Thank God for Only the Good finale...

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by betelgeuse, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. betelgeuse

    betelgeuse Catering Officer

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    I just rewatched Only the Good from series VIII...
    I had expected to dislike series VII and VIII (upon remembering watching them first time around) equally (in the context of the previous series which I loved) and yet I've warmed more and more to series VII and it is actually amongst my favorite series (see signature) but I found series VIII inconsistent on a personal level...perhaps its because I'm a sci-fi kind-of-guy, I liked BTE because it had high-sci-fi concepts, therefore in series VIII I only really liked the episodes that were full of these sci-fi deep space concepts in preference to the more relationship erm...and confined episodes that explored the bunk scenes for instance...aspects of which had been thoroughly explored in the early series to the extent of satisfaction...

    But Only the Good... is a great stand alone episode...Rimmer's unlucky smegginess really shines lol but I'm so so so glad they chose the ending they did, because I watched the alternate ending in deleted scenes and i thought it was terrible. Though an ending where another Rimmer or Ace came and saved 'our' Rimmer from the clutches of death would have also been an equally intrigueing ending to that episode.
     
  2. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    I liked Only The Good's final scene until the appearance of the Grim Reaper. At this point, the scene becomes a farce. Prior to this a fair amount of drama and excitement had built up; it's very similar to series VI's brilliant conclusion.

    I haven't seen the alternate ending in a while, but from what I remember I quite liked it. It would certainly have been better than the Grim Reaper one.
     
  3. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

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    I thought it was the worst pile of contrived offensive mush I've ever been compelled to endure. I consider it an insult to my backside that I was forced to sit here growing carbuncles through such ill thought out, pandering to the children of the writer garbage.

    But on a serious note, I thought Only the Good was a terrible "episode" (if one can even call it an episode); one of the worst ever. Awful hodge-podge of thrown together sketches, hideously contrived, insultingly unexplained last minute "science fiction" concept and an ending that not only defied one of the first laws that the show established but left us dangling with one of the worst cliffhangers ever concieved for over ten years.

    I agree though that the alternate ending was no better, if not worse and that the rumoured "Earth" ending, while fitting perfectly with the sort of terrible anti-climax that this series seemed to be heading towards would have been one that this otherwise largely excellent series most certainly did not deserve.

    I Thank God (or whoever is listening) for Back to Earth and pray to God (or whoever is listening) that things move in an altogether different direction for the new series than the way Doug alledgedly originally imagined the series ending.
     
  4. yeckel

    yeckel Console Officer

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    You really should try to be more specific. *insert big ;-) here*
     
  5. xana98

    xana98 Skutter

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    the finaly of season VIII is one of the funniest scenes ever:lol:
    all though like many moments; is inconsistant, e.g. jokes about
    rimers virginity:eek:ops:. this is incosistant and/or irronic making
    reference of course to season 1 episode 2 when rimmer tells lister
    that he can't wack death on the head.
     
  6. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

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    Several theories might work. My own is that Talia, like the escapepod was also part of the chameleonic virus taking on a different form.

    Really though, is there any point in trying to come up with theories to explain the events of Only the Good...?

    Doug Naylor seemingly hadn't a clue about the explanation to any of these events and apparently was satisfied enough not to care.
    While this annoying attitude also showed up in more minor variations (most notably with continuity) in the earlier series it never did so with such insulting disregard for coherent storytelling as in these final episodes. In fact a fairly reasonable (if not brilliant) explanation for the otherwise unexplainable mirror universe technology was shot and is available on the DVD as a deleted scene. It's fairly A to B stuff but once again it was chopped out presumably so that we can have more ham-fisted jokes like the much maligned "rock" one that you mention.

    It's a key pointer that, at this point in the shows life, silly humour was seen to be the key and stuff like logic and proper science fiction could go and fly.

    It's episodes like this that make me reluctant to throw the word "genius" at Doug. It's simply too lazy a piece of work, insultingly so, to justify those kind of plaudits. In fact it's sloppiness borders on what one might expect of something cobbled together by a fan and shows none of what, in my view, made the show great.
     
  7. betelgeuse

    betelgeuse Catering Officer

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    exactly! I think that the concept of Rimmer being as weaselly as he is would suddenly and instinctively kick the Grim Reaper in the goolies and run off in his 'final hour' is such a great idea and classic red dwarf...but to think this was something like the 3rd ending doug came up with at the last minute is amazing...first of all theres the ending where rimmer successfully gets the ant-virus and they save the ship and pass the jetisoned crew as rimmer takes up command of the dwarf...then theres the ending where rimmer just keels over and dies...so thank god doug decided to add to that ending and have rimmer get up and metaphysically kick Death in the nuts lol...though I think another possible ending where Ace suddenly beams in and saves Rimmer fom the Grim reaper would have been an excellent ending as well...

    ..but the ending we resulted in was not only the most classic and funniest of the possibilities but it just feels right that the crew decided not to wait for rimmer with the ship being eaten around them and went through the 'portal'..and that rimmer would then be facing imminent death by himself. lol = ever body loves an underdog.

    ...also I'm happy dougs intended concept for that last episode wherein the crew actually get back to earth wasnt realised...I personally think that these macro-storyarcs such as the crew wanting to get back to earth, or the crew wanting to find kochanski, really make the series work.
     
  8. SixthDwarfer

    SixthDwarfer Supply Officer

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    There isn't another device in the corridor. The shot of the damaged machine is the one in Captain's Quarters. In the time Rimmer has left and had his last conversation with the vending machine the virus has spread and started to consume the dimension machine Kryten built.
     
  9. betelgeuse

    betelgeuse Catering Officer

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    yep, makes sense to me...
    - mirror ray works, rimmer goes through, ray prematurely blows leaving rimmer alone, kryten states it should take 20 mins to mend...
    - rimmer comes back into our universe having found a formula, but the vending machine points out that the others have gone into the mirror universe with out him having fixed the mirror ray and waited long enough, and that the formula is wrong now that its reversed to the formula of the virus (from the mirror anti-virus)...
    - rimmer tries to pursue his crewmates but finds the virus has spread to the deteriated mirror ray...
    - the formula is set on fire as rimmer succumbs having been hit on the head by a lightning speed projectile can of 'duff beer (lol)' emitted by the vengeful vending machine.
    - the metaphysical takes over the episode, rimmer stirs as the Grim Reaper - Death himself turns up sickle in hand, Rimmer interrupts him midspeech and kicks him in the goolies and rimmer hops it.

    amen
     
  10. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

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    I can't think of a single classic Red Dwarf episode that employs this type of surrealist humour. It's a completely different style to anything previously done by the show, even by the emphasis shifting standards of series 8.

    Classic Bottom maybe...but not classic Dwarf. The fact that Doug took advice from his children to come up with this ending only underlines the immaturity of it and why so many people were annoyed that it might have been the final scene we ever saw from Red Dwarf.

    Of course one could argue that the whole thing was supposed to be a metaphor for Rimmer's struggle for consciousness but with no prior precident for this type of humour in the show one can also argue that many people would have failed to take it as such, especially given its lack of resolution.
     
  11. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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    Now, I'm not especially talking about that 'death' ending, but the rule 'never do anything you haven't done before' isn't necessarily a good one. The first things Rob and Doug did in their second series was break their own 'no robots' and 'never leave the ship' rules.

    Mind you, I wouldn't call it 'surrealist' so much as 'subjective', but you cover that later.

    I think you're misremembering how that choice was made - or at least underlining unfairly. The ending, shown in the DVD documentary, had Rimmer dying among the flames...then faded out. No death, no kneeing. Now, I don't much care for that ending, and I'm going to bet you don't either. In which case, regardless of what came next (Doug and Ed coming up with something themselves, unrelated to anyone's offspring), wasn't the kids' opinion on the ending they saw...y'know, right?

    That kind of example - a funny anecdote about how you take your concerns home, rethink as you see the people you know, trust and care about experience it as a viewer - really shouldn't be used to condemn. Rob and Doug were always very clear about taking opinions from everywhere in order to make the show better. Teen viewers being dissatisfied on watching...that's valid enough, surely. At least to reinforce your own existing doubts.

    Unless we assume it's the only reason the decision was made. But I think we all know that's not how the world works.

    I don't know how else people do take it, aside from that metaphor. Do they think actual Death, the actual character, boards Red Dwarf and has a conversation with Rimmer?

    (Heh, actually there's some comedy in that being the reveal - that the cloaked character was in fact an Inquisitor-like 'real' figure and this wasn't a brink-of-death moment at all...rather the arrival of a scavenger, or the microbe in another form.)

    Anyway, you're not talking about precedent for humour - where really only the slapstick is aiming to be all-the-way funny, and the show's done physical comedy like that before - you're talking about precedent for subjective experience in storytelling.

    And in that, you're kinda right. It's rare for Dwarf to tell its stories that way. And to use it for a season climax is especially unusual.

    But there is precedent. Rimmer laid on his bunk imagining himself with Lise Yates - a subjective memory, not a recording - is an early example. That's his minds-eye. And we've spent umpteen episodes inside hallucinations the characters have shared. All of which aren't literally happening, it's all just electrical impulses and synapses. Ditto the various AR games, where the best we can argue is that it's a computers-eye-view, literally subjective of the hosting computer.

    As shown in Series VII, Doug's Dwarf has an interest in the subjective: the AI sections aside, we have Kryten's imagined view of life with Kochanski in Duct Soup, the dream kiss of Rimmer and Lister (both key relatives to this death moment, I'd say!) and the Lister's other memories in Blue.

    There's no question that Doug's Red Dwarf - and especially the Doug-Ed incarnation - is of a slightly different genre to the one originally created. To enjoy this or not is a taste thing, much as it is with, say, The Spy Who Loved Me compared to On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The intentions behind both need not be bad or misjudged for the results to be a matter of taste.

    Now, you'll notice I'm not speaking in favour (or dislike) of the OTG ending used and the choices made. So please don't assume this is a defence. It's merely some context. I think it's possible to dislike an end result without being ungenerous about the process.
     
  12. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    Interesting you should say that. In a way of tying up that cliff-hanger (at least from Rimmer's perspective) I actually thought of a story scenario which featured death as actually being a kind of Super-simulant droid modelled on the grip reaper (along with other droids based on the other horsemen who turn up later. I even thought up how their various attributes would be interpreted in robot form. Sad I know. ). They were actually going to be stored by the Inquisitor in a kind of bubble outside space-time so unaffected when he gets erased. As he is erased he activates a signal activating them to track down his destroyers....

    Pure fan-fic and heavily sci-fi rather than comedy but... well... it was fun. I never actually wrote it down though. Possibly just as well.
     
  13. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

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    On the contrary, of the three endings shown on the DVD I actually think it is my preferred choice. I think it would have given a surprisingly dark ending to what was a series that seemed to have forgotten just how deliciously dark it could be and would have actually made me care about a resolution instead of wanting to forget all about it as the "death" ending did. I suspect Doug was trying to recapture the rightly praised magic of the cliffhanger to Out of Time with this cliffhanger. Unfortunately it's very rare to be able to go back to the well and recapture lighting in a bottle twice like that and while I don't think it would have been as good as OOT I do believe it would have been ultimately more satisfying than what we got and might even have led to a greater movement for a resolution to the cliffhanger to be comissioned (which given that the movie was to be a reboot was, I'm presuming, Doug's long term intention).


    Honestly, at this point in the show's life I had given up thinking that Doug even took the show seriously anymore (in a storytelling sense, not as a project he still cared for). If he didn't feel the need to explain how dinosaurs could lay eggs and hatch them within hours or how the crew could magic up a mirror universe (and bear in mind that we didn't know about the deleted scene at this point - which was still a tad on the "a wizard did it" side of things) then at the time I saw no reason why this would have had a clever explanation either. Series 8 had by this point, simply decended into abject silliness in my, and I'm sure a lot of other people's view. It had become a parody of itself and so when Death appeared I didn't think "Oh, its a clever metaphor for Rimmer's battle to regain consciousness. How clever" I just thought, with a slight sadness, "yep, that's about what I've come to expect over the latter half of the series" and later pondered over what a sad end to the show it was.

    If you want a more recent example of people falling victim to their own lowered expectations of the show and misconstruing the nature of events then I would say its possible to look no further than the way Back to Earth pulled the wool over people's eyes by making them think Doug was really going to break the fourth wall. A key reason why that ingenious little ruse worked so well, in my view, was that it played on people genuinely believeing that Doug had it in him to take the show in a direction that nobody (or at least very few) wanted to see. Now I understand one can argue that Back to Reality also tricked people but I think for the opposite reasons. BTR arrived when the show had a minor fan reputation for shaking things up in a fresh and exciting way and as such people initially thought this was the biggest shake-up yet. I honestly think that people's disappointment with aspects of VII and VIII made them more succeptible to being fooled a second time. Even Doug said he was prepared for the hate wave after episode two. I understand that the Death thing wasn't an attempt to decieve but BTE illustrates just how easily the viewer can misread things...if indeed it doesn't rely on it. It's not therefore so cut and dried that everyone would have assumed the correct interpretation. Hell, look how many people are still misinterpreting the ending of Lost...and many of those are professional journalists ;-)

    p.s Wikipedia contributors are still refusing to acknowledge the "battle for consciousness" explanation even though it is confirmed, if I recall, in your DVD booklet, Andrew. So clearly people are still confused over it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Only_the_Good...
     
  14. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

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    I don't have a Wikipedia account. if anyone does then it would be a good thing to do now that it has been semi-clarified (or at least explored as an option) by Andrew in the booket.
     
  15. betelgeuse

    betelgeuse Catering Officer

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    I'd say Red Dwarf was intrinsically surreal...the best comedies turn the mundane inside out and highlight the inate absurdities..and since Red Dwarf is about a couple of blokes (and a mechanoid and a little lady and a computer program with a personality) in space, and conisdering most of the exploits the crew get upto, then I'd have to say that Red Dwarf is often quite absurd and surreal and probably comparable to Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

    Take a scene like Kryten's head exploding in Beyond a Joke...how more surreal can you get! Or even the way red Dwarf deals, or rather doesn't deal with its cliffhangers is also quite cultish, avant-garde and surreal...

    you also mention immaturity of the finale..I think series VIII did try to recapture immaturity that was in the early series...coupled with sort of boysown humour...but i think, wasn't it Picasso (the surrealist painter) who said that 'at 8 he could paint like the masters of the renaissance, but it took him his entire life to learn to paint like a child' - i.e. primitivism incorporate to surrealism, and also when dealing with the subconcious.

    As for my use of the word - 'classic' - this is in the generalised and renound sense of the word that there are moments in the history of Red Dwarf that are commonly percieved as established classic moments...
    But I thought that ending was classic..I thought it was great, and just as surreal as when Rimmer was granted life by Lister meddiling with misaligned timelines, and then finally at the end of the episode blowing himself up lol Plus that ending also had a whiff of Blackadder to it for me, I can't put my finger on just what it was about it, but you can imagine blackadder facing death and then kicking him duly in the knackers lol
    - although.......

    .............maybe you were considering the ending to the final Blackadder series (set at war) when you say that you prefer the weylayed ending where rimmer just succumbs to flames and dies and the ending fades to black...however this ending just doesn't work...not only because there is so much unresolved, but also because the previous scenes have been so so manic that to just suddenly end it there feels like you've been brought to an abrupt halt and you've got comedy whiplash or something lol...


    really, truly, thank god that naylor came up with that ending as we, as RD fans would have either, just suddenly seen rimmer snuff it and there wouldnt have been as much of a cliffhanger at all OR we would have been taken back to earth OR we would have been setup to go back to earth as we see hollister and co who have jettisoned previously fly by the Dwarf now captained by Rimmer who doesn't pick the crew up (as featured in the deleted scenes i believe)...these weylayed endings just don't work!
    The only other ending i would have liked to see that would have been more sci-fi than the ending we had...was the unfilmed ending wherein Ace Rimmer, or another versian of Rimmer actually appears and saves Rimmer from death...with that ending, you could have even included the Grim Reaper and the knee to the Nik-Naks as well as having the final shot of the series being the Red Dwarf blowing up followed by the due-lines 'the end...the smeg it is....
     
  16. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

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    I don't see why any of those things constitute surreality. A mechanoid's head exploding in a science fiction series? What could be more ordinary? Kryten is a machine and machines go pop occasionally. If your toaster catches fire do you stand there telling yourself how "surreal" the moment is. Of course not, its an accepted possibility for an electrical appliance to overheat and at times explode.

    Cliffhangers have nothing intrinsically to do with surreality either. Of course the Death one could be considered to be so because it appears to be stepping way outside the logic of the show but none of the other cliffhangers have ever showed any sign of surreality and, contrary to what you say above, all of them have been dealt with bar the one in Only the Good.

    I don't want to patronise you but its sounds like you don't have a proper understanding of the word.

    This is a different discussion again and one that I've already had in other topics on this forum but comparing the toilet humour in series 8 to the sharply drawn wit of the early series is to me like...well, as we're quoting:

    "If it makes other people happy to imagine that fifty pounds of lead is equal to fifty pounds of gold, then that’s their choice. Personally, I just don’t see it".
     
  17. betelgeuse

    betelgeuse Catering Officer

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    lol well I'd check the way you sentence things next time because it was a 'tad' patronising lol :roll:

    as for the meaning of the word surreal as in surrealism I think I know what I'm on about having done a degree in fine-art and being an artist in my part-time...but..lets say that if you put a surreal scene in a comedy or sci-fi, then the scene is still surreal even if its in a sci-fi, it still pertains to the sci-fi genre, but its absurd, abstract and surreal...what else would you call it? 'hyperreal'? it is other than real, it is bizarre...so in the case of a sci-fi show you get used to a sci-fi normalcy...however something like Krytens head suddenly exploding whereas it has not before is surreal and abstract from that established normalcy as it has not happened before.
    plus take other similar surreal scenes such as the scene in Scanners I think it is where the guys head blows up - that has been likened to the abstract surreal quality of Francis Bacon's paintings...
    or if you just take Bill Baileys comedy which has been described as surreal, then theres Vic and Bob whose surreal brand of comedy is still going strong, the other week Bob Mortimer jammed a flute through Vic Reeves' head and then jumped on his back and played it...thats surreal.
    plus other sci-fi films are surreal e.g. a scanner darkly, inception, westworld is probably quite surreal as well, plus other genre and subgenre can be surreal in elements e.g. zombie films or even zom-coms, shaun of the dead is probably seen as quite surreal as is Bubba Ho-Tep and Evil Dead etc
     
  18. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    this is my favorite all round subject, i often wonder what went through doug naylors head when he wrote series 8, did he let his ego get the better of him? there are some very good gags and some very forced unfunny gags (rock gag)

    id rather have a few very good gags with a good story then have a lazy story with quick fire gags

    i never cared for the ending to series 8 but seems like doug wasnt taking the series seriously anyway as it was way to sureal, to the point where it was like doug knew what he was writing was sureal and thought who cares the fans will eccept it, infact i never understood why the captain of the ship spends more time dealing with 2 prisoners then running the ship, but because its funny we gotta ignore it

    and the end words "the end, the smeg it is" just sounds like a way of hoping fans would get the "the end" hint and say wooo!! yeah that was an amazing ending to the show

    and makes me have my doubts about doug naylors writing, i mean on the commentary for BTE he acts almost suprised about getting critised by reviewers for running out of ideas and how he thought fans wouldnt really believe he was breaking the 4th wall and ruin the past 8 series by doing it but fans didnt have faith, amd after series 8 i think i can understand the lack of faith

    i very much hope doug learns from the critism
     
  19. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

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    Your specific statement was, in reference to a mechanoid overloading and its head exploding: "what could be more surreal". The answer clearly is many things, including the ones you've listed above. Comparing it to the scene in Scanners is ridiculous. Outside of dubious tales of spontaneuous combustion, human's have no history of exploding when they 'overload'. In contrast machines have a detailed history of doing so and robots exploding due to logical paradoxes/overheating problems are practically a sci-fi staple. Kryten's head exploding wasn't surreal...it wasn't even a particularly original concept.

    This is what led me to question your understanding of the word; not some misplaced idea that surreality has no place in sci-fi. Red Dwarf itself has numerous surreal moments but most of them explainable by the storyline or the other utilised techniques I will go on to explain. Importantly though, none of them were done in the abstract, stepping outside of the boundaries method of the Grim Reaper scene.

    Andrew points to some examples of similar "all in the head stuff" from earlier series as a way of saying that we the viewer were supposed to know that the reaper was merely a hallucination, however what the Grim Reaper scene lacked was anything establishing in the shot. When Kryten imagined the "keyring with a C on it" alternate future, a classic zooming in to the eye technique was used to clearly illustrate that it was a fairytale. When Rimmer dreamed of Lisa Yates we already knew what Lister had got up to to cause the memory to occur. With the Grim Reaper we got nothing to establish why he was there, hence why many of us just assumed it was a continuation of series 8's slow degradation of what kind of show Red Dwarf was.

    The lack of resolution clearly didn't help.
     
  20. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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