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Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by sanja, Aug 10, 2010.
Who asked you?
Like I said a month or so ago, Backwards for me is still an absolute classic despite its dated effect and plot inconsistencies. Anyway, even if reverse film is old hat now I still think it is a sublime sci-fi idea and it still looks amazing. If not in the top 5 giant RDs, I think it's still 10/10 vintage and pretty high up in the list of finest ever episodes.
Do I need permission to post my opinion?
Yes, I think so.
On the Bodysnatcher DVD Rob and Doug talk about how influential it was at the time and how it brought a lot of the attention to the show.
And even now you have some fans (perhaps optimistically) suggesting that it has inspired Christopher Nolan's new movie.
And one thing that I didn't mention about Backwards is the opening and closing scenes. They are pretty important for any episode, and aren't always perfect in Dwarf, but these are two of the most iconic moments in the show's history. The Flintstones gag and Cat's trip to the toilet were brilliant ways to start and end the episode.
My thoughts on Meltdown.
Another guest appearance from Tony Hawks and his scene as Caligula has been a favourite for me for almost 30 years. He should have been brought back to the show in the years since…
The opening Risk story is well-written and Chris’s performance is absolutely perfect. The specificity of the “It got me into Irkutsk” line has also always made me laugh. It's nice that it fits in with the military-theme of the plot, too.
There’s a lot of other funny bits including Winnie the Pooh’s death scene, Elvis’s marching song and Gandhi doing push-ups. I believe that Rimmer’s speech to the latter about “steers and queers” had been used in Full Metal Jacket a year or two before, and it shows again that references towards homophobia were in the show a long time before Bent Bob was mentioned.
One issue that I have with the episode is that it looks like what it is – a bunch of lookalikes messing around in a park. For me, I don’t really feel invested in the story and it seems a bit like an extended sketch.
This is also maybe the first example of having a really populated universe. Prior to this the show hadn’t really dealt with other inhabited planets and, although they kill off all of the waxdroids by the end of the story, it was a slightly worrying precedent. Fast forward to the recent series where the world is so populated that they even have functioning teleshopping stations! Very often I think the less populated the world was, the more Rob and Doug had to use their imaginations (eg. Thanks for the Memory).
And I don’t really ever enjoy TV where the bad guy simply gets his comeuppance at the conclusion as happens here. Rimmer becomes a monster in this episode and, while that is explained within the plot, the ending feels a little on the nose to me.
Simply because it makes me laugh, a low 8/10.
My thoughts on Timeslides.
There are many classic episodes in Series III and this is another…
I always loved the opening scenes of Lister being bored and it makes perfect sense that they would spend their time playing puerile games. I think there was a Tiddlywink Showjumping game that became available for purchase at one stage, but my mind might be playing tricks on me there.
There are loads of great gags and character moments throughout, including the iconic inclusions of Thicky Holden and the Om song. It’s a shame that the latter has been used in so many subsequent episodes as it becomes less funny every time.
I could list 20 or 30 moments in Timeslides that I adore. Rimmer’s speech to Lister about who is the rich man, and Gilbert's pronunciation of Fish 'n' Chip being just two of them…
It’s another genius concept for an episode and they did the sensible thing of focusing on one idea throughout.
Yup. What this guy said....
It's got a nice concept, but it's a mediocre episode in my opinion.
I am aware that a few fans are not too keen on Meltdown, but IMHO it is another great episode of classic Dwarf. Of the series 4 shows, this was one of my favourites to re-watch this Dwarfathon.
Yes, Timeslides is a vintage RD episode and I am glad you rated it full marks too. But I must confess...I quite enjoy the callbacks in series 8 and Timewave to the Om song. That original performance back in Timeslides is clearly the best and most striking but I love the jokes about it again in both those later series. Still like I always say, fair enough.
My thoughts on Cured.
Another episode where Hitler makes a guest appearance and another that starts with the crew members playing a game together.
Unfortunately, I think the poker scene is pretty much devoid of laughs and Danny overacts like crazy.
We then have the Starbug start-up sequence which seems so forced that it’s almost like it was crowbarred in to become a plot point later on…
Doug absolutely loves call backs and inserts them into as many scripts as possible. I actually think that both the poker face idea and Professor Telford being unable to start Starbug work quite well at the end of the episode. It’s just a shame that those ideas weren’t used in a funnier way at the beginning.
The whole concept would probably have been more interesting and surprising if the crew members hadn’t met so many evil figures in the past. Here it all feels a little old and the same could be said for some of the jokes. Gags about Lister’s socks, Cat’s clothes being dry clean only and Kryten being unable to mop could all have been written by the joke computer.
I do enjoy Rimmer’s non-PC exasperation about needing to fit ramps if Telford comes on board though…
Many other people have commented about the problems with the pacing of these episodes and it is a big issue here. All four escape from certain death very quickly and there is no real drama. And then the reveal that Telford is a villain could be seen a mile off.
It’s not very sci Fi but it is funny
Meltdown is all right but it's my least favourite episode of season IV. It's an unusual episode and cheap looking and never quite manages to convince that it's set in some futuristic wax droid theme park. For much of the episode it's just people in fancy dress walking around some fields in England. I think that's the main problem. It's too big an idea for what they had available. Could you imagine what Gunmen of the Apocalypse might have been like if they didn't have that Wild West town in Kent available?
Also, those moments that were borrowed from a Japanese science fiction movie were ridiculous and didn't go with the episode at all. Who on earth thought it would be a good idea to use those?
Nah, the fact that they acknowledge how crap they are in the dialog redeems them.
One further thought on Cured.
When Hitler says "...oh no, it is mine", I wondered why it sounded so familiar.
Then I realized that it's identical to a moment in the Porridge episode Pardon Me. When Barrowclough is accused of signing a petition, he delivers the same words in exactly the same way.
Rob and Doug have always been open about Porridge's influence on the show, but this might be the most obvious lift.
My thoughts on Camille.
Camille can almost be seen as the prototype for all of the call back episodes that have been made since.
Kryten getting taught to lie in the first scene and then it paying off at the conclusion, is exactly the same structure as Cured, for example. The difference, I would say, is that there are plenty of laughs from the beginning here. It was also fortuitous that this turned out to be the first ep of the series as the theme of lying continues where Series III left off…
One thing that strikes me about this episode now, is that the comedy had yet to descend into complete caricature. There is one gag about Kryten’s head, but the other laughs come from the characters and the plot.
The scene where Kryten romances Camille, for example, by talking about the juxtaposition of her features and says, “I think I E5A9O8B7 you”. I love the use of language and this is the kind of humour that few other comedy shows could attempt – which is what Dwarf should always be aiming for.
It’s a bonus, as well, that of all the gags about the Cat being in love with his own appearance this is probably still the best in the show’s history. And an amazing piece of direction by Ed Bye.
I don’t think this is the perfect ep as the Casablanca references are a little heavy-handed towards the end, and you really need a bit more time to build up a credible romance between two characters.
Still, a fine way to start a very strong series.
It wasn't the crapness of the creatures themselves that bothers me - it was the weirdness of taking moments from some movie and inserting them into a Red Dwarf episode. It was very unDwarfy.
My thoughts on Epideme.
I have some sympathy with Paul Alexander on this one as his original script featured Rimmer. It must have been gutting to have to include Kochanski instead and her presence, and Kryten’s jealousy towards her, is one of the big drawbacks to this episode. The original idea of Epideme passing into Rimmer’s holographic bloodstream might have made for a neater conclusion…
I guess Gary Martin’s performance also divides opinion. He is clearly a talented voice actor, but after Rob Grant’s departure it seemed like the tendency was always to go for bigger, broader and more over the top performances. A subtler performance, from Patrick Stewart perhaps, would have been preferable imo.
Despite its faults, this is probably the best non-Rimmer episode of the show. It is centred around a decent science-fiction idea and some elements could have come from the classic era of the show.
There are again several dire “than” jokes such as:
“This place is harder to get into than an airline Chicken Kiev."