When Did Knightmare "Jump The Shark" For You?

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Re: When Did Knightmare "Jump The Shark" For You?

Post by GrandDizzy » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:11 pm

"When did Knightmare jump the shark"?

For me, this is a no-brainer. When I was 14 I saw the shark being jumped right before my eyes and I was very disappointed. It happened in series 4 when they suddenly went from using beautiful, atmospheric painted backdrops to instead using…

ARTIFICIALLY-COLOURED PHOTOS (I presume they were photos, though the quality was so poor it wouldn't surprise me if they were interlaced video stills).

All at once, the series went from beautiful to ugly. It went from exciting rooms you wanted to explore, to inhospitable rooms that just looked disgusting and (no pun intended) "nightmarish". And to be more specific, I will give you 6 exact reasons why I hated the photos…

1) To me, it looked REALLY cheap and obviously done to save money.
2) Using real photos completely removed all the sense of fantasy. It just looked grotty and imperfect. All the romance was gone.
3) The illustrations had always been beautifully lit, making them look dynamic and exciting. But the real-world locations (especially outdoor ones) were just plain and looked totally "flat".
4) While rooms had traditionally had natural, earthy colours, they were replaced with weird, unnatural colours (ie a LOT of purple). Yes, series 3 had started to use more vivid colours here and there, but it still always looked like you were on planet earth. When we get to series 4 though, suddenly everything was purple and looked like an alien world.
5) The images also looked "unnatural" in a different sense, not because of the choice of colours, but the way the photos had been altered. Now with a lot of care and skill it is possible to turn a photo of a castle purple and make it still look natural and realistic. However, when you do this crudely (and I'm not blaming the designer as I'm sure resources were limited) you just end up with something that looks artificial. It just looks like a bad effect.
6) Finally, the way the colour had been digitally changed drastically reduced the quality of the image. They used limited palettes, resulting in HEAVY loss of detail, colour banding, and general "murkiness". It just looked incredibly cheap and nasty, even to my 14-year-old eyes (and I dare say the eyes of most viewers).

I LIKED THE DWARF TUNNELS
Now for the record, I must say the dwarf tunnels (and mine cart) in series 3 never bothered me in the slightest, in fact I really liked them. So why did I like dwarf tunnels? My reasons are:

1) I adored the use of sound effect and music in them. It was incredibly atmospheric, and when they were first introduced I found them VERY exciting.
2) They were not "the actual game", just brief interludes to give a little variety and relief between rooms. (Had they played a larger part, I might have started to find them objectionable.)
3) They may not have been David Rowe illustrations, but they were still "computer illustrations" of a kind—as opposed to grotty real-life imagery.
4) The dwarf tunnels were visually attractive: clean, clear, and not washed out. They may not have used "natural tones" but at least the colours didn't look false.

So for me there was a definitive point when Knightmare really went downhill, and that was series 4. I am not saying I don't like the series after this, of course not. But the photos really spoilt it for me.

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Re: When Did Knightmare "Jump The Shark" For You?

Post by wombstar » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:52 pm

Well nothing will beat proper painted backgrounds in my opinion.
The photographs, and the more updated CG rooms in later years were always weak points to a degree.. it made things even less believable.

But it made up for it with cool characters, interesting story lines and some awesome puzzles.

I was never a huge fan of the exterior locations.
It's always the cracked ones that let the light in

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Re: When Did Knightmare "Jump The Shark" For You?

Post by pjmlfc05 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:04 pm

I think every series had it's flaws so I don't think Knightmare jumped the shark but series 8 seemed to go back to the early series and for me went full circle. I did like David's illustrations but also liked some of the rooms used in later series and the dwarf tunnels were better in series 6. More realistic and more scary I thought.
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Re: When Did Knightmare "Jump The Shark" For You?

Post by wombstar » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:20 pm

Yeah the dwarf tunnels with the weird looking bats was a an odd addition to the show.
It's always the cracked ones that let the light in

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Re: When Did Knightmare "Jump The Shark" For You?

Post by stockholmsyndrome » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:37 pm

The out door backdrops were hit and miss, some of the shots worked well and they created an ambient feel, others looked like bland English Heritage post cards on acid.

The show had a very good innings, 7 or 8 years is a mini eternity when your a kid, there were natural highs and lows, my interest levels varied, but with each series having something to offer.

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Re: When Did Knightmare "Jump The Shark" For You?

Post by TimeMaster » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:22 am

I was never a fan of the dwarf tunnels. For me personally they didn't add any suspense and just interrupted the flow of play.

Have to agree on the painted backdrops - definitely the most atmospheric sets that were used - and striking works of art.
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Re: When Did Knightmare "Jump The Shark" For You?

Post by Gretel » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:36 pm

It never actually jumped for me (and yes, I know I'm a very new fan but I have tracked down some of the later seasons through friends who videoed them earlier...)

I do cringe when Majida starts getting all jumpy but she's starting to slowly win me over.
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Re: When Did Knightmare "Jump The Shark" For You?

Post by Skarkill » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:36 pm

As someone who's first exposure to Knightmare was with Season 4 and who didn't see Series 3 till repeats on the Sci-Fi Channel and only saw series 1&2 much later still with their original run on Challenge TV, I do feel I have to mount some kind of defense of the later seasons.

(Well save for series 8 which as a whole, individual parts are fine, is indefensible ;D )


I'll try and deal with all the issues that have been raised at different points in this thread in regard to Series 4 and onwards.


Issue 1, The Eyesheild/Outdoor scenes:

Lets deal with one of the biggest ones first the Outdoor scenes and The Eyesheild. Yes there a departure from the first three seasons, yes and argument could be made they diminish the sense of fear that the show had (I disagree but I'll come to that in a moment.)But I don't think they were all that bad that they could be called a 'jumping the shark moment.'

The Eyesheild and its sequences were annoying, without a doubt, Ill say that right off the bat I don't think the production team managed to make them palatable till series 6 onwards they did at times seriously disrupt game flow and were dull to watch but then again so were the dwarf tunnels sequences in Series 3 (IMO.) It was an experiment that for what ever reason stuck around and became synonymous with Knightmare that it was hard not to think of it without thinking of The Eyesheild. (That said I was glad not to see it make a return in the Geek Week episode ;) )

As for the outdoor scenes I don't think they detracted from the show in anyway. We knew from the outset that the Dungeon was magical in nature so to learn in Series 4 that its influence had spread beyond the confines of Dunselhelm Castle into other Castles, areas and realms isn't that much of a leap. The Dungeoneer still has to survive this new realm in order to triumph at the end and there is still the threat of death at any moment due to a mistake.


Doesn't really (I don't think) make much of a difference if that threat is due to not being able to get past Gumboil or Gibbet due to failure to gain knowledge from Granitas or because the Team hasn't got the right Causeway combination or they have made the wrong trade with Julius Scaramounger all that's changed is the setting is now not a dungeon room but say the streets of Wolfenden...the overall threat that death is just around the corner remained the setting was just different.


Issue 2, No longer claustrophobic = not as scary :

This seems to be a frequent complaint/issue/gripe with Series 4-7 that because there not just confined the a dungeon setting its somehow less scary.

I would argue its just a different type of fear that the production team were trying to instill in the teams and viewers. Instead of the claustrophobic one of series 1-3 (And it could be claimed to some extent 8) Series 4-7 to me seem to play more towards inducing fear from the fact that the dungeoneer was constantly being pursued almost from the moment the quest started by Lord Fear's minions; Skarkill or Raptor (much as I loathe that character) with the Goblins, Sylvester Hands, The Dreadnought and later the Red Dragon Bhal-Sheba.

Also added to this the fact that Lord Fear was constantly setting traps like causeways and blockers to catch out the Dungeoneer creates (IMO) an atmosphere that could be just as frighting as the claustrophobic one of the earlier seasons...just a different type of fear.


Issue 3, Treguard becoming less sinister:

....Yeah I'll not argue on this one I much prefer the slight more ambiguous Treguard to the one we see later on especially Series 7-8.


Issue 4, Storyline vs Original Format:

Now I don't think either style of Knightmare the Series 1-3 one or the Series 4-8 one is better then the other I truly don't.

BUT

If I really had to pick one or the other I would pick the later seasons and the reason for this is I find the characters and the settings they are in (and by extension the quests of the Dungeoneers) to be far more engaging. I love the little hints of a 'bigger story' that really start to creep in more frequently with series 4.

eg. Gundrada being on a quest of her own that just happens to have brought her into the Knightmare realm.

Malice's alluding to a power struggle going on behind the scenes of The Opposition.

Lord Fear and other's mentions of The Grimwold Family post series 3.

The talked about but never seen Count Brinkatore

Places like The Great Snake Pit that were mentioned but never seen.

The implication that it was Gwendoline that cost Skarkill his eye and of a continuing rivalry between them as a result.


These kind of things fired my imagination as a child watching Knightmare and still do to this day, far more then the majority of things from the first three seasons do (Not saying nothing from series 1-3 hasn't fried my imagination or entertaining me just not as much as the later seasons)

I also like how some characters even had there own personal storylines for example Julius Scaramounger.

I love that you can trace his story from beginning to end starting from the first episode of series 5 as the dungeon realms premier (if rather dodgy) trader and merchant right through his strengthening links with Lord Fear and The Opposition as the series progresses. To the start of the end for him when Ah Wok arrives in episode 1 of Series 6, through Julius becoming a fully fledged Opposition minion with his attempt to have Ah Wok killed and his deep involvement in the Red Death plot right up till the very end of his story when he is left a broken, penniless and washed up drunk in the penultimate episode of series 6.

Now this never really happened in the early seasons Gumboil kind of had a similar ending but with him it just kind of....happened one moment he was a dangerous if not to bright dungeon villain...next he's a washed up drunk...there was no between as to how this happened.



There I think I've answered all the issues...if I've missed any please let me know and also please let me know if you disagree with me on any of the points I've made after all this is simply my opinion on the matter. :)



Oh and as for if and when I think Knightmare 'jumped the shark'...well I don't really think it did per say but the one change to the shows format I could NEVER abide because it to me it went against one of the key factors of the show, was the introduction in Series 7 of 'Seeing Eye Spells.'

The Dungeoneer should NEVER be able to see for any reason period.

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Re: When Did Knightmare "Jump The Shark" For You?

Post by knightmaredave » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:45 am

One comment from me- it never did, but i must admit i was dissapointed in the rushed end of series 8, that last team could have had a special mission, i actually really like series 8, good graphics, new characters, snapper jack was one of my favourites, new puzzles, fire ball room coming back as did play your cards wrong as i call it, it moved on substantially, the only thing was level 1 looked a bit samey room wise level 3 was something different, spooky,plus the storylines were well embedded to make level 2 a do right or die kinda quest again,

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Re: When Did Knightmare "Jump The Shark" For You?

Post by wombstar » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:52 pm

One comment from me- it never did, but i must admit i was dissapointed in the rushed end of series 8
That's true, but then after having a big finale for series 6 and 7 I guess it made a change to just let this one run out. Quite fitting really as it was the finial ever episode. For now.
It's always the cracked ones that let the light in

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