Author Topic: Red Dwarf rewatch  (Read 88281 times)

the

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #630 on: November 26, 2020, 08:32:10 PM »
Re. the appearances of Marilyn Monroe, I might be misremembering but I think Naylor once mentioned they were trying to include references to 'classic' American pop culture in an attempt to appear timeless, and to also appeal to US TV.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #631 on: November 26, 2020, 08:39:30 PM »
Re. the appearances of Marilyn Monroe, I might be misremembering but I think Naylor once mentioned they were trying to include references to 'classic' American pop culture in an attempt to appear timeless, and to also appeal to US TV.

I think that was more in reference to the remastered versions, which were chiefly made to appeal to overseas markets.  So for example the reference to Felicity Kendal’s bottom was replaced with Marilyn Monroe’s.

the

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #632 on: November 26, 2020, 08:57:05 PM »
Yeah but this was in relation to all the prior inclusions of MM as-mentioned, the on-set posters and cameos. I think it was in reference to the attempts to amp-up the appeal of the show in series 2.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #633 on: November 26, 2020, 09:01:52 PM »
Ok I don't remember that.  For series 2 Grant and Naylor were just writers and had hardly any involvement in how the show was produced, anyway.  Most of the visual changes between series 1 and 2 were about trying to bring more colour into the grey sets.


I'd need to see the interview myself, I think.  I just can't imagine it being a factor that early on, and can't get my head around it as a logical motivation for putting a Marilyn Monroe poster up in the bunk room, and a reference to her in Better Than Life.  For the former it was more about trying to stick as much random colourful shit into the frame as possible.



With remastered they did explicitly say they were targeting overseas markets and had an eye on getting the movie made.  So they removed overly British and dated references for exactly that reason.  But I have never encountered them saying that earlier on.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #634 on: November 26, 2020, 11:00:39 PM »

I had a wild thought when watching Holoship, from season five.

I was a comedy fan from a young age, so even as a 13 year old I recognised Don Warrington from Rising Damp in this episode (has he been in any other sitcoms with the initials 'RD'?), but the wild thought had me wondering if he'd been cast in that role to make the Holoship crew not come across as white supremacists when he's evaluating the crew, and says of Lister "What have we here? A human being, or a very close approximation".

That scene might not have been as light-hearted if it had been one of the tall Aryan guys from the main deck.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #635 on: November 27, 2020, 10:09:49 AM »
It's frankly astonishing that Don Warrington looks barely any different in Holoship to how he appears in Death In Paradise, a quarter of a century apart. Right down to the OTT uniform.

And he's BRILLIANT in Red Dwarf. The look of absolute disdain, but played perfectly for laughs, and clearly enjoying playing against Charles mocking him. It's one of my favourite scenes in the whole series.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #636 on: November 27, 2020, 10:21:36 AM »
I had a wild thought when watching Holoship, from season five.

I was a comedy fan from a young age, so even as a 13 year old I recognised Don Warrington from Rising Damp in this episode (has he been in any other sitcoms with the initials 'RD'?), but the wild thought had me wondering if he'd been cast in that role to make the Holoship crew not come across as white supremacists when he's evaluating the crew, and says of Lister "What have we here? A human being, or a very close approximation".

That scene might not have been as light-hearted if it had been one of the tall Aryan guys from the main deck.

You might be onto something, there's some cut dialogue from the scene where Rimmer is meeting the Holocrew and the Captain describes them as "ubermensch", I could see them getting worried about it coming across a bit fascisty.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #637 on: November 27, 2020, 10:24:03 AM »
sexy fascists

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #638 on: November 27, 2020, 08:09:15 PM »
sexy fascists

Jane Horrocks probably the sexiest fascist ever in that episode.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #639 on: November 28, 2020, 12:23:34 AM »
You might be onto something, there's some cut dialogue from the scene where Rimmer is meeting the Holocrew and the Captain describes them as "ubermensch", I could see them getting worried about it coming across a bit fascisty.

at least they avoided the Star Trek lot getting the wrong idea and reckoning they've ripped off the Cardassians or something

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #640 on: November 28, 2020, 11:05:33 PM »
Alright, probably good to go now. Here we go:

S06E01 Psirens

The entire concept for this one is a complete "what the fucking hell is this" sort of affair. So, there are aliens GELFs who need to eat people's brains to survive. This is taking place 3 million years into deep space where, as we keep hearing, there is only one human left alive, Lister. But maybe not, because there's a video message from a guy who gets killed by Psirens. This is pretty monumental, isn't it? After all this time, it turns out that not only do humans still exist, but they're spacefaring, and a ship full of them passed near where we currently are fairly recently. Totally unremarked upon by the crew.

Do people pass through here often? If not, how have the Psirens survived this long without a constant food source?

When you get past the usual logic disasters, the Psirens are very similar to the Polymorph, with a bit of Camille sprinkled in. It's already been done. To the episode's credit, it does get a couple of good new jokes out of the shapeshifting alien concept - mostly with the scene where Lister and the Psiren both try to prove they're the real Lister.

The starting scene is pretty odd, it's almost like it's been made for people who've never seen any of the show before and need to catch up fast. We get a weird scene during which Kryten esesntially reintroduces Lister to the audience, and Rimmer then gets his own little intro sequence where he's booted from Starbug's computer. Cat gets a couple of introductory lines too, including one from Kryten about how his "superior senses" or something qualify him to be Starbug's pilot. Wonder what the intention was with all this. We also learn that Red Dwarf, the ship, is gone. Getting rid of Red Dwarf and stranding the crew on Starbug is an idea that's potentially exciting in theory, but I don't recall it ever really being used as much of a storytelling device. Almost every episode of Series 6 could just as easily take place aboard the main ship.

The explanation of what happened to Red Dwarf is fucking weird as well. Rimmer says that Lister forgot where he parked it - an explanation that's pretty funny and that I'm sure everyone would go along with - but then Kryten has a strange bit about how Red Dwarf was "stolen from us" by an unknown party, and that Starbug is finally closing in on them after 200 years. What? Does this even come up again? If the answer to this question is very obvious, forgive me, I haven't seen Series 6 in a long time, but I don't remember this plot thread going anywhere.

Virtually no mention of Holly. The explanation given is that Holly is aboard Red Dwarf and has thus been taken, but this is complete bullshit because we've seen Holly transfer to Starbug several times (Backwards, to name one off the top of my head).

People have mentioned in this thread how Series VI feels more one-liner oriented, and it's true. Almost every single line is either a joke or a convoluted setup to a joke. I don't like it at all honestly, it makes everything feel very unnatural and the characters have little room to just exist on the screen in the way they did in earlier series, since everything they say is either awkward exposition, awkward joke setup, or a punchline. Unfunny catchphrases galore, too - "smug mode/lie mode", "we're deader than ____", etc. A lot of lines are just interchangeable between characters at this point. You could swap like half the dialogue from one character to any other character and the episode would run along pretty much unaffected, with the possible exception of Kryten's omniscient exposition lines. Having said that, though, even some of the magic-all-knowing-exposition talk was given to Lister and Rimmer this time around.

Another thing I noticed is that the crew are weirdly hyper-competent. It's offset by the occasional joke where someone fucks up in a big way, but just watch the scene from the end of the debriefing to the point where they find the video message from the guy. Cat and Lister are expert pilots, Rimmer is a competent navigator and acts as a first officer and technician ("we're not going another step until we find out what brought those ships down", then expertly operating the scouter drone), and Kryten knows literally everything about everything. Plus, Lister acts like a Starfleet science officer half the time, explaining to everyone what Psirens are and how they work. It's a far cry from the earliest episodes where they were trapped aboard a huge, empty ship full of industrial machinery and incomprehensible computers that they had basically no idea how to operate, and had to rely entirely on the whims of Holly.

So overall, the episode didn't impress me too much. As with a lot of Series 6 episodes, I remembered the overall plot pretty clearly and a few select lines ("tune into Sanity FM" is a great one), so I already knew more or less everything in advance. Still it's not up to much. The Psiren's shapeshifting abilities aren't used in clever or funny ways (the only exception being when the final Psiren appeared as the doctor who created Kryten), mostly just LOL SEX jokes and an excuse to get Clare Grogan in for 5 seconds to remind you that this is still theoretically meant to be the same show it started out as. It's impossible to get interested in the Psirens as a concept in the way you could with better concepts like the Inquisitor or the Justice ship or whatever, because the Psirens don't make sense, they shouldn't exist, and there's nothing to them beyond being hostile insect things that want to kill you. The one-liner model does produce some good jokes but on the whole it feels sort of suffocating, and seems to produce as many cringeworthy dud jokes as it does shit-hot ones.
 

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #641 on: November 28, 2020, 11:19:06 PM »
Very much in agreement there Lemming, although Psirens always stuck out to me as the most horrific episode. So at least the design of the monsters does its job.

the

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #642 on: November 28, 2020, 11:30:44 PM »
A lot of the things that you've framed there are criticisms of series 6 are, I think, what makes it great. They're not just rattling around a huge ship and popping-in to get on each other's nerves anymore, they're forced into a tiny environment and have begun to act as a unit to survive.

Series 6 is probably my favourite (and yes I love the previous series and watched it right from the start), just because I feel it gets the balance right between density of gags and an impressively genuine feeling of threat and survival. This is due in no small part to the uplift in special effects - unlike previous threats in episodes like Polymorph and DNA, there was always a slightly shabby BBC crapness to the peril they were in, whereas in series 6 it does genuinely feel like a technological future and that they could be wiped out at any moment. And this doesn't come at the expense of drama over comedy - the situational aspect of the sci-fi is amped up as much as the comedy dialogue and set pieces are.

There are plenty of one-liners... but since when have one-liners been something you don't want in a comedy show? I sometimes get the impression that when people point to the one-liners they're sort of saying 'look I've noticed a recurring structure', and not really registering a salient criticism of the comedy itself. The one-liners are funny and the comedy density in S6 is very high.

BUT THAT'S JUST MY OPINION ISN'T IT

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #643 on: November 28, 2020, 11:53:25 PM »
Series VI is my favourite series of anything ever, very closely followed by V.

I guess I'm in the minority in thinking that the soft rebooting of the show ever series or three is one of the shows greatest strengths. They can refresh the show in ways others don't, which has meant it has lasted all of 12 series and a special.

I feel like certain criticisms are framed by wanting the show to be a certain thing and it not being that. Series VI provides great sci-fi ideas as a backbone to tightly packed comedy dialogue with some practical effects and set design that are unmatched on British TV. But because there is yet another soft reboot with the characters changing to fit the situation, it isn't appealing to some.

The style of comedy is very influenced by Grant Naylor's trip to America where they worked with writers from The Simpsons and Frasier. I think the more American approach to the comedy whilst retaining the more Star Trek approach to the sci-fi that we saw in Series V was just the perfect balance for me. I don't even mind when we get very Homer Simpson style dumb jokes so long as they are funny enough, take for example this delightful exchange from Legion:
Quote
KRYTEN: Is everything okay, sir?
LISTER: No, it's not.  Some smegger's filled in this "Have You Got A Good Memory" quiz.
KRYTEN: But that was you, sir.  Last week.  Don't you remember?
LISTER: Was it?
KRYTEN: Hm.  Look:  Nobody else spells "Thursday" with an "F"


Lemming

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #644 on: November 29, 2020, 12:01:02 AM »
There are plenty of one-liners... but since when have one-liners been something you don't want in a comedy show? I sometimes get the impression that when people point to the one-liners they're sort of saying 'look I've noticed a recurring structure', and not really registering a salient criticism of the comedy itself. The one-liners are funny and the comedy density in S6 is very high.

Not commenting on Series 6 as a whole, since it's been so long since I've seen it - I remember really liking Legion and Gunmen of the Apocalypse, and really not liking Emohawk and Rimmerworld, but that's about all I can give at this point. The problem I had with the one-liner format in Psirens was that the comedy too frequently doesn't arise from the characters, but instead often from punchlines that could have been said by pretty much any character to any other character. This has been present in various degrees since around Series 4 but it felt very pronounced in this episode. Combined with the characters having become much thinner and broader over the course of the last few series, it ensures that even when a character-based joke does arise, it's basically just "Kryten looks weird," "Rimmer is a coward," "Lister is gross" or some similar variant.

Even taking the series on its own terms and accepting that character-based comedy isn't the focus now, a lot of the one-liners didn't land for me on this one, barring four or five great ones scattered across the episode.

The episode also suffered for me because I didn't think the Psirens were interesting or funny. Barring the scene with two Listers, the Psirens and their abilities didn't feel like they were quite integrated into the comedy - mostly they just do scary shit in the background while the crew react by talking about being deader than tank tops and being turned inside out faster than Lister's underwear and so on. And as a dramatic sci-fi concept, they're kind of a non-starter: shapeshifters who want to kill you with no motivation or backstory or anything beyond that.

the

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #645 on: November 29, 2020, 12:31:20 AM »
Re. the comedy hustle & bustle between the characters - I like that the pressure-cooker situation has resulted in them simultaneously working together and hating each other in a much more intense way.

The episode also suffered for me because I didn't think the Psirens were interesting or funny. Barring the scene with two Listers, the Psirens and their abilities didn't feel like they were quite integrated into the comedy - mostly they just do scary shit in the background while the crew react by talking about being deader than tank tops and being turned inside out faster than Lister's underwear and so on.

Sorry I totally disgaree - the crew spend the episode trying to avoid the Psirens at all costs, as they're so terrifyingly competent at fucking with your perception that death is almost a certainty if you come into contact with them. The precariousness of this is beautifully illustrated when they're trying to sneak through the asteroid belt. Then the way their perception-altering ability drags them in (in spite of them being fully aware of the potential for this happening and their best efforts to avoid it) is masterful, with Lister nearly carking it due to his weaknesses being exploited.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #646 on: November 29, 2020, 10:46:36 AM »
Re. the comedy hustle & bustle between the characters - I like that the pressure-cooker situation has resulted in them simultaneously working together and hating each other in a much more intense way.

Sorry I totally disgaree - the crew spend the episode trying to avoid the Psirens at all costs, as they're so terrifyingly competent at fucking with your perception that death is almost a certainty if you come into contact with them. The precariousness of this is beautifully illustrated when they're trying to sneak through the asteroid belt. Then the way their perception-altering ability drags them in (in spite of them being fully aware of the potential for this happening and their best efforts to avoid it) is masterful, with Lister nearly carking it due to his weaknesses being exploited.

The double-feint with the flaming asteroids was good but I thought the rest of the Psirens "temptations" were pretty crap and predictable, and the crew's responses frustrating. Why did Lister not just shoot the blond on the surface of the asteroid the moment he saw her? Why, after Kryten tracks down the injured Psiren in the engine room, does he start trying to debate logic with it instead of just killing it straight away? There can hardly be said to be much drama or tension happening when most of the peril is a result of the crew's own bafflingly poor decisions. You hardly feel like they're straining every sinew to survive, they barely seem to be even thinking.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #647 on: November 29, 2020, 11:33:13 AM »
Isn't the only reason theyre in Starbug for series 6 because they blew up the Red Dwarf model for Demons and Angels? Not sure why they did that tbh

the

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #648 on: November 29, 2020, 12:05:08 PM »
The double-feint with the flaming asteroids was good but I thought the rest of the Psirens "temptations" were pretty crap and predictable, and the crew's responses frustrating. Why did Lister not just shoot the blond on the surface of the asteroid the moment he saw her? Why, after Kryten tracks down the injured Psiren in the engine room, does he start trying to debate logic with it instead of just killing it straight away? There can hardly be said to be much drama or tension happening when most of the peril is a result of the crew's own bafflingly poor decisions. You hardly feel like they're straining every sinew to survive, they barely seem to be even thinking.

There's no point in thinking about it in those 'I'd have just shot her and ran away!' terms, it's not something like Alien (the thrill of which is about its characters being backed into a horrifying corner), it's a sitcom.

If you feel that the logical hurdles of the characters are unconvincing or confusing to the point that the premise untangles in front of your eyes, fair enough - some shows do get lazy in that way, whereupon it ceases to hang together as a piece of entertainment that you can go along with. But you can apply COLD HARD LOGIC to almost any dramatic situation or set-up and completely avoid the story being told in the first place, which is just a futile mental exercise.

Isn't the only reason theyre in Starbug for series 6 because they blew up the Red Dwarf model for Demons and Angels? Not sure why they did that tbh

I know you're taking the piss, but that was a different model. (Possibly two of them - there's the raw footage and also some 8mm footage of them filming two takes of that shot on the S5 DVD.)

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #649 on: November 29, 2020, 02:46:25 PM »
There are plenty of one-liners... but since when have one-liners been something you don't want in a comedy show? I sometimes get the impression that when people point to the one-liners they're sort of saying 'look I've noticed a recurring structure', and not really registering a salient criticism of the comedy itself. The one-liners are funny and the comedy density in S6 is very high.

BUT THAT'S JUST MY OPINION ISN'T IT

Well, as others have said, there’s an issue creeping in where the humour doesn’t really come down to the characters responding to their situation anymore, but involves the writers shoving anything they think could be funny into the mouths of any character who happens to be passing.

The rot might not be as apparent in series 6 because arguably those one-liners are funny.  But watch what happens when you get to series 7 and 8, when the same format is being used (anyone can just spout any one-liner, regardless of motivation and context) and the reality of the show starts to warp around arbitrary jokes.

A character is broadly stupid for a few moments for the sake of a joke:  Lister had forgotten he did a memory quiz, or he can’t complete a dot-to-dot puzzle.  Or he can’t recognise Kryten in the episode Krytie TV because Kryten is wearing a disguise, and when Jeremy Beadle was wearing disguises in Beadles About nobody could recognise him.  So even though Kryten is obviously Kryten, Lister can’t tell it’s him because of his very thin beard disguise.  The reality of the characters and the situation they are in is warping around the jokes.

And yes it’s obviously more pronounced in series 8 in particular, but the issue begins in series 6 with its full embracing of arbitrary one-liners at the expense of characters having their own responses to situations and their own sense of humour.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #650 on: November 29, 2020, 02:54:11 PM »
Isn't the only reason theyre in Starbug for series 6 because they blew up the Red Dwarf model for Demons and Angels? Not sure why they did that tbh

Not entirely.  They had enough model shots filmed for use in series 1-5 for generic fly-bys.

Plus the model used for more story-related shots in series 5 was already a replacement for the one used in series 1-4, which had fallen off a shelf at some point and broken.  So the one they blew up in Demons and Angels wasn’t the original anyway.

So they could have made a new one for series 6 if they’d wanted one.



Grant and Naylor wanted a change of scene, felt that the segments of series 3-5 where they were on Starbug were more exciting than when they could hang out and relax on Red Dwarf itself, and they wanted an excuse for getting rid of Holly.

Unfortunately decking out Starbug with additional rooms took away the claustrophobic excitement it had in series 3-5, but there you go.

the

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #651 on: November 29, 2020, 05:30:04 PM »
Well, as others have said, there’s an issue creeping in where the humour doesn’t really come down to the characters responding to their situation anymore, but involves the writers shoving anything they think could be funny into the mouths of any character who happens to be passing.

The rot might not be as apparent in series 6 because arguably those one-liners are funny.  But watch what happens when you get to series 7 and 8, when the same format is being used (anyone can just spout any one-liner, regardless of motivation and context) and the reality of the show starts to warp around arbitrary jokes.

... Can I just stop you there. Please don't draw a straight line between any attributes of series 6 and those of series 7/8, as series 7/8 are so fundamentally disconnected from Red Dwarf and Good Comedy that I can't see how 7/8 derive anything meaningful from the series 6 side of... let's call it 'the shit chasm'. It's quite upsetting to act as though they relate to each other in any way. And yes I'm being slightly tongue-in-cheek.

Going back to the question of character-based dialogue and gags in S6, I kind of take your point in some ways but I don't think it damages the show in any way - I just think time has noticeably moved on by this point. The writers, the actors and indeed most viewers know those characters inside-out by now, we've all been living in their situation for 6 years, and in the new pressure-cooker of Starbug they're compressed together a lot more (even if it means they've lost some of their meandering individuality).

I like that it's a zingier, more rapid-fire sitcom by this stage, because it's still grounded in Rob & Doug's affection for the characters and their deftness in creating novel-yet-comedic situations for them to find themselves in. I can't demerit them for being gagsmiths, they excel at it.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #652 on: November 29, 2020, 06:26:52 PM »

Here are another few things I noticed and pondered whilst binge-watching seasons two to six last week (although, in all honesty, season six was just on in the background while I got on with other stuff but I don't think I missed all that much)......

- The notion that the Scutters are mad fans of John Wayne really tickled me.

- Tony Hawks is brilliant as Caligula. The face slap he kept giving to Lister and "Rasputin, I'm very cross indeed!" made me howl.

- The scenes with Talkie Toaster in White Hole are very funny - Had no idea it was the original Kryten doing the voice.

- Although I've never loved Kryten and he was always my least fave of the main four, Robert Llewelyn comes across as the nicest guy out of the core cast. Can't have been easy for him having to get to the recording hours before his fellow actors so the SFX team could make a start on his make-up. He probably had to wait ages after a shoot to get the prosthetics removed, too.


... Anyway, on with season one for me. I probably won't bother with 7 or 8.






Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #653 on: November 29, 2020, 06:29:24 PM »
Not to spoil conversation of episodes to come (and I did find a couple of episodes of series VI to actually be rather good - no prizes for guessing which ones), but I agree with the point about how self-defeating moving the show to Starbug was, when the set was expanded anyway.

I fully accept that it's a formula that people enjoyed, even in this thread, but when I see it being praised for introducing a sense of danger and threat, I'm left bewildered as to how the hell we ended up at this point. This thread so far is a great illustration of where the changes in tone begin to take hold, but by this stage, it's a show that seemed more intent on learning into being yet another sci-fi show, but having a lazy trapdoor of 'oh, it's a sitcoms for when it came out slapdash.  By this stage, it feels more like a franchise than a sitcom.

To throw in my other tuppence, so my only contribution isn't just asking other people to write more posts for my enjoyment:
- the more acting experience Craig Charles gets, the less I like Lister. By Psirens, he's fully mugging for cameras and all that.
- we've reached the point where Chris Barrie pretty much checks out, in my opinion. Not sure if he was deliberately being given less to work with out of resentment, or he was just waiting to get back to Brittas. Either way, there's a shift around this point.
- the loss of Holly is properly shit.
- I still like Kryten at this point. In fact, this might be his best series.
- I don't like the one liners so much. It feels like a clumsier Blackadder, or something.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #654 on: November 30, 2020, 12:47:21 AM »
Clare Grogan is really acting in Psirens, isn't she?

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #655 on: November 30, 2020, 07:04:21 AM »
It’s nice that Clare Grogan is still Kochanski at this point.  Whatever her acting limitations, I have liked her in the role.

Her appearance in Psirens also reminds the viewer that Lister still has the dreams that were set up in episode 1 of the first series.  They haven’t been foregrounded but they are still there.

So he still wants to get back to Earth and he wants to one day be with Kochanski.  I’m sure there won’t be a time when he’ll be given both these things on a plate and treat them as if they are nothing.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #656 on: November 30, 2020, 11:51:46 AM »
- I don't like the one liners so much. It feels like a clumsier Blackadder, or something.

This is a really good comparison (especially since my knowledge of the 90s American sitcoms Grant Naylor drew inspiration from is pretty much limited exclusively to Seinfeld and The Simpsons). Still speaking only of Psirens rather than the series as a whole, but it did indeed feel like it was going for the catchphrase-laden, witty-joke-every-five-seconds style of Blackadder. Not sure why it didn't really work for me whereas Blackadder (2 and 3 especially) is one of my favourite comedy series ever made.

Maybe because, straightforwardly, I didn't think the jokes were as funny as an average Blackadder episode. But maybe also because Red Dwarf wants you to take the Psirens at least kind of seriously as a threat, whereas Blackadder never expects the viewer to take any peril the characters are put into seriously at all.

The whole tone of Blackadder is surreal, so Edmund rattling off a tirade of one-liners and "Baldrick your brain is smaller than the smallest thing at Longstanton Small Museum" style catchphrases while being held and tortured in a prison by Hugh Laurie doesn't jar because the entire prison setup is a joke, whereas Lister and Rimmer spouting out a similar stream of jokes while the ship crashes on a Psiren asteroid and places them in lethal danger just feels kind of odd.

On top of that, most of Blackadder feels like it has much stronger characterisation than Red Dwarf at this point. The one-liners model is fun in Blackadder because they usually fit the character who's saying them - cynicism and cruelty from Edmund, deranged shit from Percy/George, deadpan stupidity from Baldrick, etc. Whereas, as mentioned earlier, Psirens just kind of lets any character say anything as long as it's a vaguely funny line.

Maybe in the end a lot of it comes down to Series 6 being the third or fourth reboot of Red Dwarf, and I'm having trouble adjusting to the style change, especially while watching the whole show in relatively quick succession like this. Going from Series 5's mostly serious sci-fi horror to Series 6's "it's still kind of sci-fi horror, but Cat's gonna keep talking about flares every 30 seconds while Lister mugs to the camera" style takes some adjusting.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #657 on: November 30, 2020, 01:07:54 PM »
Yes.


I think it’s worth making a distinction between jokes like “Are you sure?  It does mean changing the bulb,” “Not really; I need it for turning the lights on and off,” “....or we could use the teleporter,” and all the more formulaic gags that end up characterising series 6 more than any other series.

When I say the one-liners in series 6 are funny, I am referring to the former type, not the latter.  The Space Corps Directives jokes and “we’re deader than [convoluted example of unfashionable clothing]” are just tiresome.  They crop up every episode in a way that makes no sense in a character or situational sense, but even the funnier jokes listed above are shoe-horned in and represent the beginnings of a problem in terms of how the show is being written.

the

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #658 on: November 30, 2020, 03:26:13 PM »
Doesn't the Cat only do "deader than" lines in 2 episodes in this series? But it's worth it to build up to his frustrated "deader than A-line flares with pockets in the knees", which is a level of clothing specificity that only the Cat would stretch to.

I think you're both fixating on the one-liners in a way that's disproportionate to their actual presence in the show. Yes they're there, but they're gone in a flash and they don't do any damage to the fibre of the episode.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #659 on: November 30, 2020, 03:48:37 PM »
I think I’m being misunderstood, because when I talk about one-liners I am talking about the increased gag count of series 6, not specifically the repeating jokes.

The emphasis on interchangeable jokes that the writers find funny rather than the characters having their own sense of humour which they use to wind each other up or whatever, is where the problem lies for me.  It’s only actively a problem once you get to series 7 and 8 though, because half the writing team isn’t as sharply funny as both halves together.


Maybe that’s clearer.

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