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Series 1 Appreciation Week

Posted: 30 Nov 2014, 16:42
by Pooka
I've had the idea of doing individual weeks of appreciation for each series both on this forum and in Knightmare Chat. Here's how I think that works:

We speculate on the positive aspects of each series of Knightmare - what it added to the show, anything particularly unique or special about it, and what we liked. I suppose one could also argue the negative aspects of the series too, in comparison to other series.

I realise this has been done before, multiple times, but I always think it's worth doing, reviewing and re-reviewing KM's extensive back catalogue, from the very first episode all the way through to KM Geek Week.

My initial aim for this is to generate discussion in Knightmare Chat (which can be accessed here, and is happening tonight and every Sunday at 8pm, possibly with a break around Christmas), but since not everyone visits Chat, I thought it merited a forum thread too.

So: Series 1. Positives? Negatives?

I'll start with a positive:
- It's the first series. Whatever you may think of it, it sets up the entirety of the rest of the show, with very little introduction aside from Treguard's introductory narrative in episode one. That's got to be worth something.

Feel free to contribute/discuss!

Re: Series 1 Appreciation Week

Posted: 30 Nov 2014, 18:07
by Canadanne
I will try to contribute to this. :)

~ It's genuinely creepy, in a way that the later series weren't. I love how some of the scariest bits are left to the viewer's imagination.
~ Early Treguard is the best Treguard! He's so hilariously gleeful about everything. I didn't find him half as enjoyable when he got all serious and grumpy later on.
~ Cedric! One of my favourite characters of all time.
~ Simon Nicholls, the third dungeoneer and the first to really play along with it all - he was great. I seem to recall his team were pretty good too, up until their silly blunder at the end of Level 2.

~ It's only the first series, so a lot of cool stuff hadn't been introduced yet.
~ The excessive repetition in the Level 1 clue room. The wall monsters give the same lengthy, tedious speech in every quest, and then Treguard feels the need to say the whole thing again in slightly different words!
~ Similarly, the same intro & outro being used for each episode instead of varying it.

Someone on a certain popular video site has been doing weekly fan commentaries for every episode, which are fun to listen to. He's done all of Series 1 and is now a little way into Series 2.

Hope to see some activity in the chat room tonight!

Re: Series 1 Appreciation Week

Posted: 01 Dec 2014, 23:53
by Billy
It's a brilliant start, and stands up hugely well to adult viewing that later series perhaps don't. But my god it's repetitive. Maybe not quite so at the time, but my first viewing of it back in 2001 was all eight episodes in one go, which really brings out the identical script at points.

Positives for the Insults Contest, a brilliantly lengthy scene almost unique in that it has almost no connection to the quest at all and is just a fantastic bit of character development at a scale rarely seen for the rest of the run.

Re: Series 1 Appreciation Week

Posted: 02 Dec 2014, 10:53
by HobGoblin
Ah, Series 1. Like the Beatles’ first album it’s not something I’d choose to play in preference to later output but it’s a mightily important piece of work. Brimming with ideas, it introduced much of the lexicon (from ‘side-steps’ to ‘bomb rooms’) – and iconography (the helmet and lifeforce animation) - that became Knightmare in the popular consciousness. It would get better – much better – but all the ingredients were there from the very beginning (not least Dave Rowe’s incredible, atmospheric artwork).

As others have pointed out repetition is its great weakness – the constant four doors/clue room/Lillith sequence wearing very thin; I don’t think the producers had quite mastered the art of killing off teams at their own convenience and deaths tend to pile up in a limited number of level 1 rooms. It didn’t help that, for obvious reasons, teams weren’t that clued up on the requirements of the Greater Game.

Not quite the landmark of popular culture the Beatles’ first LP became but, within the smaller realm of British children’s television, a worthy analogy.

Re: Series 1 Appreciation Week

Posted: 02 Dec 2014, 20:47
by wombstar
Gets the ball rolling. The negatives can all be forgiving as the whole things so new and different and never been done before. While series 1 might be the worse due to all the points have others have made it got the ball rolling and we can see with series 2 it becomes a complete show.

Series 1 does seem a bit incomplete, bit a like a Pilot series than the finished product, it appears even the crew were still getting to grips with it themselves. But it certainly laid the foundations of what would follow.

Re: Series 1 Appreciation Week

Posted: 03 Dec 2014, 09:33
by FoxyLF
As said above, you've got to love the 1st series if only as a precursor to what came next.
It's a shame it was so repetitive in storyline but as the first I guess it had a limited budget and perhaps they weren't able to make it as varied as they wanted.
Still, it was completely different to anything that had been before, and the fact that it was so difficult for the dungeoneers to progress or actually win was compelling viewing!
Tregard was great before becoming more on the 'good' side, his evil chuckles and comments were spot on.
As a series I think it did what it needed to.... made you want to see more ;)

Re: Series 1 Appreciation Week

Posted: 04 Dec 2014, 10:24
by HStorm
For all of its early teething problems, season 1 remains historic television, and comparisons with later seasons can be a little unfair.

It has to be acknowledged that season 1 is where some of the best dungeon chambers and locations made their debuts. I would certainly put most of the 'architecture' in season 1 above the rather mundane mixtures in, say, seasons 4 and 5.

And yes, as Foxy points out, it was the season that introduced Treguard, and he was deliciously nasty back then. Sadistic, with a cruel sense of humour, the early character of Treguard added to the impression of the teams being in a hostile environment; even in the antechamber, you didn't feel they were entirely on safe ground, and that added a valuable layer of tension. That was something that was rather lost in most later seasons.

Re: Series 1 Appreciation Week

Posted: 07 Dec 2014, 20:35
by Skarkill
While its not a series I'm drawn to go back and watch on a regular basis it can not be denied that Knightmare Series 1 is an important bit of TV & KM History and as HStorm said comparisons with its successors is a little unfair.

It's positives are that it sets the premises up very nicely, has some interesting and entertaining characters (Casper The Key excluded) and that it was a big enough ratings success that S2-8 followed.

It's negatives: It's very repetitive and can be slow moving.
(And it has Casper The Key in it)