Monday, 7 September 2020

How the Bottle Episode Went From Frugal to Flex

quote [ Paring down a cast and limiting a TV installment to one location used to be a challenge initiated by budgets—now it’s one thrown down by the creators themselves ]

But it’s like a bottle episode
[SFW] [tv & movies] [+3 Underrated]
[by ScoobySnacks@5:01amGMT]


damnit said @ 7:33am GMT on 8th Sep [Score:2]
Speaking of bottle episodes, I just found out the "machete order" of introducing new people into the verse:

Episodes 1-7
Then 9-14
Then Serenity film
Then episode 8 Out of Gas

We get everyone back one last time, we get to see Mal saved, and we end the arc with the first time he lays eyes on Her.

Then you tell your new budding browncoat buddy that there's graphic novels and a new comic series that started last year.
snowfox said @ 8:49am GMT on 7th Sep
Community specifically referenced doing a bottle episode. Teen Titans GO!, much as it is hated, constantly talks about animation and media jargon, and made their bottle episode about a literal bottle. (They also have a great episode about real estate that might be the most educational thing I've seen on TV).

Something I think people miss is that a large portion of horror films are bottle episodes. They have small casts and may film in just one location (some old creepy house). This is not only cheap but it lends itself to the feeling of isolation and entrapment that make these films intense and moody. There is no reprieve from this environment and no expectation anyone is coming to the rescue. Bottle episodes are critical to why horror films work.
Hugh E. said @ 1:09pm GMT on 7th Sep
How can you omit the superb, most bottley episode in sitcom history: Mad About You, The Conversation. One shot, one frame, two actors, no cuts. OK, they did go into Mabel's room once, but still, it's an achievement.
hellboy said @ 9:30pm GMT on 7th Sep
The author of the article seems pretty unclear on the subject of the article. "Blackwater" was not by any stretch a bottle episode. Neither was "Rixty Minutes", which was if anything a near-parody of a clip show.
damnit said @ 7:26am GMT on 8th Sep
I think that was meant to highlight the disagreement to what constitutes a bottle episode.

Whenever shows use flashbacks or clips of previous episodes as highlight reels, they also work as bottle episodes.

The Outer Limits used this to great effect (as mentioned in the article), and used it on episodes each season to string together stories, letting us know that they are all in the same universe.

So, then, is a bottle episode also a recap or highlight reel episode or strictly self-contained, single-location episodes?
hellboy said[1] @ 8:15pm GMT on 8th Sep
Strictly self-contained episodes using only the existing set or sets and the main cast (no guest stars, no new locations). The use of highlight clips is orthogonal - most clip shows are also bottle episodes, but it would be possible to do a clip show with a guest star, introducing them to the main cast or explaining the back story, and that would not be a bottle episode, so they're not the same thing.

"Blackwater" is not a bottle episode by any definition that makes sense ("fewer locations than usual" is not a bottle). "Rixty Minutes" isn't either because the clips they watch are new material. The Archer elevator episode qualifies (and maybe more so than the article author realizes, if they recycled existing animation). Even "Pine Barrens" doesn't qualify, since it has several distinct locations, and the main location itself is new.

"Bottle episode" does NOT mean "a story that mostly takes place in a single location". There's already a term for that: chamber piece. Most bottle episodes are also chamber pieces, but not necessarily (if the show has multiple standing sets, it can be a bottle episode without being confined to one location). Twelve Angry Men is a classic example of a chamber piece. "Pine Barrens" is mostly a chamber piece despite being out-of-doors. But just because something is a chamber piece, that doesn't make a it a bottle episode.

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