Media Watch

Here we go then: a few media-related bits that have caught our eye this weekend. And we start with the current issue of Starburst (#307), and specifically their article entitled “Top 50 Sci-Fi Movies, Books and TV Series EVER!” Now, Dwarf usually tends to do very well in these things (in UK mags, anyway) – Dwarf is in there at number 16. Here’s the entry:

Red Dwarf (1988 – 1999)

Synopsis: When a radiation leak kills the entire crew of the mining ship Red Dwarf, Dave Lister (Craig Charles) is brought out of hypersleep three million years later to find he is the last Human being alive.

Defining Moment: Lister deleted the duplicate Rimmer in the episode Me², but doesn’t tell the original until the supposedly doomed hologram is made to tell his deeply embarassing gazpacho soup story.

Yeah, yeah – it’s hardly the defining moment of Red Dwarf. The concept is silly anyway (it usually just amounts to “thing which has been repeated over and over until everyone thinks it’s the only thing ever to do with a show”). On the other hand, it’s a fairly important piece of Dwarf-lore, and there are certainly worse choices that could have been made. And hey – we beat Back To The Future, all Trek series apart from TNG, and The Empire Strikes Back. Which is great until you remember how pointless doing this kind of thing actually is. Never mind.

The mag also contains a review of the IV DVD! It gives the extras 5/5 (hooray!), but the main feature only 3/5. CUNTS. I’ll just quote the review for that bit, and leave out the extras stuff:

Red Dwarf IV
Starring: Craig Charles, Chris Barrie
Director: Ed Bye

The dialogue is as memorable as ever, but writers Doug Naylor and Rob Grant appear to be short of ideas in a season that sees the crew menaced by a curry monster, visiting a prison world and playing pool with a white hole. Best of the bunch is Dimension Jump, with the introduction of the alternate ‘Ace’ Rimmer (“What a guy”), while the big-budget Meltdown, set on a planet of waxwork androids, proves the show works best when keeping things simple.

Now, let’s just stay calm, shall we? But: “short of ideas”? Erm, if anyone can tell me where, I’d love to know. The series is bursting with wonderful ideas. And there is yet more Meltdown-bashing, with no real reason given as to why. And whilst I’m at it, in the technical details box, the year is given as 1989. Gah.

Next: Rob Grant is interviewed in the current SFX (February 2004, #114). He mentions a few interesting things; firstly about Incompetence‘s birth:

True to form, the story itself was born in a haphazard way. “I don’t know why, but I had this period in 1998 where it was the hardest I’d ever worked in years. I was doing two TV series and a novel, so I wrote the first chapter when I should have been doing so many other things. I showed it to a couple of people whose opinions I trust, and they said ‘Oh no, it’s horrible.’ So I thought, fair enough, and I put it in the bottom drawer. But when I dug it out a couple of years ago I thought I liked it, so I showed it to them again and they said, ‘It’s brilliant!'”

Of course, they denied ever seeing it, says Grant. “It’s just one of those things. Ideas have their time, and then the world was not ready.”

There’s also a very interesting section on Cruel Aliens:

Funnily enough, the world is also ready for something else he wrote back in 1998 that he shouldn’t have been writing. It’s his next TV project, Cruel Aliens, an animated show.

“I am very interested in computer animation because I think it’s the future. And I thought maybe you could do it with computer-generated animation with off-the-shelf home computers,” says Grant. “I mean, it’s expensive home software, but it is home software. So I thought I’d give it a bash. I wrote the scripts and I really liked it, I thought it was pretty funny, so I tried to get it off the ground myself. I got nowhere.”

Fortunately, fate smiled on him this Summer.

“A friend of mine, who used to work on Absolutely, moved to a major UK animation studio. He wrote to me and said, ‘I don’t suppose you’ve got any animation scripts?’ How weird is that? We’re just at contract stage now to go into production. It’s very exciting.”

So, it’ll be computer animated then? Grant looks a little sheepish. “Er, I imagine so. I forgot to ask. The problem is, we had really good dialogue up until the point we started negotiating contracts, and now I can’t really talk to them. It’s all done through lawyers.”

Ha ha! (Have Aardman done any computer animation, do you know?) Also: I believe you can safely say that those quotes are not “for the purposes of review”, and in fact completely breach UK copyright law. Excellent.

And finally: something sent in by the incomparable Peter Object. The latest question to be asked Nick Gillard on StarWars.com is about his involvement in Dwarf. (He worked on Stoke Me A Clipper as Stunt Co-ordinator, along with Lee Sheward.) Note the in-depthness and care taken with his reply.

Leave a Reply