It’s actually getting genuinely ridiculous now, isn’t it? Go and read it, and then report back, as usual…
I must admit, I’ve always wanted a text track on the Dwarf DVDs; I take the point that the other extras cover some of the same ground, but I’ve always been the kind of person who takes great delight in the obsessive anal detail that only text tracks can provide – and the tangents that they occasionally allow you to go off at, which are impossible in a documentary. (I have a fond memory of my sister being slightly disturbed that I was so excited at finding out what edit suite a particular episode of Blake’s 7 was shot in.) But no matter – because the What’s Different? track sounds fantastic. And what gets me is that it’s such an OBVIOUS idea – and yet I don’t think anyone’s ever suggested it!
Taking each bit in turn:
“We’ll note the addition or removal of frames to a shot, for example, or a bit of character redubbing you might not have noticed. (You’ll be surprised where this occurs.)”
Fucking fantastic. The only small extra bits of footage I recall from Remastered (as opposed to larger edits) is the slight re-edit to Rimmer kneeing Hollister in the balls in Stasis Leak so we get to see the actual impact (was the original version censored, or was it just a sloppy edit?), and the extra stuff with Danny being very silly at the end of Bodyswap. I’m fascinated to know what else there is…
“Still, if all this is sounding a little dry, don’t worry. Despite being informative, there’s a certain irreverent style to the track – it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s the kind of text track that, when it gets bored, starts trying to play rock-paper-scissors with you. Think of it as a present-day version of Holly.”
This sounds most amusing.
“We’ve also taken the chance to incorporate some direct quotes from the remastering notes list – the collection of changes Doug Naylor and Ed Bye drew up when planning the remastered project.
This includes ideas that were dropped during the three-series production – extra filming that could never have been afforded, for example – as well as the most interesting ideas for Series IV. Want to know what was being considered for the remastering of this series before plans were shelved?”
Just… brilliant. The digging out of the actual notes is hugely impressive. And however densely packed it is, a 20 minute documentary might have seemed slightly too small to fully explore the Remastered series – but the text track, along with the The End commentary, is masses of stuff. (To say nothing of the fact that it’s brilliant we even get the series fully explored. How many sitcom releases have no material whatsoever to put the series in context? If only text tracks were included on more releases, as a relatively cheap extra compared to commentaries or interviews…)
So, anyone got any guesses as to what else they wanted to change? I was always surprised that they didn’t bother redoing the scrolltext at the start of Backwards – lovely in its own right, but if you were going to remaster the series, that’s one thing you’d change, especially considering the mistake of the duplicate line near the end. But then, a scrolltext doesn’t cost that much to do in the edit, so that seems to me to just be slightly sloppy work, rather than a cost issue.
The same goes for the Series IV stuff – any guesses as to what their ideas were? I wonder if they had any ideas as to how to improve the awkward end of Dimension Jump? Or maybe they simply wanted to emphasise the split-screen.
Seriously, though – much as it’ll be nice to own them, I might not have got round to watching all the Remastered series itself. The ones with commentaries, certainly, but after that, I’d probably have stuck in Make Me Creamy #3, or something. But this looks like it’ll turn what could be a slightly annoying viewing experience into an absolutely fascinating – and hopefully amusing – one. And it adds NINE HOURS to the content of the release!
And the best news is: we never, EVER have to go back and finish this.
Onto the newly-announced photo gallery, then. This feels like something I should have predicted would be on there – after all, there was bound to be design work for the new ships included – but I completely forgot about it. The pictured version of the design for the new Dwarf is interesting – I can’t say I like it even nearly as much as the original design, but it does look rather shorter – it would certainly have avoided the pencil jibes. And whilst I still have certain reservations about whether the redesign of Blue Midget suits those earlier series (I still think it looks too high-tech), there’s no denying that in its own right, the physical model looks gorgeous.
And the other finds are just amazing. Series 1 model shoot photos! Series 2 continuity polarioids! Behind-the-scenes studio and location shots! And naked skutters! And then there’s the Series 1 rehearsal photos. And as soon as I saw that picture of Doug (reading, as Andrew pointed out on the Webboard, The Junior Colour Encyclopedia of the Universe) – a bell went off in my head. Think back to Bruce Dessau’s badly-rushed-for-the-Christmas-market The Official Red Dwarf Companion – and specifically, a black and white image of Norman Lovett looking at a model of the Series 1 set. I always wondered where that photo came from, and now we know…
ABORTED SERIES 1 REHEARSAL PHOTOS. SHOWING ALEXANDRA PIGG AS KOCHANSKI. AND NICK MALONEY AS MCINTYRE.
I can’t put into words how I feel about this one. Just… incredible.
I’ve always been a staunch defender of photo galleries on DVDs, as I’ve banged on about a million times before. I don’t see why some people aren’t interested – does an image become less interesting just because it’s not moving? Are all photographers just wasting their time? Clearly not, although from the way a lot of people react to DVD photo galleries, you’d think so. (This is, of course separate from genuine complaints about the implementation of them; certainly, most galleries have problems such as having the pictures too small, or cropping them.) But even though I love them, even I will admit that they’re usually quite far down on the list of what I stick on first when I get a new DVD.
But I think – apart from the Rob and Doug commentaries – out of all the extras announced for The Bodysnatcher Collection, I’m looking forward to the photo gallery the most now. And specifically, the two sets of Series 1 rehearsal photos. Because they feel like a magical glimpse into another world, from long ago – a world I never thought we’d actually see. These are shots of the initial creation of the show that we all know and love now. And we’ve all read about the aborted Series 1 rehearsals – but who would have thought we would actually ever see them? No matter how badly-framed?
I wrote a message on the Webboard a few months ago, saying how wonderful it would be if some video from the Series 1 rehearsals had been taken at the time; but then deleted it. It just felt too silly – you might as well say “why can’t we all just love each other?” But photos? That’s very nearly as good.
I now fully expect world peace around the next corner.