Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

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Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by HStorm » Wed Dec 17, 2008 5:32 pm

In Autumn '94 I got my first full-time job, and as it was about fifteen miles from home, I always had great trouble getting home on Friday evenings in time to watch Knightmare. I set the video to record it, but it sometimes failed to work. As a result, my first experience of the season was very 'choppy', and I wasn't impressed at all.

I was able to pick up the bits I missed in the years that followed by one means or another, but it all came to me in such a confused order that my view of the season was not improved at all.

When the season was re-shown on Challenge about five years ago, I found I enjoyed it far more this time around. I've spent the last couple of days watching it again, and have decided I like it far more than any other season that followed season 3.

My main reason for this is of course that it's largely set in the dark, grimy, gritty, surreal world of the dungeon again, and no longer resembles an episode of Wish You Were Here in the way seasons 4 to 7 tended to, but also because I find the aspects of season 8 that we usually grumble about don't annoy me nearly as much as they used to.

The Reach wand is clearly ahead of its time in a bad way, but it's not as slow or fiddly as it once seemed, the shortness of the levels doesn't really matter, and the total-CGI of the graphics is far more impressive than I'd previously noticed; in fact, this is the one season whose visuals stand up today. The issue of the short-cut at the end of the season is still a problem, but that was never a straightforward matter anyway.

On a writing level, the characterisation is far better and sharper than in season 6 and 7. Treguard and Lord Fear get some truly world-class lines;

Majida: "Do you ever give a straight answer?"
Treguard: "Maybe."

Lord Fear: "If you wanted fair, you joined the queue for the wrong life!"

Majida is also far less obstructive or obstreperous than she was in season 7, while Brother Strange is far stranger than the generic hooded-man-of-mystery figure he was previously as well. I used to despise Honesty Bartram, but now I've come to appreciate that he relates to the dungeoneers better than Julius Scaramonger ever did - Nathan in particular - while Maldame is a hilarious parody of Margaret Thatcher and her Neo-Liberal toadies of the 1980's.

It's great that we don't have to sit through any more of those tedious journeys on Smirkenorff's back (closing episode's credits apart).

Bhal-Shebah is a bit of a cheap joke (his description as a schizophrenic is also a serious mistake, as MPD is not schizophrenia), but better two personalities than zero.

It's a shame that the architecture is a bit repetitive again, a la season 4, and Treguard's obsession with over-cooking his "Ooooh nasty!" catchphrase really starts to grate by about the fourth quest (you almost expect him to wink at the camera while he does it).

But overall, yeah, I think it was an improvement on the outdoor seasons. I know that puts me in the minority, but I'll stand by it.
Last edited by HStorm on Wed Dec 17, 2008 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re:Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by Velvet » Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:22 am

I'm working my way through the whole set of seasons and am currently on season 5 (episode 12, I think). I was thinking, 'ah, season 8 isn't going to be up to much, that's a shame - the marathon will end in a downer'. But from your writeup it seems that maybe I've been pessimistic in that view.

I look forward to it afresh! 8)
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Re:Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by BrotherStrange » Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:54 pm

HStorm wrote:
Majida is also far less obstructive or obstreperous than she was in season 7, while Brother Strange is far stranger than the generic hooded-man-of-mystery figure he was previously as well.
Now, I preferred BS in Series 7-- call me odd. I preferred him as a cool, enigmatic guardian-angel character who crept around. It's as if in Series 8 they had dosed him up on Prozac!

I do agree about Majida, I'm glad she had calmed down in Series 8. Honesty Batram I didn't mind, I can see they were trying to do a glib/wideboy trader-- Julius S meets Del Boy. Even Snapper Jack I found OK, in a 'scrig' way.

My favourite feature of Series 8 was the miremen: Trolls would be too small to fit in the mireworld, not sure if goblins would be suited to that environment-- miremen much better than the unscary "marching feet" too IMO

They were a visible and looming threat, and looked hideous too-- and managed to finish one quest off!
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Re:Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by AriadnesLayer » Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:01 pm

Yeah, I actually posted a topic very similar to this a few months ago called "Positive things about Series 8", where i had rewatched the series and found it much better than I'd remembered (or more accurately, than I'd been led to believe by the overwhelming opinions on KM.com).

It was certainly was a very good series in many ways.

Anyway, the topic I made was merged into the "Series 8 Summarising" thread, even though it was quite clearly making a seperate point about the series and not just summarising it.
http://www.knightmare.com/forum/http:// ... eadid=2354

I look forward to this topic being merged the same way. And if not, I'd like my topic to be un-merged again too.

Onto the points made by HStorm and yes, it's good you can admit the reasons behind your initial opinions may have been flawed. I think it's important for one to remember that one's opinions are subject to change and therefore should not be taken by other members, who may be considered "lesser" fans, as gospel fact.

I personally think all seasons of Knightmare are equally good. The "Series # was better/worse than Series #" opinions are irrelevant for me, because while I of course have my preferences, they are just that - opinion. Liking Series 8 better than series 7 doesn't make it better. Just means it worked personally for you this time round. Next year, you might watch series 7 again and think it's the best thing since sliced bread! :D

While it is of course fun to notice and discuss the differences between series (that's indeed what the message board is all about), one could also argue that it would make for more enjoyable viewing to simply conclude that ALL seasons are pretty good, sit back, and enjoy watching them.
Last edited by Anonymous on Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re:Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by HStorm » Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:00 pm

Ariadne's Layer wrote: I look forward to this topic being merged the same way. And if not, I'd like my topic to be un-merged again too.
(Would you mind taking that up with the forum moderators please? I promise, it's nothing to do with anyone who's posted on this thread.)
Last edited by HStorm on Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re:Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by Elita » Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:13 pm

You know... it's true. Series 8 isn't that bad. Well, apart from the length of the series, (8 episodes? Is that all we get?) the quiche/pie and the Deus ex Machina Short Cut. The latter three series did seem to be a lot better scripted, though I'm disappointed that there wasn't a multi-quest plot arc in S8 like there was with Red Death in S6 and the trolls in S7. (though having said that, they didn't really have time to build up to something like that)

As Martin already said, the dialogue is a lot better and feels a lot more natural, and I've recently discovered that Maldame is in fact hilarious. And the team of Gideon, Ben, Justin and Daniel are serious contenders for the title of "Most Hilarious Team Ever" I wish they'd won, if they hadn't been so panicky they'd have gotten through the Corridor of Blades... but if they hadn't seen so panicky, they wouldn't have been nearly as amusing. And let's not forget Stilletta and her shapely... personality.

Having said that, I really don't like the emphasis on the SIGHT and VISOR spells and the like. Yes, the visor can be raised now, I know, good for you, but since when has a Dungeoneer needed to see to go through the Corridor of Blades? And every time Treguard goes "you needed x/y/z to help you with this VERY DIFFICULT PUZZLE" I gag a little because knowing your right from your left is hardly a very difficult puzzle. And Lord Fear's costume and makeup... wtf? So Old Skullface is now Old Skull-In-The-Back-Of-the-Head-Face? What was wrong with the metal helmet?

Anyway, I'm sure I've gone over those particular gripes before, and even so Series 8 is still better than I remember it being, I do wish they'd had more than eight episodes to work with. And I wish Daniel's team had won.
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Re:Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by Pooka » Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:27 pm

Brother Strange wrote:
My favourite feature of Series 8 was the miremen: Trolls would be too small to fit in the mireworld, not sure if goblins would be suited to that environment
You're forgetting miretrogs! Now THEY were scary.
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Re:Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by HStorm » Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:16 pm

Elita wrote: You know... it's true. Series 8 isn't that bad. Well, apart from the length of the series, (8 episodes? Is that all we get?)
You miscounted.

And let's not forget Stilletta and her shapely... personality.
How could we ever forget? ;)

Having said that, I really don't like the emphasis on the SIGHT and VISOR spells and the like.
To be fair, that was just a continuation of a sad trend set in season 7.

And every time Treguard goes "you needed x/y/z to help you with this VERY DIFFICULT PUZZLE" I gag a little because knowing your right from your left is hardly a very difficult puzzle?
(Heh, it was for some teams...)

If you think about it, Treguard has a long history of that sort of thing. How many times in seasons 1 & 2 did he talk up the Great Corridor of the Catacomb to such a degree that you half-expected it to be guarded by Cerberus himself, and instead the 'horrifying' menace proved to be a small creature that made a gurgling noise and stepped from side-to-side occasionally?

Lord Fear's costume and makeup... wtf? So Old Skullface is now Old Skull-In-The-Back-Of-the-Head-Face? What was wrong with the metal helmet?
Lord F's new look remains very distracting, even 14+ years on, yeah.

I do wish they'd had more than eight episodes to work with.
*Whispers quietly* Erm, they did, they had 10.
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Re:Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by BrotherStrange » Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:10 pm

Pooka wrote:
Brother Strange wrote:
My favourite feature of Series 8 was the miremen: Trolls would be too small to fit in the mireworld, not sure if goblins would be suited to that environment
You're forgetting miretrogs! Now THEY were scary.
I try to ;) I thought the miretrogs were superfluous-- the trolls did that particular job excellently and were scarier than the miretrogs IMO.

I loved the scene where that Devonian team were trying to unlock the rune puzzle, and a troll was slowly closing in on them... that scared me as a 10-year-old anyway.
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Re:Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by darkDescender » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:02 am

I've discovered I like Snapper Jack. Thinking about it, it must have been unnerving for the dungeoneers, having someone who is, judging from his voice, quite insane circling them slowly and throwing ridles at them, while refusing to even acknowledge weather the answers were correct or not.
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Re:Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by Fidjit » Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:19 pm

I liked the level transformations myself. For example, the now abandoned fortress of Goth went from Level 3 to Level 2. Indicating to people who followed the previous season closely, that the "toughest level has been shifted down a notch. And that the new Level 3 (in MarbleHead) is going to be just as treacherous!

*I see nobody likes the Short Cut bit ;D

(*YET I must say! I learned that from my Fun House fiasco I caused in the Knewbie Welcome... Sorry Chaps ;))
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Re:Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by BrotherStrange » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:16 pm

Fidjit wrote:

*I see nobody likes the Short Cut bit ;D
I think the short-cut would have worked if they had put more than one challenge in it. The COB, followed by Play Your Cards right-- then may be Trial by Spikes or reintroduction of a timed causeway-- before getting to Level 3?
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Re:Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by Fidjit » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:32 pm

Brother Strange wrote:I think the short-cut would have worked if they had put more than one challenge in it...
I suppose so, there was so much they could have done with Series 8 but with such short time this couldn't be done. I'm starting to realise myself (after a few cigarettes) that this season wasn't too bad. As it is this season has something about it which made it quite a memorable one.

Not that it was memorible just because it was the last season.

I reckon Smirkenoff would have given rides to dungeoneers in this season. But the trapdoors were quicker to use as transitions to another level what with the plummeting... What was it, the lack of ratings or viewings? I'm not sure... ???
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Re:Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by Knight_light » Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:03 am

I don't know..I'm undecided really...

On the one hand:

....the series got pimped up MAJORLY making it a lot more immersive and impressive looking to say the least.

...Majita stopped being irrate at every little thing and settled down into a good companion for Treguard.

...more Lord Fear bits :D getting rid of the need to go 'oh look someones using a spy-glass *GLOWY EYES OF DEATH*' made it more tense and gave us more dialogue.

...Return of Mottley! And Stilletta was ok, though I never managed to identify what the thing on her head was. It looked 'jolly uncomfortable' whatever it was.

But then again....

...Treguard's speaky bits got cut down a LOT. And he did overuse 'Oooooh naaaaasty' with an unecessary emphasising-wince.

...Majita basically chucking failed dungeoneers out into the wilderness. Presumably to be eaten by the wolves Pickle kept fretting about. Seemed a bit of an anti-climax in comparision to zapping them away.

...Mire-men, sorry but I found them a lot less scary than the goblins. The scariest thing about the goblins was the calling horn that announced doom was near. It still makes me freeze up! 0.0

...The Pie, the adaptable knapsack and a wand called reach. Three examples of pointless and unhappy changes. The pie made the life-force meter even less effective, the knapsack thing was clearly so the wand could be used and the wand itself seemed really fiddly and overcomplicated solution for a simple problem. What happened to just touching them?

Not that I don't like series 8, I guess a lot of it is sadness since it was the last one. I just watch it and think 'Oh no it's over soon!'
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Re:Re-assessing Season 8; know what? I like it after all

Post by Ironlord » Sat May 02, 2009 12:42 am

I think we're all losing sight here of what the number one highlight of series 8 was...














...Lord Fear and Lissard playing Monopoly. Marvellous.
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