Series 3 Appreciation Week

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Series 3 Appreciation Week

Post by Pooka » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:24 pm

I've taken another break from doing these over a busy period, but don't see why not try one of these again.

This week it's Series 3 Appreciation Week.

As with the first two, this is a Knightmare Chat endeavour, but since not everyone goes to chat, I'll start the discussion here too. I'm doing so now, rather than on Sunday itself, so that when chat does happen, we can also have some views here.

A lot of fans seem to say that Series 3 is the best, or as damn near perfect as it could be - and I can see their point, particularly as it's sandwiched between Series 2, which I always find quite slow, and Series 4, which is overly repetitive, overly repetitive, overly repetitive and overly repetitive.

On the positive side, Series 3 is certainly unique, with very few rooms seen in any other series - there are some recycled from the first two, and one or two that are seen again (but I can only actually think of one of those - the falling bridge!), but overall there are some very unique rooms, such as the swimming pool room, the Vale of Vanburn and the dwarf tunnels. There's some crazy stuff in there too, with some puzzles requiring things like a fishing rod to complete! Weird.

I also like the cast of series 3. Motley is introduced and I always preferred him over Folly; Mrs Grimwold is a brilliant addition and Festus is a hilarious concept; Hordriss is at his most dangerous; Grimwold himself is a genuine threat and gets a kill; Mellisandre adds a certain warm light to any room she enters; and Mogdred is absolutely mental. It also gives us the two showings of Morghanna - a chilling character with a 100% success rate.

I like Treguard in series 3 - he's still not a purely "good" character, as such, but he's a lot more relaxed in this series, less antagonistic and does seem to be actively trying to help teams win (although they never do!). It's also the first time the word "Dunshelm" is said - by Velda.

All that being said, I can't (hand on heart) say that I genuinely like series 3 too much, although it's probably my favourite of the "Mogdred era". The originality is great, but some parts are incredibly repetitive, with a reasonable amount of dungeoneers killed off in levels 1 and 2 you end up seeing the "Roll the Bones" room in almost every episode! As with the previous series, some bits are very slow-moving and lack tension (even if the dwarf corridors do their best to add it), and some quests are incredibly dull indeed.

However, my main problem with series 3 is that it's far too difficult. I don't really think dungeoneers should be given that easy a ride - it's a challenge, after all - but it does become evident that in series 3, you need to do absolutely everything correctly in order to win. There are some very unfair deaths - the team that didn't win the "dragon magic" from Owen because of a failure to answer one general knowledge question; Ross being about a millimetre from the door before falling off the ledge (with no indication that he wasn't on it, I might add!); the first death with the quicksand when Treguard didn't indicate they needed to stick to the path until after they died!

So - thoughts? Overall, I'll say that it's a great series with lots of brilliant ideas, an improvement over series 2 and adds some elements to Knightmare's legacy, but it's too difficult and I've found it a little difficult to get really invested in most of the teams.
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Re: Series 3 Appreciation Week

Post by pjmlfc05 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 5:29 pm

Series 3 was good, but I wouldn't say it was the best. In terms of teams, quests, characters and the feel of it, I thought series 6 was the best.

Highlights of series 3:

Introduction of Motley - for me the best jester
Morghanna - the most lethal character in Knightmare! (Although one of the deaths was harsh!)
Goblins - Julie asking them if they would like a present made her death funny!
The ogre - frightened me when i very first saw it!
Martin the dungeoneer - 1 of my fav dungeoneers. Which brings me to my next point.

Lowlights of series 3:

Martin's death - Totally unfair. The question they received from the Owen was so hard. I would not have known the answer. Even today I would not know it.
Dwarf tunnels - not a patch on series 6
Dice room at start - never saw point in it.
No winners - At the very least Martin and his team should have won.

Overall a good series but it even though the following series was a disappointment, it was time for a change in rooms and locations. I do feel it had to broaden out in terms of quests.
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Re: Series 3 Appreciation Week

Post by wombstar » Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:01 pm

I really sorry for the team who fell of the ledge while being chased by an Axe! That room was almost impossible as it was without making the team panic even more.

First series with Goblins, Km wouldn't be the same without them.
Hated Motley, the worse of the Km jesters it's sad he staid around for so long.
And Grimwold seems to have become one of the fans favorite characters.

The Dwarf Tunnels served as filler but i still kinda liked them even if they were totally pointless.

Also the finial team of the series i also felt sorry for, they didn't put a foot wrong they just ran of of time so while series 3 didn't have any winners they could have been at least ONE, so i don't consider it any more difficult than other years, on average we only got on win a series anyway.

That Dice room was the same as the spinning the wheel, rubbish but i guess the the quest needed a starting room, glad they dropped that idea after this for something similar and quicker.
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Re: Series 3 Appreciation Week

Post by Canadanne » Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:22 pm

I feel similarly to Pooka about Series 3. On paper I can understand why people might consider it the best, if they prefer the show's original look and atmosphere. Some of the rooms achieve their full potential in this series, e.g. the serpent's tongue, the minecart ride, the moving wall in the Great Corridor, and the scorpion's tail that can no longer be easily avoided. The unique locations and challenges are pretty cool too, and the much-loved characters Motley and Hordriss are introduced, the latter with a delightfully evil edge to him. But I don't share most people's great fondness for this series. As you say, it's quite repetitive with all the failed quests (that dice room is so tiresome!), and I also don't find it as hilariously entertaining as Series 2, with Treguard having become a more serious and dignified character. Some of the deaths are indeed frustratingly harsh, like Leo and Ross, and I still wish Martin had won (though I can't blame anyone but the team for that one as I don't think their question was too hard).

Replacing most of the cast does give the series a fresh feel, and there are some great new characters. I love Golgarach & Brangwen taking over the clue rooms, Mrs Grimwold is very amusing, Velda provides the show's first kickass female, and I really enjoy our brief glimpses of the merciless Morghanna. Initially I was pleased by the replacement of Gretel as I found her annoying, but she has grown on me while I've never especially warmed to Mellisandre, so that's one thing I'm less keen on. (In the same way, I used to be irritated by Folly but I like him now, whereas Motley's appeal has dwindled slightly.) Losing Lawrence Werber was a mistake, IMO - a fantastic character like Cedric had plenty more to offer, and I don't find Owen as interesting as the hostile dragon from Series 2.

Not a huge fan of the dwarf tunnels, which just feel like pointless padding and lack the spookiness of the 'real' dwarf tunnels from Series 6-7. The Behemoth doesn't really work for me either, it's not scary like the Automatum. The floating skulls and weapons are an excellent addition, though, and the panic-inducing goblin horn. What's even more chilling is the horn in the final episode as the dungeon starts breaking up - that scene was memorably *terrifying* and still gives me the shivers in a good way!

There are some good dungeoneers and teams in this series; I always enjoy Martin's confidence and willingness to play along. Some of the others are dreadful though, lacking competence and/or personality.

I do like the more varied (and hurried) speeches from Treguard when starting each quest, after he used the same wording every time in Series 2. That's one reason why the heavy repetition in Series 4 felt like such a huge step backwards again.

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Re: Series 3 Appreciation Week

Post by HobGoblin » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:35 pm

Ah, series 3. I'm always a bit surprised whenever anyone says they're lukewarm about it because as far as I'm concerned it poos and wees over everything that followed. It's like the archetypal third album where a really exciting, innovative band finally manages to harness all its ingredients to maximum effect and produces an absolute classic.

It's true that series 3 coincides with what I think of as the golden period of my childhood when everything was fun and exciting and there was nothing to worry about. But then, the same could be said for series 4 or 5 so I don't just think it's nostalgia - there's a reason some KM memories ring louder than others.

I've written elsewhere, at tedious length, how I prefer the pre-eye shield dungeon so I won't repeat myself here. But IMHO the series three atmosphere IS Knightmare in many ways.

If I ever write the script for Knightmare: The Movie (which I won't, obviously) then many set pieces will be inspired by series 3; the minecart, the hobgoblin, morghanna's causeway to name just a few of the best ever KM moments.

As for repetition, this is an issue that always dogged the show and here it's less of a problem than in most other series.

I think I actually respect series 3 for sticking to its principles and being extremely hard and unforgiving. I feel other series sometimes buckled under the weight of expectation and greased the wheels of success a little... I also think the fact that no teams won this series helped establish the mythos of KM as an impossible challenge which no one ever completed - something which I'm sure helps rather than hinders its legacy.

I could write more about this important piece of television but I'll shut up now.
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Re: Series 3 Appreciation Week

Post by pjmlfc05 » Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:09 am

wombstar wrote:I really sorry for the team who fell of the ledge while being chased by an Axe! That room was almost impossible as it was without making the team panic even more.
Another lowlight for me. The room was impossible to navigate. Plus the fact it was only used once makes me think that the producers felt it didn't work.
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Re: Series 3 Appreciation Week

Post by wombstar » Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:29 pm

I thought they gave the team that room deliberately to try and kill them off.
Had they survived they deserved to win. Haven't seen series 3 since it first arid on Challenge ten years ago, I really hope they show it again soon.

I think all series were quite repetitive, but it's something kids never notice too much, kids seems to like watching the same things over and over, lol
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Re: Series 3 Appreciation Week

Post by Pooka » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:05 pm

wombstar wrote:I thought they gave the team that room deliberately to try and kill them off.
It seems to me that they decided to kill them off while the room was in progress. The art, while pretty, doesn't really define where the path is, and their final, fatal fall - one step from the exit! - seems completely harsh. The section of track they're on at that point is 2D from the watchers' point of view - how were they meant to know?

Also, what could they have done? Sidestep slightly to the left? From the angle we saw, the path could just as well have been a sheer drop to that direction as well...

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Re: Series 3 Appreciation Week

Post by wombstar » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:44 pm

There certainly would have been easier ways to kill the team off instead, but i think this has got the be the hardest room in the history of the show.
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Re: Series 3 Appreciation Week

Post by Billy » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:22 pm

Part of me wonders if the nigh-impossible difficulty in Series 3 is a reaction to not one, but two teams winning in Series 2 - a number that was perhaps seen as too many, teams figuring out the show quickly enough so that appearances in Level 3 were becoming much more regular. If another two teams were to win in Series 3, the show wouldn't be seen as difficult at all and viewers may have lost interest.

For no one to win perhaps was too much, and led to the standard one-team-per-series wins that lasted for the rest of the show's run - not completely engineered that way, but teams seen as particularly good and watchable given something of a helping hand as they approached victory.

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Re: Series 3 Appreciation Week

Post by FaveWorstKnightmare » Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:23 pm

Series 3 is my favourite by a mile so I feel obliged to add my tuppeny worth.

It was the first series as I saw as a child and I was entranced from the off so it holds a lot of sentimental value, however I can see this doesn't represent a coherent arguement so here are some more reasons:

It contains the original (and best) life force sequence.

That pointless eyeshield thingamyjig hasn't yet been introduced.

There are no wooden glades, market squares or dragon rides which start appearing after Series 3. Er, I'm sorry fans of later series but Knightmare is set in a dungeon. Dungeons tend to be very much an indoor affair.

Treguard doesn't have an irritating sidekick.

Goblins. And that terrifying horn. DER NEEEER, DER NEEEER.

I liked Motley.

The team of wallies he failed to tell Motley about the snake behind him and who had a very short quest.

The spindizzy at the start of level two, the three steps to Merlin and the minecart ride.

Scary floating swords and axes.

Morghanna. She makes Lord Fear look like a Butlins holiday rep.

And in particular I like it because it was so very difficult. I feel that Hobgoblin's post sums this up very well. After Series 3 teams never failed to get through level one. If everyone is going to get through level one then why not just have two levels instead of three?

My one sore point - the killing of Cliff. I've written a long and rambling post about this on the episode thread but basically I believe they were a very strong team who didn't actually do anything wrong, and were the team who should have gone down in the history books as the only Series 3 winners.

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Re: Series 3 Appreciation Week

Post by Pooka » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:51 pm

FaveWorstKnightmare wrote:After Series 3 teams never failed to get through level one.
Sorry to be an irritating pedant, but Richard from Series 8 died in level one.
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Re: Series 3 Appreciation Week

Post by Drassil » Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:25 pm

Pooka wrote:
FaveWorstKnightmare wrote:After Series 3 teams never failed to get through level one.
Sorry to be an irritating pedant, but Richard from Series 8 died in level one.
Pedantry isn't always irritating, but can be considered so when it seeks to correct without seeking to fully inform. In Series 4-8, there were 3 teams out of 38 who failed to reach Level 2: Team 5 of Series 5 (dungeoneer Jenna - causeway), Team 8 of Series 5 (Duncan - Corridor of Blades, somewhere that wasn't Level 2 but did follow completion of Level 1), Team 1 of Series 8 as mentioned (Richard - dragon fire).

Ironically, because Series 3 had more quests than any later phase, we saw more S3 teams complete Level 1 (9 by my count) than in Series 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8.
FaveWorstKnightmare wrote:There are no wooden glades, market squares or dragon rides which start appearing after Series 3. Er, I'm sorry fans of later series but Knightmare is set in a dungeon. Dungeons tend to be very much an indoor affair.
While all the Series 3 (and Series 2) locations were hand painted and therefore might have had a similar dungeon feel, several were meant to be outside the castle walls. I wrote about this in one of my articles for the website so I won't retread old ground (so to speak) here.
FaveWorstKnightmare wrote:If everyone is going to get through level one then why not just have two levels instead of three?
Eventually they did. It proved somewhat controversial. ;)

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Re: Series 3 Appreciation Week

Post by FaveWorstKnightmare » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:24 pm

Pooka and Drassil,

I've no doubt you are correct about the teams who died in level one after series three (I still have a long way to go on my quest to re-watch every episode on Challenge and youtube).

I guess my point is that post series 3, level one just seems a bit too breezy.

Lots of eyeshield scenes, so no need to actually guide the dungeoneer.

Information given out for free.

Questions answered incorrectly.

Wrong clue items picked up.

Never mind, we'll take you into level two anyway.

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