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27 September 2009 @ 11:29 am
Report on Chiller's Labor Day Marathon  
I don't get the Chiller channel, so everything I've learned about their Labor Day FK marathon has been second-hand, mostly from abby82.  However, I've learned some very interesting things, and I've been longing to share!

First up, the promos.  One went: "Before Edward... before Angel... there was Nick.  The original vampire with a heart is back.  The cult hit that drew first blood and proves that you can't have twilight without the Knight."  This makes me laugh with amused delight.  Yes, okay, lots to quibble with, but it's just fun for the show to be acknowledged with some perspective.  (When they were promoting Moonlight at cons, CBS representatives said they had never heard of FK.)  abby82 uploaded all three commercials for those of us beyond the channel's reach.

Next, the sequel.  Chiller will air FK again in October!  Their schedule is a bit hard to read, with the dates crimped between lines on my screen, but it looks like they're planning 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturday 10/10 and Thursday 10/15.

Finally, and most excitingly, the version.  They aired the original CBS US cuts.  abby82 describes them in detail, and though I haven't seen them, I'm confident that's what they are.  In brief, all opened with the CBS surround-sound logo (like DK does on the DVDs), and they had the key scenes known to be characteristic of the original US airing.  This means that the CBS cuts survived!  If only they will release a nice new, DVD "slim set" with the differences packaged as extras, I can finally get rid of the last VHS tapes in the closet... 

For those who don't know, the first airing of first-season in the US on CBS was notoriously short to fit the peculiar "Crimetime after Primetime" late-night time-slot.  (This is a first-season issue only.)  But CBS didn't just lop scenes off the Canadian cuts (as the SciFi Channel later did).  CBS removed scenes, absolutely, but it -- or very probably the original crew for it -- also re-edited other scenes to compact them or to smooth over the breaks, nudging some dialogue into voiceover over other scenes and the like.  Later, given the branching tape-trees by which so many of us saw the show, this occasionally led to puzzled debates on forkni-l, with people not realizing that the other person was in fact actually watching a very slightly different scene.  Favorite examples:

  • The first time I personally bumped into this was with "Last Act" (the comprehensive version is on the DVDs, no worries).  I saw a fanvid with the scene with Erica in the caddy, a scene which didn't exist on my VHS copy, and rushed to the list to beg enlightenment.  Curiously, the way this one seemed to spin out is that the US got the caddy-in-the-rain scene but not the sands-of-Jerusalem-in-the-blood scene on the first run, and vice versa in Canada on the second run, but that Canada got both on the first run, which is why they're both on the DVD now.
  • The most recent time I ran into this was with "False Witness."  You may remember last year, when wiliqueen helped confirm that some key dialogue from the US version of the flashback ("Why do you think that is, Nicholas? Is it because they have souls?" / "And you do not." / "We do not.") did not make it onto the DVDs, because it wasn't in the Canadian version of the flashback.  This is unusual.  Few bits are missing from the Canadian cuts (and therefore from the DVDs, thank goodness) but there are a few.
  • My favorite story about the abridged US first-season cuts is batdina's, also referencing "False Witness," about the first time she, a Raven, ever saw the scene in which Nick tells Janette that Lacroix is dead.  The US fans didn't know that Janette knew!  CBS didn't air that scene.  batdina was hanging out with fellow fans who had brought VHS tapes of the Canadian airing.  She leaped to her feet...

I'm grateful for the DVDs we have.  For so long, it looked like there would be none.  And goodness knows that we'd all rather have the longer Canadian cuts than the abridged US first-run cuts, if we may have only one.  But now that I know the original CBS cuts survived and are in the hands of TPTB, it's possible that we may someday have both.  I will dream of a re-release of the DVDs, with the differences as extras -- or perhaps even of every bit stitched back together in a directors' cuts extravaganza.  Mmmmmm, more canon. :-)

And while I'm dreaming: Mmmmmm, the German cuts... ;-)  (No, seriously, I've seen the German first-season episodes on VHS, and they have the most footage of all.  It's not the famous risque bits that were apparently left on the cutting-room floor, but in almost every episode, a few seconds here and a minute there are quite genuinely unique to the German airings.  Mostly, they're establishing shots, often of buildings, sometimes of people -- lots of Schanke walking here or looking there.  But I adore the seconds in which Nick picks up a book as part of his first-season puttering around the loft.)
celli on September 27th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
Holy cow, I had no idea. (I started watching in syndication.)
Amy R.: Caddybrightknightie on September 27th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC)
The intricacies of the gorgeous mess that is FK canon: they will either give you a headache, or keep you coming back decade after decade as you puzzle them through. :-) Or both. :-)
Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna: puzzleswiliqueen on September 28th, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)
Oh, man, I'll never forget watching the FW alley scene with a hotel room full of US fans with our jaws hanging open.
Amy R.: Janettebrightknightie on September 28th, 2009 06:32 am (UTC)
Was this the same "False Witness" viewing as batdina's experience, or did the same thing happen to you each separately?

abby82, after seeing the CBS cuts for the first time in the Labor Day marathon, observed that they are more "cop plot" focused than the longer cuts we've all become accustomed to, that in them, Nick is more the detective and less the vampire. I think she's very likely right.

One intriguing bit is that she says that in this version of "I Will Repay," Nick yells at the young officer whose gun is taken, and that he's the same officer as the one who offers Nick a cup of champagne in "False Witness." I don't recall that bit! I must find time to hunt through the box of VHS tapes, and see if I have a US cut of that one. (For a while, I was giving away the VHS tapes pretty indiscriminately, just ensuring I had a set of every episode and sending them on, never mind which versions of the episodes. Now, of course, one can't give away VHS.)
Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna: puzzleswiliqueen on September 29th, 2009 01:24 am (UTC)
I first saw it at one of the Dead of Winters, but can't recall whether batdina was there or not. All the "thirty people in a hotel room" moments start to blend together. :-)