Last RD ep. you watched recently

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by sanja, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    I might do a 61 episode Dwarfathon sometime next year. It'll be interesting to see if my opinions about various series and episodes change second time around.
     
  2. Seymour_Clufley

    Seymour_Clufley First Technician

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    No, I've seen the whole of s7 and s8. Several times, in fact. It's just that when I reached s7 in my "dwarfathon", I just couldn't be bothered after the second episode. I'm well aware of what s7 is like!

    Well, perhaps you've never come across it before because people don't often discuss sitcoms in moral terms. Either way, the rarity of my interpretation has no bearing on its veracity.

    It's a complaint I've got about lots of stuff in s7. Lister being his own father, and thus Kochanski being his mother, then he pursues her sexually (and the ramifications of Lister being his own father are never explored). Kryten's brother being a drug addict, and this being used for cheap laughs (with addiction never being explored).

    What really annoys me is that there is this gloss all over s7 of it being some kind of "drama" that really cares about "character" and exploring their "emotional lives". But it is done in the most over-blown, cack-handed way, and feels both disingenuous and ineffectual. There's a kind of unspoken claim (voiced by some fans of s7) that, by bringing emotion centre-stage, the show is being more "human" (very late 90s/NewLabour). But actually, it is less human, because it's insincere. Compare Rimmer's supposed metamorphosis into a superhero with his quiet discussion in s2 about his father, in the Observation Dome. I know which I find more human, not to mention more interesting.

    The thing I found morally offensive was not Rimmer taking Ace's place, but the crew giving Ace another man's (our Rimmer's) funeral. This only seemed to be necessary because Cat and Kryten were being misled as to which Rimmer had died, which in itself seemed both weird and unnecessary.
     
  3. Cruel Slayer

    Cruel Slayer Console Officer

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    I can't really disagree with Seymour on these points. I mean, it doesn't bother me enough to have any kind of emotional reaction to it. Series 7 remains my least favourite BBC era series. I find it absurd rather than more "human" or "emotional". Perhaps that is because it was so self-conscious of its character dramas, but didn't really pull them off and ignored glaring moral issues. I was never comfortable with Lister's parentage, but didn't care as they didn't spill over into any other episodes, least of all into a series I really liked. I didn't understand the point of hiding the new Ace Rimmer's true identity from two members of a now three crew ship, especially as it would perhaps be to the advantage of Rimmer's psyche that he actually got genuine praise and credit from people for once, but I didn't care because it's series 7. I actually felt the drug addiction element was dealt with as deeply as half an hour of science-fiction situation comedy could be expected to, including the important message that an addict isn't defined purely by their addiction.
     
  4. Daniel

    Daniel Console Officer

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    The thing is, the "Ace" that died wasn't Ace Rimmer, he died some time ago. The idea is perhaps that Arnold J. Rimmer did die when he took on the mantle of Ace Rimmer, stepped into the place of an icon and took on everything it meant to be a hero. As such the funeral is for the man he was. For all we know, a similar situation occured many times before, with the element of a funeral being symbolic of the transition and in memory of the man who has now departed. For at the time Arnold J. Rimmer died, "Ace Rimmer" was reborn.


    As a side note, why was New Labour referenced? What do they have to do with any moral offensiveness in the show?
     
  5. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    My mistake, I misread your post.

    Fair enough. I guess I just think you're taking some of it a bit too much to heart and out of context of how it was intended, but yes, that doesn't make you point any less valid. I'll admit I did find this a bit dodgy though:

    Of course, as has been said, they make no more reference to it, but it's not been contradicted either so...

    It didn't particularly offend me but there was a yuck factor certainly.

    While it was played for laughs to some extent (and there are many awful things in life which do have a humorous side,* that doesn't take anything from the tragedy. If anything it can add to it.) there was a grim aspect to it which made me wince. Particularly when Able 'jacks in'. And I think maybe that was totally intentional. I remember Robert Llewellyn remarking on it in the review. He's funny but he is disturbing and tragic too.

    *Humour doesn't follow moral laws after all.
     
  6. Seymour_Clufley

    Seymour_Clufley First Technician

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    I know that. He wasn't the original Ace - by a long chalk! But that doesn't change the fact that when he died, he was given another man's funeral (including another man's First Officer badge). In effect, his life was completely ignored so that his funeral could be used as a make-believe funeral for a man who was still (hologrammatically) alive. I just think that's kind of... sick. What about him?! What about his life, achievements, and so on?

    This is a separate thing. I don't doubt it. I think you're right. The funeral is being used as a psychological aid for our Rimmer, to help him leave one life and start another. But it's still usurping someone else's funeral.

    Not the moral offensiveness, but the touchy-feely angle. I think that was in vogue in the mid/late 90s, and New Labour latched on to it - they were up for single mothers, gay rights, easy divorce, desperate to be thought of as "the nice party" etc. I don't want to get into a political discussion - I just think that when people move emotions centre-stage it is often in the service of trickery; they're appealing to people's kinder instincts.

    In the context of TV drama, so often we hear this idea now that characters should be "3-dimensional" and "have emotional lives beyond the storyline" or even that the storyline should be wholly concerned with their emotional lives. I don't think Red Dwarf VII was completely like that, but I think they were going along with something that was trendy at the time - hence the whole "comedy drama" rather than "sitcom" direction. Sitcom had become a dirty word, really.

    It's only in the last few years, since The IT Crowd was a hit, that people have got over their guilty pleasure at watching sitcoms in which the characters do not have "emotional lives beyond the storyline". Again, this is not absolutist; I'm well aware that sitcoms can have 3-dimensional characters - I just think that Red Dwarf already had that, from the very beginning, so it didn't need the icky transformation which occurred in s7 (and which, IMHO, completely backfired).
     
  7. Daniel

    Daniel Console Officer

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    Tying in with what I said before, that Rimmer didn't die there. Like our Rimmer, he met his end when he donned the wig. For all we know a similar situation occured, and that man's funeral was given in a similar fashion when he set off to become Ace Rimmer, wherein his life, achievements and so on were marked. Part of the legend of Ace is that most people don't know he is many men, so it's not a huge stretch I feel to imagine this is not the first time it has happened. The man each Rimmer was before he becomes Ace has his moment, has his "funeral", and then the last remains of his predecessor is sent to join the rest (despite the fact the light bee isn't a part of the person, it serves as a symbolic thing to send the last Ace off). It's not a make-believe funeral, but a real one. "Rimmer" was dead. "Ace" lived on.
     
  8. Seymour_Clufley

    Seymour_Clufley First Technician

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    Yes, I did think perhaps my post (the one you're replying to) was a bit po-faced. Perhaps I am taking it too much to heart. I do realise that Red Dwarf is "just" a TV programme. But the thing is, that doesn't really mean much...

    It's a very bad defence of something to say that it's just fiction, so we shouldn't worry about it, etc. - by that logic, you could put the most awful, disturbing thing up on screen, and when people complained just say "it's fiction, why are you getting so worked up?" That would be a poor defence. So clearly, morality does come into play. Of course we should be moderate and sensible and not take things too seriously... but everything is serious to the extent that you care about it. To the extent that I value Red Dwarf, I expect it to be "good" and will be proportionately disappointed when it is not.

    It's like when Ed Bye defended them changing a crucial plot element (the time drive) by saying "it's just a TV show". That really irritated me. One of the great things about Red Dwarf up till s7 is that the storylines always made sense and were internally consistent (Paul Jackson praises Grant and Naylor for this on one of the DVDs). Well, suddenly they throw that out the window, and Ed Bye mocks the fans for complaining about it? Cheeky bugger.

    I remember watching that episode when it was on originally. It was me and my brother and our dad. The three of us had been fans since s3, watching every episode together. Anyway, when that musical sequence came on - I think the simulant ship was chasing Starbug and, while the others are distracted, Able sneaks away and "jacks in", to the accompaniment of fast music - my brother turned to us and said "is this supposed to be funny?" He just found it sick. And I realised that I had been forcing my laughter all through the episode.

    Humour doesn't, but humorists should, and that means writers of TV comedy. ;-)

    Apart from anything else, I think the reason this matters is that it means you can trust the people who are taking you on a journey with each episode. What I mean is, for the first 6 series, I always felt that the writers were sensible people. I might not agree with them on everything but nevertheless I know that they are good, sensible people, who have wisdom to impart and they do this through the stories and dialogue they write.

    That totally went out of the window in s7.

    I know that all sounds quite precious, so let me give an example. In Holoship, Grant/Naylor showed us the following things about human existence: a man can be driven by ambition, be absolutely obsessed with it, and yet let it all go in order to save the woman he loves. Love is stronger than ambition, even though ambition is absolutely crucial (what would any of the RD characters be without their ambitions?). Furthermore, surrendering our ambitions to protect someone else, is an act of profound decency and goodness.

    Another example. In DNA, Grant/Naylor showed us the following things about human existence: to some degree you can choose what you become in life - but in some ways you can't. What's more, true, meaningful success hinges on being honest with yourself about who you are, staying true to the original pattern, or at least the core of it. In fact it's only by doing that, that you can make any future achievement meaningful - otherwise it's just a run-around, a deception, a self-delusion.

    What's clear from these examples - even if you disagree with my interpretations - is that Red Dwarf was being written by guys who were really engaged with the riddle of human life. They really cared about it and were trying to "suss it out".

    I just think that in s7 (and s8 ), that honesty is completely blown out of the water and replaced by an overbearing, insincere version. It's ironic: the best drama was in the "sitcom" version, not the "drama" version.

    So that's why I care about it, really. It's because I could tell from the first 6 series that Grant/Naylor were capable of writing moral tales, just as much as they could write funny tales. Even if s7 were funny, which I don't think it is, the loss of the moral angle would still be felt.
     
  9. Seymour_Clufley

    Seymour_Clufley First Technician

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    Yes, I know, that's why the thing about the timedrive is so strange. It's like they just assumed JFK/Dallas would be a funny storyline and became determined to do it, regardless of their newfound fondness for continuity (flashbacks to pre-disaster Dwarf, etc.)

    You're right to draw the parallel with Out of Time/Tikka to Ride and Parallel Universe/Backwards. In both cases, there's a big change between seasons.

    However, in the earlier case (moving from s2 to s3), the only real changes are Lister's babies "leaving" and Kryten changing. Well, Kryten changed because the actor changed - not much the writers can do about that. As for the babies, returning them to the parallel universe seems as good a way as any to "get rid of them"! All the other changes that came with s3 can be explained easily - Rimmer just fancies a new uniform, Lister just fancies a change of attire, Holly just fancies a new persona, the guys move to officer quarters, they get restless to explore and decide Starbug is more useful than Blue Midget, etc. Rimmer's light bee maybe wasn't properly set up before, because Holly is senile.

    With the changes between s6 and s7... I can easily accept the explanation for Starbug being bigger - some timey-wimey stuff, but fine, it's an explanation. But the timedrive suddenly being able to teleport really annoys me for several reasons:

    1. It directly contradicts the key problem with the timedrive in Out of Time (remember they go back to outer space in the year 1421, making the timedrive seem useless). And there certainly hasn't been enough time for them to work around that problem. (And if they did work around it, a faster-than-light drive would solve even more problems than the timedrive would - a huge plot point which the writers seem to have overlooked.) If, somehow, they have worked around the problem, they make no mention of this whatsoever (it's just a given that they could use the timedrive to teleport to Earth), totally papering over this crucial plot point from the previous episode.

    2. It destroys the whole premise of s6/s7. Why don't they just teleport to where they lost Red Dwarf, at the time they lost it?

    3. It destroys the whole premise of the show. Why don't they just teleport to Earth, 3 million years in the past?

    Yes, I agree. I actually don't like that episode anyway - it has some funny bits but the fact is they made a terrible hash of the premise. I think they slightly presumed that it would be funny no matter what they did. The whole thing is topsy-turvy, and I think by RD standards it is exceptionally messy. It kind of feels like "students trying to write a RD episode".

    However, I maintain that most episodes of RD are internally consistent, even when dealing with quite wacko ideas like The Inquisitor.

    Yes, I've always wondered why they wouldn't just go into stasis. The ship might only have one stasis booth, but after Kryten's arrival, I'd have thought the first job you'd get him to do would be to build 3 more stasis booths! (Only problem: the series would be over as soon as they stepped into the booths.)

    Perhaps that is where I part ways with the episode's writer. You see, I think it's very sensible for Kryten to have contempt for Able, for having destroyed himself with drugs. To suggest that Able is not irresponsible, on the basis that he saves the day, seems both sentimental and disingenuous. Of course it's nice that, even in his pit of confusion, he cares about other people, but he is still in a self-imposed pit of confusion (thanks to drug addiction).

    That's a good point. When you think about it, he really is the most disgusting pervert, isn't he?

    But seriously, in s2 there was not the overbearing claim of "character drama" that s7 had, so I can almost forgive it.

    I know what you mean, but I can only reiterate that I do find parts of s7 tasteless and immoral, even without all my other complaints about it. I can't really explain it, but I am sure it's not because of everything else I dislike about s7. There is something immature about s7, even while it claims to be grown-up. If you look at s3-6, things are treated much more respectfully and maturely. There's almost a fanboy tone to s7, as if the kids have taken over.

    It could be the performances as much as the scripts. There's just not the sense of seriousness - it's like they're having a laugh. If they'd met a drug addict like Able in s3-5, it would have had a markedly different tone. He was basically a cartoon character - but then so was Kryten himself by that point.
     
  10. Reznor

    Reznor Guest

    lol my last ep was wax world, i do not understand why so many people do not like it
    the elvis classic
    Winnie the poo classic
    Rasputin and the emperor classic!
    rimmer doing patton/full metal jacket classic
    the mine field under the cover of day light! classic
    haha hell i just love the whole thing and with commentary! :P
     
  11. Seb

    Seb Captain Staff Member

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    I think this is a myth that's spread over the years, because it once did quite badly in a fanzine poll. Ever since then, I've never heard a bad word said about it. Cracking episode.
     
  12. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    It's not one of my favourites, but I'm quite fond of Meltdown. It's well written and gives a good insight into Rimmer's character. The only thing that lets it down is the fact that the outdoor scenes fail to convince as a theme park.
     
  13. SixthDwarfer

    SixthDwarfer Supply Officer

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    I watched all of Red Dwarf VI today with commentary. As usual, I loved it.
     
  14. Pecospete666

    Pecospete666 Catering Officer

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    Series V bonus dvd!
     
  15. ori-STUDFARM

    ori-STUDFARM Supply Officer

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    I just watched the second US Pilot...I'm in two minds about how I feel the US project went. In one sense, I'm annoyed that it didn't get picked up. And I'm annoyed that people were involved who just didn't have a clue...But I'm also kind of glad it didn't get Americanised as, if it had, we might not be in the position we are in now. With a new Series coming in Autumn and maybe more to come in the future after that...
     
  16. JeffRichards

    JeffRichards Third Technician

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    For me, it was Back to Earth, having worked my way through Series I-VIII with my fiancée who had never seen any RD! (She's a new fan now, of course.)
     
  17. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    I gave Lemons another watch earlier on. I didn't like it much previously, but it's fair to say that this episode has grown on me significantly. I still love that marketplace set. Really lovely and authentic looking. Other highlights are the Last Supper recreation and Cat and Kryten using the previously mentioned Shakespeare sayings. One question though: were there ever any Romans in India?

    Series X's picture quality is great and looks especially good on a big TV screen.
     
  18. 74384338

    74384338 First Technician

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    The Beginning. Love that episode. It gave an explosive end to our Red Dwarf "marathon" (one episode a day, or thereabouts, for an uncountable number of weeks). Or, as my sister put it, from the beginning of The End to the end of The Beginning. Red Dwarf makes so much more sense in the right order. Sort of.

    I would put The Beginning in my top five episodes, but I don't expect many would. I just like that it puts Rimmer in a good light, and it's a great episode nonetheless.
     
  19. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    I'd like to do a marathon of all ten series sometime. Last year, I did a marathon of the then 55 episodes in the lead up to the first airing of series X (I even mentioned it in this thread). It was a fun experience, and the first time I've ever watched the full thing in the correct order.
     
  20. 74384338

    74384338 First Technician

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    It is! It is! It's really fun! Everyone with half an hour to spare each evening should try it.

    Realised I'd missed off Identity Within a few days ago. I haven't actually seen it yet. Sorry to divert from the thread topic, but - is it worth watching? How long is it? A quick answer will do please :-)
     

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