tobyaw: (Default)
Toby Atkin-Wright ([personal profile] tobyaw) wrote2017-05-10 11:03 pm

4 ✖️ 25 minutes

Watching Doctor Who last weekend, it dawned on me that the fundamental problem with modern Who is not the nonsensical stories, the feeble characterisation of the Doctor, or the emotional outpourings. The problem is the 45-minute episode length. Barely has a story started before it is ending, and there is no space for middle, for development, for subplots, or for a change of pace.

The typical length of a classic Who story was four 25-minute episodes, giving a total story time of just over 90 minutes. Which is a far more natural length for visual drama.

Having watched the first four seasons of Elementary earlier this year, I came to the same conclusion. It would have been a significantly better television programme if there were half the number of episodes, and each was double the length.

I think the same goes for most televisual drama; we are stuck in the wrong format. The 100-minute length of television films is far better for story telling than the 45-minute length of episodic television.

Of course, in the world of Doctor Who we are spoiled with Big Finish creating a steady stream audio plays, many at the optimal length of between 90 and 120 minutes.

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