Why 'New' Red Dwarf Doesn't Work (for me)

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by OurJud, May 20, 2016.

  1. Callisto252

    Callisto252 Supply Officer

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    That's ok, I'm interested in everyone's opinions on this! I saw III-VI first too, and knew them back-to-front before I'd seen any of series I and II (which I eventually did in the Great Repeat Run of '94). I remember how exciting it was to finally see them and discover the origin of all that Red Dwarf 'mythology' (Talkie Toaster, Rastabilly Skank etc). Hearing Lister say 'Hello...Cat?' in a way which seems to anticipate what a seminal moment for the show this would become - wow, goosebumps! I actually think series I is better if you don't watch it first, as seeing it in the context of the later series makes it so much more interesting (but then I would say that, wouldn't I? ;-) )
     
  2. jmc2000

    jmc2000 Deck Sergeant

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    I don't think the trend is quite as clear cut as this? VIII was definitely the most "pantomime" series of Dwarf, but I think BTE went the furthest in the opposite direction. Even if you didn't like it, you have to give credit for the more serious Kochanski subplot. I thought the emotional development for Lister, and Craig Charles's acting, were superb.

    In terms of tone, I think RDX is about on a par with series III. You have the same kind of silly space fantasy stories (compare Lemons, Backwards, Entangled, Timeslides) and one solid villain a piece (Polymorph and Pree).

    I think there's one particular character who's played more for laughs than he used to be, and that's Rimmer. As an actor gets older, I guess it's harder to play a fussy unlikeable character without him morphing into a bit of a sitcom caricature. So I definitely see that trend in Rimmer, but I still think he provides comic value.
     
  3. Ant E

    Ant E Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Agree.

    It's a comedy - you're meant to laugh aren't you?

    Maybe your issue is more with studio sit coms which, let's be honest, has gone a bit out of date thanks to comedies like The Inbetweeners, Extras, The Office etc... The whole "ooooo where's the laugh track" whinging from series 7 and BTE was incredibly boring!

    But refreshing to find someone else who thinks series 7 and BTE is incredibly underrated!!

    T
     
  4. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    I honestly don't remember my initial reaction to S7, but I think it's safe to say I've come to appreciate it more than I could ever imagine. I clearly remember my disappointment at Rimmer's absence, so it surprises me even more that I've taken to the series so much.

    As for your theory regarding the order you first watch the series, I kind of fall into line. I think I first became hooked on the show around its peak (S4,5,6, maybe??) and it is, in fact, only in the last 4 - 5 years or so that I've found such an affinity with S1 and 2. Like yourself, if I'd started with S1 and 2 I'm not entirely sure how I'd have taken to the big shift for S3. I don't rate S3 very highly, as it happens. I see it as the writers trying to get too adventurous too quickly.

    As for my love of S7, and I know this may sound silly, it somehow managed to recapture many of the elements I love from the first two series. The bunk scenes were back (albeit Starbug's bunks rather than Red Dwarf's) and while they weren't the same in that it didn't feature Lister and Rimmer lying there in the dim light, bickering or discussing things, they were back. But above all, I think what I really like about S7 is that it was a return to the self-contained episodes which allowed the crew more leisure time and a chance to just spend episodes not really doing much more than killing time. I much prefer situations that aren't governed by a long-running plot, because a long-running plot results in all work and no play.

    They are underrated, but again, like with S7, it's only recently I've come to appreciate BtE.
     
  5. Callisto252

    Callisto252 Supply Officer

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    What did you think of 'Dear Dave'?
     
  6. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    I'm guessing that's from X, Callisto, so I can't really comment as I don't remember anything about it. People may be thinking I WANT to hate series X, but rightly or wrongly I only watched it on its first airing and so horrified was I, I haven't bothered revisiting any of the episodes since.
     
  7. Callisto252

    Callisto252 Supply Officer

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    Maybe this is one episode you could grow to like? It got slated at the time for not having much of a plot but it actually stands up to multiple rewatches better than some of the others from X, probably because it doesn't have any gimmicks/annoying guest performances.
     
  8. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    I may give it a try, then, but I'll have to force myself (and find a copy first - Kodi to the rescue!)
     
  9. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    Well that was painful. I feel like a need a shower and an episode from S2 to cleanse myself.

    Joking aside it wasn't THAT terrible... wait, it was. I'm sorry.

    The sets (or what exists of them) are awful, the lighting is that of one of those crappy American teenage sitcoms from Saturday morning TV... and what's with all the greenscreen crap?? Kryten's mask upsets me and Rimmer just isn't Rimmer.

    At least it gave me a chance to do some analysing, and I did actually observe something else, and that is that none of the actors deliver their lines with any conviction or belief. For dialogue to work successfully an actor has to truly believe that what he's saying is real, no matter how ridiculous the lines. Many people talk about Craig Charles' acting improving over the series, but as far back as series 1 when he's telling Rimmer about his five-year plan to start a farm on Fiji, I sympathised, I believed him, I sensed his own belief and desire. Same with Rimmer. I felt his pain at not being liked, his bitterness was utterly believable. Compared to their delivery in series X they was Oscar-worthy performances.
     
  10. Callisto252

    Callisto252 Supply Officer

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    Haha sorry for putting you through that Billy! I must admit it's a while since I've watched series X myself. When it aired, my expectations were so low that it massively exceeded them and I think a lot of that feeling still colours my view of the series as a whole. If I was going to be more objective, I would agree that the performances are a bit off and the chemistry (particularly between Lister and Rimmer) isn't what it used to be. The trouble is, I'm so happy that they're still making RD that I'm prepared to gloss over the cracks a little and I think maybe a lot of other fans are aswell. A touch of 'The Emperor's New Dwarf' perhaps? (God, that sounds like a sub-Game of Thrones spin-off but you know what I mean?!).
     
  11. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    I can understand that, but I'm one of those people who would rather remember certain things the way they were. If I'd liked Series X I'd no doubt be just as delighted they were still going, but the only thing it told me was it should have ended for good at 8 (maybe with BtE, at a push, as I don't so much mind that mini series). In truth, it's probably fairer to say they at least shouldn't have left it so long before making a return.

    You know that viewing of Dear Dave actually sullied the first 10 minutes or so of Confidence and Paranoia (which I watched immediately afterwards) because I knew I was looking at the same actors/characters that I'd found so distasteful in Dear Dave.
     
  12. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    I think you've pretty much nailed what I dislike about Charles' and Barrie's performances in the later seasons.
     
  13. Ant E

    Ant E Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Yet I found their performances on BTE spot on!
     
  14. Callisto252

    Callisto252 Supply Officer

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    Clearly Doug Naylor can write RD in two different styles - comedy drama or knockabout sitcom - and the actors play the parts accordingly (seemingly dependent on whether there is an audience or not). Ideally I'd like to see something in between, but it seems inevitable that the balance will be tipped towards the latter for the new series. Not necessarily a disaster - as I said before, what I saw of XII was really,really good and if the rest of the series are at that standard then I'll be happy.
     
  15. DivineVarod

    DivineVarod Catering Officer

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    I would have suggested "The Beginning" more the style you want to see. "Dear Dave" was a rush written fun filler romp ...
     
  16. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    I'll take a look - that way I can't say I haven't given it fair chance.
     
  17. djmcbell

    djmcbell Supply Officer

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    I think a lot of the "it's not the Red Dwarf we know and love" stems from it being too... lite? And I mean that in a few senses of the word. In Red Dwarf X, even in The Beginning or with the groinal exploder, there's no real sense of peril. None of the suspense or menace that we see in, say, the Inquisitor. And even if we ignore that and look at the jokes, later Dwarf seems to be more comic and slapstick. I know this sounds odd talking about a sci-fi sitcom, but older Dwarf seemed to put less of an overall focus on the comedy, and was all the funnier for it. Newer Red Dwarf seems to be trying too hard.

    I have heard though that RDXI and XII will have some pretty suspenseful stuff at times, at least one genuinely menacing villain, and with the re-introduction of Starbug (I don't think that needs spoilers, and it's a good, cramped set) more off-ship shenanigans. I do recall the episode I saw had some "silly stuff" at the end (think if the crew were up against some battle-hardened GELFS and all was great with the episode, until at the end they challenged them to basketball and the crew spiked the drinks with viagra - well, not THAT bad, but even so it was jarring), but the episode was still mostly brilliant.
     
  18. Callisto252

    Callisto252 Supply Officer

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    I think the first two series were written so well that there was no need for excessive slapstick or visual comedy - most of the laughs come from the dialogue and the characterisation. Visual humour is all very well, but I think a good script is what makes a comedy timeless. I did notice that a large part of the humour in the episode I saw was visual rather than script-based. Still some very good lines though.
     
  19. DivineVarod

    DivineVarod Catering Officer

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    I think I look at the later series differently. I kinda view them as watching the characters grow up: in the first few series they had conflict, then got to know the dangers of space. They grew up, realised that all they had was each other, begun to grow more accepting of each other and the fact they'd be stuck in space forever. Leading to X where they are older and have lived in space for decades. They have grown to accept each others flaws so bitch less and talk more and have been attacked by so often they've grown a bit jaded about it. I kind of like that about X. I think Craig once said: If they were still at each other the way they were in the first series after all these years it would be kind of depressing ...
     
  20. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    Bingo!! Nail on effing head!
     

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