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Odd Episode Sequence Numbering

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Hi Libby!

Thanks so much for doing all this great work. Having worked in publishing myself and being a writer on the side I can apprectiate how difficult this must be, reverse engineering an episode to recreate the scripts. They are an invaluable tool and help me to be able what I do here as a means of contributing to the Group.

In your Season 2 synopsis you have listed the episodes...

213 The Mikado

215 The Pest House

214 Owls

216 Roosters

217 Siren

218 In Arcadia Ego

I didn't notice this until I was looking at the episode transcripts, where they appear in this order ...

213 The Mikado

214 Owls

215 The Pest House

The episodic number order doesn't match the air dates and the sequencing numbers don't make sense. You'd think it should be ...

214 The Pest House

215 Owls

216 Roosters

So my question is have they been transcribed out of order or were they assigned by 1013 the odd sequencing?

Looking forward to your reply,


PS - I may have noted a few corrections. Should I post them here or send you PMs?

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  • Elders (Moderators)

Hi, Maxx,

It's good to have another pair of eyes looking at these things!

There is the problem that there are three different numbering systems - the production code, the airing order, and the fan-based codes. And the fan-based codes do seem to have differed slightly across the various fan sites.

Now you've raised the question, I have to say I'm now getting confused, and I'll look at this point in consultation with Graham, as we need to keep things consistent between the transcripts, the synopses, the forums, and the database we're developing.

There obviously is a problem with the coding in this part of Season 2, as the production codes, the airing dates, and possibly the actual filming, don't coincide. It's always seemed strange to me that Pest House is in between Owls and Roosters in production code order, yet I can't see that they would have filmed these three episodes in this order. There's a similar problem in Season 3, so it's probably a good idea for Graham and me to look at this issue now, rather than later.

Corrections are welcome! I think it's probably better to post them here, partly because I'll be able to find them easily, but also it'll encourage anyone else who's spotted an error to post as well.

Thanks for the input, Maxx.

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  • Elders (Admins)

Hi Libby,

I just responded about the airing order and productions within the database but here in the transcripts I realised one thing which may effect the display order is the forum sorting options in the Admin Controls.

You can sort topic in a forum by a variety of options which may be effecting the display order particulary if you have have edited a transcript or added a new one.

The options are are Sort Key:


and Sort Order:


which you may need to fine tune to prevent transcripts moving out of whichever order you choose to put them in. In the Review Section where I created forums for each episode, I put them in Viewing Order as per most episode guides including the original Fox one which most are based on. The Database (should Libby concur) will offer the facility to list episodes in both the production order and airing order.

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  • Elders (Moderators)

I've done a bit more looking at this and I think I'm less confused than I was.

There are two numbering systems: the MLM code (which was set up by Fox, rather than the fans as I had assumed) and the production code. These are identical for each episode. In other words (ignoring the pilot episode which has a different code), the sequence, using those episodes, is:

The Mikado: MLM213, 5C13

Owls: MLM214, 5C14

The Pest House: MLM215, 5C15

Roosters: MLM216, 5C16

As you noted, the airing order (and the order on the DVD) doesn't run that way. There are various reasons why episodes get aired out of production order, sometimes intentionally, sometimes because an episode gets pushed back because of real world issues, sometimes because there are production problems which causes delays, and sometimes because network suits are idiots! [1]

This difference between production and airing order might have been deliberate, as Thomas J Wright directed both Owls and Roosters and filming two episodes sequentially is pretty demanding. So they might have decided to produce them in that order just to give the poor guy chance to catch his breath, but with the intention of airing them sequentially.

After consulting with Graham, I've made some changes:

The synopses are now in airing order as that makes sense for anyone browsing through them while watching the DVDs, or re-runs if those episodes are shown in the original airdate order.

The transcripts are in MLM/production code order, as that's the easiest way for me, and sorted in MLM order. If people are searching on MLM number, that's the easiest way for them to find a particular transcript. If they are looking for a particular title, then they'll be able to find it as episodes aired out-of-order weren't delayed by too much.

I've also made sure the details in the database are the same as the synopses and transcripts, so there's consistency across those areas.

[1] Here are some examples, though the X-Files became quite notorious for airing episodes out of production order:

The first episode in Season 7 of the X-Files was aired third. That was intentional as both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson weren't available at the beginning of the production year, so they went ahead and filmed most of episode 7.03 as that was written to enable the scenes with DD and GA to be filmed later and inserted. It meant they could get things underway even without the two leads.

The MM episode Kingdome Come was aired later because a senior Roman Catholic priest died just before that episode was due to air, but see Brian Dixon's site for more details on that: https://www.fourthhorseman.com/Abyss/Episodes/epi103.htm

Real-life events also influenced the final two-parter of Season 3 of Buffy, so part one was aired on 18 May 1999 and the second two months later, on 13 July.

The X-Files Season 6 episode Arcadia was aired out of order, supposedly because of technical difficulties regarding the monster in that episode.

The X-Files Season 4 episode Never Again was aired out of order, because the Fox network considered the episode Leonard Betts to be a better one for showing immediately after the Super Bowl. That put a different spin on the way Scully was behaving in Never Again, and disconnected the two episodes Leonard Betts and Memento Mori which were the beginning of the Scully-cancer arc.

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  • Elders (Admins)

Great post Libby! I think this staying true to the viewing order that people are familiar with is the way to go. One of the great things about the database were working on is that the results can be listed in any way, airdate order, production order etc.

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