Earlier today, the first Red Dwarf X teaser finally landed in our overly moist laps. My general thoughts on the whole thing will be given after I’ve gone through the key frames, all the while trying not to give away any plot spoilers, while still also speculating to the best of my ability. Oh, and did I mention that I’ve ingested quite a bit of gin? This is going to be ‘fun’.
Anyway, let’s start, as is so often the tradition, at the beginning.
Yep, that’s the title card alright. What I like about this is that it proffers both the name of the show and also the numbering of the series in question. My roman numerals are a little rusty, but I *believe* this is series 36.
This appears to be the same title card we’ve seen on various edit suite pictures on Twitter, but not the same one used for the monitors during the recordings, which was the more standard logo without the gradient on the white letters. This is very interesting for some reason.
Oh good lord, the infamous mask. It has split online reaction in twain. Some say “yeah, no, Bobby, the mask is pony” and others say “BLAH BLAH BLAH WRONG OPINION”. This is definitely a controversial mask, and our early set reports basically kicked its stupid mask arse for being a big stupid mask with a dumb face. In my own personal opinion, I still think it looks very dodgy when viewed on screen. It’s not just the hooked nose (although that is the most egregious part of it) but the mouth area also looks far from ideal. And really, don’t get me started on those ridiculous shoulder handles. That said, this is from an early episode and if memory serves me correctly there is a considerable improvement in Robert’s mask as a the series goes on. At the end of the day, it’s not a show stopper, but it’s definitely interesting how different this mask is from three years ago, when they pretty much got it spot on.
In this scene between Kryten and Lister you get a fairly decent look at the bunkroom, with Lister lounging around on a sofa and the bunks visible over Kryten’s shoulder. It may just be the abominable quality of the video, but the Kryten shots look oddly like he’s against a greenscreen. I’m almost 100% certain this isn’t the case, though, because I’m sure this is a take from the night of the recording.
Well hello there, old friend. The now familiar view of the side of the ‘new’ Red Dwarf model is looking pretty fucking sexy on camera. To continue the trend of tedious observations (I’ll try and have one for every screen, but no promises) this shot depicts the ship moving in the traditional direction of right to left, and not left to right (as described in the Back to Earth BTS, this roughly means they’re no longer traveling home, as in Back to Earth). OBSERVATION COMPLETE.
LISTER DUN EAT A KEBAB. Lister, clad in his familiar leather jacket, fails entirely at eating his kebab without spilling it on the console and causing it to explode in a shower of special effects (presumably courtesy of the art department, although I’ll admit to be unable to conjure the exact names of anyone responsible for on-set special effects at this late hour). Here you get a pretty good look at the second standing set used this series, the Red Dwarf drive room. It’s really very nice and has lovely monitors with pretty patterns on them that Danny will probably turn into wallpapers at some point if you’re very nice to him.
Here we see Rimmer, looking smart in his slightly darker blue tunic, hammering the living shit out of something on the table. If the sight of Rimmer smashing something repeatedly sends a chill down your spine, then you’re probably thinking of the scene in Back in the Red when he, completely inexplicably, went to fucking TOWN on his genitalia with a hammer, presumably to quell the enormous erection he was experiencing at the time. Luckily for everyone this is part of a very funny scene while, perhaps a *tad* overplayed, fits in very well in context.
But, what the fuck is with the light thing in the middle of the table? Apparently the future is just too cool for a humble table lamp.
There’s nothing particularly remarkable about Kryten in this scene (aside from the faintly over the top hand gestures) but take careful note of the set. This is a set that replaced the drive room for one episode and considering what we see later in the trailer, you can take your own guesses as to what it is.
Another bunk room scene, as Cat expertly slides out the door, carrying what appears to be a bottle of milk and some sort of technological device. His costume here brings to mind his BTE outfit, but more pink. This clip is a great example of how Danny has managed to re-inhabit the role of the Cat with a aplomb this series (both physically and verbally). He really is one of the highlights of the series and easily the best he’s been since series VI.
More drive room, here, as Kryten explains to Rimmer that Lister has lost him in a game of poker to some un-named antagonists. This is probably the strongest comedic part of the trailer, as the idea is very strong and Cat’s line that follows is a solid woofer. Special mention to probably the best Cat suit in the series, here, looking like a some sort of dapper Wild West type man.
ACTION. Now, this is an interesting one. It’s a very quick shot in the trailer, but clearly it shows something rocking the ship pretty fucking severely. This was a scene that was very, very quickly shot mere hours before the audience were due to arrive and I’m pretty sure it would be close to the top of the re-shoot list, so this is likely taken from the seventh week of filming. I can’t say anything more about this scene because then that would be spoilers and I would be forced to ban myself from the site, and no one wants that. Right? RIGHT?!
This is probably the most interesting part of the whole trailer, for a great many reasons. Firstly, it gives us a distant but complete shot of Red Dwarf and I have to say I’m not really a fan of how it looks shortened down. The front scoop is far, FAR too large for the new length, and this is only made worse by the fact the rear boosters have not been given their own protrusion (as with the series 1 and V models), giving the whole thing a very top heavy feeling. It’s a gorgeous model that I can’t help but feel has been done a disservice with the reworking.
Secondly, here we see the actual Blue Midget model (originally built for re-mastered and scanned into Chris Veale’s mum’s C64 so they could make it dance, or something) on screen for the first time. This is a really odd shot, because it moves much, much faster than any model work we’ve seen before, giving it an oddly artificial feel. It’s certainly not bad, but you can definitely tell it’s being manipulated by a man in a silly green coverall rather than being swung around on wires by Rocky Marshall whilst atop a ladder.
Lister is absolutely fucking delighted with this card. But who’s it from? It’s certainly addressed to some gentleman named ‘Dad’, but WHAT COULD THAT POSSIBLY MEAN? The comments already feature some theories on this, and they’re certainly very interesting. Let’s just say that’s it’s probably not from Bexley, given Lister’s rather blasé attitude towards his impending death in Future Echoes, the heartless bastard.
The card itself has dreadlocks attached to it (me locks, man! Me locks are glued to this card!) and has a poppadom concealed inside, because DAVE LISTER LOVES CURRY AND EVERY FUCKER KNOWS IT.
So, that about wraps up our first look at Red Dwarf X, and I suppose I better try to articulate my thoughts on the trailer as a whole. I don’t think, in all honestly, that it represents the series all that well. It seems very much geared towards showing the ‘whacky space funtime’ and so gives a bit of skewed view of what the series is like. If I was to see this as the first example of the new series, I’d be shitting my pants right now, convinced we’re about to experience Series VIII all over again. That is categorically not the case (although, ironically, Series VIII has a much better trailer that actually conveyed a bit of drama). Another problem is the complete and total lack of any Rimmer dialogue. I can’t even imagine why this would be, but this obviously won’t be the last trailer we see before broadcast so there’s plenty of time for some hot Barrie action in the coming weeks.
The thing I’m most pleased about the reaction to this is how everyone has picked up on Danny’s performance, because he, along with Robert, really is one of the best things about this new series. They have absolutely *nailed* their performances, which makes sense since they seem to be the actors most positively affected by the presence of an audience due to their long time stage experience.
Dave have indicated that this is just the start of the promotion for the new series, and we can expect new stuff every Friday from now until, hopefully, broadcast in September or October. I’m confident that as we get closer and closer to broadcast you’ll all have a much clearer idea of how this series is shaping up, and with each passing week the positive vibes will only increase. It may not be the perfect first look at Series X, but it’s a good start and despite my tone any reservations I may have aren’t as big as they might appear. Bring on the other trailers, and next time, Dave, try not to upload a video with the resolution of a COCKING POSTAGE STAMP. Thanks.