pretty brilliant scene where the Doctor realizes/reveals that Alex's wife (Claire) was never pregnant for George -- and Alex responds, as if remembering something long forgotten, 'of course not, Claire can't have kids!' it's revealed that George is some sort of alien child. Who then freaks out 'causing the Doctor and Alex to be sucked into said evil cupboard of fear as the little boy looks on in horror. The cupboard even gives a satisfying little door slam after our heroes disappear inside. Yeah, we'll be right back... time to sell some soap.

Act Out Number Four comes just after the climax of the episode at 38:40, after Alex realizes that all of his son's fear came from George's worrying that his parents were going to abandon him. Something something about George being a special kind of alien, but essentially ends with Alex hugging his son and re-affirming that he'll love George no matter what. They both cry, George calls out 'DAD!' and the closet bursts open in a brilliant show of white light. One last further shot of the two embracing happily and we have one last commercial out before coming back for the epilogue.

The end of 'Act Five' at 41:37 shows the Doctor and his companions back on the TARDIS and talking about what their next fantastic adventure will be -- though a wicked little children's rhyme plays in the background 'tick tock goes the clock, even for the Doctor'. A nice little creepy ending and some foreshadowing for what's to come.

(end spoilers)

Getting into a bit more technical, number-y stuff, here's what I found:

Scene break down:

Total 'scenes': 68 <-- also seems high but this was mostly due to some very fast-paced, creative editing.

Total 'A' Plot scenes: 50 <-- This is high because, when in doubt (and with the B plot being SO obvious) I lumped the scene in with the A plot. There are a number of weird little side scenes (like the Landlord in his apartment being sucked into the floor) that didn't really seem to fit anywhere.
Total 'B' Plot scenes: 13
Total 'Runner' Plot scenes: 5

Scenes featuring the Doctor: 32 -- of which 30 are in the 'A' story

The next most-used character, surprisingly, turned out to be George's Dad, Alex who appeared in a combined total of 26 scenes.

Next up was Alex's son, George with 24 scenes total.

Amy and Rory, the Doctor's companions, ended up in a total of 22 scenes each (mostly because they spent all of their time together).

Scene Breakdown by 'Act'

Teaser: 4 Scenes
Act One: 21 Scenes <-- Some very quick scenes that didn't fit together and weren't intercut... weird. I might give this another look later.
Act Two: 11 Scenes
Act Three: 9 Scenes
Act Four: 15 Scenes
Act Five: 8 Scenes

Anyways, if there's interest, let me know and I'll post the completed spreadsheet up here for you take a look at.

So far, not bad. Not exactly enough to draw final conclusions on -- especially if this 21 scenes in Act 1 is a fluke, a mistake or a common thing (even if it's a mistake at 21, it'll still be a pretty high scene count).

But, hey, it's a start.

Cheers!
Brandon

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