Survey: The Series XI Dilemma

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It can not have escaped your attention that UKTV plans to premiere each episode of the forthcoming Red Dwarf XI on their on-demand service, UKTV Play, one week ahead of their television broadcast on Dave. This puts us in a somewhat tricky situation in terms of our coverage. We had planned on doing pretty much exactly what we did last time – an “instant reaction” DwarfCast almost immediately after each episode, broadcast live on the internet, with a tidier version in the usual feeds the following day, followed by a written review over the weekend.

This isn’t so straightforward when not everyone’s going to be watching at the same time. This move has made it a hell of a lot harder to be part of a communal shared experience, but we’re determined to make it work. That’s where you come in. We’d like to know more about how you’re intending to consume this series, and your preferences for how we go about things. To that end, here are a series of polls; the results of which we’ll take on board, but won’t be legally binding or anything. Annoyingly, we’d like to request that those of you from outside the UK abstain from taking part in this vote; it’s the people who have a choice as to how they watch the series that will be most affected by our decisions.

Note: in order to keep the polling numbers as clean as possible (with a site this old, we’re on pretty much every spam bot list out there) voting is restricted to members only, but registrations are open to all.

Let’s start with a simple one…

At what pace are you intending to watch the new episodes?

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Next, we want you to think about our DwarfCasts. The original idea was that they’d be our raw opinions on our very first viewing of each episode, and so we’ve always aimed to do them as quickly as possible after broadcast. We could still do that, but we’d have to choose between doing them after the online or TV releases. If the former, we’d have to rely on knowing exactly what time the episodes will be released. We could get around this by not doing the DwarfCasts straight away, but doing so would lose the “instant reaction” element. Or we could remove the live element all together, which would ease some worries at the cost of making them less interactive.

Would you prefer our DwarfCast discussion of each episode to be done...

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But what of our written reviews? These are much more thought through than the DwarfCasts, written with the benefit of repeated viewings. They’ll always take a few days from initial release, so the question is a relatively simple one:

Would you prefer our written reviews to be published...

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And finally, we’d like some input on our “Let’s Talk About…” posts; the places where people congregate to post their thoughts and debate the details. It sucks that we’ll have to either exclude some people from the discussion for a week, or make them wait for a week; whatever we do, the discussion is going to be fractured, but what do you think is the best option?

How should we do the front page discussion posts for each episode?

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Please feel free to expand on your choices in the comments below, and indeed to add other suggestions or point out anything we’ve forgotten. We’ll take all your feedback into account, chat about it amongst ourselves, and update you if and when we have a plan. We are nothing without you, so we just want to do what’s best for as many of you as possible.

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55 Responses to Survey: The Series XI Dilemma

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  1. For the front page discussion posts – is the option “both at the same time” to have two different discussion posts, one for online viewers and one for TV viewers?

  2. This is gonna be a bit of a pain, isn’t it. I’m sure whatever yous decide to do it’ll still be great.

    How about a live DwarfCast actually during each broadcast, sorta like a live commentary? That way, you could use the online episode beforehand to prepare yourselves so you know what you’re going to talk about as the episode is airing. People who have already seen it online can listen in from then or people can just join after the episode for the post-episode discussion.

  3. G&T Admin

    cwickham – Yeah, it would effectively be a post for Episode 1 on the 15th, then on the 22nd we’d have a post for Episode 2 and a separate, second post for Episode 1’s TV debut.

    Pendo – That’s certainly one to ponder…

  4. I like Pendo’s idea – live commentary for those that are watching the TV broadcast as the second time. Then listen again for those who chose to wait. Whatever happens you’re going to be pissing someone off so a poll is the best option.

  5. G&T Admin

    Only snag is that due to the technicalities of broadcasting live online, it wouldn’t quite sync up to the episode as it plays out on TV – we’d be a minute or two behind what you could see on screen.

  6. So here’s my thoughts.

    I’ll be watching as soon as possible after it is available to stream however I believe (as do quite a few people it seems) that DwarfCast and written review should follow at the TV pace. For me it’s purely a logical choice, it’s a set time each week when we know for certain when the show will have been on. As pointed out in the DwarfCast the time it is available each week might vary slightly, the TV broadcast in a way, grounds everyone / everything.

    For those of us watching online, knowing it’s available to stream, as much as we’ll watch it as soon as possible, we won’t be moving appointments to watch it like we might the TB broadcast, so the time at which we view it will differ and extend if not throughout the week, then throughout the first 24-48 hours.

    Waiting a week will inevitably change how the show is discussed, as I’m assuming all of the G&T team will have watched it in advance and have had several days to think about it / re-watch it but the show will still be fresh and new and exciting, with a lot to be discussed and speculated upon that it won’t be too detrimental to the conversation.

    I do however believe that you should run two discussion threads, 1 for online viewers and 1 for broadcast viewers. It won’t be hard to do, they can be label as such so people can pick and choose where they want to go. Sure it splits the fan base a little but it will help server everyones viewing habits and they’ll be the chance further down the line to come back together to discuss everything. (That said, this is coming from someone who didn’t even realise they had an account on here until 15mins ago so maybe my view on that topic shouldn’t carry to much weight)

  7. You could turn it to your advantage really.

    I assume some normal members of the live reaction show are wanting to watch it live on TV instead of the online showing. So if you have some people on it who have been able to mull over and analyse the episode in the week prior and then some others who’ve only just seen it for the first time you get both views and also represent both sides of the listening audience so don’t miss anybody out.

    I think the only really difficult issue is the discussion posts. Do you start a new post after broadcast or just continue where the people who saw it a week ago left off? I don’t think you can not have a discussion post for the online showing as it is essentially containment for all spoilers (not that I personally give a toss about spoilers but other people do).

  8. G&T Admin

    Another snag with doing the DwarfCasts live after each TV broadcast is that presumably the next episode will be put online at around the same time as we’re banging on. Would people listen live to us talking about an episode they watched seven days ago if there’s a new one waiting for them?

  9. Kindly ask them to not watch the new episode until the live DwarfCast is done? Start the live reaction podcast at 22:30 giving people 50 minutes to watch the next episode (assuming it goes up right after the previous one airs on TV)?

    Actually I had the immense foresight to blindly book a load of Fridays off work in the hope of getting the ones which match up to the Thursday airings (guessing they would be airing on a Thursday) and by good fortune managed to book almost all of them that coincide with new Red Dwarf. So for me I’m happy enough to listen in to the live DwarfCast and then watch the next episode after it is done as I will be having a lovely sleep in the next day.

  10. I’d be very surprised if we didn’t get a voice over the credits saying “visit UKTV Play to watch the next episode now” every week since that’s obviously the best time to entice a lot of viewers there.

    I imagine that one potential problem with not having a discussion post up would be new users looking for somewhere to discuss the episode, signing up & bunging their views down wherever else on here instead.

  11. Realise youve all gotta ask, and you’ve got a range of site fans etc to try an please. I’m happy anyway you choose
    . Ive voted. But really i want to tick just one box for each of you
    That just says. “However YOU will enjoy it most”

    Ps for John hoare that probably means switch over

  12. Record and release them as and when suits you best. I will download immediately and listen to them as soon as I’ve actually watched the episode. It doesn’t matter to me if that is moments after airing, a week later or 6 months from the air date. I listen to podcasts because I can do so at my convenience. You should record them at yours…

  13. I personally would rather have the Instant Reaction Dwarfcasts at Broadcast pace like with Series X, but I think Ori has a good point. Do what’s best for you in the end. And during Series X, I first listened to the Dwarfcasts when they became available to download the next day. Partly because I didn’t have a laptop at the time, so listening live wasn’t really an option for me, but also because I wanted to watch the episode 3 or 4 times before listening to the Instant Reaction Dwarfcast. I wanted to catch every little detail that I could and let the episode sink in more. I feel I need more than one watch to do that (mostly because I’m a bit thick), and it always feels to me that other people catch more things and understand it way more in first watch than I always do.

    I have a laptop now and before the news broke out last week, I was still debating whether or not to listen to the Dwarfcasts live this time round or listen to it when it’s available to download again.

  14. I listened to the instant reactions much later than the TV broadcasts anyway, cos I taped them and watched the next day.
    I also voted incorrectly in the above poll… It was all online first then broadcast versions, then you pulled the old switcheroo.
    I’d prefer the reviews posted on broadcast.

  15. I’d say, unless they release the episodes online at midnight or whatever, do the instant reaction Dwarfcast live, like an hour or so after it’s first online. IMO most people who are interested in listening to the Dwarfcast will be up for watching the online premiere of each episode, as opposed to waiting till broadcast.

    Then the written review(s), absolutely after the Dave broadcast, the following week. That way, there’s the nice element of being able to compare instant reactions to how you feel a week on, and after multiple viewings. :)

    Front page post should IMO be up as soon as each episode is online. With the proper spoiler warnings, of course. I think it should all work out nicely!

  16. How about a Dwarfcast straight after the UKTV Play upload and then a text post the evening of the Dave showing. Stops people having spoilers posted. They can still visit the site but not have to worry about seeing something they don’t want as all the chat is in the Dwarfcast post.

  17. Online (are you doing a set time?) for the Dwarfcast/community reaction; review for after broadcast. Personally, I don’t need to be part of the live reaction, I’m fine sauntering in later and blockquoting out the wazoo.

    I did vote “Not live, at the broadcast pace” for the DwarfCast thinking you could do them live then put up later but it’s maybe better to have it with first impressions all together, analysis the week later.

    Not keen on live commentary cause I’d rather get proper commentaries in the run up to XII or summat. Commentary would be constricted to discussing what’s on screen, with adverts, presumably while live reaction can pull in opinion from us plebs yelling outside G&T Towers and be a bit less rigid.

    (I don’t listen to the commentaries over the episodes anyway, mind.)

  18. This is a ridiculously difficult decision for what is a seemingly trivial matter.

    I mean, nothing will stop me watching live on TV, for precisely the reason we’re discussing it in the first place – the live reaction, the online buzz. I’m the same with Doctor Who – I sit and watch and concentrate, I don’t even Tweet. But afterwards… And it’s the same with RD.
    My main problem is the fact that I find it almost inconceivable that there could be an episode of Red Dwarf that other people could have seen and I haven’t, knowing that I could watch it freely myself at any time.

    I won’t be able to *not* watch Twentica online the minute it’s available. That is certain. But, for the rest of the run, I would like to try and wait for the Dave broadcast, avoiding spoilers during the week, then tune in to a live, interactive immediate reaction Dwarfcast.

  19. > I won’t be able to *not* watch Twentica online the minute it’s available. That is certain.

    si, I’m totally with you on that! No-one who’s remotely interested (and who has access to UKTV Play, of course) is gonna be able to resist the preview!

  20. Well, this is a source of perturbation. I haven’t commented on the situation until now but they’ve really bollocksed this up for us, haven’t they?

    > No-one who’s remotely interested (and who has access to UKTV Play, of course) is gonna be able to resist the preview!

    I hope I am. Even though I know that if I stick to my guns and wait for the telly broadcasts I’m gonna feel left out and have to avoid spoilers for six weeks, fuck it, that’s what I intend to do.

    > We are nothing without you, so we just want to do what’s best for as many of you as possible.

    And that’s why G&T is my favourite website. Apart from CAM4 maybe. Whatever you guys decide, thank you for conducting the survey.

  21. Only snag is that due to the technicalities of broadcasting live online, it wouldn’t quite sync up to the episode as it plays out on TV – we’d be a minute or two behind what you could see on screen.

    What an absolute lag.

  22. As long as we get the G&T take for each show I’m happy, but sadly on demand, like the new Star Trek: Discovery appears to be the norm and dare say in next decade, most premieres will be online with standard TV limited to repeats, for the sadly non-tech savy generation.

  23. OT I know, but does anyone else just hate every single thing we know about Star Trek: Discovery, so far?

  24. OT I know, but does anyone else just hate every single thing we know about Star Trek: Discovery, so far?

    Im waiting for Patrick Stewart to be watching it in a hotel. And then pick up the phone to… The Samaritians

  25. OT I know, but does anyone else just hate every single thing we know about Star Trek: Discovery, so far?

    I’m no Trekkie, but is the fact that it’s Bryan Fuller not a good thing?

  26. I’d be very happy to watch the online version first if it were still a BBC Show. That way we get the relatively high quality and stability of the BBC iPlayer.

    Admittedly while UKTV Play’s quality is very reasonable, it’s not something I want to watch new Red Dwarf on. I want to watch it on a big screen in as good a quality as possible. It’s why I will always buy a Bluray of a show I like, even if it is on Netflix in ‘HD’ quality. Most humans don’t notice the difference in quality, but I sure do and it’s worth paying for.

    So my mind says wait until the HD TV broadcast. But knowing me, i will still watch it online first, because I have no will power. :-D

    I wonder if UKTV Play will be able to cope with the initial surge of interest when the episodes are posted. You’d be surprised how some websites even now are just not built to withstand relatively high demand.

  27. G&T Admin

    You’d be surprised how some websites even now are just not built to withstand relatively high demand.

    Tell me about it.

  28. Richard Naylor said we would be getting a trailer mid-August. So, a contender for tomorrows update then? I imagine we will start seeing it and maybe some break bumpers etc. appearing on Dave soon too. I wonder if they have filmed new ones or if they are just gonna use the ones from X?

  29. So my mind says wait until the HD TV broadcast. But knowing me, i will still watch it online first, because I have no will power.

    This is pretty much me. But I am going to *really* try.

  30. I’d be a little surprised if we got the trailer prior to any set photos being released but here’s hoping.

  31. G&T Admin

    Well, it’s great to see a clear consensus forming…

    *cries*

    Perhaps we should concentrate our efforts on persuading UKTV to not bother?

  32. 83% of people want a live Dwarfcast at some point so there’s that at least (the post episode interactivity would probably be the main thing for me actually, regardless of when that is)

  33. Never mind those poor saps who can’t access the online versions or those non badasses with their moral guilt chips in place let’s get tore in.
    Who cares? Pork away!

  34. You know how one of the reasons to dislike Red Dwarf Remastered is that the vertical resolution is halved unlike the glorious full-res originals?

    That’s not irrelevant here…

  35. G&T Admin

    Does anyone who knows what they’re talking about got the raw technical specifications for the video we get from UKTV Play?

  36. G&T Admin

    I just had a click through a few and to my untrained eye, what I *think* I’m looking at is something that’s possibly 720 HD but with a pisspoor bitrate. In this instance the technical details aren’t all that important because what I do know is that’s it’s not even near good enough to be my first experience of the episode, even though it ‘s looking like it has to be.

  37. Well, it’s great to see a clear consensus forming…

    *cries*
    Perhaps we should concentrate our efforts on persuading UKTV to not bother?

    I’m quite shocked and honestly heartbroken that the online option is getting such a high vote! I’m not going to complain if it that’s the route you’re going in the end, obviously it’s only fair if that’s the winning vote. But yeah, it’s really hitting me now how much of a shame it is that the viewing experience can’t be like it was with Series X.

  38. OT I know, but does anyone else just hate every single thing we know about Star Trek: Discovery, so far?

    I’m no Trekkie, but is the fact that it’s Bryan Fuller not a good thing?

    I’m no Trekkie either and Bryan Fuller is really the only reason I’m quite excited about the show and definitely going to watch it. Bloody love him.

  39. It looks like very soft SD through a Sky box. I’d be amazed if it was higher than 480, I don’t even think it’s that. What’s the iPlayer standard for “SD” – 376 isn’t it? Looks similar.

    I haven’t looked at it through a computer I have to admit.

  40. *Films entire series in HD* *Premiers said series on sub-par quality online player*

    Seems a waste for all this brand new content to have it’s first outing be UKTV Player. Doesn’t really give it the chance to shine like it should. I’m sure the RD crew are aware of our distaste of this by now, but I’d say there’s nothing we can really do. 99% certain this is about promoting that online platform and getting people onto the Player, so from that perspective I’d say the big wigs at UKTV probably don’t care much what the fans want on this occasion, which is the polar opposite of how it’s been with virtually every other aspect of Dwarf since it found it’s home on Dave. (Prime example being them allowing the studio audience even though they weren’t keen) That is just speculation though, but it seems the directive here is to drum up numbers for the online viewing platform, which is sad.

    Every bone in my body wants me to wait for the TV broadcast, but just being aware I have access to brand new Dwarf a click away will probably entice me in to watching online. I’m definitely in the no-willpower camp.

  41. Virtual picket line?
    Due to Dave’s decision not to repeat Parks and Rec, I’ve been forced to watch odd missed episodes online. It’s so awful.
    I’ll be waiting.

  42. Stuck on FreeSat here as I live in a TV reception dead-zone, so I don’t have the option to watch on Dave. = ( As a result I’ll be watching ASAP once it’s online – will have to wait for the Blu-ray to be able to fully appreciate the visuals. Will give me a good excuse to rewatch every episode once it’s out, mind! = P

  43. I’ve thought of the perfect compromise: randomly put up episode reviews, discussion threads and DwarfCasts for different episodes at totally arbitrary times, in a different order to broadcast and sometimes before they’ve even been released online.

  44. cwickham – do you work for UKTV?

  45. I think you should stick to doing a live Dwarfcast immediately after broadcast. Even though the majority of us will more than likely be watching the new episodes on UKTV Play, I still see them as previews before the TV broadcast. I myself will only watch them once on UKTV Play and then will wait the rest of the week to watch them in the good old traditional TV way.

    I think the only way you’re going to be able to do an instant reaction is to do the Dwarfcast as soon as possible once the episodes have been made available online. If you do a live Dwarfcast straight after the TV broadcast, it will inevitably be a round up and review of the episode. This may be the next best thing.

    You could do a short instant reaction Dwarfcast, either live or as a podcast, which you could label as a spoilercast for those of us who have watched it early, then do a live and longer Dwarfcast after the TV broadcast and compare how you felt about it on first viewing to how you feel about it after a week.

    I do love pendo86’s idea of doing a live commentary on the night, it’s just a shame that’s not technically possible. I also like the idea of having two guests, one who watched the online preview and one who’s just watched it for the first time on TV. It could make for a very interesting comparison.

    I’m in favour of having two discussion threads. A spoiler thread for people who’ve watched it early, and a main thread for everyone else. Bear in mind that a lot of people outside of the UK will have to wait longer to see the new episodes, and so this could accommodate them too.

    Good luck with whatever you decide guys.

  46. I do like the idea of a comparison between someone who watched the preview and someone who didn’t. As there’s no way around the situation, I say use it to an advantage and do interesting stuff like that in the Dwarfcast.

  47. Having watched every episode as original broadcast on TV since 98 I will be ignoring the online episodes especially having seen the 6 high res images today which are awesome. I prefer to watch knowing there’s millions of others enjoying it too and I’d rather see it in high quality not low quality and on a decent screen size.

  48. Another point I’ve been thinking about…

    Is this series *definitely* shot progressive? I’m aware they’re using different cameras so it’s not for me to assume anything. If by a stroke of surprise it’s gone back to videolook, that’s yet another reason UKTV Play doesn’t count.

  49. My sister has been avoiding everything. Don’t think she even looked at the six promo pics last week. She hasn’t read the synopses, and has avoided the teaser and trailer. She’s waiting to watch it on the 22nd.
    In a massive personal development (steady), I’ve come to the conclusion I’m going to do the same. I’d previously said that I was allowing myself to watch just the first episode online (it’s new! I need to see it!), but NO. I’m not steering clear of trailers and promo stuff, but I’m staying clear of the UKTV previews.
    Go me.

  50. Watching the series online is completely out of the question for me because the UKTV Play website causes my computer to spontaneously crash. But I think I’d go for broadcast even if it didn’t.

  51. Is this series *definitely* shot progressive? I’m aware they’re using different cameras so it’s not for me to assume anything. If by

    I looked up the cameras they’re using, and the video output is uncompressed. Interlacing can be used in uncompressed video, but it serves no purpose in compressed video (and can cause inefficiencies) so I imagine if it was it’d be deinterlaced.

    Regardless, I can’t imagine the final product not being progressive.

  52. I think you should stick to doing a live Dwarfcast immediately after broadcast. Even though the majority of us will more than likely be watching the new episodes on UKTV Play, I still see them as previews before the TV broadcast. I myself will only watch them once on UKTV Play and then will wait the rest of the week to watch them in the good old traditional TV way.

    I think the only way you’re going to be able to do an instant reaction is to do the Dwarfcast as soon as possible once the episodes have been made available online. If you do a live Dwarfcast straight after the TV broadcast, it will inevitably be a round up and review of the episode. This may be the next best thing.
    You could do a short instant reaction Dwarfcast, either live or as a podcast, which you could label as a spoilercast for those of us who have watched it early, then do a live and longer Dwarfcast after the TV broadcast and compare how you felt about it on first viewing to how you feel about it after a week.
    I do love pendo86’s idea of doing a live commentary on the night, it’s just a shame that’s not technically possible. I also like the idea of having two guests, one who watched the online preview and one who’s just watched it for the first time on TV. It could make for a very interesting comparison.

    Agree with all of this. Any closer to a decision yet?

  53. Is this series *definitely* shot progressive? I’m aware they’re using different cameras so it’s not for me to assume anything. If by a stroke of surprise it’s gone back to videolook, that’s yet another reason UKTV Play doesn’t count.

    Ignore my other post on the subject, it was half-assed.

    The Arri Alexa cameras I gather can shoot both progressive and interlaced since they only specify the pixel count without a “p” or “i” following, but whether or not it was shot interlaced would have no bearing on the final product. They could convert it to whatever format they wanted.

    Does Dave broadcast in 1080p? If they do, it’d make no sense to me for them to use a bandwidth-saving measure like interlacing if they didn’t need to.

  54. I remember watching Back to Earth and getting involved in the live reaction chats etc on here and it all added to the fun, but I missed out on watching probably 4 out of 6 episodes of X live on broadcast due to work commitments…. but then watched them as soon as possible (within a few hours of broadcast) and then came here to catch up on what I’d missed. Even though it’s a nice ‘second screen experience’ i didn’t feel particularly cut off from the fan community because I was late to the party. Its nice – very nice even – to have it but not bereft without it.

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