Log in

No account? Create an account
20 February 2010 @ 07:43 am
FK in Just 7 Episodes Per Season  
fkficfest is open for sign-ups!  Now through March 18 (rules and sign-ups post).

[personal profile] celli, reacquainting herself with FK in advance of the ficathon, wondered whether we have a consensus on the most "essential" episodes to review.  I took at stab at making such a list for her, but we would really need to define "essential" first.  Is it the the episodes that define the story arc?  Most popular?  Objectively best?  Most controversial?  Most affecting continuity?  Inspiring the most fanfic?  That we would show to bring someone across to the series?  That we each personally love best, regardless?  :-)

Given the artificial constraint of seven episodes per season -- a season a week! -- and the principle of a continuity-tied overview, I suggest: 

FK in Just 7 Episodes Per Season

First Season
"Dark Knight"
"Dark Knight, the Second Chapter"
"Last Act"*
"Only the Lonely"
"Feeding the Beast"
"If Looks Could Kill"
"Love You to Death"

Second Season
"Killer Instinct"
"Partners of the Month"
"The Fix"
"Be My Valentine"
"A More Permanent Hell"
"Near Death"
"Baby, Baby"

Third Season
"The Black Buddha" (part 1)
"The Black Buddha" (part 2)
"Sons of Belial"
"The Human Factor"
"Ashes to Ashes"
"Last Knight"

* lizbetann reminded me that LA is much more pivotal than CB. I just like CB. And DFF. And 1966. And, oh, heck, all of first season! ;-)

What would you recommend?  Which definition of "essential" appeals to you?

comment count unavailable comments on Dreamwidth 
PJ1228pj1228 on February 20th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
I would define those episodes as "essential" that give us the most information about the characters (which is certainly a perfect introduction for someone who wishes "to be brought across").

My choice would be:

Season 1:
Dark Knight
Dark Knight - The second chapter
I will repay
Only the Lonely
Unreality TV
Love you to death

Season 2:
Killer instinct
A Fate worse than death
Father's Day
The Fix
Queen of Harps
Be My Valentine
A More Permanent Hell

Season 3:
Black Buddha 1
Black Buddha 2
Night in Question
The Human Factor
Ashes to Ashes
Last Knight

Season 2 was the most difficult. I had taken 11 episodes into consideration and had to cross out 4 I would have considered essential as well.
greerwatsongreerwatson on February 20th, 2010 09:29 pm (UTC)
I'm going to have to think about this! However, just off the top of my head, I would cheerfully substitute "My Boyfriend is a Vampire" and "Trophy Girl" for the last two in Season Three. Continuity be damned.
greerwatsongreerwatson on February 22nd, 2010 06:46 am (UTC)
Having given it some thought....

Is it the the episodes that define the story arc? Most popular? Objectively best? Most controversial? Most affecting continuity? Inspiring the most fanfic? That we would show to bring someone across to the series? That we each personally love best, regardless?"

Surely this depends on one's purpose? In the context of the ficathon, I suppose "essential" episodes are those which one needs to remind oneself of things that might be (a) asked for, or (b) worked into the story one writes. So, if one thinks a Last Knight story is possible, one would need to review that particular episode. Similarly, one would want to be au fait with the episodes that showcased the popular minor characters ("Ashes to Ashes" for Divia, "Hearts of Darkness" for Urs, "Black Buddha Pt 2" for Screed, and so on); with episodes that told key incidents from Nick's past ("Dance by the Light of the Moon" and "Near Death") and near-present ("Only the Lonely"); and with episodes that showed the various Forever Knight-specific interpretations of the vampire ("For I Have Sinned" for religion, "Dead of Night" for details on bringing someone over, "The Fix" for the scientific research). Once these have all been slotted into place, the few remaining slots...are few.

On the other hand, is this necessary? If one needs the details of a particular episode in order to write to a specific prompt, the time to do this is after getting the prompt as a preliminary to writing the story. At this point, pre-prompts, one is re-watching episodes simply to refresh one's memory of the show as a whole.

There is a tendency when a television stations shows a marathon for a long-running series for them to focus on the "big" stories: the cliffhanger season finales, the multi-parters, the ones with big-name guest stars, and the ones where actors were written out/in with great fanfare. But these aren't the stories that really give you the feel of the show. (Any show that has to wait till the season finale for a memorable episode has surely been cancelled already!)

If one is trying to entice a friend into watching a favourite series, "essential" takes on a whole different meaning. One would want to start with shows that present the premise of the series and basic aspects of its characters. Premieres are, by their very nature, slanted to this sort of intro; so one would want to include both parts of "Dark Knight". As before, one would want to cover the various interpretations of the vampire, physical and metaphysical. One would also want to demonstrate the complexity of the relationships, especially that between Nick and LaCroix (both "Love You to Death" and "Baby, Baby"). Having done this, one might then—but only then—want to add in some of the episodes that twist the premise in ways only comprehensible once one has the basics down ("Curiouser and Curiouser", obviously; but also "Night in Question" for GWD's subtle interpretation of an amnesiac Nick).

Furthermore, in order to attract this person (who presumably has standards), all episodes chosen should be well written, with good dialogue, an intriguing story, and a minimal number of plot holes.

So what would I pick?
greerwatsongreerwatson on February 22nd, 2010 08:16 am (UTC)
Season One
Not my favourite season—probably because I initially only saw about five episodes, which CTV had held over from the initial run and showed before they started the second season. When I did finally get to see it in toto, it was simultaneously a bit of a disappointment in the way many episodes handled what, later on, became a much more complicated relationship between Nick and LaCroix, and at the same time wonderful in as much as I was finally getting to see more FK.

Here are the seven I would choose:

- "Dark Knight"
- "Dark Knight: The Second Chapter"
- "For I Have Sinned"
- "Dying for Fame"
- "Only the Lonely"
- "Unreality TV"
- "Love You to Death"

The choice of the premiere is obvious, and means that two spaces are taken up by a single story. But it introduces the characters and the premise, as well as ostensibly killing LaCroix—essential to know, if the rest of the first season is to make sense.

An understanding of Nick's character requires an appreciation of the significance of religion in his life: I pick "For I Have Sinned" not for Joan of Arc, then, but for the whole guilt/redemption thing.

"Dying for Fame" is one of my personal favourites. It is one of the many episodes in which Nick sees parallels between his own desires and those of someone associated with the murder mystery. ("Father's Day" is another example.) I also appreciated the fake videos they made for the music, which largely substituted for a flashback.

"Only the Lonely" provides not just history but depth to Nick's relationship with Natalie.

"Unreality TV" has history and humour, as well as a hefty dose of vampire lore and an exciting story.

The flashback to "Love You to Death" is a prime example of one of LaCroix's nasty little plots, designed to bring Nick back to senses—from his master's point of view, that is. It also shows Nick's final revolt and departure from LaCroix's company. But other episodes can do something of the same. I am including it, as much as anything, because of the final scene. Given his absence through most of Season One, one has to include LaCroix's return.

What have I not included? Well, I would say that the two that I would have liked to put in (but had no room for) are "I Will Repay" and "Feeding the Beast". The former for the insight into Natalie, her family, and the stresses on a new vampire; and the latter for the Twelve Step Program, the parallel between Nick's thirst for blood and addiction, and the simple fact that it is a very well written episode.

greerwatsongreerwatson on February 22nd, 2010 08:57 am (UTC)
Season Two
Since I missed most of Season One, it is Season Two that feels like "classic" Forever Knight to me. And, of course, it had more episodes. This makes it especially hard to choose just seven. Still, choose I must:

- "A Fate Worse than Death"
- "Forward into the Past"
- "Father's Day"
- "The Fix"
- "Partners of the Month"
- "Near Death"
- "Baby, Baby"

(But, oh! it's hard to leave out "Stranger than Fiction" and "A More Permanent Hell"!)

I guess the missing episode that is going to surprise you most is "Killer Instinct". After all, that is the one that brings back LaCroix with that stunning confrontation between him and Nick at the climax. Certainly, when I had seen the five held-over Season One episodes, it was "Killer Instinct"—the first one I taped, simply because I was going to dinner with my mother—that convinced me the series was a "keeper". However, there is a badly cobbled over plot hole: it really makes little sense that, by coincidence, it is the murderer whose blood is taken by Natalie as a control for DNA testing. Furthermore, almost the identical scene is used in "Only the Lonely"; and that episode definitely makes the short list. So "Killer Instinct" is out. (And, in consequence, "Love You to Death" is in.)

The other episode whose absence may shock you is "Be My Valentine". After all, everyone considers this to be a critically significant episode in the development of the relationship of Nick and Natalie, quite apart from its depiction of his mortal family and the insight into LaCroix's character. Unfortunately, it is a very badly constructed episode. The main plot is skimpy, and ends far too soon: it is obvious that it is only included because the episode "has" to have a murder mystery. This means that the story is badly balanced. The dialogue is excellent; the plotting rather less so. However enthralling the episode on first viewing, its structural flaws are glaring. So I've left it out.

So why did I include the ones on my list?

"A Fate Worse than Death" is, of course, the story that tells us so much about Janette—her past informing her present.

"Father's Day", on the other hand, is about the relationship between Nick and LaCroix—seeming to focus on its negative aspects, but with that odd reconciliation at the end. It serves as a bridge between the one-sided view of LaCroix we had in Season One and the richer characterization of the second half of Season Two.

"Partners of the Month" completes this trio, since it explores Nick's relationship with Schanke. To that, of course, we have to add its insight into his past with Janette. The episode is also a classic instance of the triad format, in which common themes are used to tie three plots together to make a coherent story. Mostly, though, I've put this in because it is one of the funniest episodes in the series.

"Forward into the Past" is a remarkably well-written episode, deftly mingling its past and present story lines. We meet another human friend who knew Nick was a vampire (and one who didn't come to a sticky end). Plus Aristotle.

"The Fix" is that rare thing: an episode that takes a serious look at Natalie's search for a cure.

"Near Death", on the other hand, explores the metaphysical aspects of vampirism, describing the process of coming over from the inside.

And finally, "Baby, Baby" is not only one of the best written episodes in the entire series, it turns all our preconceptions upside down. At least it does if you recognize that, from Serena's perspective, Nick is playing—in her life—much the same part that we are accustomed to see LaCroix play in Nick's. It's a fascinating reversal of roles.

Of course, I would have liked to include "Stranger than Fiction", with its Anne Rice-esque author whom vampires loathe for her insight; and "A More Permanent Hell", which tells us LaCroix's history against a rather unusual SF-toned plot. But that's the problem with the seven-episode limit that you've set.
greerwatsongreerwatson on February 22nd, 2010 09:32 am (UTC)
Season Three
Which brings us finally to Season Three. Up to this point, I'd thoroughly enjoyed Forever Knight, but it was this season that held me in thrall. For the first time, I started to see story possibilities (though I would not actually start to write until after "Last Knight" set me fuming), largely because I was so frustrated that they used the new vampires so little.

Because of the major revamping of the show, the season premiere obviously has to be included on the list; and that takes up two slots.

- "Black Buddha"
- "Black Buddha: Part Two"
- "My Boyfriend is a Vampire"
- "Hearts of Darkness"
- "Trophy Girl"
- "Night in Question"
- "Fever"

For once, I had no trouble making a choice. It's not that there weren't others I liked, which I would have chosen if I were permitted a longer list. But there were seven that had to go in.

Of course, I simply dropped "The Human Factor", "Ashes to Ashes", and "Last Knight". Although they are all essential viewing if you want to know how the series ends, if the idea is to pick the essential episodes for one to "know" the series, then surely you choose shows that exemplify the show when it was alive, not when it was undergoing a protracted death! Also, "Last Knight" is just plain bad writing.

"Black Buddha" writes out Janette, Schanke, and Cohen and brings in the new characters. What more needs to be said? It is as much a premiere as "Dark Knight", and has to be included for the same reason.

"My Boyfriend is a Vampire" is one of the funniest episodes in the series. It also provides a rare view of Tracy and Vachon; and I loved the new vampires, and would dearly have liked it if TPTB had used them a lot more and developed the characters properly.

"Hearts of Darkness" is Urs's episode, as well as giving us another quick view of Vachon's crew when they were travelling together. It is also a well-written story.

"Trophy Girl" completes a trilogy of back-to-back brilliance. Each week that fall, I watched my tapes of these shows a couple of times in the week before the next episode came out: they were that good. Curiously, "Trophy Girl" is a story that, on paper, must have seemed quite ordinary; yet, on film, it is gripping. I think it's largely the actor who played Christopher Scheer, because comparing Nick to a serial killer had certainly been done in previous seasons. Still, it's an important point to make, both about the way vampires are interpreted in Forever Knight, and about the way Nick sees himself

"Night in Question" demands familiarity with the series. Only then can one appreciate both the performance (for this amnesiac Nick is not quite the man we know) and the irony of scenes in the loft with Natalie and LaCroix. Even though one could argue that there is no "Nick" in this episode, it still delves deep into his character—and the tug of war between LaCroix and Natalie over who will influence his future.

"Fever" is the last episode I pick. Yes, it has Screed's death; it has the (daring for it's day) AIDS parallel. It has Vachon and Tracy. It has Nick again caught between Natalie and LaCroix, with his guilt peeking out.

And I had to leave out "Outside the Lines" and "Sons of Belial" and "Avenging Angel" (which I love because it is that rare thing, an almost vampire-free cop show, at least in the present). You will note that almost all the episodes I did pick come from the first half of the season. However, that is when the new characters were best developed; after that, most episodes fell back on old habits, just substituting Tracy for Schanke. For the essential Season Three, though, I want shows that can only be from that era.
(Anonymous) on February 21st, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
FK Essentials
I think the only really "essential" is Dark Knight, which I would consider the two parts to be one episode. It's the one that sets the whole thing going. Beyond that, a lot depends on just who your favorite characters are, and how much of them you want to be introduced.

You can also go with favorite episodes, police procedurals, vampire origins, humor -- there are a lot of different criteria.

For procedurals, Fatal Mistake is good; plus it features Capt Stonetree.

For Vampires and their origins: Unreality TV introduces us to the (shiver here) the *Enforcers*.

For humor: Season 2 - Partners of the Month (Nat to Nick: You're 800 years old, what's an egg.)
Season 3 - My Boyfriend is a Vampire. (Nick to Tracy: how did your plumber work out?)

Introductions: Killer Instinct - not strictly speaking an intro, but it brings LaCroix back.

Favorites: Personally, for me, I love The Fix and MBIAV.

For introducing a friend to FK, DK and then whatever you happen to like. And, there are reasons and positives for every episode.
Also, as a variation, how about 21 episodes all together total, not necessarily seven from each season?

W Doherty
Melissagnosticdiva on February 23rd, 2010 07:15 am (UTC)
I agree with all of the choices except "Baby, Baby". "Close Call" would be more essential than that one, in my book.