RDXI / RDXII Some Dwarf better than no Dwarf?

Discussion in 'RED DWARF XI / XII' started by PixelPrime, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. PixelPrime

    PixelPrime Third Technician

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    WARNING: Series XII spoilers ahead!

    I suppose I should start
    by saying that I feel a bit conflicted at the moment. If I were Kryten, I suppose I'd be gurning and claiming to be feeling ambivalence.

    I'm really stoked to have semi-regular offerings of Red Dwarf back on the telly, but I'm really finding that these days, especially with series XI and XII, I'm sitting there more with a quiet, polite smirk than with full-on guffaws.

    There have been high and low points, no doubt, and I think there's a fundamental realisation settling in that the tone and style of modern Dwarf is de rigueur for the show moving forward. Whether that's a good or bad thing is purely a matter of personal preference.

    Like many others on here, I'm seeing a lot of re-hashed ideas. Sometimes with an interesting new conceit (Skipper, for example), but generally a lot of leverage on familiar characters and ideas (especially in series XII finale). I'm actually surprised I didn't see Ace Rimmer popping up. No doubt XIII will bring him back.

    I'm having to accept that this is simply a function of time. The nostalgic comedic beats of 1988 Red Dwarf have evolved due to so many factors - the age of the actors, for one (Craig Charles was 23 when he first appeared in Red Dwarf, he's 53 now), the budget, but also the comedic tastes and slant of the writing. Everything evolves, willingly or not. It's probably impossible as a writer to put yourself in exactly the same head-space as you were 30 years prior. And even then, what's to say that the majority of the show's watching public want that kind of comedy any more?

    Nostalgia will always affect your fondness for particular things - and this show is no different. I can't help making comparisons to the old series, that's just what you do when you see characters and concepts evolve for long enough. But I look on it now with an almost forced sense of obligation - like I should like it, even though a lot of the comedy feels trite and forced.

    Please don't misinterpret my love for all of the actors on this show. I've had the pleasure of meeting all of the main crew, including Norman, back in 2013, and were all wonderful people. But I really feel like character tropes are becoming a bit of a crutch in place of what could be some interesting explorations of other science-fiction ideas.

    If I'm being totally honest, my favourite characters of the last 2 series (XI and XII) have been the vending machines. This was an idea I loved in the early series, including some other mechanical marvels, and has been a real highlight. Probably one of the few moments I was genuinely laughing out loud. Apart from this scene [XII Episode 6 Spoiler!]. The delivery of this gag was outstanding.

    So do I think that more Dwarf is better than no Dwarf? It's hard to answer, because part of me lights-up whenever I hear that opening theme, knowing that there's another half-hour of new Dwarf to watch. But in reality, many of the new episodes have me cringing a bit in places, and often leave me feeling a sense of wanting something more. Perhaps it would be better to say 'after XIII / XIV there will be no more', so we can avoid the potential for it to truly jump the shark and garner wide-scale negative feedback.
     
  2. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    I haven't really been impressed by Dave Era Dwarf, it just doesn't hold up to the quality of the early shows and there is a feeling of being abit too dependent on call backs or forced comedy every so often that makes you start to see through the casts performances.

    Unfortunately Skipper is probably the episode i have enjoyed the most by far out of the whole DAVE era with perhaps M-Corp coming close.

    For me the difference in quality is fairly noticeable since look at the farewell scene in Holoship and look at the one in Skipper... one was clever and the other was trying to be clever

    Something i will give XI and XII though is it feels far more energised with new life then BTE did since that 3 parter felt tired and rusty.

    Oh and Norman in Skipper actually was far better as holly then he was in 7 and 8 where there was a weird smugness to him.
     
  3. Briany

    Briany Skutter

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    There's an underlying sadness to these latter series of Red Dwarf in that we're watching the boys caught in repeating patterns of behavior, with the main difference being that they get a bit jowlier with each passing year. A good joke to have would be Lister inquiring as to why Kryten has bags under his eyes, and then Kryten explaining that he remoulds his head once a year so Lister doesn't feel so alone in the aging process.

    And there's so many episodes now you could look at and think, 'They've kind of done that before....'. Like Rimmer looking for a universe where he's not a complete git. I thought that question was conclusively answered in Dimension Jump, and further answered in Stoke me a Clipper when there were so many non-git Rimmers that their coffins formed a planetary ring system. That's like billions of non-git Rimmers.

    Cured has elements of Meltdown, and Demons & Angels. What's Doug Naylor's obsession with Messalina?

    Overall, Red Dwarf feels like a nostalgia act these days.
     
  4. Václav Claus

    Václav Claus Deck Sergeant

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    What's Messalina's obsession with Doug Naylor?
     
  5. Oddheads

    Oddheads Second Technician

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    honestly in Dave era Dwarf the only major problem I've had is that Rimmer's character is a bit poorly written. in XI and XII, he's either acting like a git or doing something selfish- you never get the same feeling of sympathy you had for the character in I-VIII. I don't think there's one moment in XI/XII where I genuinely cared about what happened to Rimmer. (apart from maybe Siliconia, but then again Siliconia is exceptional)

    Lister has arguably been the best-written character recently, he just feels much more like the likable friendly bloke he was in Series I than the annoying and unlikable curry-obsessed bum he was in stuff like Tikka To Ride.
     
  6. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    I don't think Rimmer is poorly written per say but the history of the show has shown many different sides to who rimmer is but in Modern Dwarf Doug seems to play on certain sides of Rimmer the most and at times starts to become abit predictable.

    Personally i am kinda tired of the Obsessed over rank Rimmer that we have had over the last 3 series because it feels like something he should have gotten over years ago and from series 2 onwards he pretty much did...

    You did get moments of showing Rimmer still wanting to become an officer like in Holoship so it was never really forgotten about but it didn't define him though.
     

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