John’s Newsround – 14/03/05

Firstly, a catch-up from the week before; the expected VI wallpaper (probably my least favourite, but it does work as a DVD cover) and the expected VI quiz. Let’s have a go…

…16/20? Cretin.

VII and VIII interviews, then. That list in full: Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn, Chloë Annett, Mac McDonald, Graham McTavish, David Gillespie, Gary Martin, Nicky Leatherbarrow, Ed Bye, Paul Alexander, Peter Tyler, Mike Tucker, Bill Pearson, Chris Veale, Howard Burden, and Jo Bennett. Excellent. A few notes:

  • “Chris Veale…gave his own perspective on the controversial Series VII effects, a key aspect of the documentary” and “Peter Tyler… many fans may be aware that Pete found himself at the centre of much of the Series VII effects controversy, and his contribution will prove invaluable in getting a balanced version of the story” – EXCELLENT.
  • “Paul Bradley, Jake Wood and Ken Morley… were approached, but to no avail” – silly people.
  • “we eagerly await Doug Naylor’s return for his own interview” – ah, his return from Australia. Movie funding. I’m getting excited again. Sigh.
  • Compare and contrast. Who is the best at playing with cameras and booms?

I’m not keen on a lot of VII and VIII; but this really will be worth buying for the extras, regardless of what you think of the main feature. Because, like the Juliet May saga, it appears GNP are tackling issues head on. I expect we’ll also hear from Doug what he thought of some of the reactions to the two series, which will be great.

Oh, the American release of V and VI. Bastard exclusive trading cards want them. There’s also some interesting news about some TV spots for the releases, which will also be online this week. Lovely. Now, any Australians who recorded the ad that aired in their country fancy encoding it and sending us a copy?

And finally, there’s stuff about a Comic Relief Auction; you still have time to bid for Hattie’s Potato Print, Norm’s Potato Print, and Mac McDonald’s Potato Print. You lucky people.

36 Responses to John’s Newsround – 14/03/05

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  1. Surely Norm needs to be interviewed about VII/VIII.

  2. 9/20.

    I don’t have the DVD, though. But still: pathetic.

  3. Norm! Of course! I forgot about him!

    It’d be a shame if he wasn’t interviewed, yes…

  4. Yeah, I hope Norman’s on the commentary for VIII. I can’t wait to watch 8 episodes where Danny takes the piss out of him! That’ll be way more entertaining than the series itself. I would have liked a Rob Grant interview for VII. Obviously he wasn’t involved in the series but I want to hear what he REALLY thinks of it (and if he rips the shit out of it for the whole interview then that’s fine by me). And it would be appropriate if they end up talking about Rob and Doug splitting. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole thing was just glossed over. What I DO want is a full and frank explanation about exactly what the fuck went on with Barrie in VII. Obviously we know he was pissed with working conditions on VI and he was doing Brittas etc but I still don’t get it all personally (that might be because I’m stupid). Sometimes I have nightmares where he didn’t feature in VII at all, and Lister’s dumb ‘recap’ speech at the beginning of Tikka was even worse because they had to explain that Rimmer’s light-bee got lost in the threads of time when the time drive was destroyed…

    Actually, come to think of it, it wouldn’t have been so bad if it ended up that Rimmer sacrificed his life to save the others, but I can’t see how it would worked. VII could have opened with his funeral instead of that fuckawful mess of an explanation.

  5. I’m 99% sure they’re using the same camera as us.

    Plus my digital camera is better. HAHA.

  6. Oops – we DID interview Norman lovett, but somehow I left him out of the article!

    We did not, however, interview Helen Norman. She was there to watch the budget – and the clock. :-)

  7. I can’t wait to hear the commentaries with the cast being unable to hide how unimpressed they are with series VII and VIII.

  8. I’m not sure they *are* unimpressed with it. As these releases are next I thought I’d catch up with those two and watched the entire two series over the weekend. I have to say I was greatly entertained by them. Good Points – A lot of VII is quite brave in the tackling of the forced changes, the female presence interesting. Tikka, Stoke and Ouroboros are brave and daring in terms of adressing issues in the framework of the series. The writing mostly very assured and it *is* funny. Duct Soup is the first story for ages to even attempt to explore the background of the characters and is worthy of praise for this alone. Blue also adresses an important character issue -Does Lister actually miss Rimmer? It’s handled adeptly and is mostly a lot of fun. Beyond a Joke is admittedly the weakest, but even that has great character interplay. Epideme is standard Red Dwarf fare and could easily have been a serie VI plot. Nanarchy is also interesting and enjoyable, gives Danny a lovely speech and the Holly moment is pure joy. Take the series on own merits. It has brief moments of mindless repetition, yes – a common complaint. Some ropey/some good effects. But doesn’t take away from a brave, difficult, daring, character based series. Less funny, maybe, but more subtle at times, always interesting.

  9. Quiz: 20/20, first time. You sad fuck.

  10. 16/20. I’m rather glad I have no knowledge of Space Corps Directives. Bit like being fluent in Klingon.

  11. 16/20. I’m rather glad I have no knowledge of Space Corps directives. Bit like being fluent in Klingon.

  12. What things?

  13. Pete, have you been at that marijuana gin again?

  14. Well, it probably is deja vu. It sounds like it.

  15. Stoke and Blue were fine episodes, you can keep the rest of series VII and all of VIII, which has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

    I wonder whether they’ll have a feature on the VIII disc looking at the attempt to remaster the first three series, including the public reaction. It’s part of the chronology after all. Come to think of it, I wonder whether they’ll include thoughts about the public reaction to series VII and VIII. Because basically they were utterly disappointing series no matter how you look at them, and series VIII is painfully purile, nowhere near the standard of its former self.

    Serious analysis of why Rob left the show: Yes please.

  16. I got 19/20 in the quiz and the DVD doesn’t even come out here for almost three weeks.

    By the way, I didn’t see the ad.

  17. Series VIII has no redeeming qualities whatsoever? Thas has got to be the joke of the century. I honestly can not see how BITR pt 1, Cassandra and Krytie TV, the best of the bunch in my opinion, could not fit in with the rest of the series in terms of quality. Sure there’s the odd duff moment – jokes about chairs being screwed down, or whether Lister has heard news about Kochanski ad nauseum, but this takes up about two minutes in an hour and a half of quality. Great jokes, good plot, great fun. Same can be said about the rest – momentary lapses can not dilute an otherwise fine show. Surely not *every* joke in I-VI hit the mark either, or do you all hold them so sacred you daren’t criticise? The loss of Rob Grant/Barrie left the show wide open to critisism. An excuse if you will. I, like others, can see the weak points in every episode but also recognise the great strenghts. This is also true of the last two. I wish more people would. Hell, that was preachy…sorry.

  18. For me there’s a distinct drop in quality in series VII, but it looks like genius compared to the purile nonsense we’re fed in VIII. The science isn’t clever anymore and the jokes aren’t funny. I can’t argue with you any more rationally than that because we’re just so opposed. I can’t imagine what you think the odd duff moments are, I just feel like each episode is entirely duff – even when the atmosphere or story looks like it could be going somewhere good it gets thrown down the pan with stupid pantomime mugging or something that tells me I’m not watching Dwarf at all. It’s not that I consider the older series to be sacred. They’re just better written and the characters, ideas and stories are stronger and more believable. It’s a world that’s fallen apart by VIII and I can’t be bothered anymore. I think what’s so annoying is that I really felt series VIII had potential when I saw the trailer, and I just watched all my expectations go down the pan. During BITR I was thinking “this is dreadful, this is really terrible, oh god” and being relieved when a great deal of it turned out to be hallucination. But then it still didn’t recover. A disappointing, very unpleasant series. Someone said earlier that they were watching it thinking it wasn’t as bad as they remembered, but I don’t think approaching something with lowered expectations is a good way to make something tolerable.

    I don’t mean to be offensive but I can’t understand anyone who defends series VIII as being as tight, intelligent or funny as anything before series VII. To me it just implies that the greater strengths of those earlier series have somehow been missed.

  19. I hope they discuss the remastereds on one of the DVDs. It’s part of the RD continuity even if it was an utter failure.

  20. “I’m not sure they *are* unimpressed with it.”

    They’ll notice the drop in quality for sure. They’ve been having their memories of the earlier series refreshed for the last few years, they’ll be watching VII and VIII realising they’re not as good and they’ll try to hide it for sure, but you’ll be able to tell. My respect for their comedic sense depends on them being honest about this.

  21. I know about various people’s general dislike of the two series. I just think it would be good, for a change, to hear what aspects they really like about them. To celebrate the *good* aspects we, maybe, agree on. What about the fantastic JFK sequences and music, the pre-credit and casket around planet sequences in ‘Stoke’, the marvelous effects work on the ice planet in ‘Ouroboros’, the charming discussions in ‘Duct Soup’, The Munchkin Song, Cat’s pitbull speech, the return of norm. Cassandra is y marvelous – can’t see what more you’d want from an episode. Might be time to celebrate these two series, as they’re next on disk, and enjoy the positives.

  22. “I just think it would be good, for a change, to hear what aspects they really like about them.”

    *the forum experiences an extraordinary silence*

  23. “Cat’s pitbull speech”

    That has to be one of the worst speeches in Red Dwarf. I don’t understand you.

  24. “I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOU” -God, what a truly pathetic comment. This is a charming piece of character development for Cat. Very rarely do we hear his opinion on life matters or anything. It is enjoyable for this alone. I find anyway. To be honest, I care more for these characters than just hearing them come out with one liners or corny gags. I want to discover their character. I know everyone seems to prefer the gag a minute style of VI, and i love it also, it’s just i really like this kind of development. *I* really dont understand your opinion of it being one of the *worst* moments. In comparison with what? It is not intended to be laugh out loud funny, more a subtle and amusing exploration of Cat and Lister’s response to it. “Hell is being in a room with your friends”. Cat is not french, but must be just as annoying to put up with. It’s just good character stuff buddy.

  25. I remember getting excited when Cassandra aired because I thought that we finally had some new great Dwarf coming up.

    It made the bitter pill all that much harder to swallow when the rest of the season couldn’t live upto it. :(

  26. You see, my problem with the character stuff in VII is that it all seems so *forced*. Wheras in previous series, it seemed to grow organically, alongside and intertwined with the plot and the jokes.

    I need to do a load of ep reviews, really.

  27. Exactly John. The character stuff in VII (and VIII) is really forced and contrived.

  28. I thought VIII was a lot more natural than VII. The development was actually intertwined quite well with the jokes.

    Whether or not you enjoy the jokes is another story. I admit that.

  29. To everyone here: Do you prefer the line ‘We’re er than Tank Tops!’ or the pitbull speech? I maintain that the conversations are good banter, and provide useful nuggets of background infomation. I also love the ‘double chalker conversation’ from ‘Beyond A Joke’, the claustophobia discussions in Duct Soup, and Lister’s musings on his own desirablity with Kochanski in ‘Nanarchy’. This is surely natural as he’s been without women for so long and shows real vulnerability to the character. I must be alone in these thoughts, but lucky, I suppose, that I will actually enjoy a lot of the next two releases. (Not just the extras)

  30. Having said that, just read Mr Ellard’s ‘rant’ thread on the official board. Seems i’m not alone…

  31. Ooh, an Ellard rant on series VII and VIII? Yes, please.

    Sadly there’s some kind of glitch that has always prevented me from being able to view the forum on TOS. Would someone be so kind as to paste?

  32. It’s awfully long, so it’d be best if someone emailed it to you. Which I’ve just done.

  33. I’d agree that the character moments in VII aren’t particularly hilarious and are slightly ‘forced’ but atleast they’re attempts at characterisation; whereas VIII is just a bunch of ‘wacky’ moments and gurning.

    I think Thomas makes a good point; I find the Pittbull speech (and much of VII’s character moments) overlong and worthy of little more than a smile, but I find it preferable to another Space Corp directive or, even worse, a ‘deader than’.

  34. “I must be alone in these thoughts, but lucky, I suppose, that I will actually enjoy a lot of the next two releases. (Not just the extras)”

    That’s until you get a bit older!

  35. “I think Thomas makes a good point; I find the Pittbull speech (and much of VII’s character moments) overlong and worthy of little more than a smile, but I find it preferable to another Space Corp directive or, even worse, a ‘deader than’.”

    He does make a good point, but unfortunately series VII includes the evolution of the “deader than” joke and this time it’s not just the Cat that does it. It’s something everyone does, highlighting that really there’s nothing separating the characters anymore. Even the bar-bloke does it in Ouroboros. I’m referring to the “it’s more [something] than [an object that exemplifies the aforementioned something quite totally]”. I find the repetition of this lazy line more desperate than anything in VI.

    Oh, and another thing that seems to crop up more than is welcome in the later two series if my memory serves correctly – the line that ends with “[something] of unspeakableness”. I hate the word unspeakableness, actually I feel as though it’s a cop-out when the script is demanding something more illuminating. To be honest I find stuff like this far worse than any of the repeated gags in series VI.

    I hate the previous suggestion by Thomas that I somehow dislike series VII and VIII because they’re character-oriented and I like series VI because it’s gag-based. I said nothing that alluded to anything of the sort, and I think that’s a great misreading of the values (or non-values) of any particular qualities of the series. I think series VI is far more character-oriented than anything in VII or VIII (with VIII being particularly gag-based), and the character work doesn’t show too much in VI because it isn’t shouting out to be seen. It fits with what’s going on. Duct Soup, in my opinion, is too self-conscious to be a satisfying exploration of the characters. I always stand by my enjoyment of “Stoke” and “Blue” however, which are wonderful episodes from start to finish, quite moving at times as well as funny and genuinely charming with regards to character.

    I agree with Pete’s comment that “VIII is just a bunch of ‘wacky’ moments and gurning” – this sums up the series perfectly for me. I really can find nothing of value whatsoever in VIII and perhaps this is because I had an idea in my mind of its potential before it started, which it promptly failed to achieve with a consistency that is quite frankly beyond me. I seriously cannot imagine how they could have dropped the ball so badly. The idea of our crew alienated in a way they’ve never been before within the vast interior of their own ship provokes thoughts of an extraordinary atmosphere that could have been a fantastic backdrop for the series. They needed something like that to latch the stories, characters and jokes onto in order for the series to work.

    Series VIII *could* have been the series to revive Red Dwarf. That’s what I was looking for after what I intially thought was an abysmal seventh series. It could have been an amazing way to bring the series full circle and allow it to spiral out again. I would be anticipating the movie excitedly if it had done this – I would have been genuinely intrigued by how an alternative version of Red Dwarf might occur. Instead, I don’t care anymore, and I think that’s a shame.

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