Author Topic: Red Dwarf rewatch  (Read 11701 times)

Lemming

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Red Dwarf rewatch
« on: September 12, 2020, 07:09:51 PM »
Anyone interested in doing one? I was getting ready to rewatch Red Dwarf in full myself, and then I remembered there was a Peep Show rewatch thread on here ages ago which didn't get all the way through but was still a lot of fun and led to some FRESH new takes on the characters and stories.

Red Dwarf should be good for a rewatch thread because everyone agrees it went to shit at some point, but disagreements are rife over when exactly that was. Maybe you think the first two series are the best (in which case you're correct), maybe you think series 4 - 6 were the peak (in which case you're wrong but I don't hate you), or perhaps you think the Dave era is where its at (in which case you're wrong and you're a grotesquely ugly freak).

Dunno what the best way to handle a rewatch thread is, but I'll probably just watch one a night and anyone who's interested in joining in can go at whatever pace they want.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2020, 07:33:56 PM »
4-6 were definitely the best for me, dealing with interesting sci fi concepts. 1 and 2 have their moments though. But then Tikka to Ride is one of my favourite episodes so fuck do I know.

To be honest, I find the first two books to be the best bit of Dwarf canon. Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers as read by Chris Barrie is great!

The Mollusk

  • I was a hand grenade that never stopped exploding
Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2020, 07:49:01 PM »
4-6 were definitely the best for me, dealing with interesting sci fi concepts. 1 and 2 have their moments though. But then Tikka to Ride is one of my favourite episodes so fuck do I know.

I always wondered if you might be a psychopath but this has fully confirmed it.

I would be up for this rewatch but I ploughed through the lot only a couple of months ago. It was a fucking slog, the crap actually outweighs the good stuff at this point. I could probably handpick about 5-10 really good bits or enjoyable episodes from season 7 onwards, and Back to Earth is one of the most painful comedy experiences in recent memory.

Well, have fun!

Utter Shit

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2020, 08:05:25 PM »
Definitely interested in a rewatch. At least up to series 8, not sure if I'd be able to continue beyond that but I'd give it a shot - I've never seen anything beyond that series, and haven't been interested in doing so based on what people have said about it.

I'd say that the peak was series 2-3 - slightly less desolate and bleak than series 1, but not yet at the point where it became silly, each week introducing a new enemy that would be vanquished/escaped from by the end of the episode. Series 4-5 don't do a huge amount for me, with the exception of Quarantine, but series 6 was a return to form, particularly the first three episodes. After that it's just not quite right, either because it looks weird (series 7) or is shit (series 8, possibly the rest).

My favourite episodes are a wide range considering how much the show evolved over the years...

202 - Better Than Life
205 - Queeg
302 - Marooned
304 - Bodyswap
305 - Timeslides
502 - The Inquisitor
504 - Quarantine
602 - Legion
603 - Gunmen of the Apocalypse

Captain Z

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2020, 08:27:08 PM »
That's funny, I've literally just started this while cooking this evening.

Lemming

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2020, 08:53:18 PM »

My favourite episodes are a wide range considering how much the show evolved over the years...


Ooh yeah, might be good to do a preliminary top 10 and see if it changes over the rewatch. Here's mine, just glancing over the episode list:
102 - Future Echoes
103 - Balance of Power
106 - Me2
202 - Better Than Life
203 - Thanks for the Memory
205 - Queeg
206 - Parallel Universe
302 - Marooned
303 - Polymorph
404 - White Hole

Ridiculously geared towards early episodes but that's just a reflection of how much I love them.

4-6 were definitely the best for me, dealing with interesting sci fi concepts. 1 and 2 have their moments though. But then Tikka to Ride is one of my favourite episodes so fuck do I know.

Agreed, seasons 4 - 6 are a really great sci-fi adventure show, often dealing with concepts and ideas that were far more interesting and imaginative than many of the plots Star Trek TNG was doing during the same time. The Inquisitor stands out as a properly clever and unnerving bit of sci-fi horror, DNA is a cool concept that has a much more interesting exploration of robot sentience than anything involving Data in TNG or the EMH from Voyager, and I absolutely love White Hole for how mindfuck-y it starts getting (especially in the book where Lister's pool-with-planets thing takes several hours to complete). But IMO the characters and jokes became increasingly tedious and annoying during those seasons, so the sci-fi stuff gets progressively better while the comedy/character stuff, which was the core of the show in the earlier seasons, gets progressively worse. Might totally change my mind during THE BIG REWATCH though.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2020, 09:25:46 PM »
I'd be up for a rewatch - for the first 6 series anyway.
Haven't watched them for YEARS.

Oh, and series 2 is the best.

Al Tha Funkee Homosapien

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2020, 09:28:31 PM »
Always loved the isolation and loneliness portrayed in seasons 1 and 2. The outside shots of Red Dwarf drifting though space with Howard Goodall's great score or Lister moving around the empty ship always appealed to my introverted, isolationist side.

phes

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2020, 01:03:08 AM »

404 - White Hole

absolutely love White Hole for how mindfuck-y it starts getting (especially in the book where Lister's pool-with-planets thing takes several hours to complete). But IMO the characters and jokes became increasingly tedious and annoying during those seasons, so the sci-fi stuff gets progressively better while the comedy/character stuff, which was the core of the show in the earlier seasons, gets progressively worse. Might totally change my mind during THE BIG REWATCH though.

Totally agree re. character and concept transition

I rewatched 1-6 about three months ago and overall was dead impressed with it. I'd say that even with it's reputation and cultlike fan base, it's still underrated.

Glad White Hole got mentioned here. Despite there being much great stuff to follow, it felt like the moment where it jumped the shark, but spectacularly. The structure and conceits are shamelessly laid bare, jokes are reused and the characters arrive at total parodies of themselves. And you know Red Dwarf as it was is basically fucked. But it's absolutely brilliant. I re-re-watched it as soon as I finished the rewatch and decided it's up there with all my other favorite comedy episodes of all time.   

Overall, despite some real interesting and fun stuff in 5/6 it was 1-2 and 3-4 that stick out as my favourite, for different reasons.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2020, 01:13:44 AM »
1 and 2 are the best. im not being an old school shithead. I just love them. Queeg is the best twist ever. especially since the person doing the twist is such a silly old codger. amazing. Better Than Life is also a brilliant allegory about toxic personalities ruining everything for everyone

i dropped my DVD of S2 down the back of a radiator and it was never the same again and always skipped on Queeg :(

Menu

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2020, 03:39:26 AM »
Didn't it go shit as soon as Rob Grant left? Dunno what season that was. But it was very noticeable at the time.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2020, 04:40:11 AM »
1 and 2 are the best. im not being an old school shithead. I just love them. Queeg is the best twist ever. especially since the person doing the twist is such a silly old codger. amazing. Better Than Life is also a brilliant allegory about toxic personalities ruining everything for everyone

i dropped my DVD of S2 down the back of a radiator and it was never the same again and always skipped on Queeg :(
Completely agree. I remember at the time of the original broadcasts, being a bit disappointed by 3 (apart from Backwards) and not liking 4-6 all that much - the strong feeling that jokes were being ground into the dust, that sort of thing. What series had the terrible recurring "get the directive number wrong" joke? This is relative to 1 and 2, which I still think are fantastic, they'd be totally fine compared to most other shows.

But given the number of people who seem to love them, might be time for me to do a rewatch too. Wasn't there a really good podcast that did commentaries for every episode a few years back?

phes

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2020, 08:47:56 AM »
I had always been 100% in the 1 and 2 camp until the last rewatch, and I've seen 1-6 dozens of times. Something clicked this time around and though I'm not as nostalgic about 3&4, I wouldn't now argue that they're inferior. 1&2 have their own ropier episodes. The changes in 3&4 are easy to identity as the beginning of that trajectory that ends in farting dinosaurs or miniature dancing rimmers or whatever, but what they produced in those couple of series is brilliant. Season 3 has probably the best known high concept episode in backwards, and arguably the best two hander in Marooned, 4 has Kryton's excellent and overlooked episode Camille and White Hole and Dimension Jump. In retrospect its not really a surprise that they introduced Kryton given the prospect of writing more series around two and a two half characters, with little to no supporting cast. And it would have been madness to not exploit Llewellyn's physical skills and timing. Think I'm just more accepting of that now and it's made it easier to enjoy it for what it is

timebug

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2020, 09:23:31 AM »
Series 1 to 6 for me, when Rob Grant left, so did the humour for the most part (IMO!) The sci-fi aspects are prety good, but series 7 and 8 lacked whatever it was that had drawn me to it in the first place. And the newer stuff on Dave is painful!

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2020, 09:27:02 AM »
I tried to watch one of the Dave ones, years ago so I don't know which one, but the HUGE audience laughter on EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE GAG was something that I just couldn't stomach.

rue the polywhirl

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2020, 12:16:36 PM »
For some reason I got no desire to rewatch series 1 but I’m right at home with rewatching it from S2. Just watched the first Kryten episode - top drawer basically and I have a feeling S2 will hold up as my favourite season. Always felt there was a precipitous decline from S6 and onwards.

Utter Shit

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2020, 01:19:43 PM »
Something about the original Kryten creeps me out. He has a look that I would describe as leering. The voice as well, horrible.

Consignia

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2020, 01:35:53 PM »
I did a rewatch of 1-8 recently. Despite a massive nostalgia hit, the vast majority didn't do a lot for me. I watched it mostly as a kid, so most of the Sci-Fi guff went over my head at the time, but I was surprised how much Sci-Fi there actually was. I always saw it as more of a sitcom, with a space theme. There's a ridiculous amount of contemporary (for the time) jokes, even characters who weren't exposed to 80s/90s UK (Cat and Kryten) make gags about that periods' pop culture. I always remember being confused as a kid about the time period Lister and Rimmer came from, I thought the setting would have been a few decades into the future because of that.

I did randomly jump around from series to series which was a great way of seeing the various changes. It's quite intresting to see how little content series 8 had, despite being 8 episodes, it's really just 4 stories stretched over the course. Kryten seemingly changing his character every series, which is less noticeable when watching in a linear fashion.

Anyway, I have no desire to revisit again so suddenly, but I will keen to read the thread if the rewatch goes forward.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2020, 03:49:18 PM »
I haven’t taken part in one of these threads, so would happily give it a crack if it goes ahead.  Though I think the end of series six would be my jumping-off point - I’m not sure I could stomach watching the post-Grant years (I don’t think I’ve actually seen all of series 8; I gave up on it quickly when it was broadcast).  There’s not many sitcoms in which the whole aesthetic, plot direction & tone change as much as RD.

The Mollusk

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2020, 04:22:07 PM »
One aspect of the shit writing pervading pretty much everything from season 7 onwards which disappointed me the most on rewatching this recently was the objectification of women, specifically Kochanski. The series 2 finale Parallel Universe was such a wonderfully unpretentious commentary on the male gaze, especially when you remember it aired in 1988. It managed to confidently breeze through issues (which are sadly just as relevant 30 years later) within the confines of a successfully established sci-fi sitcom, and it has a lot of fun doing it. The later years are a complete u-turn, with Chloë Annett in sexy red latex trousers, "lol aren't women moody and annoying" menstruation gags and series 8's fucking monstrous Krytie TV, the premise of which involves Kryton filming inside the women's showers for the entertainment of the male prisoners and, worst of all, concludes with absolutely zero retribution against the men whatsoever. I came away from that episode not just cringing but actually disgusted.

Consignia

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2020, 04:27:43 PM »
Series 8 is pretty terrible in general for portrayal of women, the whole running sexual attraction virus thing coming straight from an adolescent male fantasy.

The Mollusk

  • I was a hand grenade that never stopped exploding
Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2020, 04:33:10 PM »
Yeah it's fucking rank. On the rewatch, once series 8 had ended, I had a forced chuckle with my partner like "Well, there's 10 years between this and Back to Earth, the show probably can't get much worse!" How woefully wrong I was.

H-O-W-L

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2020, 05:17:29 PM »
Back to Earth was just fucking strange. Someone wrote that, someone else reviewed and edited it, someone else read it to film and direct it, someone else read it to commission it etc etc... and nobody went.. "Wait... isn't this just a huge load of plagiaristic, masturbatory bollocks?"

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2020, 06:01:49 PM »
I also recently rewatched up to S7E3. I might go back, but series 7 was so markedly worse than everything that had come before it that I lost all interest. I honestly can't think of a series that took such a series-to-series nosedive. And why did they start out with no laugh track and then bring it back for episode 2?

Generally concur with the notion that 4-6 are the strongest: not just because of the sci-fi being strong - there are several episodes about depression and despair and self-esteem and self-hate, oscillating between poles on a daily basis. It's bleak, revelling in inflicting annoyance on your fellow man because it's the only way to feel anything.

That said I like the broadly Steptoe In Space of 1-2, too. Norman Lovett's disembodied head is probably the best thing about them, on the whole. 3 feels transitional, and it is fine, but maybe my least favourite of the original six.

In the dim and distant past I saw the one where they come back to earth at the time of broadcast. It was beyond tragic, so it might take a lot to get me to return now I think about it.

The Mollusk

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2020, 06:45:57 PM »
Back to Earth was just fucking strange. Someone wrote that, someone else reviewed and edited it, someone else read it to film and direct it, someone else read it to commission it etc etc... and nobody went.. "Wait... isn't this just a huge load of plagiaristic, masturbatory bollocks?"

It's absolutely terrible and in my opinion way near the top of the list of absolute worst Red Dwarf content. Utterly devoid of laughs or original ideas or... fucking anything across its 90 minute runtime.

Interesting to see series 6 getting off so lightly. 7 and 8 are unquestionably dire but you can see the rot starting to set in for a couple of episodes in 6, especially Emohawk: Polymorph II, not least of all for retreading old ground and the first return of Dwayne Dibbley. I also thought the series finale Out of Time was quite messy and ended on a pretty crappy cliffhanger. Legion is probably my favourite from 6. Yer titular man is well creepy and I thought the premise was solid, plus the physical comedy at the dinner table is great.

Lemming

  • Better a "lapdog to a slip of a girl" than a.. GIT
Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2020, 06:49:47 PM »
One aspect of the shit writing pervading pretty much everything from season 7 onwards which disappointed me the most on rewatching this recently was the objectification of women, specifically Kochanski. The series 2 finale Parallel Universe was such a wonderfully unpretentious commentary on the male gaze, especially when you remember it aired in 1988. It managed to confidently breeze through issues (which are sadly just as relevant 30 years later) within the confines of a successfully established sci-fi sitcom, and it has a lot of fun doing it. The later years are a complete u-turn, with Chloë Annett in sexy red latex trousers, "lol aren't women moody and annoying" menstruation gags and series 8's fucking monstrous Krytie TV, the premise of which involves Kryton filming inside the women's showers for the entertainment of the male prisoners and, worst of all, concludes with absolutely zero retribution against the men whatsoever. I came away from that episode not just cringing but actually disgusted.

Series 8 is pretty terrible in general for portrayal of women, the whole running sexual attraction virus thing coming straight from an adolescent male fantasy.

These are the two things I remember most about series 8, other than t-rex shit. I share your feelings on Krytie TV, I remember getting quite upset about it as a kid and it's one of the big obstacles to scale on a full rewatch. There's also the scene (not sure which episode) in which Lister tries to rape Kochanski with the magnetism virus (LOL!!!). Oh, and the knee-slappin' subplot in Cassandra where Rimmer's elated to have sex with an unwilling Kochanksi, who resigns herself to it because the big computer demanded it or something. Doug Naylor is clearly fucked in the head but there's plenty of shit misogynistic """jokes""" in earlier series, too, the one that stands out to me being that Rimmer apparently raped Yvonne McGruder while she was concussed, which I think is in series two.

Parallel Universe is ace, it's one of the best episodes, because in addition to explicitly undermining Rimmer's sexism when his own pitiful pick-up shit is turned against him, it also (accidentally?) makes a statement that's still very progressive today. It seems to imply that any perceived behavioural differences between men and women are entirely socially constructed and that, in a universe where the only difference to our own is that males had been historically oppressed on reproductive capability instead of females, everything would be exactly the same only with everyone's bodies switched, given that Deb Lister and Arlene Rimmer are the exact same people as in "our" universe. I always wondered, given the show's track record, if it was meant that way or if they were just going for a "LOL FEMALE RIMMER IS HORNY AND FEMALE LISTER IS GROSS!" thing and ended up writing something really cool by mistake. Or maybe the episode was Rob Grant's work, with Doug Naylor not contributing as much to that one? Who knows.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2020, 07:00:17 PM »
I started it initially at series 4 (when I was ten and had to get my mum to tape it for me, first episode was Camille) but never saw anything earlier than that. Then I came across an episode on Dave (the Western one, can't remember the name) and was surprised how much I liked it still - I'd drifted out of it as time went on, possibly because New Kochanski was all wrong, possibly because I didn't know anyone else into it and when I did meet fans they were The Wrong Kind Of Nerd which isn't great for a young female.

So...I started on Netflix from Series 1, and....

- what no Kryten? Really? But they were always a team of four in my head!
- OK, here's Kryten...no, this isn't the right one. Cognitive dissonance ahoy.
- A lot of Male Holly's opening routines are really reminiscent of Son of Cliche
- It never really clicked with me that this is a workplace sitcom before, despite Rimmer being the archetypal Britcom loser-in-life-whose-real-tragedy-is-their-expextations
- I used to fancy Lister when I was ten and probably still would.

The Mollusk

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2020, 07:08:52 PM »
These are the two things I remember most about series 8, other than t-rex shit. I share your feelings on Krytie TV, I remember getting quite upset about it as a kid and it's one of the big obstacles to scale on a full rewatch. There's also the scene (not sure which episode) in which Lister tries to rape Kochanski with the magnetism virus (LOL!!!). Oh, and the knee-slappin' subplot in Cassandra where Rimmer's elated to have sex with an unwilling Kochanksi, who resigns herself to it because the big computer demanded it or something. Doug Naylor is clearly fucked in the head but there's plenty of shit misogynistic """jokes""" in earlier series, too, the one that stands out to me being that Rimmer apparently raped Yvonne McGruder while she was concussed, which I think is in series two.

Parallel Universe is ace, it's one of the best episodes, because in addition to explicitly undermining Rimmer's sexism when his own pitiful pick-up shit is turned against him, it also (accidentally?) makes a statement that's still very progressive today. It seems to imply that any perceived behavioural differences between men and women are entirely socially constructed and that, in a universe where the only difference to our own is that males had been historically oppressed on reproductive capability instead of females, everything would be exactly the same only with everyone's bodies switched, given that Deb Lister and Arlene Rimmer are the exact same people as in "our" universe. I always wondered, given the show's track record, if it was meant that way or if they were just going for a "LOL FEMALE RIMMER IS HORNY AND FEMALE LISTER IS GROSS!" thing and ended up writing something really cool by mistake. Or maybe the episode was Rob Grant's work, with Doug Naylor not contributing as much to that one? Who knows.

Good points! The joke about Rimmer boffing McGruder when she was concussed was probably intended to be a more innocent riff on just how compromised a situation would have to be in order for him to ever successfully get his end away, but obviously whether it was written with conscious (lol) attention given to it being rapey or not, it still is rapey.

Totally agree about the comment on gender norms/gender being a social construct in Parallel Universe too. I guess when I think about it, and considering the track record of the show as you've stated, maybe it was written as sci-fi first and feminism second. Like, coming up with the zany parallel universe episode concept and then working their way backwards historically as the writing continued. That would make sense, I reckon.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2020, 07:10:44 PM »
....the rot starting to set in for a couple of episodes in 6, especially Emohawk: Polymorph II, not least of all for retreading old ground and the first return of Dwayne Dibbley..

definitely the low point by a mile - but some of the highs of six match most other series, and off the back of 5 (for my money the best, and maybe one of the better six episode runs of any UK sitcom) not too shabby.

H-O-W-L

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #29 on: September 13, 2020, 08:46:38 PM »
I will maintain that the Red Dwarf theme tune (the long 5-minute instrumental version that culminates in the lyrics) is probably one of the best British TV themes ever. I like it more than the Doctor Who theme (which I love a lot).

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