If TOS have had their thunder stolen slightly in terms of providing Exciting News by virtue of the updates we now get directly from Dave, what they can at least still specialise in like nobody’s business is in delving into those tasty news (mc)nuggets in far more depth. To wit : a crapload of top-notch hi-res multi-angled photos of the amazingly beautifully wonderful new bunkroom set.
Well, alright, “a crapload” is pushing it, as there are only three. But it feels like a crapload, simply because of how rich in detail the pictures are. So let’s get our tediously overanalytical groove thang on, and take a look.
The first picture probably offers the most to pick over – although in another way, probably the least, because it’s from an angle close to that which we’ve already seen – although it’s nice to see a wider shot. It becomes immediately apparent that the new set is a wonderful fusion of not one, not two, but three distinct eras of Dwarf. The overall colour scheme, and much of the incidental detail (of which more shortly) harkens back directly, of course, to series one and two, while the shape of the bunks calls to mind the “officers quarters” of III, IV and V. But there’s a third element at play, too – seeing these pictures makes you realise just how much has been carried over from the Starbug interior of VI and VII. This is evident on the door, in particular – note the multiple shades of grey, and the “futuristic” blocky pattern. The shape of the room, too, feels much more like that of the Starbug bunks as seen in the likes of “Stoke” and “Duct Soup” – mentally move the bunks to the right-hand side of the door, and you’ll see what I mean.
The “TARDIS console” has been a controversial addition for some, but I think it’s a lovely touch in what it’s deliberately referencing, and there’ll clearly be some kind of practical reason and explanation for why it’s there. My guess is that these are quarters for important drive room personnel who might have to control the ship from there in the event of some kind of emergency, such as the drive room being destroyed or the budget only stretching to one major ship interior set. For example. Some have complained that the “buttons” look a bit static and false, and to be honest I could level the same accusation at the computer screen in the corner (no matter how wonderful it is that it uses the original I-II font) – but this is something we can’t really judge until we see them in action, and if there’s lots of lovely flashing and movement, I’m sure our fears will be allayed. Indeed, the reflection in the window in the second picture (of which more shortly) does seem to demonstrate that there’s at least some level of illumination on the “mainframe” control panel. GOOD.
The items on the bunks were already gone over in much detail by you the loyal readers when the Dave pic went up on Wednesday, but just as an overview, let’s go through what we can see : London Jets poster, photos of Kochanski (!), a poster (or calendar) of a woman on a horse (in Fiji?), a Mugs Murphy pic, the photos of Lister’s gran and Jim Bexley Speed and the polaroid of him holding the twins, Rimmer’s revision timetable, the “Arnie Does It Best” newspaper headline clipping and a no-smoking sign. Phew. That’s a quite frankly awe-inspiring level of attention to detail, given how little of it will probably be seen onscreen for any length of time. It’s almost as if there was somebody on the production who was exactly the sort of obsessive fan to care about this kind of thing. Incidentally, can anyone figure out what’s hanging above Rimmer’s pillow? They look like a pair of revolvers, but I can’t be sure. Oh, and the book is, as we’d guessed, called “Astro Navigation for Dummies” (although I’d always thought that “astronavigation” was one word, but never mind).
Picture two, then, takes us into rather more unchartered territory. It’s a big massive window! It’s all very Star Wars, actually, but it’s a nice shift in the dynamic/layout of the set, and I’m hoping that the four-walled nature means that the camera will be moving around the place rather than simply being fixed looking dead-on at the bunks. Lovely bit of discussion in the article itself about the way the set can be reconfigured for different scenes and to act as different locations, demonstrating the extreme cleverness of this production team and their ability to work to a tight budget. Lol, Andrew’s such a nerd. More detail on this picture includes a trusty Leopard lager can, what I believe to be Lister’s original spacesuit helmet from waaaay back in series 1 (or at the very least a close replica), and various other bits of character-based detail, although in this case most of it has less in the way of back-referencing connection. I do like the periodicals lying on the console table, though – “Morris Dancer Monthly” and what appears to be a comic called “Vindaloo Man”! Oh, and there’s a bike. It looks rather less “space bike”y than before, but I’d hazard a guess that that’s what it’s meant to be, along with another guess that it’ll be plot-relevant to at least some extent.
Finally, then, the third picture, which offers the least in terms of fanboy-pleasing “look at that!”ses, but is still nice to see in terms of giving a general overview of how the set looks and feels, and this is the pic that most calls to mind the later series Starbug bunks, in my view.
It would be foolish, of course, to make snap judgements about how the programme is going to turn out based purely on the pictures of the set. But this feels as exciting as when we first saw the new TARDIS interior in 2005, and everything about it seems like an indication to me that the production team are going about this in the right way, and perhaps more importantly, they’re putting in so much effort. It would have been quite easy to come up with a fairly simple, standard, well-made but ultimately indistinguishable-as-Red-Dwarf kind of set (like, er, the Tank), particularly as the plot synopses suggest that we may not even spend much (if any) time in the bunkroom beyond episode one. But they care, as much as we sad obsessive bastards do, and you can’t help but admire them for it.
Of course, the most crucial element of the show is whether or not it’s funny – and that’s the one thing that, despite everything that’s come out so far, we still haven’t had any real indication about. But let’s face it – everything that we have seen has done nothing but send off all the right vibes. I’m excited. So, very, bloody, excited.