Following yesterday’s trailer-for-a-trailer, the full thing has arrived – premiering in the middle of a repeat of Parallel Universe on Dave. Interestingly, there’s a few shots from the teaser that aren’t in the trailer, most notably the crashed ship that may or may not be the Nova 5, or at least another ship from the same fleet. But what do we have in this forty second bundle of joy? Watch it on Youtube below, then read our shot-by-shot analysis.
We start in full letterboxed glory with a very wide shot of Red Dwarf…
…which then dissolves into…
…Red Dwarf flying past an astronomically improbable triple solar system. Meanwhile, Rimmer’s picking up life signs in Corridor Beta 12. The rapid fire sequence that follows breaks down like this:
Torches searching through a foggy school assembly hall.
A wobbly POV shot of a red light at the end of a tunnel.
Lister, Cat and Kryten edging along a dark and gloomy location – dark and gloomy seem to be the bywords for the promotional material so far, and this seems to be the same scene that the second cast photo was taken from.
Then a big old spaceship! It’s a lovely build, and from the handful of frames we glimpse here, it seems like the composition of the effects shots has really stepped up a gear from Series X. It would appear that there are in fact three similar-looking ships in this shot; a further two are just about visible at the bottom of the frame.
Next, a glimpse of our old friend: the massive scary fuck-off robot. It really is a stunning design. Now, it’s not clear whether the crew are hiding from and/or hunting down him in this sequence; it could be that shots from several different episodes have been mixed together for the purposes of this trailer.
Next, a brief shot of a shutter closing, before…
…we return to Corridor Beta 12, as Lister announces that that’s where they are. The “south entrance”, specifically. The bigger sign to the right reads “Beta 12”
Cut back to Rimmer, who informs the others that they should be able to see the life forms he’s detected. This gives us a decent look at his station in Starbug’s cockpit, complete with classic spinny wireframe animation on one of the monitors. It is indeed very blue indeed here; the mood matching the atmospheric lighting of the location footage.
The following sequence has Rimmer frantically directing the crew to avoid the life forms, while the visuals alternate between further shots of them, and various threatening things. I won’t bother detailing the repetitive shots, but here are the other bits:
A shadowy profile shot of Ol’ Scary Bugger.
A different armed baddy, in a red-tinted pumphouse-looking location. It’s been pointed out that the costume looks to be recycled from the piss-poor Doctor Who episode The Rings of Akhaten. I’m glad that other people spotted that, as I can’t remember ever having seen that character before, but hopefully the costume isn’t cursed or anything.
Then, an extremely brief shot of some water bursting out from something. It kind of reminds me of the smashed snowglobe from Rimmer’s death video.
A much closer shot of the big scary thing shows us a little more detail in his face. Above his piranha-like teeth are what appear to be piranha-like eyes. He also has a handy music stand attached to his chest.
Before long, Lister realises that the life forms Rimmer is referring to could well be the three of them. It definitely raised a small chuckle in my living room, although I did see it coming. It’s futile to try and extrapolate the quality or style of humour we’ll see in the series from the trailers – the best jokes in Red Dwarf are too intricate for such a medium anyway – but I’m glad that there were jokes on show, as the promo material so far has been showcasing the effects-heavy sci-fi stuff far more than the sit-com element. I like that the setup of Rimmer directing the mission from afar is back, following Back To Reality and indeed Back To Earth.
Next up, the opening theme tune kicks in and it’s montage time, with lots of little visual snippets, presumably taken from all across the series.
Some sort of sonic boom emerging behind Starbug as it speeds away from a planet. I’m not quite sure about the compositing on this one – again, very hard to tell from such a short shot – but the model itself looks lovely.
Then a good old nameplate shot. Those with a better eye for these things than me will have to tell us whether this is reused from X, or a brand new shot.
Your man from Doctor Who in his red room again, but now firing a gun…
…seemingly at Lister, as the sparks fly past his head from a pipe to his right.
This is followed by a standard Cat noise… but who’s that on the left, sashaying away from frame? It’s impossible to tell if it’s one of our crew in a different costume, or if it’s a guest character of whatever age, gender or species. But from the way they’re moving, could this possibly be another Cat?
Starbug crashing beautifully onto a beautiful sandy landscape. This appears to be the scene from that behind-the-scenes shot; if so, I guess this answers the question of whether it was sand or snow.
Rimmer being dragged to the ground by a mysterious blue light!
Another new spaceship exploding! The camera appears to shake from the shockwaves, which is a lovely touch.
Kryten being shot in the forehead with blowpipe darts, while Rimmer balances a bazookoid on his shoulder!
Rimmer being spirited away! He’s certainly being put through the ringer this series.
Starbug flying through some kind of space station / giant landing bay / death star, while everything explodes around it! This is impressive. The range of different effects shots signals yet another step up from last time; the only actiony bits in X all came from The Beginning, but as far as we can tell, there’s going to be good stuff throughout XI.
Cat and Lister – who’s clutching some important paperwork – getting shot in the back! Another impression I’m getting from this trailer is that there’s going to be a lot more dangerous situations and antagonists this time round. I could be wrong – you could probably get the same impression if you were to cut a trailer for X that just had Sim Crawford, Pree and the Dominator – but from this and the synopses, it seems that the crew are going to be in a lot of peril, in a Series V and VI type way.
Then we’ve got another joke, which Rimmer sets up whilst wearing a rather fetching hard-light-blue dressing gown. I see he’s kept his battleplan timetable from The Beginning. It has no practical purpose any more, but from a character point of view, maybe he’s kept it to remind him of the lessons he learned that day?
Lister delivers the punchline whilst enjoying a delicious 99, with his Jim Bexley Speed photo prominently on display. The gag is a good quickie, which will presumably be analysed to death over the next few weeks until all the humour is sucked out of it.
There’s just one more shot of debris falling around the crew – interestingly, the only shot of the four of them together in the trailer – before a nicely designed endboard:
But yeah, I probably could have done without “Smegtember”. This is taken from the Youtube clip; the broadcast version simply says “coming soon”. TV trailers tend to leave the dates off until they’re more like a couple of weeks away. Insert standard comments about the start date and “exclusive to Dave” here.
Overall, it most certainly does the job. It’s exciting, it’s impressive and it gives the impression that Series XI is taking Red Dwarf to places it’s never been before. The glimpses of mysterious places and characters are incredibly intriguing, and the effects shots in both the teaser and the trailer look fantastic. My only major criticism is that the grade seems very very dark in places, which I’m not sure is ideal for an audience comedy. But the trailer could easily be unrepresentative of the series, so I’m trying not to make judgement calls until we’ve seen the full episodes.
So, what details have we missed? Let us know in the comments and we may discuss your small points in tomorrow’s DwarfCast.
ADDITIONAL: Mere moments after hitting publish, a different cut of the trailer was broadcast on Dave. It omits the Rimmer-detecting-life-forms stuff, starting with the Starbug shot. But at the end, instead of the nostril joke, there’s a snippet of a scene where Kryten, Lister and Rimmer are visible; Kryten complains that a cold chill has just gone straight down his spine, before Lister admits that he’s just spilled lager down him.
So, multiple variants, is it? Keep your eyes peeled…