How depressing it is...

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by Seymour_Clufley, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. Seymour_Clufley

    Seymour_Clufley First Technician

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    First off, let me apologise for the content of this post. I just feel the need to get it off my chest. My hope is that I will be saying what at least a few other fans are thinking.

    I am not a regular poster here, but I have been a fan of Red Dwarf since 1990. The Last Day was my entre into one of the finest TV programmes ever made, a uniquely successful blend of science-fiction, comedy and simple low-budget character drama, with a crucial dash of high-brow material - philosophy, psychology, morality - which elevated the show above "pulp". I couldn't ask for any more in a programme, and as I say I think that series 1 to 5 were a unique achievement in the history of television.

    Then Series 6 happened, and though it was definitely a step down from Series 5 it was still a hell of a lot better than Series 7, and Series 8, during which I actually stopped watching the programme out of sheer disappointment. To see my favourite characters going from Quarantine to Pete: Part I was just too much.

    Then, after a long time, BTE happened, and for me it was a nice thing. It wasn't funny, and I missed the audience laughter, but it was pretty good. I also liked the "meta" layer, which I actually found quite clever.

    Once I heard that RDX was going to be "back to basics" and have a studio audience, I was pretty excited. By that time I was nearly 30, so old enough not to get too excited and set myself up for a big disappointment. Still, I awaited the return of my old programme eagerly. I knew it had lost something in the transition between Series 5 and 6, and that it had never recovered from losing one of its two creators, and that it had been a very long time since its last outing as a sitcom... but still, I listened to the assurances of the cast members, and looked forward to what was coming with an open mind.

    Well, what can I say. The only truly "laugh out loud" moment for me in RDX was the moose joke. I have detailed my other complaints about it elsewhere on this forum. Let me just say... I don't understand people saying it was "a return to form". For me, a return to form would be less wild retconning, some depth and substance in the scripts, Rimmer and Lister being convincing and relatable characters again, Chris Barrie not hamming up every line of dialogue, and less cruel nihilism played for laughs. Oh, and I'd want it to be funny as well, not the forced chuckles of RDX. I really think it was a disaster on every front.

    Now, a couple of years on, I come to this forum once a month or so, to see if there is any news about a follow-up. "Red Dwarf XI". The activity of a loyal fan.

    But here's the thing. I don't even know if I would watch a new series of Red Dwarf. If I did, it would be out of nostalgia/loyalty, not any expectation that I would enjoy it. Enjoy another series like RDX? Are you crazy? I'm pining for episodes like The Inquisitor and Back to Reality - but they were 20 years ago.

    Compared to Series V, RDX was like a bunch of college students trying to do Red Dwarf. It's depressing to see the show having fallen so far, and morbid to want this decline to continue. Lots of fans do want that, and at some level so do I, but it is morbid. And it's degrading, too. It's degrading for fans to lower their expectations so much that they are able to get excited about a new series of the same dreadfully low quality as RDX.

    It's over. Naylor clearly can't write the show on his own (humour-wise, depth-wise and taste-wise), and the two main actors clearly don't understand what they did in the early days that made it work. None of the parties involved - actors, writer, his crew - seem able to quality-check each other, and the result is a sub-mediocre programme that, if it did not bear the name "Red Dwarf", would barely have been watched by anybody.

    I'm sorry, but I think that the grim truth for many old-time fans is this: if Red Dwarf were a dog, you would put it out of its misery.

    The only hope of recovery is to get Rob Grant back.

    But why would he come back? The show has been wrecked since he left. Lister is now his own father. Rimmer has become Ace (who has himself been degraded with dreadful writing and acting) and been replaced by some other Rimmer, who has kneed Death in the groin, and been psychopathic towards his own brother, and been revealed to be illegitimate etc. Kochanski has been altered into a completely different character. Both Rimmer and Lister have descended from Marooned to their RDX conversation about Shakespeare merely being a guy who "came up with great phrases". And the less said about the ship's full crew being restored, the better. And the less said about Naylor's appallingly glib handling of said crew's departure, the better. It's a complete mess.

    What's more, even if the writer and cast acknowledged the flaws in how they've been doing it, I can't see a feasible way for them to segue back to the old style. Compare Rimmer in the episodes Holoship and Trojan: you can go from the former to the latter - a three-dimensional character can become hammy - but try going the other way. Even if it could be written, could it be acted, without admitting that Barrie has been way below-par in the role since 1992?

    God, it's so depressing...

    One of the finest TV programmes ever made, and now we're reduced to looking forward to another six episodes like Entangled.

    For heaven's sake, get Rob Grant back. It could only be for the best. I say that out of love for the show, not a desire to rain on anyone's parade or to insult Doug Naylor. I have no idea of the pressure involved in writing and directing Red Dwarf, and I'm sure he has fought well against the challenge. But to restore it to its former glory, to the show it used to be and should be... he has to get his old writing partner back in, and rekindle the partnership that produced the glories of Series 1 to 5.

    Hopefully this message will reach both Naylor and Grant. If not, I hope it has relieved some tension in fans who have been secretly thinking along the same lines.
     
  2. Ant the Dragon

    Ant the Dragon Flight Co-Ordinator

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    There are many things depressing in life - and red dwarf is NOT one of them!
    Series 8 was a massive drop in quality - but I rate back to earth higher than red dwarf 3, 4 or 1! I never get this whole "it's not funny" lark. Back To Reality is not funny, it rarely gives a laugh (Dwane Dibley being the main exception) but it is an amazing and, at the most part, dark story. Why is this acceptable in red dwarf 5 but not say, red dwarf 7 like Tikka to Ride? Just one of the many things I've never understood with the post six haters.

    But anyway, do I think there is more life in it? Yes. Do I think there is endless life in it? No. Personally I thought red dwarf X was on par with a series like 1 or 3. It wasn't massively exciting and the budget constraints were obvious - I just found a few episodes incredibly rushed. I agree about Chris's performance dropping (I found it turning slightly panto at times).

    But as I have said countless times before to similar posts, if you honestly think Rob Grant is some comedy God who was/will be the saviour of red dwarf 1. There are a good number of terrible episodes that he co-wrote (The aforementioned Last Day being a particularly ghastly, rushed and yawnful episode) 2. Watch The Strangerers written by Rob Grant. You will find it even more depressing than series 8! 3. Why hasn't Rob (apparently the most talented writer) written any TV shows since other than a handful of guest writer credits? Hmmm...

    It is refreshing however to see an opinion piece on red dwarf 7 - X without resorting to the tedious moans about the sets and models being too shiny! Yawnnnn. But let's hope that given the
    Time it's taking to get red dwarf XI written, Doug will have no excuses for any rushed endings!

    Good post! :-)
     
  3. Strat-tastic

    Strat-tastic Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Good post indeed. I'm not sure I agree with it all (although bringing Grant back would be most interesting) but it is a well-written passionate plea, so for that I say good post sir! :-)
     
  4. Kittypaws

    Kittypaws Flight Co-Ordinator

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    I'd like to bang Rob Grant and Douglas Naylor's heads together and tell them to stop being awkward and start writing again.
     
  5. Ant the Dragon

    Ant the Dragon Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Not going to happen. It seems it is entirely down to Rob Grant!
     
  6. Kittypaws

    Kittypaws Flight Co-Ordinator

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    I know it's not going to happen, but I'd still like to bang their heads together.
     
  7. Diet_coke

    Diet_coke Science Officer

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    What seems to be the officer, problem?
     
  8. Ant the Dragon

    Ant the Dragon Flight Co-Ordinator

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    I think you should Kitty! Who knows? The Beatles re-formed.... As did spandau ballet following a lengthy court dispute! It certainly would be awesome if they ended it on a co-written series!
     
  9. Kittypaws

    Kittypaws Flight Co-Ordinator

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    I feel like I'm venting some frustration about those two. It's like:

    "For God's sake, will the pair of you knock it off, grow up, forget about whatever it was that caused this animosity, get together and write something before everyone loses patience! I mean, all right, so it might've gone downhill when Rob left, but that's no excuse to sit there whining about each other! Remember when the Eagles broke up? They said they'd get back together 'when Hell freezes over'. You know what happened? They got back together years later and the new offering was called 'Hell Freezes Over'. Which seems to sum up you two right now!"

    *ahem* Crikey - that's a bit of a rant! :shock: I'm really sorry! :eek:ops:

    Anyway, that's what's on my mind...
     
  10. "Smeg! you youthed me!" - oldest transformation cliche and RD fell for it....
     
  11. Strat-tastic

    Strat-tastic Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Wot no claws? ;-)

    I know what you mean though. They should have grown up by now and be able to bury the hatchet.
     
  12. Kittypaws

    Kittypaws Flight Co-Ordinator

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    The claws would be the last resort..! :P

    Seriously though, you're right.
     
  13. ajrimmer169

    ajrimmer169 First Technician

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    I totally understand where you are coming from. It's not the same but then I didn't expect much from it, so because I didn't expect much it was better than I thought it would be.. (if that makes sense aha)

    As with the watching out of loyalty, well, I do this with Doctor Who now, hate the show/writing since Moffat took over all the writing, but if there is a new series on I will watch it because I use to love it and I just hope one day, one day it will hopefully go back to "normal".
     
  14. Strat-tastic

    Strat-tastic Flight Co-Ordinator

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    I gave up on the last series of Dr. Who about 3 episodes in, erased unwatched eps & cancelled series record. Life's too short, as they say.

    But, having said that, I don't think I'd give up on a series of Red Dwarf... I don't think.... :?
     
  15. ajrimmer169

    ajrimmer169 First Technician

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    I love both shows and will watch all new series that comes out for both.

    Saying that with Doctor Who I wasn't fussed if I missed it due to be busy and I never fretted about needing to watch it when I did miss it, I miss being passionate about it the way I use to be, but I just can't be any more, it's gotten so awful.
     
  16. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    i have only watched 2 episodes of Peter Capaldi run of doctor who while i watched probably everyone since Eccleston to smith left and i ain't totally sure what put me off, i think it was the attempt at trying to change the show with an older doctor after such a long time that lost me

    as for red dwarf... yeah i have had issues with every red dwarf since series 7 so every time i hope new red dwarf will fix them issues there just seems to be new ones added and it sometimes feels like doug struggles to write the show by himself but i probably wouldn't want anyone else to try and write the show since its rob and dougs baby and yet sometimes its like even doug doesn't fully understand his own show

    i would like rob grant to return to help write the show but i think dougs probably changed to much for rob to understand the show now since alot of its not his joint direction
     
  17. ajrimmer169

    ajrimmer169 First Technician

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    I watched all Doctor Who's religiously from Eccleston to Tennant, started to watch Smith's ones but the writing had changed so much, became so childish and seemed things where just put in for the sake of laughs. I want scary Who back, Empty Child episodes and that! Even episodes with some history in like the Pompeii one and the Shakespear Code, it's so cleaver how they done that one, but from Smith onwards it has gone downhill.
     
  18. simulant37

    simulant37 Science Officer

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  19. Clarence

    Clarence First Technician

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    just to throw and idea out there what would people think to a "reboot" with a new cast?
     
  20. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    Absolutely terrible idea. Reboots are IMO the laziest possible option for almost any given setting.
     

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