The Red Dwarf XI DVD/Blu-Ray/digital bonus package!
4 November, 2016
It was exactly fourteen years ago today - November 4th, 2002 - that a series of Red Dwarf was first released on DVD. Who'd have thought, at the start of what was then only a set of eight "classic" series releases, that we'd still be here putting out new material in 2016? But we are, and it's glorious.
The Red Dwarf XI DVD release isn't quite timed to hit that exact same anniversary (even if this week's site update has managed to!) but it's not far off: the DVD and Blu-ray sets will hit UK stores on November 14th, while customers in the Region 1 land of the USA get it slightly earlier on November 8th. And yes, that is also the same day they get a new President. Big day, folks.
But aside from the six episodes that make up the show's (tremendously well-received) eleventh series, what else can you find on the discs? As you'll know by now, Red Dwarf DVDs set a pretty high standard for TV show home releases in terms of sheer quantity of extras, and despite a shifting market in recent years it's our aim to live up to that tradition here in 2016. So let's run through what you'll find when you pop in the discs in a week or so's time...
Behind the Scenes
The first thing you might notice about this year's documentary is that it's a bit shorter than the Series X doc, We're Smegged. If that's reflective of anything, though, it's of the fact that Series XI's production had somewhat fewer twists, turns and challenges than the previous series; a fact for which we're pretty thankful, all things told. What's more, with Series XI and XII being in the unique position of being filmed back to back, director Nathan Cubitt's film is very much only the first half of one larger story - so expect to find out even more about this production block as a whole this time next year...
What you do still get, though, is a customarily fascinating and in-depth look at the making of the show, with interviews from across the spectrum of production and plenty of entertaining tidbits and facts throughout. The many debutant interviewees include new production designer Julian Fullalove, Millennium FX's prosthetics producer Kate Walshe, and make-up designer Vanessa White; while all the regular main figures from the show are of course present and correct, alongside several of the series' guest stars.
Running through the series in production (rather than broadcast) order - so Give & Take is up first and Twentica last - there's lots of lovely rushes and rehearsals footage, and you might even be able to spot yourself in the audience scenes if you happened to be there on one of the filming nights. We find out how you make a multi-headed Rimmer Beast, what the best substitute for ice cream under hot lights is, and why you should never buy loaded dice off eBay. And even Craig Charles gets in on the act of geekily spotting a continuity glitch with one of the sets...
With so much material shot for Series XI, it's inevitable that some of it would end up on the cutting room floor. Thankfully, pulling together a selection of otherwise lost scenes is exactly the sort of thing you come to the DVD for - so without spoilering them too much, here's a quick list of what you can expect to see.
- An extended Starbug cockpit scene as the crew speculate about unidentified hostile ships
- More Starbug dialogue about the nature of the Samsara ship
- Extra dialogue as the crew arrive onboard the Samsara
- Kryten identifies one of the deceased skeletons using the Psi-Scan
Give & Take
- Kryten looks up the research station ID files
- A longer version of the Cat at Lister's bedside
- Lister reacts to the discovery of who Snacky really is
- An alternative opening scene, as Lister and the Cat enjoy some popcorn and a Turkish gameshow
- Conversation between the crew in the lift onboard the Nova 3
- Kryten and Butler discuss breaking their programming
- Rimmer and Lister weigh up asking Butler to replace Kryten
Can of Worms
- The original version of the opening scene, filmed on a different "Starbug Upper Deck" set
- Extended Starbug cockpit scene as the crew discuss Cat's virginity
- Kryten scans for Cat's pregnancy
Time was, you had to buy an entirely separate video to get Red Dwarf outtakes. Now, they come for free as part of the package. Nice, isn't it? But we know you know what to expect from a Smeg Ups reel by now - we've been doing them since 1994, after all - so we won't spoil any of the fun by describing them here.
Visual Effects and Model Shots
A couple of fantastically extensive reels of special effects material: firstly, showing a range of different CGI shots at various stages of development (some of which you may not even have realised were CG in the first place!); and then a lovely selection of rushes from the model shoots, including flybys of Red Dwarf and plenty of Starbug crashing.
Trailers and Promos
Because we know you like to be completist, how about getting all the pre-launch trailers and promo clips in one convenient, HD-resolution place as well? Oh, go on then.
And not only can you get all of this on the discs (behind that lovely reversible cover and/or Blu-ray steelbook, if you're in the UK) - but if you buy the full season on iTunes or Google Play, you'll get the extras there as well. See, the DVD market may be shifting, but we're shifting with it. And who knows what format we'll be releasing episodes on in another fourteen years...?
Get the Red Dwarf XI set on DVD, Blu-ray and digital from 8th November (US) and 14th November (UK)!