Author Topic: Red Dwarf rewatch  (Read 34167 times)

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #600 on: November 11, 2020, 12:26:08 AM »
The line "and then.....I'm going to have you" still makes me laugh after 500 times of hearing it

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #601 on: November 11, 2020, 07:17:44 AM »
The line "and then.....I'm going to have you" still makes me laugh after 500 times of hearing it

I just remember Craig Charles repeating it in the DVD documentary and become instantly bored with it.


He just has a way of wearing things down with his cackle.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #602 on: November 12, 2020, 02:43:49 PM »
This is the only episode of Red Dwarf to feature an alien life-form...

Is it? Am I missing something here?

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #603 on: November 12, 2020, 02:48:50 PM »
Is it? Am I missing something here?

The TARDIS is in one shot of Starbug leaving the cargobay.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #604 on: November 12, 2020, 02:56:44 PM »
Ah cool, a nice little Easter egg I was completely unaware of!

Lemming

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #605 on: November 15, 2020, 01:15:58 AM »
S05E06 Back To Reality

"How were we supposed to know that, you Brummie git?"

Starts out with another horror bit, played fairly straight with minimal comedy. The Esperanto setup reminds me a lot of the plot to the Star Trek TNG episode "Night Terrors", made about a year before this. Oddly, Red Dwarf's version might be slightly scarier, especially with the rotting corpses suspended from the ceiling.

The scene where the "Brummie git" berates the crew for fucking up their playthrough of Red Dwarf is the highlight of the episode. I love how steeped in early 90s videogame logic it is - shit like expecting you to know that the Esperanto's lasers can kill the squid, or that Rimmer's swimming certificate has a secret message. It's an on-point pisstake of the Sierra adventure games of the era. Love how the scene ends with the new set of players coming in and physically shoving the crew out of the way to assume their personalities (and score higher than 4%), something really existentially unpleasant about that.

"Billy Doyle. There's a name from the wrong side of the tracks. Billy 'Grannykiller' Doyle."

This isn't my favourite episode of Red Dwarf, and I'm not sure it's even in the top 10, but I see why it often ranks so high in fan polls. The science fiction is clever, the episode revolves around using what we already know about the characters to tailor their suicide-inducing hallucinations to each of them, and the epsiode is just really well put-together as a piece of TV. The cyberpunk fascist dystopia is believably nightmarish and has a strong atmosphere of dread, which is incredible considering it essentially consists entirely of a room, an alleyway set and a parking garage.

The comedy payoff of the car-chase is outstanding, still has me laughing every time. MOTORCYCLES, AND IT LOOKS LIKE THEY'RE CARRYING PERSONAL ROCKET LAUNCHERS. Great moment of catharsis and a genius way to introduce the big plot twist in a way that's funny above all else.

That concludes Series 5. It feels like a new show, in a lot of ways. We generally seem to group Red Dwarf like this:
1. Series 1/2
2. Series 3-6
3. Series 7/8
4. Dave Era

But I'd argue that the show has more distinct incarnations than that. Series 1 and 2 fit together well, but Series 3 doesn't really feel the same as 2 or 4. Series 5, on the other hand, is tonally and thematically very different to everything before it.

I'm not sure I could take more than one series of this kind of thing, but for what it is, these are five great episodes of dark sci-fi/horror, plus Holoship which sticks out a little on its own but is a good enough episode regardless.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #606 on: November 15, 2020, 01:20:00 AM »
Does anyone else wish the 'is it a dream or is it real?' element of Back To Reality had been left a little bit ambiguous?

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #607 on: November 15, 2020, 01:21:53 AM »
it's the metahumour that the show could never afford to do such a set-piece so they're just going to sit in a pretend car and pretend their way through it that's so glorious

Shaky

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #608 on: November 15, 2020, 06:58:45 AM »
Does anyone else wish the 'is it a dream or is it real?' element of Back To Reality had been left a little bit ambiguous?

Perhaps if it had been the last ever episode. I'm not sure any ambiguity could've been comfortably sustained beyond that, though, as it would totally undercut the characters and their main plight of being stuck in space alone (although, of course, later series fuck that up in various ways anyway). Could see it working in the darker, more expansive book universe maybe.

In my mind, Back to Reality gets lumped in with that episode of Quantum Leap where Sam switch places with Al and briefly manages to return home. A clever fake rug pull from two fav series of the time.

the ouch cube

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #609 on: November 15, 2020, 12:01:27 PM »
Replacement Lister ("Hey Kochansk - shaddap") is John Sharian, best known as the sinister bald phantom in Christian Bale psychological horror flick 'The Machinist'. I did not know this.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #610 on: November 15, 2020, 01:00:38 PM »
it's the metahumour that the show could never afford to do such a set-piece so they're just going to sit in a pretend car and pretend their way through it that's so glorious

Tragically ruined in retrospect by so many twats at school repeating it when it was their turn to do a wacky drama thing for assembly.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #611 on: November 15, 2020, 01:15:27 PM »
Perhaps if it had been the last ever episode.

Really, it could and maybe should have been.  Series 6 moved the show on very quickly from a format it should have stuck with for a while longer, in my view.

Maybe the production team were bored with the beige 'officer quarters' sets of series 3-5 but I loved them.  I loved that world.  All the corridors and rooms and other spaceships and planets just felt solid and real and when they started messing around with it in series 6 and beyond, all of a sudden it felt like we were spending too long in one set again or the guest sets didn't feel as real.

As well as taking the 'cram in one-liners' influence from the US, Grant and Naylor felt that they wanted to use Starbug more.  In series 3-5 they felt there was genuine tension brought in whenever the crew were stuck in Starbug, because it was a more fragile, closed ship with fewer options for where they could escape and just hang out peacefully.  Which I agree with, but I think it worked when it was just the cockpit and storage space behind.  When they crammed in a kitchen and dining room as well as an upper deck of rooms, it was almost like they were just on Red Dwarf anyway.

Plus they lost Holly.  Grant and Naylor felt they had nothing they could do with the character, were always promising Hattie more to do next time, and were embarrassed that each year they mostly asked her to stand around in the background and occasionally deliver a single one-liner or 'opening the doors' ship interface announcements.  So they binned her.  This was to the detriment of the show for me.  I never really needed Holly to be especially vocal or active in series 3-5, but I did want her to be there, humming away in the background representing the heart of this giant ship.  Plus, y'know, a regular female role in this show (one who wasn't objectified, as Kochanski would be in series 7-8) did help make it feel less blokeish.

One series without her would have been okay as it fitted the 'stranded on Starbug' premise, and throughout series 6 they refer to finding Holly as much as finding Red Dwarf.  So it does work - it's just ending on a cliffhanger prolongs it and by the time we get back to Red Dwarf in series 8 it's all fucked and unrecognisable, and Hattie is gone for good.

petrilTanaka

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #612 on: November 15, 2020, 05:45:41 PM »
this is always my favourite episode, coloured by my experience of watching it. Nowhere to find out if it was getting another series, just hope that the last episode of the series wasn't clearly an "it's finished" half hour and keep an eye out for the trailers.

I won't retread what's been said, but I think what stands out is how committed they are to the hallucination being real. From the point the squid gets Starbug to the bit about 21 minutes in when Kryten kills yer man and they do the car chase, there's no concrete blatant clue to reassure the viewer "nah this is fake, but the lads don't know it yet". Everything inside me sank during that middle third, thinking this was the definite ending. It was so different to other alternate reality plots they had. There was always a visible frame to it.

I had a false memory that we were clued in earlier by having Holly go "you're hallucinating" once or twice, but nope. The first sign it's not real is "I killed him" and the cut to Starbug.

As it turns out that's probably the first deliberate clue. I've been tracking down a lot of the instrumental music and general soundtrackiness, as you do when you're a hopeless nerd. I've been looking for the Game Over music from BTR for a while. Here's the fun bit: it's the same library track from Demons and Angels, when Lister and The Cat went to the High ship to do the Pot Noodle gag. 'Open Spaces' by Richard Crankshaw btw.

That didn't connect at all until recently - but the Pot Noodle gag music is heard in universe, so of course the first thing they hear in the hallucination is something random but recently familiar. And that's a sign. Not deliberately. Just likely a production pragmatism thing(same track fits both moods,) and a nice little accidental rewatch bonus. And it's not even a Beatles album either.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2020, 07:30:52 PM by petrilTanaka »

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #613 on: November 15, 2020, 06:39:40 PM »
Interesting fact - Back to Reality wasn't always planned to be the final episode of the series, and it was only after it was edited that its potential in this regard was realised.  Which seems bonkers really.

petrilTanaka

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #614 on: November 15, 2020, 07:53:58 PM »
it just makes the music thing even more serendipitous really.

anyway, Back to Reality got me thinking, if there was ever another alternate versions episode, I'd love to see them use characters from this. Jake Bullet teaming up with Dangerous Dan McGrew to take down more fucking polymorphs or something

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #615 on: November 15, 2020, 07:58:36 PM »
They reappeared in the smegazine stories I think.  Maybe.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #616 on: November 15, 2020, 08:00:30 PM »
I even have a vague memory that Back to Reality was the first episode of series 5 to be aired during the 1994 repeats.  Something like that occurred to me when I last visited my parents and saw my VHS tapes with the episode titles written on the box.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #617 on: November 15, 2020, 08:26:55 PM »
My favourite episode of Red Dwarf. My favourite episode of television ever made.

My favourite Red Dwarf music is the tune which plays over the alternative Dwarfers. I thought for years that it was a Howard Goodall track and was surprised to learn a few years ago that it was actually a piece of library music. The track is called Victory by Darren & Stephen Loveday.

For me, the single greatest moment in all of television history is the reveal that they are hallucinating. The switch to Kryten holding the crossbow and then back to Sebastian Doyle and then back to Starbug is all just masterful editing. I wish I could wipe my memory and experience it fresh as an adult.

Interesting fact - Back to Reality wasn't always planned to be the final episode of the series, and it was only after it was edited that its potential in this regard was realised.  Which seems bonkers really.

Grant and Naylor were confident about the script but thought the recording was disastrous to the point where Rob Grant went home during the editing and Doug Naylor called him up the next day to tell him that it was starting to come together.

petrilTanaka

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #618 on: November 15, 2020, 11:21:29 PM »
For me, the single greatest moment in all of television history is the reveal that they are hallucinating. The switch to Kryten holding the crossbow and then back to Sebastian Doyle and then back to Starbug is all just masterful editing. I wish I could wipe my memory and experience it fresh as an adult.

I love how the mood just slowly fades from the grim drama and the reveal to the deadpan ridiculous car chase that's just one long running laugh

Lemming

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #619 on: November 15, 2020, 11:36:53 PM »
Yeah, it's hard to overstate just how good the car chase scene is, in context. Even better because the entire preceding scene in the parking garage is played almost totally straight as a drama, with just a couple of relatively minor jokes ("cybernautics is traffic control", "fabulous prizes to be won", etc), and then the car chase just turns the entire episode around and acts as a punchline to the whole of the last 15 minutes. It's an incredible way to introduce a massive comedy payoff while still keeping the real tension of the plot scaling up as they get closer and closer to suicide.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #620 on: November 22, 2020, 07:46:17 PM »
This thread (as well as still recovering from surgery) gave me the bug to watch the series through again. I hope Lemming hasn't given up?

Lemming

  • Better a "lapdog to a slip of a girl" than a.. GIT
Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #621 on: November 22, 2020, 10:30:15 PM »
I hope Lemming hasn't given up?

I'm here, but (amid other things) my computer has almost completely broken for some reason, so I've been distracted by the usual set of nightmares that entails. Hoping to start Series VI pretty soon, though!

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #622 on: November 23, 2020, 09:29:00 AM »
I'm here, but (amid other things) my computer has almost completely broken for some reason, so I've been distracted by the usual set of nightmares that entails. Hoping to start Series VI pretty soon, though!

The pause is appropriate! We'll just pretend that you're in a deep sleep unit for two-hundred years. While we catch up with Red Dwarf as it were.

petrilTanaka

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #623 on: November 23, 2020, 06:03:02 PM »
in the meantime, we can at least enjoy a Pot Noodle[1] properly. wish I could grab my own copy
 1. you're hallucinating
« Last Edit: November 23, 2020, 06:40:40 PM by petrilTanaka »

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #624 on: November 24, 2020, 02:07:49 PM »

Last night I watched season three finale The Last Day, the episode which ends with Kryten saying ".. I knew that I was lying! No such thing as Silicon Heaven?!....", which then went straight into episode one of Season four which starts with Lister teaching Kryten to lie. It's as if Grant Naylor were taking pleasure in deliberately disregarding continuity.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #625 on: November 24, 2020, 02:44:39 PM »
That always bugged me, but then someone pointed out that the hurdle in Camille might have been lying to humans rather than other mechanoids.


Which is fair enough.  Can’t care much about these things these days.


Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #626 on: November 24, 2020, 02:47:02 PM »
Maybe he can only lie when humans are in physical danger. An in built defence mechanism of sorts.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #627 on: Yesterday at 12:51:29 PM »

Nice one, Lemming, for starting this rewatch and for keeping it going. It inspired me to revisit the show for the first time in a while. I dipped in a couple of years ago and rewatched all the highly rated episodes according to IMDB (https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?series=tt0094535&view=simple&count=250&sort=user_rating,desc&ref_=tt_eps_rhs_sm, didn't enjoy them as much as I hoped but had a much better time this around.

So I just spent the last few nights binge watching seasons two to five then re-read all this thread. It's been great reading all the different takes and seeing some things pointed out that had never occurred to me in the nearly 30 years I've been watching the show (the first episode I ever saw on TV was Parallel Universe and then had to wait a year for season three).

Totally agree with the consensus that it was never quite the same from season three onwards and the writers seemed to forget what the heart of the show was (plus all the fucks they didn't give about continuity).

Rewatching Red Dwarf every few years is like catching up with friends from college. It's nice to do, I like hanging out with them and I have a better laugh talking about the old days rather than catching up on "what are you up to these days?".

Did Grant and Naylor have a thing for Marilyn Monroe? I counted four references to her in the 24 episodes I watched (she's on Waxworld, in Better Than Life, they have magazines of her in Timeslides and then there's the "Look, it's Marilyn Monroe" droid they build for Kryten).

Chriddof

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #628 on: Yesterday at 12:57:13 PM »
There was a kind of Marylin Monroe revival going on throughout the late 80s / some of the early 90s, at the same time as the idolization of James Dean. It tied in with that 1980s British obsession with Americana in general.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #629 on: Yesterday at 07:01:58 PM »
There was a kind of Marylin Monroe revival going on throughout the late 80s / some of the early 90s, at the same time as the idolization of James Dean. It tied in with that 1980s British obsession with Americana in general.

That's true - Good point. I seem to remember a lot of TV commercials around that time had a fascination with 50's/60's music and imagery.

As an aside with Red Dwarf, I forgot to mention in my previous post about what a great character Norman Lovett-era Holly is. He definitely got the biggest laughs from me as I rewatched season two. I always liked Hattie Hayridge's Hilly/Holly and felt she got less to do after Kryten joined the crew, but Lovett's version of the character is wonderful. Haven't yet reached the episode where they bring him back but I recall his appearance getting a rapturous response from the studio audience.




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