Now, as we all know, I will defend Red Dwarf‘s production values to the death. (Watch out for an article about the effects work on G&T soon. And yes, that’s a “G&T soon”.) There’s no denying, however, that there are occasionally a few oddities. What’s “interesting” is that there appears to be a rather disproportionate amount of them in Demons & Angels. Come with me now, Pliney, as the crow flies. AS THE EGG FRIES. EGG WITH ME NOW. EGG.
- The odd editing during Starbug crashing out of Dwarf’s cargo bay doors near the start. The actual crash through the doors looks great, but the stock footage of Starbug spinning looks odd – partly because the motion of the ship doesn’t fit in with the previous shot, and partly because of the odd juddering effect applied it – you can see what they were trying to achieve, but it doesn’t quite work. And the next cut to more stock footage of the ‘bug flying away from Dwarf is even odder – again, the motion just doesn’t fit in with the previous shot, and yet there is no device to let us know that any amount of time has passed between the shots.
- The shot of Low Lister shooting our Lister as he rolls along the ground is one of the most offensive bluescreen shots I’ve ever seen in any Dwarf episode. They really should have done better by the fifth series…
- On the shot of the grenade burning around Danny’s feet, look at the top of the frame – Danny’s mouth is clearly not in-sync with what he’s saying. (The deleted scenes reveal that a potion of dialogue was cut here. Seeing as we know that Danny burnt his foot here, before I saw the deleted scenes, I assumed he was crying out in pain…)
- Lister’s line “It’ll kill me!” during him strangling the Cat near the end of the episode. The word “It’ll” is missing off the soundtrack completely – which makes it sound very strange.
- After this, as Starbug is preparing to fly out of the low ship, just after Rimmer’s line “Let’s get out of here!” there’s a shot of Lister sitting up. It looks ridiculous, as the shot is clearly speeded up.
- The shot of the two Dwarf’s rematerialising into one is very, very dodgy. Not only is the rematerialisation effect poor in itself, but the reconstituted Dwarf is horribly, horribly grainy. This is particuarly odd, as whilst you can criticise some of Dwarf‘s other effects, nearly all the model shots in the first six series are spot on.
There may well be more that I’ve missed – tell me if you’ve spotted any. Now, we all know about the troubled production this episode had – it was the first Juliet May directed, and Rob and Doug reshot quite a lot of it. Some of these problems seem to indicate an episode hacked together in the edit suite. But then, it’s such a complicated episode anyway, perhaps it would always have been a bit rough round the edges.
As an addendum, there was an interesting interview with Rob & Doug in the Smegazine that touched on the Juliet May saga (and the making of the whole of Series V, with particuarly interesting stuff about D&A) – and until the V DVD came out, it was the most revealing document on the saga that I know about. You can read it online here, along with a load of other great Rob & Doug interviews. READ THEM. READ THEM NOW.