Sunday, February 24, 2013

More Musings on Uncut Season 6 Episodes

I’ve been watching more of the uncut season 6 episodes over the past week or two. It’s really interesting to see what scenes were missing on television and which weren’t. Quite a few of the episodes aren’t missing much, and then all of a sudden one will appear that was cut to ribbons on television. I wonder why some are chopped up worse than others?

I was hoping that the uncut version of The Lawful Lazarus would make me like it better by resolving some of the bizarre plot twists, but unfortunately, the missing scenes did not help with any of that. Mainly, it seems like the additional stuff just shows what a messed-up family we’re dealing with. The murder victim has more chances to be aggravating and disgusting, as he and his wife interact some more and as he leads a discussion on what to do about the returning Trevor.

I came away with the same feelings that the writer really seemed to be praising Jill up as such a wonderful person, but, as I’ve expressed in my rant on the episode, I certainly don’t think she was fit to be the kids’ guardian even if she was the most normal of that crazy family. But I will likely continue watching that episode off and on anyway, because there is a lot of Andy in it and I love that. Hamilton has good screentime, too.

Another thing I find weird in it is that the kids are never seen, except in a picture. I know they’re at camp for a lot of the episode, but still, I think they should have been seen at the end, even in a brief shot of Jill walking to the house.

To my delight, in the uncut Skeleton’s Closet, the kids are seen. I wish that they had been in more than one scene, and that the family growing closer could have been seen and not just talked of by their mother at the end, but it was great that they and their father were in even one scene. It really fleshed out the story and made the mother’s anguish all the more poignant.

(I’m glad that she discovered the girls were stronger than she thought, however, and that they were able to deal with the news of that awful guy being their real father. It seems like that’s a fairly common theme running in the episodes, where the parent thinks the kid will take the news harder than they ever do. The Baited Hook is another, more tragic, example of that.)

There’s really only one big scene missing in The Elusive Element, with the other additional things being tiny dialogue snippets or different camera angles. But the one big scene is awfully important. It explains what the heck the DIMOS project really is and introduces Perry to the removable typewriter elements in the office. This scene naturally sets thing up for later, when Perry thinks about the elements in the middle of the court hearing and starts to plan to show how the elements in the two typewriters could have been exchanged. Aside from the importance of that bit, I really like knowing more about the DIMOS project. It always left me scratching my head in the cut version.

There are some interesting things missing from The Prankish Professor as well, including the scene where he goes to Perry and wants Perry to come to the meeting with him and his wife. Unlike Della and Perry, I actually didn’t find the guy so bad in that scene, but I suppose that’s because I like a lot of characters that are kind of stubborn like he was in that scene. And I couldn’t blame him for not wanting his wife to have his money if he died, since they were on bad terms and were trying to divorce. It’s in some of his other scenes that he’s repulsive to me, such as when the wife explains about the money she gave him that was actually her parents’ money and he won’t pay it back, and of course, the whole nonsense about him actually writing that crummy book.

One fun thing about The Prankish Professor, even in the cut version, is that Sergeant Brice gets to do stuff. He follows Paul around, talks with him and the desk clerk at the hotel, and investigates a room with Paul that’s set up to get the police interested in Sally Sheldon (whom I still find really annoying in the scene where she talks to the professor. She certainly has a reason to be mad, but she comes across as kind of juvenile with her sneering and arrogance). I think that may be the longest amount of time Brice has talked outside of being on the witness stand.

Last night I watched The Witless Witness, one that’s fairly a favorite of mine from the season. I found there wasn’t too much missing from it, either—mainly just a scene where the judge goes to talk to Martin Weston again and finds him passed out, and a guy from the Senate committee shows up, and then that guy’s testimony in court of the incident.

I was kind of surprised by Robert Middleton playing the judge, though! I hadn’t remembered it was him. I’ve seen him all over the place, usually as bad guys, and he was particularly fresh on my mind because I’d just watched him torturing H.M. Wynant’s poor character on Mission: Impossible that morning. It’s quite a switch, to see him play a very honest and upright judge within the same twenty-four hour period. Character actors are awesome that way, taking on every kind of role possible and making each one believable.
One odd cut that every one of the episodes has is the ending theme. Season 6 uses the two-part ending, but on the discs it's mashed into a continuous ending, and the result is that the theme is noticeably shortened. Very strange. The syndicated versions have the correct endings, so they're available. Why weren't they used on the discs?
But that's a small quibble, overall. The discs are wonderful things! The sound and picture qualities are just excellent, and the episodes themselves all appear to be uncut. I'm very thrilled with all of the releases.

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