Angela's informal rewatch

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by angelcakes83, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. angelcakes83

    angelcakes83 Third Technician

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    As I have finished the "produced to date" shows, the properly produced ones at least, and I've been reading several things in the fandom, I've been doing a sort of informal rewatch from the beginning of Red Dwarf. I'm not used to going this alone, so I decided to share my thoughts in this thread, and possibly generate some discussion. I'll just post my thoughts on each episode as it goes along.

    Series 1, episode 1: The End

    I gotta say, it's really surreal to see Chris Barrie and Craig Charles back in 1988. They absolutely look 12. Danny hasn't changed a bit, though. I don't think he ages. Must be the Cat genes.

    I'm enjoying Hollister a bit more now that I've watched series 8. And I've always liked Peterson.

    Craig Charles's acting has improved tremendously over the years. There at the beginning, he was really going in for the physical comedy, and his Scouse accent seemed a bit exaggerated. The main problem, though, was that he never actually looked anyone in the face. He was always looking down or off to the side. I don't know if that's the character he was trying to build for Lister, or if his character eventually matured out of that, but I connected to Lister so much more when Craig Charles started making actual eye contact with people. It's just so much more noticeable now that I've hopped from 10 to 1.

    I know I probably upset several people with my fears of "racist Cat"... or, in other words, my fears that the characterization of Cat was going to be a combination of uncomfortable "black" stereotypes. I think I may have said "bad James Brown impression." I've gotten over that, obviously. In fact, I quite like Cat. At the time, though, the tiny amount we get of Cat has little context, and I'm used to cringing at sitcoms that use racial stereotypes as a short-hand for comedy. I'm glad that didn't happen, and especially that the actors and writers were aware enough of potential problems that they were able to avoid indulging in those stereotypes.

    They're all dead, Dave. Rimmer is still great at screaming ineffectual judo. And I'm out, until "Future Echoes."
     
  2. cirenshane

    cirenshane Third Technician

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    I really enjoyed reading this. Hope you continue.
     
  3. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    I can't say I'd ever noticed the 'Lister not making eye contact' thing, but it's something I'll look out for next time I'm watching the early episodes. I always like having my attention drawn to things I've never previously noticed in Red Dwarf.
     
  4. Pendo

    Pendo Supply Officer

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    I've never noticed Lister not making eye contact before either, but there are quite a few instances where Craig mouths other people's lines as they're speaking.
     
  5. Presuming Ken

    Presuming Ken Deck Sergeant

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    Yeah, it's a good catch.

    Thinking about it I can see what the OP means. Interesting.
     
  6. angelcakes83

    angelcakes83 Third Technician

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    I'll have to watch out for Craig mouthing lines. I usually have my eye on whoever is speaking unless someone is doing pretty distracting physical humor. I just can't believe how much Craig has matured in acting. I remember Heath and I complained about there being no pathos in his reactions to "Everybody's dead, Dave." Having read the first bit of the first novel, the pathos is much more apparent in the novel than in Craig's acting. Compare that to the scene in Back to Earth when he reads Jane Austen to Kochanski's memorial.
     
  7. Kittypaws

    Kittypaws Flight Co-Ordinator

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    I've not noticed either the eye contact thingy or the mouthing lines.
     
  8. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    As far as I'm aware, his 'mouthing lines' thing occurs mostly around the series 5 and 6 era.
     
  9. Strat-tastic

    Strat-tastic Flight Co-Ordinator

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    There is one instance in Confidence & Paranoia. I can't remember the exact line, but it's where Lister & Confidence are close together in one shot.
     
  10. Hesperus

    Hesperus Third Technician

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    It's on the line 'I don't know, is it some place near Uruguay?'
     
  11. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    Very interesting, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Angela. Have to admit I haven't noticed Craig Charles avoiding eye contact but then I hadn't noticed him mouthing others lines either. Will have to look out for that next time I rewatch it. Are you planning on working your way through all of Red Dwarf again? I'd imagined you and Heath might want a break after all the work you'd put into the Introcasts!
     
  12. Strat-tastic

    Strat-tastic Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Come come now, watching Red Dwarf is hardly a chore ;-)
     
  13. angelcakes83

    angelcakes83 Third Technician

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    Turns out, I'm actually quite an obsessive person.
     
  14. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    Me too. In the last few months I've watched all three seasons of Game of Thrones twice and the first season of Orphan Black three times.
     
  15. angelcakes83

    angelcakes83 Third Technician

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    Just finished watching series 1, episode 2; "Future Echoes".

    Still a great episode, by the way. In my initial viewing, I'd had some reservations after the first episode. I wasn't sure about the set-up, I didn't get all the jokes, I didn't particularly like Lister... And then I watched "Future Echoes." I'm a sucker for time travel, sci-fi, and mysteries, and this one has it all.

    Of course, this episode brings on a whole host of continuity errors. We see three real future echoes: the birth of the twins Jim and Bexley, the death of Bexley, and Lister as an old man still on Red Dwarf with a metal hand.

    The twins we've always assumed are the twin babies Lister gave birth to after "Parallel Universe." Of course, those babies go back to their mother/father, the female Lister, so the "death of Bexley" echo implies that he comes back to Red Dwarf and dies while Lister is still alive. Hmm... Of course, then the metal hand is a jokes they played around with in series 7.

    I know, keep calm and don't worry about continuity... Did you get the impression, though, in series 7 that they might have kept Lister's arm off, except Craig Charles didn't want to worry with the extra make-up time every episode?

    I think my favorite jokes now are the subtle jokes. When Lister asks how they get two babies on board, and then he, Cat, and Rimmer look uncomfortably at each other. Or when Holly takes offense at Rimmer's insults and gets revenge via hairstyle. Or Lister's background mocking of Rimmer's salutes.

    I will admit that I've read the first novel now. I won't give everything away, because I think that we're going to do an episode on each novel in the future, but I think my favorite change from this script to the novel is the fact that it's old Lister who says my favorite line in the episode: "You're born, you die, it's the bit in the middle called life and that's to come." I loved the line in the original episode, but it did feel wrong with young Lister saying it... sort of delusional and uncaring. (Heath was uncomfortable with his reaction, I remember.) It's definitely a line much better suited to old Lister, who has gone through "that bit in the middle" and has much more maturity about it. But, anyway.

    The "little fishy" song. Cat's suits. Head-banging skutters. (Scutters?) And Rimmer being worried about being shut off. Fantastic. Until next time, when I review the episode I originally called "Friends in Space."
     
  16. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    Another good review, Angela, and yes the subtle jokes were always really good in those early episodes.

    Looking forward to listening to the Introcasts for the novels.
     
  17. Stephen

    Stephen Console Officer

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    This is giving my an excuse to read the novels...and listen to the radio shows of which I'm sure Heath & Angela would like too! ;-)
     
  18. Strat-tastic

    Strat-tastic Flight Co-Ordinator

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    I like this thread :-D
     
  19. Freeborn

    Freeborn Flight Co-Ordinator

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    me too. Makes for very interesting reading, both for those of us who have been following the introcast and those who haven't. It's always great to hear/read the views of new fans. :-)
     
  20. angelcakes83

    angelcakes83 Third Technician

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    I'm on a roll, here. Thanks for all the positive feedback, you guys!

    Okay, so... Series 1, episode 3: "Balance of Power"

    When I first watched/reviewed this episode, I was just coming off the buzz of "Future Echoes." I wanted everything to be all timey-wimey, etc. Then we got the episode that I so unkindly dubbed "Friends in Space"... in other words, a sitcom that just so happens to be set in space.

    Now that I go back, that's really unfair. The show needed this episode to establish character. In the first episode, we had premise set-up. The second, we further established the sci-fi-ness of the show. The third, we needed to slow down and just see who these characters are and how they interact. And we get that in droves. I'll take it a bit at a time on what I think are the most important scenes.

    First off, Lister asking Holly why he brought back Rimmer as a hologram, of all people. We get the classic answer that Rimmer was the prime candidate to keep Lister sane (the novel, of course, says that Holly is lying). But it makes sense, given the possibilities. Lister lists his drinking buddies and Kochanski as possibilities, but none of them would have been right. His drinking buddies are just that: drinking buddies. They slobbed around and had laughs, but not really much else. I also think they would have been disastrous as holograms. Could you imagine Peterson never drinking or touching anything? Perhaps trying to convince Holly to give his program a continual flow of whiskey? As Holly says, "Hell is being alone for eternity with your friends"... or something like that. Lister would have realized very quickly that he had nothing but drinking in common with Peterson and the rest.

    As for Kochanski... Of course, this episode establishes something that is fairly quickly retconned in the novel and later series. In this version, Lister barely spoke to Kochanski. I think I remember Doug deciding that his mooning over Kochanski like that when they'd barely spoken was a bit too juvenile. Of course, Holly uses their lack of interaction as an excuse to not bring her back. However, even if they did have a preexisting relationship... she'd just dumped him. He hadn't gotten over her. Talk about awkward. (Of course, it's interesting that series 7 Kochanski gets holo-Lister). Lister would have been pushing for a relationship with someone who he couldn't touch, who had just dumped him, and now was being forced to spend time with him. Not good.

    Okay, more scenes. The scene in the bar area was really good. They did a lot to make the scene seem crowded with probably not many extras. We got some lovely bits with Rimmer winging about his time table (and apparently throwing Kochanski's friend's purse across a dance floor). But then everything disappears, and Lister is in a half-darkened, empty bar, with no music, and a fraction of a cigarette. The last episode gave Lister hope... but this episode shows how hard it's going to be for Lister just day to day.

    A small scene, but Rimmer's opinion of Kochanski as "snooty" is quite good. I know we can't entirely trust Rimmer, but it gives an indication that perhaps Kochanski is not as much the ideal woman as Lister is making her out to be. And this, I think, is the type of scene that people refer to as a classic bunk room scene. Of course, it's not the setting, necessarily, but that's part of it. It's the forced intimacy with someone you don't like... but someone you're drawn to, that you can't help but interact with. Lister and Rimmer could go most of their time without seeing each other. Either of them (or both) could move. But they're completely alone, so they stay together, and they're compelled into this sparring match because they need even an adversarial relationship just to keep going.

    Okay, now before I go all "Blue" with this, I wanted to point out just a couple more relationships and character moments. We have more Rimmer and Holly drama, we have Cat and Rimmer interacting hysterically (Cat guarding his fish is just brilliant), and then Rimmer panicking over Lister's chef's exam, even to the point of some half-hearted astronav revision. And, finally, we get Rimmer disguised as Kochanski. You know, I think I've been a bit disparaging of Clare Grogan over the years. She's a pop singer, and cute, but hasn't had much to work with. Here, however, Grogan puts together quite a good impression of Rimmer than I didn't give much thought the first go-through. I didn't have much of Kochanski to go off of--a few lines in the first episode, and a little dancing earlier in this episode--so I didn't have much to compare it to, but her inflections, her stances, the salute... All really good. She still has her accent, but it's supposed to be her voice. And kudos for not giving Kochanski a Chris Barrie voiceover... that drives me crazy when shows do that.

    The Cat moaning over fish consumption... I felt like that recently when I gorged on Indian food. Rimmer has a new toy that should be much more fun than Peterson's arm. And Lister... lied about passing the chef's exam. All in all, this episode is much better than I'd originally thought it. Boy do I hope the next one, "Waiting for God", will produced similar results.
     

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