The Golden Age of Red Dwarf

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by Callisto252, Jul 24, 2016.

  1. Callisto252

    Callisto252 Supply Officer

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    It's interesting to note the admission in the Series XI synopsis that Red Dwarf had a 'golden age' (particularly as it implies that the more recent installments have been less-than-golden). I suppose it's a less contentious way of referring to the show's peak than is 'classic era' (which gets bogged down in the qualitative/quantative argument), so what would you consider this 'golden age' to be?

    Even though Series II is probably my favourite, for me it's got to be III-V. These were the series I watched first and have probably watched most over the years. Opinions obviously vary, but I find the quality of all three series consistently high and with enough in common between them to give the show its most distinctive look and feel. VI felt very much like a departure from this, so I personally wouldn't include it. Thoughts?
     
  2. Ant the Dragon

    Ant the Dragon Flight Co-Ordinator

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    V - VII
    Great stories, weird science, beautiful effects and models... And the cast looked the most healthy!

    Also the main three series I was most excited about when they were first aired!
     
  3. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    Seasons 5 and 6 would be my choice. That's where the show was at its peak.
     
  4. Callisto252

    Callisto252 Supply Officer

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    I was definitely most excited for VI and VII, but I was always measuring them against III-V. That's an interesting comment about the cast looking the 'most healthy' - do you mean 'looking their best'? If I had to rate each character on that it would be III for Rimmer, IV for the Cat (loved the Prince vibe!), V for Kryten and VII for Lister.
     
  5. longusernamebecausetheforumwantsone

    longusernamebecausetheforumwantsone Second Technician

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    I agree with this mostly, but I'd extend it to include VIII.

    V is when things really started looking quite nice and the show was no longer a low budget (in appearance anyway) production.

    Seems like British fans at least don't care much for VIII, but all the RD fans I know here in the States in "real life" would agree with me in ranking VIII as part of the golden era.
     
  6. pad_ehh

    pad_ehh Catering Officer

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    For me, the show was at its absolute best between III and VI.

    I, II, VII and VIII all had their moments but not as consistent and funny for me as III, IV, V and VI were.

    The less said about BTE the better.

    X was alright in places but certainly not a return to form as some had said at the time.

    I still have high hopes that XI and XII will be good and give us that early 90's feeling of greatness the show once had.
     
  7. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    Well, my personal fave are series I and II, but I wouldn't argue with this opinion.
     
  8. Callisto252

    Callisto252 Supply Officer

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    I still think I and II were best for the writing and characterisation, but it was only after the changes in III that the series began to fire on all cylinders and went beyond being a mere 'sit-com set in space'. I love series III and don't know why it seems to be regarded as slightly inferior by many fans - I know it's not as great visually because of the lower-tech cameras they were using (I think?) but that's not something that ever bothers me. It's such a varied and ambitious series and consistently funny IMO - I prefer it to IV. Having said that, I'm guessing that the 'golden age' referred to in the synopsis is probably IV-VI (judging by the comparisons made in the set reports).
     
  9. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    I have no real problem with series III, but it's marred by one terrible episode; Polymorph. It has one of the weakest, most poorly executed climaxes ever, as things are built and set up for this amazing final showdown with the monster. And what do we get? Thirty seconds into their hunt the beat just pops up behind them, the lift doors are opened and the thing is blasted to pieces by the two trapped heat-seekers from an earlier scene. It's so terribly flat and badly done.
     
  10. Stephen

    Stephen Console Officer

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    For me the show peaked at series 5 & plateaued at 6.
     
  11. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    Series 5 to 6 was the shows peak, everything since has been abit rocky

    Looking at 10 though I can't help but think doug is aiming for a series 3 tone so he can mix the tones of series 1 and 2 with 4 and 5.
     
  12. longusernamebecausetheforumwantsone

    longusernamebecausetheforumwantsone Second Technician

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    You know, BTE seems to get better with subsequent viewings. I'm not sure I could ever really become accustomed to Red Dwarf without a laugh track, so I'm glad they didn't continue with that aspect.

    Otherwise, I've found BTE to be extremely clever and well-written. When it first came out, and after my first one or two viewings, I had very mixed feelings. It's not what I'd expected from Red Dwarf after ten years of silence. I wanted a proper conclusion to the Only the Good... cliffhanger. I wanted Holly. The Blade Runner stuff confused and annoyed me (why was it there? RD never had anything to do with Blade Runner in the past).

    Now, when watched in sequence with the rest of the series, it fits very well. The ship, inside and out, is the best it's ever looked. I'm actually partial to the "pencil" Dwarf design, since it actually looks like a ship that is the size of a city and five (or six) miles long. The short versions don't make as much sense to me, but if we're going to be stuck with a short version, the ship as it appeared in this 9th [mini]series is preferable.

    The story is good and surprisingly meta for what the show was going through: the characters are back, but for how long depends on the outcome of the miniseries. They are begging for more life from their "creator" which is a thinly veiled analogy for the audience; they are begging the fans to show TPTB that they have more life in them and more stories to tell. Indeed, if the series had been a failure, it would have been the end for the Dwarfers, more than likely.

    The concept is also one of my favorites-- the dream-within-a-dream idea that we/they might not actually be experiencing true reality.

    And last but certainly not least, with regards to the humor and jokes, it's a much different atmosphere without an audience laugh track. That being said, there are tons of great jokes throughout.

    There is a heavy drama element to it as well, with the Kochanski bit. Overall, just a really well-done story to jump-start the revival of the series.
     
  13. Callisto252

    Callisto252 Supply Officer

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    This is what makes BTE so interesting in retrospect - what was happening on screen to the characters mirrored the real-life situation of the actors (as far as the future of Red Dwarf was concerned anyway). While it will never be up there with my favourite episodes, my appreciation of BTE continues to grow - it repairs some of the damage done by VIII (sorry L, know you won't agree with that!), and paves the way for the new era. Some parts are a bit cringey and it definitely overdoes the Bladerunner parody, but overall it's an involving and clever story - shame it wasn't originally broadcast in 'director's cut' form, that improves it immeasurably.
     
  14. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    BTE used meta to make up for the lack of budget and i still find it disappointing, especially as it may be the closest thing we will get to a film and it had a very silly plot
     
  15. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    What the hell's meta?
     
  16. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    Meta - (of a creative work) referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential."
     
  17. Oddheads

    Oddheads Second Technician

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    I really think Series V and VI was where it was at it's peak, though Series I was also quite good.
     
  18. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    Oh, thanks. I did look it up, but it didn't offer any creative context definition.
     
  19. betelgeuse

    betelgeuse Catering Officer

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    Interesting isn't it. I also heard Chris Barrie refer to the new series as trying to recapture the "golden age".
    Personally for me Red Dwarf has been a show that has always been good, even when it took a step in the wrong direction. And even when the laughs have been a little more absent the great sci fi has made up for that. A major blip for me would be series VIII. Many malign series VII but I liked the sci fi.
    I guess the golden age for red dwarf was series IV - VI; series III had shaken up the series and was groundbreaking, then by series IV the show had found its feet as the Red Dwarf we love. The scripts were at the best, the show was at its funniest, the actors were at their best, the sci fi was at it's best and at perfect balance with the comedy, Grant and Naylor were still on the series together etc

    Also; I've been recently watching Seinfeld and the DVD extras and I recently watched a feature that said Seinfeld's popularity didn't really pick up in such a massive way until around halfway through season 4. This was when the show went in a slightly different direction (arcs, surreal storylines etc) and also the show got moved to air alongside Cheers.

    I think around series IV of RD the show really took off, I know in the 90s as a kid it was a must see amongst my friends, AND my family!
     
  20. Oddheads

    Oddheads Second Technician

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    My opinion might be slightly biased, as the first episode I ever watched was Demons and Angels, but Series V really settles with me. I literally went into that episode knowing nothing about the show, yet it wasn't really necessary TO know anything about the show back then,you could just jump right into it.
    (Though the next episode I watched happened to be the last half of the series III ep The Last
    Day, so I became convinced the premise of the show was that 3 guys and a robot somehow woke up in deep space with the world's biggest hangover)
     

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