Dear Sci-Fi Channel,
Let’s talk about the fourth season Doctor Who finale, “Journey’s End.”
You may have heard; the finale is going to run 65 minutes long on BBC1. Without commercial interruption.
That’s significantly longer than other episodes of Doctor Who you’ve broadcast. Those have generally come in around 43 or 44 minutes, which historically you’ve cut down to about forty minutes and which can be padded out to a 60-minute broadcast slot with commercials.
To put “Journey’s End” into a 60-minute slot, you’re going to need to
gut the episode like a fish edit the episode down to about 40, 42 minutes. That’s approximately a twenty-five minute cut. In percentage terms, a 40-percent cut.
Cut anything by about forty percent, be it book, movie, or television episode, and it becomes incoherent. (Unless it’s Pendragon Pictures’ War of the Worlds film, which ran three hours long and desperately needed an edit. But that’s the rare exception that proves the rule.) An incoherent episode will confuse audiences. Worse, not only can it turn them off your channel, but it can turn them off the franchise forever.
There’s a better solution available to you than
gutting the episode cutting forty percent of the episode.
Split “Journey’s End” into a two-parter.
Take the sixty-five minute episode. Chop it into two. Create a “Previously on” montage for the second part. And Sci-Fi, you would end up with two episodes of approximately thirty-five minutes length.
You can pad out those two thirty-five minute episodes with twenty-five minutes of commercials to fill out the sixty-minute slot.
It’s a win-win. “Journey’s End” remains coherent for viewers. You, Sci-Fi, get more commercial revenue as you end up with another episode to broadcast.
You have a month to get this right. Don’t
gut cut the episode, Sci-Fi. Split “Journey’s End” in two. It’s the right thing to do.
Concerned Doctor Who fan