Low & High: Red Dwarf Remastered

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It’s over fifteen years ago now that Red Dwarf Remastered was unveiled to a waiting public. Ever since then, Dwarf fandom has debated: is there something good about it, something laudable? OK, OK, we’ve never fucking liked it. But is it time, perhaps, for some quiet re-evaluation? Are the new CGI effects maybe not as bad as we thought? Does the film effect make the show look better? Maybe that cut dialogue was actually a pretty good idea in retrospect?

Well, no. Much as I’d love to be a contrary little shit, I’ve just re-watched all nineteen episodes and nearly died of a brain haemorrhage. Sure, maybe there’s some good changes that people have forgotten – and we’ll get to those later. But most of them still leave me blinking with bemusement, or shouting at the telly, or blinking with bemusement and then shouting at the telly.

Yet… there’s a part of me that feels an article like this is somewhat graceless. After all, from a UK perspective… we “won”. The original versions were those first released on DVD. Repeats on TV are always the original versions as well (aside from when Dave screws up and shows the Remastered version of Marooned). Doug Naylor himself has admitted that the project didn’t go as well as he’d have liked. At this point, sneering at Remastered doesn’t seem quite as useful as it did fifteen years ago, when it genuinely – if unintentionally – felt like these versions were indeed replacing the originals.

But then, G&T has never really worried about being graceless. So don your pixel-proof gloves, as we present: The Top 10 Worst Things About Red Dwarf Remastered.

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Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm is GO(ING TO BE MADE)!

Explosion concept artExiting news for fans of Gerry Anderson, puppets, models and big bastard explosions as the aforementioned Kickstarter for Firestorm is STORMING towards the funding date after not only reaching its target but securing two stretch goals. On top of the base minisode that is now already entering pre-production, we’re also getting a whole extra set and scene and, to the undoubted delight of a certain Mike Tucker, “A HUGE EXPLOSION”.  If I was a betting man I would put money on that explosion being closely and devastatingly related to that tasty new set…

Since there’s still 9 days left to pledge, it’s more than a little likely that the third goal will be met, providing funds for a new puppet and if something remarkable happens, and a further £69,000 is pledged in that time, then we can look forward to a full 22 minute episode.  I think what we’ve learnt here is that this stuff is severely expensive, so if you want to see more Firestorm then don’t be as tight as Rimmer would be in this situation!!!!!1

High & Low: Series X Scenes

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It was exactly two years ago today that Red Dwarf X burst onto our screens, heralding a brand new era of regular new series, sensible production schedules, and crystal clear communication with the fans as to the show’s future. In a change to your scheduled programming, High & Low looks back on the very best and very worst Series X Scenes. By sheer coincidence, all six episodes have at least one representative in the top ten, although the same even spread does not apply for the bottom five, with one episode taking up 60% of those spaces. What episode could that possibly be? Bearing the usual “only this writer’s opinion, not that of G&T as a whole” caveat in mind, read on to find out…

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It’s some puppets!

An exciting new project has appeared on Kickstarter – Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm, a sci-fi pilot to be filmed in Ultramarionation, which is a modern evolution of the style used for Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Stingray. That means, as the Kickstarter page proudly boasts, practical effects, physical sets, miniatures and puppets. This would all be incredibly exciting even without all the Dwarfy connections. Our old chums The Model Unit are involved, with Mike Tucker listed as providing Model Effects. He’ll be joined by Red Dwarf X alumni Bill Pearson and Steve Begg, as Model Supervisor and Effects Supervisor respectively. That’s a hell of a pedigree right there. The very finest model makers in the land will see their shit blown up by one of the greatest shit blower-uppers in the business.

Having launched only this morning, the project is already at the halfway mark of its original goal, so a 5-8 minute minisode seems extremely likely to be produced, with a further strong chance of the stretch goals to provide much longer versions being reached. We really hope this happens, both because the concept of the series looks great, and because it’s always good to see hard-working talented folk like The Model Unit being rewarded with projects they’re guaranteed to excel at.

DwarfCast 58 – Terrorform Commentary

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Fans of how Robert Llewellyn pronounces “terror” rejoice as our critical DwarfCasting eyes have finally fallen on the mildly underrated series V episode Terrorform. Join television’s Ian Symes, Sweden’s Danny Stephenson and disappointment’s Jonathan Capps as they discuss Kryten’s metaphor hunt, Chris Barrie’s slippery pliance, uneven leg joints and, as a special ‘treat’, the remaining deleted scenes from the Series V DVD.

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High & Low: Special Effects

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Of all the difficult tasks I have faced whilst writing Ganymede & Titan, this has to be one of the most difficultistestist. Even more difficult than writing an article which doesn’t manage to be spectacularly rude about somebody for very little reason. How the bloody hell do you manage to boil down the quite staggering amount of amazing special effects work for Red Dwarf into one easy-to-digest Top 10 list?

Answer: with a lot of kicking, screaming, self-doubt as to the worth of my entire life, and general dissatisfaction. Hopefully that’s sold this article as something well worth reading. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

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The TATP Years: 1988

I meant to link to this when it was first released back in 2012, but I am called John Hoare and I am a useless little shit. So having been duly reminded, I highly recommend the following: a trek through 1988 from Ben Baker and Tim Worthington, with music, TV and radio clips galore.

Oh, was 1988 the year Red Dwarf first aired? I think it just might be.

I won’t spoil what any of the clips are: the surprise is part of the fun. It’s an excellent reminder of what pop culture was like back when Red Dwarf was first shown. Which we foolishly tend to ignore in favour of wondering exactly what that motion control rig they used to shoot the model shots was like.

Sit back, whack up the speakers, and enjoy. And if you want a bit of extra background with TRIVIA AND POP FACTS GALORE, the accompanying commentary track on the show by the aforementioned Worthington & Baker comes highly recommended. Despite that sounding like an artisan bread company.

DwarfCast 57 – Polymorph Commentary

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This DwarfCast contains scenes which are unsuitable for younger viewers and people of a nervous disposition, as we finally get round to babbling on all over Series III episode 3 Polymorph. Recorded on the same night as the Confidence and Paranoia ‘cast, but with fewer people and more gin, G&T regulars Jonathan Capps, John Hoare, Tanya Jones and Ian Symes and joined by friend of the website Karl Eisenhauer, and no-one else. Listen in for a lengthy discussion about video tape formats, armchair psychology about Rimmer’s childhood issues and an in-depth analysis of Robert Llewellyn’s big sweaty face.

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DwarfCast 56 – Confidence & Paranoia Commentary

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It seems almost every DwarfCast we put out at the moment comes with us apologising for the delays at the beginning. This particular recording comes from only a few months ago, though, so we’re getting closer to a sensible schedule. As Ian noted in the last DwarfCast post, this represents the first series we’ve completed in the seven years we’ve been doing these stupid commentaries (save for Back to Earth, but shush) so it’s a little bit of a milestone. Consequently, we took the opportunity to have a bit of a post-commentary chat on series 1 in general to wrap things up and generally get back into the swing of this ‘talking about Red Dwarf’ lark.

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