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Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by sanja, Aug 10, 2010.
Tikka to Ride is my favourite show of series 7 and Stoke Me a Clipper is my 2nd favourite - both I honestly rated full marks as I think they are great and IMHO continue on well from the Rob Grant co-written years at that point. But Stoke Me a Clipper has to be the most humorous episode of 1997 so I am glad that you have at least said it is your favourite episode of 7.
I agree with a lot of your well written opinions regarding BtE, but I did wonder whether the ratings you gave were a bit too low (then again everyone on here thinks my ratings are too high!). IMHO, BtE is the weakest RD (mini)-series - I think half of series 8 is classic Dwarf so would place that above this - and more an extension of the dramatic, less humorous style of series 7. I would agree that episodes like The Inquisitor etc. are more dramatic types too but I felt the balance of humour was better in those classic shows than in BtE. Still BtE does have something though in its dramatic moments and there is a bit of gentle humour. Like you say it also looks great - the first HD RD. I think the story is quite good too so gave it 6.75 a few weeks back. In fact, in my 2015 Dwarfathon I felt it was a 7 but for now 6.75 is fair (though it could go up again if I am more in the mood for it). But for me BtE is the weakest RD material certainly, but pulled such high ratings that it led to the superior rest of the Dave-era so can be judged at least a reasonable success.
This might well be the least strong of the first 6 series, but I am glad you like it too. I personally would even give it an 8.
I must confess despite the fact that I absolutely adore RD (it's my favourite screen programme ever!) I have never bothered to watch this on the series 7 DVD and you and Asclepius have vindicated my decision not too.
I should really watch it one day but the concept of not a proper filmed episode does not really appeal to me. Should maybe give it a try really, though whether I can be bothered is another matter. That dialogue you have quoted sounds indeed appalling.
Although Fathers and Suns is my personal favourite from series 10 and I rated it 9/10 i.e. classic Dwarf IMHO, I totally agree with you when you state that Pree is another one of the best antagonists in the Dave-era for playing it straight.
I do love Doug's sillier enemies almost as much but the more sinister, threatening baddies are more reminiscent of the heavy sci-fi series 3/4-6 era. In the Dave-era I can only think of Asclepius, Professor Telford and Pree as this type...maybe there is another one or two though but that's all I can remember at the moment.
Ouroboros is actually my least liked episode of RD along with Pete Part I and Part II so I agree with most of this, though I rated it a 6. The whole Lister being his own father with his ex-girlfriend as his mum I found creepy and it is biologically impossible anyway so that is perhaps why I view it as joint weakest along with the Petes. It is also the first without both Rob Grant and Chris and the quality massively dips in this 3rd episode of 1997.
Strangely, I love Fathers and Suns even though it features this concept of Lister's fatherhood - I suppose because it was 15 or so years on I was kind of used to it and it was written funnier in series 10.
Although I have kind of got used to the relatively poor quality of Pete over the years and "just" see it as mediocre, they are the weakest RD episodes along with Ouroboros IMHO. It is still RD, but RD gone dumb and without the sophistication of its glorious past.
I totally agree with you that the only bits that recall the vintage RD a bit are the "You're finished"/"Bye" from Holly (which is like the old Doug) and the cleverly delayed fight effects.
Oh, Mr. mod @Bluey himself breaking the spoiler policy!
Nevertheless, I agree with you on this:
This was my feeling after the first watch and it still remains my main impression from the special.
Was there a sound effect? I thought it's just Chris's impression.
Well, Pete - Part Two is more like a 2.6 rounded up.
Actually though, they are both frustrating to me for different reasons.
For Series VIII Doug could have had the perfect set up of the 4 main characters and Norman's Holly, and yet threw it away by bringing back the crew so that it feels like a spin-off show.
Now that they have the main 4 back again, I am less tolerant of stuff like Siliconia and Timewave as there are fewer excuses.
Well some of my ratings are low, but that is because I am comparing episodes with the classic era. The lowest rating that I will give for the classic era will be 7/10, so I have to give plenty of episodes from Series VII onwards a much lower rating as the standards slip way below anything Rob and Doug did.
Bodysnatcher is the one to watch really...
And I don't know whether you have listened to the Red Dwarf radio shows (abridged versions of the first two novels read and performed by Chris).
My thoughts on DNA.
A much more successful attempt at a human/mechanoid story…
A concept that could have fallen flat, Kryten becoming a human instead leads to comedy gold. The double polaroid scene must be one of the most legendary in the show’s history.
Spare head 3 was also inspired and a good example of Rob and Doug writing to suit the cast. I believe that Robert had previously used the Northern voice on set.
Not the most dramatic of plots as the vindaloo beast appears so late in proceedings, but it is all neatly wrapped up and is never less than amusing throughout.
A high 8/10.
Although I personally and honestly think Doug - despite a bit of relative dross on a few occasions in series 7/8/BtE - has produced some quality RD even without Rob Grant, I do agree with you that the show's peak years will always be late 1988 to 1993.
Regarding Bodysnatcher, I will have to watch that at some point. Thanks for letting me know about it.
I'd have to give it another watch, but it seemed that way to me. When Rimmer became the Mighty Light the first time around there seemed to be some vocal effect going on that made him sound more heroic and otherworldly (I even recall that the audience responded to this). When he became the Mighty Light the second time around later on in the episode it seemed that the effect was absent. I'll have another listen later to see if I was right.
My thoughts on Psirens.
Firstly, it still seems utterly bizarre that the script for this episode was released a long time before the TV broadcast…
It was another bold move by Rob and Doug – inspired by their experiences of working on the American pilot – to set the series on Starbug and to cram it full of jokes. I think it worked as a one-off experiment, but I wonder how they would have followed this had they remained together…
The Space Corp Directives, the “deader than” jokes and the general simile gags are very funny, but you couldn’t do those again in another series without them becoming stale. They pretty much did with all of the “than” jokes in Series VII which (as I may just have mentioned) were often feeble in comparison.
Some people have talked about hoping that the Dwarf world of the future will be free from prejudice, but I think it’s pretty clear that’s not the case. Turks, Greeks, Bulgarians and Albanians are all the butt of (very strong) jokes and, while I’m obviously not saying that is the same as the likes of the later “Bent Bob” or Taiwan Tony who received complaints, it indicates that this was never exactly a discrimination-free zone.
The Psirens idea is faintly similar to Polymorph, but I would say that the execution is different enough to make it stand out on its own. I’m not sure the costumes are entirely convincing (as Craig mentioned in the commentary), but the model shots were top class by this point and Series VI is a contender for the best looking era of the show.
The opening also successfully reintroduced the characters, and Lister’s guitar playing is used as a call back to discern who is the Psiren.
I have very fond memories of watching this series as it was broadcast and it was a good time to be a Dwarf fan.
My thoughts on Backwards.
Another episode for Bulgarians to watch with trepidation…
This was the first Dwarf that I ever saw when it was broadcast in 1989 and I was hooked from the start. As a child, I hadn’t seen anything like the plot idea of a backwards world and it seemed so much more interesting and imaginative than the other sitcoms that I was watching.
For people who had been fans from the start, it must have been a shock to see so many changes. The sets look much improved to me and Kryten was the fourth walking and talking crew member that gave them the perfect formula. For this series though, I don’t think Robert had quite found the character and he was a little uncertain in the role (he flubs a line during the café scene). He wasn’t as good an actor as David Ross at this point, but the costume and mask were both a big step up.
Nowadays we can all look back (no pun intended) and see that the plot doesn’t entirely make logical sense here. But it was a brilliant concept, has numerous laughs and memorable moments and brought a whole new fanbase to the show.
A fine way to start a series.
Interesting? I always found this episode a bit gimmicky. Story-wise and continuity wise it’s all over the place. I get why it would have been a big deal at the time as it’s quite clever by 80s standards, but as a story it makes no sense. How come kryten can drink a glass of water forewords but Lister and the Cat can’t eat?!
Series 3 is very overrated in my opinion,!!
It’s one of the weakest episodes. A 3/10 for me!!
But is the episode clever by the standards of the time? I'd have thought that even by the time this episode went out the whole 'reversed footage' thing would have looked a bit dated. I loved this episode when I first watched it (as with @BruceFivesyth above it was actually my introductory episode to Red Dwarf) but it's gone down considerably in my estimation with repeated viewings. It's now in my ten least favourite episodes of all time.
Agreed. Chris said in the DVD documentary that they weren't sure how far to go when it came to analysing the 'backwards' aspect of the plot...
So they came to a point which they were happy with and just focused on making it good and funny, which worked in my opinion.
I think that's why I enjoyed the novel so much as it took the 'backwards' concept so much further...
I do enjoy series III. It was a huge turning point and really paved the way for the future of the show...
Although I rated Psirens 10/10 myself, that is a very nice review. Series 2-6 is all sci-fi, comedy perfection IMHO, but 6 is ultra perfect and my personal favourite RD run. I started viewing Red Dwarf videos at the beginning of 1994 as a 9 year old so it is a shame the first new RD that I watched was not this - I missed that by a few months (never mind) - and like you say it must have been a great time to be a Dwarfer.
The other thing I thought I would mention is you make a good point about if Rob and Doug had not gone their separate ways - what would series 7 have been like then? The gags per minute is one of the things that makes it the most absolutely perfect for me but like you say could it have been sustainable writing forever?