It’s A Syn (opsis)

Apologies for being a bit quiet of late. We’ve all been busy watching our country slide inexorably into the abyss, whilst remembering the wise words of Arnold J Rimmer. We needed something big and Dwarfy to take our minds off things, and that has arrived this Friday lunchtime. But before we get on to that, what have we missed?

Well, the model shoot is now done and dusted, and post-production is well underway, to the extent that rough cuts are being shown to interested parties. Some guy has made a Lego thing, which we’re not going to dedicate an entire front page post to, no matter how many times he emails us. Oh, and somewhat bizarrely, Series 1-V are to be released on Blu-ray. This makes very little sense to me; upscaling the likes of RTD-era Doctor Who to HD is one thing, but we’re talking about 625-line analogue masters on long-since-obsolete tape formats from nearly thirty years ago. Hats will be eaten if the increase in quality is enough to justify spending £25 a pop on them, and hell will freeze over if there’s any new commentaries or extras.

And finally, Doug dropped a subtle hint yesterday that appeared to confirm that Series XI will air in September as expected. This was somewhat superseded by today’s TOS update, which not only makes the September date officially official, but also provides a whacking great series synopsis. Let’s break it down, whilst also remembering that our spoiler policy prevents those that attended recordings from confirming or denying any speculation, shall we?

Red Dwarf XI, the eleventh series of the legendary sci-fi comedy, reunites the original cast of Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Craig Charles (Lister), Danny John-Jules (Cat) and Robert Llewellyn (Kryten) along with a host of guest stars for a brand new series recorded in front of a live studio audience at Pinewood Studios. The series is written and directed by Red Dwarf co-creator, Doug Naylor, and produced by Richard Naylor and Kerry Waddell for Baby Cow Productions & Grant Naylor Productions.

Yes, we all remember this bit, spin on, spin on…

The show’s six episode run sees two of the Dwarfers’ dreams come true: Rimmer accidentally saves the life of a Space Corps Captain and is promoted to Officer,

This was one of the two episodes I saw recorded, so I can’t really say much. But Rimmer’s quest to become an officer is clearly a classic staple of many a Red Dwarf plot, regardless of the fact that he’s actually become an officer at least twice already.

while Cat takes time off from being in love with himself to fall in love with a female Cat with a secret.

Ooh. We already knew that the theme of Cat’s virginity would be addressed in this series, but this sounds increasingly like Identity Within, doesn’t it? I mean, it won’t be that, but there will finally be an episode where the Cat meets a female member of his own species. There are so, so many possibilities for how this will play out, and we’re bound to get some clue as to what happened to the rest of the Cats, a mere twenty eight years after that thread was left dangling by Waiting for God.

Meantime, Lister wakes up to discover a deranged droid has stolen some of his body parts and Kryten has a mid-life crisis and considers leaving the Dwarfers for a younger crew.

Not sure if that’s one episode or two, but I’d lean towards it being two, considering the similar format last time round. The first part sounds very Bodysnatcher, doesn’t it? I’m not suggesting for a second that this series will be in any way derivative, but perhaps Doug is exploring concepts that he’s wanted to do in the past, but hasn’t been able to? Or perhaps the stolen body parts is a red herring deliberately designed to work hardcore fans up, and the deranged droid is the main focus?

As for the second bit, it’s probably the least promising part of this press release, although it’s so hard to tell from just a few sentences. Given Doug’s previous proclivity for drawing from personal experience, should the show’s casting director be worried?

The posse also find themselves in an alternative America where modern technology is outlawed, making both Kryten and Rimmer illegal.

I’ve seen this one, and I think it’s the best episode in at least 23 years. Can’t say much more, but feel free to do so in the comments, provided you weren’t also at the recording. One thing though – even if we assume that the deranged droid/mid-life crisis bits are two separate episodes, that’s still only five of them covered. Something has been held back… is that because there’s a huge surprise that they don’t want spoiled, or because one episode is a bit of a dud that they don’t want to draw attention to? Absolutely no idea either way, just posing the question.

With big laughs and dazzling effects, Red Dwarf XI recaptures the show’s golden age.

IT BETTER BLEEDING HAD DO.

But srsly, everything has been overwhelmingly positive so far, and this is no exception. And the first episode will be hitting our screens at some point in the next 68-98 days. This is exciting.

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36 Responses to It’s A Syn (opsis)

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  1. Yes, the bit about Lister immediately made me think of Bodysnatcher. But that as alt America ep sounds great. Terrifically excited now.

  2. The posse also find themselves in an alternative America where modern technology is outlawed, making both Kryten and Rimmer illegal.

    Interesting.

    while Cat takes time off from being in love with himself to fall in love with a female Cat with a secret.

    Is the secret that she’s somehow Cat and his losing his virginity turns out to be nothing more than a massive… self-congratulation?

    Meantime, Lister wakes up to discover a deranged droid has stolen some of his body parts and Kryten has a mid-life crisis and considers leaving the Dwarfers for a younger crew.

    If one episode: younger crew made out of bits of Lister?

  3. I’ve seen this one, and I think it’s the best episode in at least 23 years.

    Hmm, that sounds like it could be this one: http://www.ganymede.tv/2015/12/red-dwarf-xi-episode-6-set-report/

    I will never not be excited by these Sypnoses. The first gasps of Pre-series publicity are emerging, soon enough we’ll get some more piccies. It’s all starting to happen now, eh?

    Likewise, I can’t imagine we’re more than a few weeks away from a trailer of some sort. RDX’s first trailer was released on July 20th, with the series premiere on October 4th. That’s 76 days, or just under 11 weeks. 76 days from today is September 8th. IF; and it’s a big if; they were to follow the same format as last time, we could see a trailer in the next three weeks, by which time the 78 day gap will have reached the end of September.

    Of course, it might be completely different to the last cycle and we might get a trailer in August or something.

  4. Ah, but is it *early* September or *late* September?

    I’ve been fooled before.

  5. I saw the midlife crisis one. I doubt it’s the best in the series but it’s a lot, lot better than it sounds on paper. I internally groaned when the plot was introduced but it plays out well. I think people who saw other episodes identified it as the weakest one which makes me very hopeful for the series. If that is the weakest ep then we should be in for something special.

  6. Being a fan of this show if i had to nitpik a few things it would be

    1. The whole Rimmer becoming an officer thing is something that was toned down incredibly after series 2 onwards and while excluding holoship it seems like it became a much bigger deal again with series 8 and 10 so i hope Doug doesn’t over do the concept till its tired

    2. It sounds like there is alot of guest actors this series and i know they had a fair amount of guest actors pre-series 7 but it sounds like doug really opened the door for other characters to come in.

    3. hopefully the Kryten having a mid-life crisis doesn’t end up like dear dave

    I haven’t seen any of these episodes so i’l save my judgement until then but these points did pop into my head when i read it.

  7. 3. hopefully the Kryten having a mid-life crisis doesn’t end up like dear dave

    I know fandoms are generally rife with disagreement but I’m fairly confident that everyone will find this episode to be far better than Dear Dave. I’d personally say it’s better than at least half of X and in some ways it’s better than all of it. Like a lot of the set reports say, everything from the script to the production design, lighting, direction, plot, acting and jokes is more confident and polished.

  8. I can’t imagine we’re more than a few weeks away from a trailer of some sort. RDX’s first trailer was released on July 20th, with the series premiere on October 4th. That’s 76 days, or just under 11 weeks. 76 days from today is September 8th. IF; and it’s a big if; they were to follow the same format as last time, we could see a trailer in the next three weeks, by which time the 78 day gap will have reached the end of September.
    Of course, it might be completely different to the last cycle and we might get a trailer in August or something.

    Dave have been doing a good job of promoting their own shows in a big way lately, Alan Davies As Yet Untitled and Taskmaster have both had a good deal of pushing. So I’d imagine that maybe we’ll start seeing short teasers around the time that Taskmaster finishes at the end of July/early August.

    As for the RDXI synopses: like for everyone else, this has been a ray of sunshine on a particularly miserable day. I’ve been pumped up for the new series since…well, since series X, really. But series XI really does sound terrific, and I’m more excited than ever.
    Bodysnatcher was my first thought about the Lister story, too. But that alt. America ep does sound fantastic, can’t wait to see that.

  9. Even if Doug does use parts of, or even the whole of Identity Within, Bodysnatcher etc. would anyone really mind?? They’ve never been fully produced episodes, so why not? He’s perfectly entitled to do so. :) and with 12 episodes to get down, you couldn’t blame him for wanting to pull out previous ideas to fill up the series’ quota.

    I LOVE the sound of these episodes, and you can already tell why many of those in the audience recordings were getting IV vibes. I can imagine the Kryten episode reminding people of the likes of Camille and DNA, even just going off this brief synopsis.

  10. After reading the Synopsis, feel like need to get in grained in to my memory, as nearly 90% that will be the rear blurb of the Blu-Ray/DVD.

    A couple things caught my eye. Surely it should be Grant Naylor Productions and Baby Cow Productions, as the former has more time devoted to the property. it’s like saying Doctor Who series 6 was made by BBC and BBC America and giving America all the love…oh wait 😳

    The Rimmer story sounds interesting, especially how he may meet another JMC ship to get promote (V/X) the Cat story could be good, if don’t treat as just Cat wants a quick lay and go deeper in to how he feels about his culture, after being on Red Dwarf so long.

    I’ll admit the Lister droid tale and Kryten’s mid-life crisis…”Beyond a Joke 2″ for those who weren’t at the recordings and I’m one, but got feels of VII BAJ and less III TLD.
    The lister tale could be good, but how could they breach the Big Red Rogue one with out triggering an alarm, even Hogwy set of the sensors.

    Alternate America could be good, but sounds like Tikka to Ride timeline just set at a different time.

    The lack of episode 6 description or so led to believe makes me curious, roll on the publicity cast photo and trailer in the coming months 🤔

  11. Alternate America could be good, but sounds like Tikka to Ride timeline just set at a different time.

    First thing I though, to be honest – also.. the crew ending up on a version of Earth yet again. Wasn’t that Lister’s big dream at one stage? He never seems that fussed now, though.

  12. The one I saw filmed isn’t represented there I don’t believe. None of the plots there seem to match the one I saw, so I’d hazard a guess and say it’s just a mid-tier episode rather than a huge surprise, as all the other synopses (synopsises?!) there seem much more flamboyant and worthy of mention than the one I saw. Not to say it wasn’t a good episode, but these seem like the golden moments they’re showing off.

    Exciting times ahead!

  13. The one I saw filmed isn’t represented there I don’t believe. None of the plots there seem to match the one I saw, so I’d hazard a guess and say it’s just a mid-tier episode rather than a huge surprise

    Heartbreaker!

  14. First thing I though, to be honest – also.. the crew ending up on a version of Earth yet again. Wasn’t that Lister’s big dream at one stage? He never seems that fussed now, though.

    Working time machines and shifting birthdays aside, alternate Earths or time periods aren’t his home though. Guess Red Dwarf might be at this stage.

  15. First thing I though, to be honest – also.. the crew ending up on a version of Earth yet again. Wasn’t that Lister’s big dream at one stage? He never seems that fussed now, though.

    Working time machines and shifting birthdays aside, alternate Earths or time periods aren’t his home though. Guess Red Dwarf might be at this stage.

    Well, true enough … it’s pretty fruitless arguing about continuity with Dwarf anyway, especially after nearly 30 years. Just a bit weird that he’s uite so nonplussed. I suppose “The Search for Kochanski” has become his primary objective these days.

  16. That alt America episode sounds interesting – wonder if it’ll be a period piece, a la Tikka to Ride, or something futuristic, ie. Back To Reality. Otherwise, it’s all very intriguing.

  17. I particularly like the sound of Kryten’s midlife crisis episode. Wonder to what extent it’ll address the fact that the crew are getting older, as “leaving the Dwarfers for a younger crew” brings to mind Kryten’s conversation with Lister in Ouroboros, about being worried he’ll be left on his own again when the crew eventually die.

    I take it you mean this Lego: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/142645 Remastered/VIII Blue Midget? No thanks. It is pretty well done though, and has gathered a lot of support already, so good luck to him.

    I rather like this: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/143832

  18. I particularly like the sound of Kryten’s midlife crisis episode. Wonder to what extent it’ll address the fact that the crew are getting older, as “leaving the Dwarfers for a younger crew” brings to mind Kryten’s conversation with Lister in Ouroboros, about being worried he’ll be left on his own again when the crew eventually die.

    You’ve convinced me this could work, actually. Bit of decent pathos can go a long way.

  19. And we got this lovely pic today too…

  20. Graphic design is NOT their passion!

  21. If you follow the model unit on Facebook you’ll see that they didn’t actually design and build the new Starbug. When someone suggested that it looked a bit pony one of the model unit guys simply put ‘no comment’.

  22. I think it looks absolutely fine – it’s different, but in a good way.

  23. They’ve deleted the ‘no comment’ comment. Sorry I bought it up!

  24. More models, even if evolved from the ’89 original are great. the less CG the better.
    As a comparison the JJ Enterprise in ’09 going through the debris at Vulcan may be good, but it pales in comparison to the ’79 shots of the Refit Enterprise, when the care and model work was shown in full force.
    The effects in series XI/XII will give Doctor Who a run for their money, as the practical asthetic can not be replecated in a computer, the body and depth is not the same.

  25. I watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture a few days ago. There are some dodgy matte lines and fuzz around a few shots but by and large the model effects are outstanding. The shots of the Enterprise in Space Dock shit all over anything I’ve seen in the rebooted films. I’ve got plenty of time for CG, but VFX shots always work best when they’re a combination of practical and digital. So, hopefully we’ll be in for a treat with XI and XII.

  26. G&T Admin

    Something’s been bugging me about this synopsis. Specifically, the last line:

    “With big laughs and dazzling effects, Red Dwarf XI recaptures the show’s golden age.”

    If it “recaptures the show’s golden age”, what does that say about GNP’s opinion of X?

  27. X is a variable.

  28. And when IS the “golden age”? Isn’t that kind of different for everybody? Is it just one series, or multiple series? III – VI? III – V? I- II? And what if you consider BTE the “golden age”?

    Frankly, I think they should be more specific on whose “golden age” they’re talking about.

  29. It could be ‘recaptures the golden age’ just like X did. It’s genius in it’s ambiguity.

  30. Maybe the ‘golden age’ is just ‘The BBC2 years’. So they just mean that the new stuff is just as good as the old.

  31. Fucking hell – just seen the first photo from XI. Love it!

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