Series 8 Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by longusernamebecausetheforumwantsone, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. longusernamebecausetheforumwantsone

    longusernamebecausetheforumwantsone Second Technician

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    I did a quick search for something like this, and my search didn't come up with any solid results on the first page, so if something like this already exists I'm assuming it's ancient history as far as the forum is concerned.

    I'm not as deep into online forums as I was at one time, and I've never been more than an idle observer and rare commentator on this one over the years, but I'm bored tonight and with the lack of anything else substantial happening in the RD universe these days, I figured why not. We need a S8 appreciation thread.

    I'd prefer to keep the majority of S8 pissing and slagging out of here, since you can find plenty of that in almost every other single thread on this website. If you don't have anything nice to say, well, there are 5,785,384 other threads for you to say it in. If that means this essentially becomes a blog spot for myself alone making daily or weekly entries praising different aspects of S8, then so much the better.

    So I recently finally decided to enter the 21st century and replace my S8 VHS tapes with the DVD set just in time for, well, them to be released on Bluray. I'm sort of sad I waited this long though because I've been given a new appreciation for S8 thru the documentaries, commentaries, and original/uncut versions of some S8 episodes (namely Back in the Red) on the DVD set.

    Just to be clear: I'm a long time fan, and S8 has never been near the top of any of my "favorite RD seasons" lists over the years. It still does not retain the top spot (series 5 forever!), but I think it's safe to say it's in the top "half" of the list at the very worst.

    This time around, revisiting S8 shortly after picking up and watching S10 on Bluray followed by select episodes from throughout the entire show's run, I found a lot to like in S8. A lot more than I'd given it credit for in the years since it came out. I'm not really sure why this is, but I'm sure it is a combination of listening to Doug Naylor's comments on his original concept for the series, watching the episodes uncut as they were meant to be seen (S8 is really just a "standard" 6 episode series with the first epic story brutally chopped into three parts), and how I've changed myself as a person in the 15 years since S8 was filmed and broadcast. Not to mention seeing where the series has gone in the years since-- while watching I actually caught myself pointing things out and saying, "I wish they'd done/had THAT in S10!"

    Which brings me to my first "feature" for the thread: Holly. I was really upset when I found out Holly wasn't going to be in S6. I was even more upset when I found out Holly wasn't going to be in S7 either, although that turned to elation when I found out Holly was returning at the end of it. I know the old story-- all the exposition was given to Kryten, Holly wasn't needed, blah blah... At one point I went back and watched certain episodes with the sole purpose of seeing how the writers set up stories and handled exposition both pre- and post- Holly. I came up with one conclusion: it's an excuse. After Hattie took over the role, starting sometime in S4 or S5 it seemed the writers were struggling (or couldn't be bothered) writing for the character. I personally never thought Hattie was as funny as Norman, but I'm pro-Holly regardless who is playing the role. That said, I can't help but wonder if said apathy on the writers' part was a result of Hattie being perhaps more difficult to write for than Norman. With RD itself out of the equation, it made it easy to "fix" the problem by simply eliminating the character altogether.

    Nanarchy's biggest crime is the fact they didn't include more of the filmed Holly lines in the actual episode. You can watch the stuff on the S7 DVD deleted scenes section, and it's solid comedy gold from start to finish. Naylor said it was because he thought it felt like "too much Holly," but I can't help but feel this was a brutal error. They should have at least included the line where he says something like, "I've discovered I'm definitely NOT a woman, and ..." well, I don't recall the rest, but you get the gist. Not only is it funny, but it addresses his years spent as a female in appearance for the more casual fan.

    Which brings us to S8, which has Holly back as a full time character. It also has most of Holly's best lines from the ENTIRE SERIES. With Kryten and the resurrected crew still handling most of the exposition stuff, Holly became more just another "one of the guys" than in any series past. The material that was written for Norman in S8 is also second to none. I still wish it had been more plentiful, but you can't argue it was better, more plentiful, and gave the character more to do than any series since S2. I remember reading a comment somewhere in another thread on here where someone said, "After S8 it was clear they still hadn't figured out how to write for Holly." Excuse me? Are we watching the same episodes? Even back in the day, one of the things I always loved about S8 was the proper resurrection of Holly. Imagine how crushed I was when I heard about the falling out between Norman and the RD crew and his non inclusion in BTE or S10.

    It just doesn't get any better than this:

    Holly: "A breakup is very much like a bereavement. It's usually followed by a cremation and some sandwiches."
    Lister: "You have no idea what you're on about, do you?"
    Holly:
     
  2. Diet_coke

    Diet_coke Science Officer

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    Fair play to you. I grow extremely tired of people running down series 8, or seemingly anything after series 6. It just isn't constructive to read. It's good to read some appreciation for a change.

    I keep a very open and positive mind about series 8 and accept it for what it was. Sure it's not as 'strong' as other series gone by, but it's no where near as awful as people make out.

    I feel Doug naylor was in a difficult position after series 6, with rob grant and Chris Barrie leaving the show. He made the best of a tricky situation.
     
  3. counting_sheep

    counting_sheep First Technician

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    I would agree it was good to see Holly back in series 8, and he did have some good lines. His rat-arsed joke at the beginning of back in the red always gives me a chuckle.
     
  4. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    Series 8 has its merits. There's some good stuff in there, but the problem is that there's so much bad stuff in there as well. The fundamental problem is that the writing just isn't very good. Anyway, if I'm in the right mood, I can enjoy series 8. Even Pete.
     
  5. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Console Officer

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    You didn't look too hard ;-) , there was the "Series 8 Fans" thread http://www.reddwarf.co.uk/forum/messages.cfm?threadid=773C0BD1-1999-AFED-B49248224E3E215B which I found by typing "series 8" into the search bar and the last post was just over a year ago on November 12 2012.

    With respect, if you're going to post what you think is great about Series VIII then people are entitled to disagree, this is afterall a forum for discussing Red Dwarf.

    Whilst I'll agree with Series V taking the top spot, Series VIII is IMO easily the weakest overall of the regular series. I've genuinely enjoyed every series Red Dwarf, including much of Series VIII, but the only offering to date which I've enjoyed less was Back to Earth.

    There's definitely both good and bad in Series VIII. Cassandra is IMO up there as one of the better episodes of Red Dwarf overall. But overall the humour changed in VIII and (again IMO) it wasn't for the better, there's just too much juvenile slapstick silliness for my liking. There's genuinely nothing there that I would have liked to have seen in RDX.

    I'm much more neutral on Holly personally. Whilst I generally agree that Red Dwarf was at its peak in Series V, for me VI was not that far behind it and I think that demonstrated amply that Red Dwarf just did not need Holly to work and work well. I found Red Dwarf half way through Series III and only saw I&II for the first time when they came out on VHS so Hattie was the only Holly I'd known for quite some time. That said Norman Lovett's Holly of Series I and II was very well done indeed, his Series VIII incarnation, I think, pales in comparison.

    I think it's stretching it a bit to say VIII saw Holly back as a full time character, it's been a little while since I really sat down and watched it but he was really little more than an ancillary character. I haven't checked but I'd be willing to gamble that Hollister was probably as significant in terms of number of lines or screen time.

    Yes, it does.

     
  6. Presuming Ken

    Presuming Ken Deck Sergeant

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    Fair play to you. If you like it then appreciating it is good.

    So there are 5 Red Dwarf series worse than series 8? Can you say what they are please?

    Norman Lovett forgot how to play Holly. Look at the re-shot scenes he did for the re-mastered Red Dwarfs that didn't get included. personally i think Holly was awful in his last two series.

     
  7. Freeborn

    Freeborn Flight Co-Ordinator

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    That's pretty much in-line with my thoughts. The series took a very different direction, and for some long-term fans it can be difficult to accept such changes. But again I think that if and when that direction is accepted it can be realised as a pretty good series. Although personal taste must always be taken into account too of course.

    In the context of the series in general I personally think season 8 works very well. As I've said before (and I know I'm not the only one) I was really surprised to find out that that some of the hardcore fans disliked series 8 so much. And it was only when I joined the online community that I became aware of this. And I'd previously thought it was a really popular series.

    I've not actually met many people in person who seem to dislike it so much, but then most of my friends who like Red Dwarf are fairly casual fans, much more casual than many of here who naturally tend to analyse the show in great depth (which is not a bad thing by any means). :-)
     
  8. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    Also, the rat-arsed gag is possibly my least favourite joke in Red Dwarf.
     
  9. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Console Officer

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    I've read similar things said about BtE, I wonder if anyone would care to clarify this. I accept Series VIII and BtE as a series of Red Dwarf. Which is what they were (Well, sort of with BtE). With that in mind, subjectively, in comparison to the previous series but especially Series IV-VI it is just nowhere near the same level.

    If I accept either as just a comedy show, then without the draw that it was Red Dwarf, I doubt I would have watched either through to completion.

    It's not a matter of an unwillingness to accept change, long term fans of Red Dwarf are used to it with each Series being different from the last (With the probable exception of Series I And II). If it's a change for the better then that's hey-ho pip and dandy. The problem with VIII IMO is that the change was almost all to the detriment rather than benefit and the Series as a whole suffered because of it. I can accept the change, I just think that even taking that into account the overall result was the weakest Series of the "Classic" Era.

    To be clear here, I don't dislike Series VIII as such, I just like it much less than anything Red Dwarf that went before it.

    Something that was linked to on here on another thread some time back was an online review (I think the reviewer was American) which went through Red Dwarf pretty much episode by episode, I wish I'd saved the link, but one thing I can recall was the guy concerned saying that the fans disliked RDVIII because that was when Red Dwarf grew up. For me it was exactly the opposite, so much of the humour in VIII is so much more immature than in previous series and that is why if I'm ever asked to rank Series I-VIII, whilst I might shuffle the order around in the middle a bit, VIII will always be 8th.

    I agree, if not my least favourite, it's certainly in the top-ten. Even on first viewing, I could see that one coming a mile off.
     
  10. Freeborn

    Freeborn Flight Co-Ordinator

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    I have no reason to doubt you when you say you have no problem with the show changing in general. But to state that as a fact on behalf of every single fan is inaccurate. Much like I would be factually inaccurate if I were to state that *all* fans who dislike series 8 only dislike it because they can't ecept change. But that's not what I said. I said "for *some* long-term fans it can be difficult to accept such changes. Which is true.

    However, I personally think series 8 is perhaps the weakest of the run so far. But that doesn't mean I'm right. That's just my opinion. Much like Heath and Angela of the Red Dwarf Introcast are well within their rights to think Backwards was the worst episode ever, but it doesn't make it a scientific fact. ;-)

    So why didn't they like it? They didn't like the change in style. They didn't like the format. They didn't seem to like anything about it, which is quite understandable.

    Yet there is a generation of fans who quite likely saw Backwards before any other episode so they were coming at it from a completely different perspective. And likewise there is also a generation of fans who saw series 8 first, and genuinely feel it to be the best series.

    One of my close friends thinks that series 8 was actually the best series because it had more characters, a great setting and was generally funnier on the whole...in his opinion.

    But I disagree, because series 1 and 2 are the funniest and the most entertaining of the run so far...in my opinion. :-)

    As I said we must take personal taste into account here. Some people don't like certain series' because they don't like the format, whereas others just feel the writing was a bit crap. And sometimes the two tend to get unintentionally connected and perceived as being the same issue.

    Personally I was never keen on series 4 to begin with. Partly because I didn't like the direction the show was taking. I missed the "good old days". I also felt it focused way too much on Kryten, almost to the detriment of the show. I don't feel that way any more however as I can accept it for what it is. And much series 8 I think it's a pretty good series and and of itself.

    When it comes to fandom you tend to get different kinds of fans. Some will tend to accept pretty much anything, and may even subconsciously fool themselves into thinking everything about any Red Dwarf episode is perfect, 'cause it's Red Dwarf. Whereas on the other end of the scale you have those who tend to follow trends.

    And I may be wrong but I personally suspect that series 8 has very much become victim of that, at least to one degree or another. In fact I've seen and heard some hardcore fans admit to such a thing. And I have much respect for those fans too. But obviously that's not to say that series 8 is not worthy of certain criticism. I have some myself - for example the Dibbly family scene makes me cringe every time...but I love the Blue Midget dancing scene. Why so many hardcore fans dislike the latter so much is slightly baffling to me. But again, personal taste comes into it too.

    But I also feel that some people (again usually hardcore fans) tend to exaggerate somewhat when stating how bad they think the series is as a whole in comparison to the previous series', all of which have their pros and cons in my opinion. And as I've said before I think many (but certainly not all) of the criticisms are similar to criticisms that could equally as justifiably be made of pretty much any RD series, but aren't - or at least not to the same degree as series 8 gets criticised within certain fan circles.

    But again personal taste has a lot to do with this. So perhaps those who dislike it are right and I just have poor taste. ;-)
     
  11. Diet_coke

    Diet_coke Science Officer

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    I think different people will see or interpret things in different ways. A show like red dwarf holds a clear deep place with so many. Im sure one of the successful shows of it's kind. However with fans being so 'die hard' it can be a very personal to each person. As freeborn points out well, there is no 'I'm right, you are wrong' about this. 70% will say it was terrible 30% will say they loved it. It doesn't make it fact.
     
  12. Strat-tastic

    Strat-tastic Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Shhh you lot! sim's asleep! :P
     
  13. Stephen

    Stephen Guest

    I personally think the women tennis player joke was the worst in series 8. Just cringing unless you're a dirty old man like sim :P

    I generally like series 8 but as said there was quite a change in series 8. It morphs into a few genres throughout the run series which I personally can't take too much.
     
  14. Kittypaws

    Kittypaws Science Officer

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    Man.., that's quite the username! :-D
     
  15. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Console Officer

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    I wasn't claiming to speak for everyone anymore than you were when you stated "... if and when that direction is accepted it can be realised as a pretty good series" and I certainly don't believe I claimed anything to be absolute fact, scientific or otherwise. However, I do have an issue with the excuse that gets trotted out that those of us who are more critical of Series VIII are only doing so because we cannot accept that it's different. The point is that Red Dwarf has changed to a greater or lesser extent with each series, Series VI is very different from I&II yet most fans of the show are fine with that.

    I would agree that I do not think Series VIII is quite as bad as some people make out, but I can fully understand why on the whole it seems generally regarded as the weaker of the BBC series and I still doubt that it is because long term fans couldn't cope with the change of direction.

    All just my subjective opinion of course.
     
  16. Freeborn

    Freeborn Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Fair enough. In retrospect perhaps it would've been more accurate for me to say "in hindsight/looking back now some may find it to be a good series in itself"...whereas other people simply wont like it for whatever reason.

    Well again I'm certainly not trying to say that's the case with yourself, but that is part of the reason for some fans - including myself to a certain degree, albeit more so with series 7 in my case. And that really is a fact not an opinion. I can now personally appreciate series 8 for what it is - and within the larger context of the show - but that wasn't always necessarily the case.

    I don't think it's necessarily a case of "not being able to handle" the changes, but it cn be a simple case not liking them. Much like many fans of the 80's horror/comedy film "House" were not keen on "House 2: The Second Story". And quite understandably so, as it's more of a comedy/fantasy/adventure, with much less emphasis on the horror.

    It's one of my favourite films from that time period, but I fully understand why some fans of the first film don't like it. But does that make it a bad film? I think not.

    Or how about the heavy metal band Metallica's more recent stuff? I quite like it personally. But it's completely understandable that fans of their earlier stuff dislike it so much. Especially when you compare their first album to tracks like "Mamma Said" - which is actually one of my personal favourites of theirs.

    Now, many long term Metallica fans would look at me like I was insane for saying that. But is it technically a bad song? No...but it ain't thrash metal - it's more of a laid back a country-esque rock power ballad. It is what is it is. And some can accept it for what it is and some cannot. Whereas others may simply hate county and western music, and so tend to naturally dislike it, which is fair enough. Again personal taste has much to do with this.

    And likewise one of my favourite folk/rock bands the Levellers once made an album called "Hello Pig". Many fans (including myself) were not overly keen on it when it was first released. It felt too "mainstream", and not folky, rocky, punky enough for my personal taste. There was also much less emphasise on the political activist nature of their previous work.

    But is it a bad album - are they poorly written songs? No, they're just very different to what we fans were used to, and what many of us had hoped for. But many of those songs have since grown on me. And I feel this is partially because I've accepted the album for what it is. And the fact that they have now kinda' gone back to their folky, political rock roots may have something to do with it too...Perhaps this could be compared to how Red Dwarf X went back to a certain tried and tested format?

    Then again perhaps these are all unfair comparison as we are of course talking about a very specific Red Dwarf series here. But when I look at the reasons people give for not liking series 8 some (but certainly not all) of the complaints do tend to be that the entire premise of the show was changed; the inclusion of Kotchanski - which in tern changed the Lister-searching-for-Kochanski dynamic; the prison setting and the general flow of the show. And again I can appreciate that.

    But that doesn't make it make a bad series in itself. Whereas some of the other complaints I hear resonate with me much more.

    I'm honestly not trying to be argumentative here, I'm just trying to draw a distinction between one not liking something because of it's style and setting, and thinking it to be poorly written; the difference between subjective personal tastes and objective constructive criticisms.

    Now, lets look at you said youself;

    And lets compare it to something I said about series 4;

    Just how objective are you and I being here? Could it not simply be that we have slightly differing tastes?

    I'd also like to point out that I've spoken to people who weren't even that keen on series 4 and 5. Why? Well in some cases it's because the entire premise of the show had deviated so much from their beloved series 1 and 2 that it no longer felt like the show they once loved.

    I can very much relate to that, albeit admittedly to a much lesser degree. As I do agree that generally speaking those particular series are stronger than series 8 for the most part....but I also feel series 3 was stronger than series 6. But I imagine many fans (Bluey for example) may disagree with me about that. But that's okay, as some of us tend to like different series' more than others, and for various reasons.
     
  17. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    Series 8 has a noticeable decline in quality, it was trying to be funnier then previous series with sillier spoofy gags and took the whole rimmer and lister thing too far, they were like 2 kids at school with the captain being the headmaster they keep getting in trouble with and kryten,kochanski,cat and holly were like the side friends who sometimes appear
     
  18. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Console Officer

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    I'm not sure how objective you can be when it comes to something as subjective as humour.

    What got my back up slightly in your original post was the suggestion that those of us who are and remain critical of Series VIII would change our minds and realise how good it was if only we accepted the changes. It's been, what about 15 years now since Series VIII aired? I would have thought that was ample enough time for the change of direction to sink in and yet Series VIII pretty consistently ranks low down on people's "Favourite Series" lists. (As unscientific as I know this is). I personally do not think that those members who think that are so entrenched in their opinions that they're unwilling the reassess them.

    Objectively I think that Series VIII had a more immature style of humour, relying far more on juvenile humour or slapstick (Such as the basketball game scene). That's not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but it was certainly no improvement over previous series.

    Again, your experience may vary here, but in my experience when people have been critical of Series VIII whilst they have criticised the change of direction if they have elaborated on that it's generally been because the change has been for the worse, not better, in their opinion. The notable exception to that is the matter that resurrecting the crew undermines the whole basic premise of the last 7 series, that Lister is the last Human alive, but then that has been rather central to the program up to then.

    Of course none of this makes anything there fact, but I think it does those individuals something of a disservice to dismiss their opinions by saying that if they accepted the changes they'd realise it really was a good series afterall.
     
  19. 74384338

    74384338 First Technician

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    The only major problem I can see with VIII is Pete. Some observant people may note that I listed this as the best episode in another thread. On watching the entire series again, I found Back in the Red a lot better and Pete the worst of the series.
    The series isn't the same style as the rest of Red Dwarf, and doesn't follow its rules. However, I think it is important to consider it on its own, and not compared to other, better serieses*.
    Some of the jokes are poor, but that doesn't make it a bad series. Not when you consider some of the good (in my opinion) Rimmer and Lister scenes in Only the Good..., and has nobody mentioned the exchange between Kryten and McClaren in part one of Back in the Red?
    On second viewing, the only episodes I found truly awful were the two parts of Pete. That's my opinion, of course, and I can see why anyone might find the whole of VIII really awful. But it's important not to jump to conclusions. If you haven't seen it in a while, re-watch it, and then it will be at the fore of your mind.

    *We really need a new plural for this word.
     
  20. Freeborn

    Freeborn Flight Co-Ordinator

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    It wasn't intended as a suggestion. I'm telling you that some fans do find that upon watching it back many years later and accepting it for what it is that they like it much more than they used to do.

    I know this to be a true because I am one of those fans. And I've seen various other fans say the same (same goes for series 7 and BTE, albeit to varying degrees). However, I never meant to suggest that every single fan who watches the series back now would all of a sudden like it upon accepting it for what it is. I thought that was pretty transparent, but apparently not.

    To be honest I think you may be reading way too much into what I said, whilst perhaps taking it a tad too personally. Then again maybe I should've just used myself as an example from the get go:

    I used to dislike series 8. Now I like it. And that's because I can accept it for what it is. That's not to say that everyone will feel the same however, as has been said over and over again personal taste has a lot to do with this. For example you feel that the basic premise of series 8 undermined the previous series. That's an opinion. And we're both entitled to have those. :-)

    Whether one feels the show was undermined by series 8, or whether it was simply a case of the show staying fresh and evolving, all fan opinions are equally valid...in my opinion. ;-)
     

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