Should BTE be considered classic series?

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by shizuo340, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

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    It is. "Sequel" is the word you're looking for.

    There is. At the end of the episode the crew think they are back in their own reality only to find that they are still trapped in the game. Both episodes therefore play with the concept of what is and isn't reality: in fact its a trope that runs throughout Dwarf, occuring again in series 8 during BITR. This is explored even more heavily in the First two Red Dwarf novels which almost certainly inspired both Back to Reality and Back to Earth - particularly the latter with its actual dilemma about whether the hallucination was preferable.

    As, I'm sure would Doug Naylor, but as has since become widely acknowledged, his hands were seriously tied as to what he had access to to make this show. he knew he had to set it on contemporary Earth for budgetary reasons and that certain sets, like the Coronation Street one would be available to him. he built a story around what he had and, given BTE's status as essentially a tribute show he probably thought it made good sense to give fans a nostalgic sequel to the episode most regard as the show's creative pique.

    That he was able to fool so much of the fanbase by essentially using the same trick again just goes to show how well written BTE actually was. Bully for you if you guessed his intentions but the fact remains that a lot of people didn't and were on tenterhooks until the final scene.

    I'm saddened that Doug probably regards BTE as a failure now thanks to largely ignorant comments accusing it of "laziness" and suchlike. Saddened because its probably destroyed the chance of any further one off specials being made in that style and that's a shame for me because I think they would have been lovely bookends to individual series and allowed for some high-concept plot heavy storytelling in the future that would have improved the show's overall mythos.
     
  2. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Console Officer

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    That takes up less than a minute of the episode's running time, I think it's clutching at straws to suggest that constitutes an overall simalarity between the two episodes. Especially as at no point in Better Than Life did any of the characters believe that they were anyone other than themselves. There's probably greater similarity between Dear Dave and Better Than Life.

    I do understand that but none of that for me changes in the slightest that I found Back to Earth to be a generally pretty disappointing experience for all of the reasons I said. I hope Doug doesn't see Back to Earth as a failure though and I have been careful here to avoid actually saying anyone was lazy. I actually do not dislike Back to Earth overall, but I still fell that it was the weakest Red Dwarf so far and for certain aspects, such as the Coronation Street part would have been better left out entirely.

    Still, it was a success overall and off the back of that we got Series X and for that I am greatful.
     
  3. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

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    I didn't say they did or that there was an overall similarity. I just said that the comparison, however small, is there if you look for it and reoccurs again in BITR and, to an extent in Out of Time. Reality bending seems to be a favorite subject of Rob and Dougs.

    BTE was an intentional sequel though. I don't see how anyone can use the term "rehash" when its impossible to avoid similarities in a story with shared continuity. "Rehash" does imply laziness, even if you don't use that particular word and I don't think Doug was being lazy; he was working within his means and trying to produce a nostalgic piece of television as a tribute to the show - not as a continuation of it.
     
  4. BruceFivesyth

    BruceFivesyth Third Technician

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    Nonsense. The idea that Doug might consider BTE a failure due to 'ignorant comments' about laziness just can't be true.

    For example, when previewing RDX so many journalists said negative things about BTE that Seb was forced to post a thread on G&T defending the specials.

    Plus, BTE garnered criticism (and some praise) after each installment even before the Back to Reality connection was clear. Robert Llewellyn posted on Twitter at the time that he was saddened that his friend was getting so much stick for the writing.

    BTE received a much worse reception than RDX (and series VIII probably) when it was first broadcast. That's a hell of a lot more relevant than one or two people making 'lazy' accusations on message boards.

    Anyway, I can understand that Doug was working under time and budget restraints on BTE and so bolted together Back to Reality, Blade Runner and the old breaking the fourth wall stuff. I wouldn't use the word lazy to describe that but I would use the words rushed and self-indulgent as the Blade Runner stuff did go way too far. It's a good job that the script editor was responsible for the suggestion that led to the Kochanski ending as that was one of only two genuinely impressive scenes in the specials imo.
     
  5. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Console Officer

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    There are bound to be comparisons everywhere you look if you look hard enough. In this case though it is extremely weak and the only really comparable point is that for a period of time the characters thought that they were somewhere other than where they actually were, infact probably the most important part of both Back to Reality and Back to Earth, that the characters don't believe that they are themselves, is absent.

    On such a flimsy basis I have no doubt if you looked carefully enough you could find comparisons at least as strong throughout Red Dwarf. It doesn't make that anywhere near a valid basis to suggest that there's anywhere near as much similarity between for example, Dear Dave, Better than Life and The Last Day (All of which hinge on the arrival of mail deliveries with news from a distant humanity) compared to the Despair Squid/Joy Squid and the hallucinations that made the crew believe they were someone else that formed a central part of Back to Reality and Back to Earth.

    I know you didn't say that, but Paul Taylor did and he was who I was initially responding to and he who said that:

    If the connection you have mentioned is what he's referring to, I'd say that this statement was ridiculously inaccurate.

    Clearly what you consider "Inspired", a "Work of Art" and a "Masterpiece" vary considerably from what I do.

    Agreed.
     
  6. jaykhunter

    jaykhunter Second Technician

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    Jump-starts the second big bang?!
     
  7. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Console Officer

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    At the risk of repitition, that's not it. Like I said, it was on the whole disappointing and no, it wasn't just because I tuned in expecting a sitcom. I found it generally pretty weak in every regard, including story, and as I said again, in my opinion at least, it was a long way from what I think could be considered a masterpiece by any reasonable measure.
     
  8. CaptainHallam

    CaptainHallam Second Technician

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    No, BTE shoudl not be considered classic. I opt with series 1-6 because that was Rob and Doug writing the classic series. 7 & 8 and BTE are post classic as series 10 will be.
     
  9. simulant37

    simulant37 Science Officer

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    CORRECT! 100% FACT!!!!!
     

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