Talking Points: Krysis

Well, there’s certainly a lot to discuss. Red Dwarf XI has been densely packed with ideas thus far, and this episode contains possibly the highest concentration yet. With spoilers aplenty for anyone who’s not yet watched the episode, here are some of what we consider to the most interesting of these ideas, neatly packaged into subheadings for your convenience. These are based on just one viewing and a quick scan through afterwards, which for the record took place following the deliberate release, as opposed to the brief accidental one.

Red Red Whine

The news that this was to be a Kryten-centric episode sent shivers down the spines of some, considering the somewhat unpredictable characterisation that has been a feature for a good few series, and the fact that The Last Day and Camille seem so much longer ago than, say, Beyond A Joke.  This is Robert’s biggest foray into the centre stage since then. We’ll get on to the reasons behind Kryten’s crisis later, but how did you feel about the way it manifests itself? The main visual reference for this episode prior to its release was Kryten’s sexy new red suit; consequently the reveal in the episode isn’t much of a surprise, but we do at least come fresh to elements such as the speaker system, the whizzy sound effects and the ability to spin round really fast. Plus, we really didn’t know how Robert would play it all. Does he rise to the occasion?

I ‘ate you, Butler?

It turned out that our suspicions about a Nova ship featuring in this episode were correct, and the Nova 3 introduces us to a Series 3000 mechanoid who looks disconcertingly similar, but not identical to, our own Series 4000. This is Butler, played by serial comedy guest star Dominic Coleman putting on an American accent, who features almost as prominently as Kryten for big chunks of the episode. There have been several notable guest performances already this series, but this is a particularly tricky task, considering the amount of lines to learn and the necessity to be simultaneously likeable to some characters and detestable to others. Where does it stack up?

GELF and Safety

Perhaps related to the non-specified amount of time the crew spend in stasis during this episode, they find themselves in a rather densely populated section of post-humanity deep space once more. A new breed of GELF is introduced, similar to the familiar Kinitawowi, but with a whole new look, vastly different from the BEGGs of Series X. They sound similar to the Emohawk model, but with a bilingual twist reminiscent of The Fast Show. They also have names, personalities and families, and the one we meet here is an old mate of Butler’s. Consequently the GELFs bugger off again, and that particular plot thread closes, leaving it feeling like a distinct segment within the bigger episode. One which contains sequences of up to six characters at a time saying “maaaaah”. A successful segment?

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Life

Aside from the bling-based accoutrements and trying-to-be-cool mannerisms, Kryten’s main role in this episode is to ponder life’s unanswerable questions, and it gets pretty deep at times. His very raison d’être is at stake, as he loses his passion for cleaning in the face of the bleakness of existence. His interactions with Butler then make him lose faith in himself, as well as bringing out his jealous side. But instead of squeaking about people lying, this time it eventually leads to him having pretty much a complete breakdown, to the point of not caring if he or the crew live or die. Kryten really goes on a journey in this episode, and it culminates with the next point:

The Universe

Yes, in the Red Dwarf universe, the universe is a character. He’s played by Daniel Barker – quickly establishing himself as this production block’s Tony Hawks – who voices it with what is unmistakably a Morgan Freeman impression. This obviously raises many questions. Despite the explicit references to the uncertainty of the existence of God, the portrayal is in itself pretty God-like, with the suggestion that The Universe “created” the life within itself. Also, is it real? Is this literally the show portraying The Universe as a sentient intelligence, or is it some sort of Deep Thought-esque man-made approximation of an ultimate power? Again, it’s pretty deep, and as Lister points out from the safety of Starbug, very strange.

And Everything

All of which leaves one to ponder exactly where this episode sits in the Red Dwarf canon. It certainly adds some bold new elements to the pantheon, for better or worse. At different times it’s reminiscent of varying eras from the show’s past, and there’s a certain number of similarities to specific past episodes, deliberate or otherwise, such as KrytenThe Last DayLegion and Emohawk, just off the top of my head. But there’s also a number of potentially bothersome continuity queries. For starters, Kryten being the best part of three million years old can’t possibly tally with previous occasions where his age has been given, plus a Series 3000 mechanoid such as Butler should possibly look more like Lister than Kryten. Come on, show us your headcanon.

Is it shit or is it good?

It’s already become a cliché to say that an episode of Red Dwarf XI is splitting fan opinion, but once again it’s undeniably the case. Another cliché is to note that episode five is often where you hide the least good episode of the series, but – with only one more morning of frantically refreshing the UKTV Play platforms left – is that the case for Krysis and Series XI?

Let us know your thoughts on the above points, and we might deign to acknowledge you in our Live DwarfCast for Krysis, at 10pm on Thursday 20th October. And look out for our in-depth written review in the coming days.

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117 Responses to Talking Points: Krysis

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  1. I really enjoyed this one. It says something that XI takes concepts that worried me and turns them into solid episodes, whereas X took concepts that interested me and bungled them pretty heavily.

    And what it says is this: I AM SOMEONE WHO LIKES XI MORE THAN X.

  2. The ‘maaaaah’ gag was absolutely hysterical! Just got funnier and funnier as everyone started doing it!

  3. It’s undeniably a mistake but could we say that the series 3000 mechanoids looked more human than the series 4000 mechanoids in the reality within the reality bubble?

    The crew’s memory of Cat fades within seconds of them entering an unreality bubble; maybe Kryten’s database fell in line with the universe of the unreality bubble.

  4. G&T Admin

    I’m on board with this.

  5. It’s undeniably a mistake but could we say that the series 3000 mechanoids looked more human than the series 4000 mechanoids in the reality within the reality bubble?

    The crew’s memory of Cat fades within seconds of them entering an unreality bubble; maybe Kryten’s database fell in line with the universe of the unreality bubble.

    I’ll go with that.

  6. >plus a Series 3000 mechanoid such as Butler should possibly look more like Lister than Kryten. Come on, show us your headcanon.

    I said in the other thread yesterday when it leaked. Unreality bubble.

    If the unreality bubble can make them think Cat doesn’t exist then it can make Kryten think a Series 3000 mechanoid looks human. I actually love the idea we have all basically been in an unreality bubble for 23 years.

    Unless you still believe Lister is a droid. In which case why does he need to eat. Plot hole mate. Sort it Doug.

  7. A bit underwhelmed by that. Butler was great, and it seemed to be going in an interesting direction…and then Butler went away, and Starbug landed on a virtual (if not literal) deus ex machina to hurriedly tie things up. I can’t say I found it ever hilarious, but it didn’t particularly annoy me either.

    A strange one that I don’t have a huge opinion on one way or the other. A bit of a “So what?” episode.

  8. Or, Kryten at some point could have received a system update at some point which featured, in the same way a belief in Silicon Heaven was installed, a white-washed, re-spun, DivaDroid’s-latest-piece-of-shit-centric version of the company and product history. A bit like how the Conservative Party delete webpages about manifesto pledges they’ve broken, in a way similar to how Apple might implement such a thing. The inverse of this is that he previously had such a thing installed but deleted it, jettisoned it or broke free from it.

    Something along those lines is a possible way of head-cannoning it together without unreality bubbles at least, and the concept nicely covers the full gamut of frustrating contradictions in Kryten’s history. Answer – DivaDroid (or the automated remains of what’s left of them) are ruthless, proprietary-upgrade-obsessed, spin-happy liars who’ll put anything in the heads of their mechs if it suits their current business model.

  9. Could we unreality bubble VII and VIII. The best explanation for them.

  10. Or, Kryten at some point could have received a system update at some point which featured, in the same way a belief in Silicon Heaven was installed, a white-washed, re-spun, DivaDroid’s-latest-piece-of-shit-centric version of the company and product history.

    It’s probably delivered by the same tech they took from the Nova 5, never mentioned again for 26 years and then suddenly remembered they had.

    i’d love to know how much time they spent in stasis. Though it does beg the question again I feel, if Lister is willing to go into stasis for these little jaunts around the universe, why not to go all the way home?

    Originally it was because Future Echos showed them a future where he had twins (and also as an old man etc) on ship so they kind of follow destiny a little.

    Then recently it was to find Kochanski … but one would assume they are light years away from her by now.

  11. So is the parallel universe of Parallel Universe the female opposite of the Dwarfers’ universe? Who’s eating this chicken?

  12. It doesn’t seem like Lister is in any rush to get home anymore. Maybe after all the odd visits the team have had he knows he would get there eventually. I’m guessing finding Kochanski is still his primary objective? Maybe it’s mentioned in episodes of XII . Being shown in a different order to filming kinda ruins the continuities that could have happened. Something I liked in VI was that there was an overarching story going on.

  13. Red Red Whine – I still laughed a lot at the reveal of the costume, regardless of it being spoiled. The energy on screen, combined with the audience response, did a better job of keeping the laugh than I ever expected it would.
    Overall I was absolutely terrified of it all, it could so, so easily have fallen into Krytie TV territory, but played as it was – daft and over the top, but with a completely believable explanation – it worked. I think Bobby was stretched to his absolute limit, I wouldn’t want to see him going any bigger as I think it’d all fall apart, but it just kept within limits.

    I ‘ate you, Butler? – I thought Butler was brilliant. He played the part straight down the line – no mugging, nothing over the top, no smugness or nastiness. The part required a completely straight performance, and it was supplied brilliantly. I was disappointed at the lack of costume and English accent, mind you.

    GELF and Safety – I really liked the GELF encounter. I know people are keen to have longer segments, or bigger focus on things, but I’m enjoying the shorter encounters in XI. Y’know, sometimes in life, you encounter people in a very ephemeral way. It adds to the believability of the Red Dwarf universe to me. The ‘maaah’ bit was the best joke for me. Just the right amount of daftness.

    Life – some nice characterisation from Kryten. Nothing massively original, but I thought it was written and played with enough pathos to be enjoyable to watch.

    The Universe – I’m happy the show is expanding its scope without losing the core elements. This is an episode that managed to go as epic as is imaginable, yet use that to resolve a plot based around a single character’s insecurities. How utterly Red Dwarf. Is it real? Is it a computer? I’m glad it was unresolved. I’m happy to think of it as real, but I’m also happy that it’s open enough for others to enjoy it as a computer thing. It’s not for a show like Red Dwarf to answer questions like that, and I’m glad it didn’t try.

    And Everything – oh there are lots of tiny annoying bits of continuity that make no sense. The whole universe ending thing is tedious given that Kryten’s first episode as a regular was about the universe contracting, not exploding. I always get confused with the different model numbers Kryten has, so I’d forgotten that the 3000 was meant to be human-like. That’s a great example of Doug forgetting, I’m sure. There are some nice suggestions so far in this thread, all of which I’m going to believe.

    Is it shit or is it good? – despite having the most unusual element of the series – possibly any series – in the Universe section, it actually felt the most warm, homely, comfortable episode of the series so far. The jokes all worked, the performances were fine, there was a lot of old fashioned Red Dwarf spaceship stuff and some VI/VII long-distance stasis travel. It felt more Dwarfy to me than anything since VI. I’d also say it was the least funny of the series – not because of any clunkers, just because the humour seemed toned down in comparison to the rest of it. The overall tone felt like a cross between IV’s comfort, VI’s adventure and VII’s cinematic drama. I really, really liked it though. It was just really nice.

  14. Could we unreality bubble VII and VIII. The best explanation for them.

    I’d fucking love to, but it makes the Kochanski stuff and Fathers & Suns pretty hard to follow. Imagine showing someone the programme and missing out VII and VIII, they’d get really fucking confused. “Why the hell is Lister his own dad?”

  15. >Kryten being the best part of three million years old can’t possibly tally with previous occasions where his age has been given.

    I think I need to see your maths, Ian.

    RED RED WHINE
    I was wondering how they would introduce the idea of Kryten having a mid-life crisis, and wondered whether he would already be in the throes of it at the start of the episode. I’m not sure it really worked having it suddenly appear in the middle of the first scene, as part of a fairly weak joke of him forgetting to make Lister’s breakfast.

    If it had opened with a Kryten-centric scene (as opposed to Lister hacking at an ingrown toenail with garden shears?), it might have sold it a little better.

    The red costume (which I maintain looks pink in the credits sequence due to the blue light) wasn’t too bad. I think I’d have preferred it if they’d kept it a bit simpler. Simply putting Kryten in red with the sparkly chest plate would sell the idea. Ditch the shoulder pads and the silly hat.

    I ‘ATE YOU BUTLER
    Great performance by Dominic Coleman. A daunting task, and he nailed it. A bit of a Legion vibe there.

    GELF AND SAFETY
    I liked the “maaaah” bit. It perhaps went on a little too long. Or conversely not long enough to get funny again. Much better makeup than the BEGGS.

    IS IT SHIT OR IS IT GOOD
    Time passed. It wasn’t unenjoyable. If it was another show, I’m not sure I’d be too fussed about rewatching it though. The story was developing in a relatively interesting way…and then abruptly stopped developing and became a succession of “And then this happened”. The fact that God turns up at the end of episode shows the muddled focus of it.

    I got a bit of an Entangled vibe from it, frankly. I know the Universe stuff is seeded in early, but it still felt like the final third was a replacement for something else.

    I’ve watched quite a lot of great Red Dwarf. I’ve watched quite a lot of bad Red Dwarf. This isn’t really either. It’s just kind of mediocre. Much more inoffensive than I feared. Much more forgettable than I hoped.

    Give & Take was fantastic. Officer Rimmer was good. Twentica was OK. This was slightly worse. Samsara a pile o’ wank.

  16. I’m guessing finding Kochanski is still his primary objective?

    Yes, this is my thinking too, which is why it’s even more annoying that when faced with “the universe”, he didn’t even ask if she was ok… :-/

  17. Kryten got his own name wrong in Beyond a Joke (2X4C). He’s nearly 3,000,000 years old. He’s fucked. Totally understandable. The bigger question for me is why are mechaniids built to last for 6,000,000 years?

  18. I actually prefered this episode to the last 5 because i feel the story and gags were tighrer as for me there has been alot of gags in the last couple of episodes that just get played on to long as i am just ready to move on to the next gag already, Krysis did not have that issue apart from maybe the “maaaaah thing but i felt it flowed ok enough so it didn’t really bug me in second viewing.

  19. Kochanski is dead from old age because they’ve been in stasis for so long.

  20. G&T Admin

    I think I need to see your maths, Ian.

    Hmm, yes, I may well be talking bollocks here. I’ve just always had it in my head that Kryten was created quite a while after the accident – Hudzen had been tracking him for “thousands of years”, not “millions” – but I’d misremembered the bit in Back In The Red where they talk about “I was created after you died”. Having checked a transcript, he does in fact give a specific year – 2340, which would easily tally with Krysis. So if anything, it’s not Krysis that changed this continuity, it’s Back In The Red.

  21. I think I need to see your maths, Ian.

    Hmm, yes, I may well be talking bollocks here. I’ve just always had it in my head that Kryten was created quite a while after the accident – Hudzen had been tracking him for “thousands of years”, not “millions” – but I’d misremembered the bit in Back In The Red where they talk about “I was created after you died”. Having checked a transcript, he does in fact give a specific year – 2340, which would easily tally with Krysis. So if anything, it’s not Krysis that changed this continuity, it’s Back In The Red.

    I always assumed it was way after the accident too. That would explain why Kryten knows what GELFs and Simulents etc are, plus a lot of other “history” that Rimmer and Lister aren’t aware of. He was built after they were created.

    Not to mention, if we take the books explanation of how the Nova 5 works to explain why it was so far out in space, it clearly has much more advanced tech than was available at the time of the accident. If the ability to hope across the universe was available in Lister’s time, do you think they’d be mining resources in our solar system? Would make sense to find moons and rocks way off somewhere else where it wouldn’t matter if they used up resources.

  22. Imagine showing someone the programme and missing out VII and VIII, they’d get really fucking confused. “Why the hell is Lister his own dad?”

    In that case can we just unreality bubble VIII and put Back To Earth down as a non-canonical Comic Relief type special or something?

  23. Kochanski is dead from old age because they’ve been in stasis for so long.

    God… you’re right…!

  24. You could probably swap VIII with those PBS idents where holo-Rimmer and Kochanski are in the same room.

  25. Kochanski is dead from old age because they’ve been in stasis for so long.

    Unless Kochanski is also in stasis, that said to does seem that Doug has abandoned that story arc…..which might not be the worst thing in the world.

  26. RED RED WHINE – I loved everything about the way Kryten’s crisis manifested, both in-story and the way Robert played it. Kryten’s always been slow and lumbering, so seeing him moving around so fast was something new and refreshing. And I’ll admit, I really laughed out loud when he lifted the food tray and no food was there. Like the Dwarfers, the audience knows Kryten enough to know that no food on the plate is a huge red flag. Just a great character moment. And again, Rimmer (who’s been actually intelligent and insightful multiple times this series) quite rightly calls Lister out on the bullshit that he trained Kryten to be independent only for Kryten to just be Lister’s servant. As discussed in the Officer Rimmer Dwarfcast, Red Dwarf is a sitcom, so characters can’t change too much without really upending the status quo, but this many years on, there’s a tinge of darkness to the Dave-era Dwarf in that the Dwarfers are not only stuck in a rut, but they’ve actively regressed. Dave-era Kryten is more like Series II/III-era Kryten then perhaps Series II/III themselves. We’ve seen Kryten be intelligent before, but the implication here is, either he’s never been as intelligent and insightful as we’ve known him to be, which only becomes apparent when another mechanoid shows up as a frame of reference, AND/OR, Kryten’s become less sophisticated over time, his skill set atrophying over the years since he’s mostly just been serving Lister and stuck in a rut with the rest of the Dwarfers.

    I ‘ATE YOU BUTLER? – I loved everything about Butler. Flawless writing and performance, I daresay beating out Harmony de Gauthier. (Though, I do wonder if, as a Series 3000, why he doesn’t look like a human as mentioned in Out of Time. Or was Kryten’s memory of the humanoid nature of 3000-series part of the unreality bubble as well?) Butler was perfect, and it’s interesting to see Kryten being outclassed. One of the few interesting ideas that manifested in Series VIII was, despite the fact that the Dwarfers have been on so many adventures, they were still easily outclassed by the “actual” crew. Similarly, it’s very interesting to see Kryten being outclassed even though he’s the exposition-dumping know-it-all of the group. There was definitely an obvious Legion vibe but it wasn’t overly done to the point of being derivative. Every one of Butler’s lines was gold because we’ve all met a Butler, and I think this is the sharpest Doug’s writing has been in some time because it’s so true-to-life.

    GELF AND SAFETY – I had no problem with any of the GELF stuff, largely because it all served the plot and was an extension of Butler’s character and know-it-all-ness (or “smug gittiness” as Rimmer might say). The GELF stuff wasn’t disconnected from the plot or themes despite the sequence’s brevity, so it worked fine. Similarly, everyone saying “maaaah” didn’t bother me too much, again, because it’s so true to life, as I know I’ve encountered numerous smug hipsters who try to teach people how to properly pronounce a foreign word just like that. What makes it work is the fact that it’s being led by Butler and is an extension of his whole sequence, with his smug pretentiousness escalating that situation. In a context devoid of Butler, the maaah sequence would have been maybe okay but would’ve certainly outstayed it’s welcome, but because Butler is a factor it works as a character moment, though I can perfectly understand people who are of the opinion that it didn’t work. Also, the GELFS and the GELF ships just looked really, really cool, so that’s a plus.

    THE UNIVERSE – I don’t necessarily have a problem with the Universe being sentient. In fact, it’s a neat idea. And it was established in White Hole that a 12,000-IQ computer can know the meaning of the universe. What does irk me slightly is the fact that it threatens to upend the scale of the show itself. In a hard sci-fi show with character needs and wants, it’s crazy that the Dwarfers’ main priority is Kryten’s crisis and not Earth or the human race or Kochanski (though Rimmer wanting proof is a good character moment). Say what you will about Cassandra, but it was perfectly in character for the Dwarfers (and even Warden Knot) to inquire about Earth’s status. They literally talk to the Universe, but they just leave without addressing some major questions? Now to be fair, it was established that the Universe was a bit of a dumbass, not even knowing its own lifespan, so maybe they just realized it wouldn’t be reliable. But all the same, they should’ve asked more questions. God damn it, I really want Cat to find his singing tie pin. And yes, the depiction in the show was a little cartoonish, but there’s something deep about the universe itself not knowing everything. And the suggested idea that it’s perhaps not actually the universe but a man-made approximation based on the many years of calculations (again, like Holly in White Hole) completely keeps the concept this side of being too ridiculous. All in all, a great imaginative concept that might have benefited from a line or two more from the Dwarfers to show the magnitude of the encounter. Also, the facility was fucking beautiful inside and out.

    AND EVERYTHING – As I mentioned above (before I saw this talking point, as I answer each one before reading the next) I think it’s highly possible that Kryten’s very recollection of the 3000-series being humanoid could have been part of the unreality bubble. Also, it’s possible that Butler, being the hipster douche that he is, isn’t just a normal 3000 series but a 3000 series GTi with realistic toes and slide-back sunroof head. Additionally, I always thought it made sense that Kryten was 3 million years old, given that he was just hanging around the Nova 5. That being said, if at any point he was in stasis and so physically is less than that, let’s consider that midlife crises aren’t necessarily a fixed phenomenon. He’s a mechanoid, and a midlife crisis was merely his diagnosis, but that actually doesn’t mean anything, as he could be any age and have a similar crisis. Also, when his age is discussed, it largely isn’t by him, but the other Dwarfers, and what the smeg do they know? As for references, the callbacks to Kryten are obvious and intentional (and appreciated). When the door slides open to the Nova 3, Butler doesn’t say Kryten’s exact line but a variation of the “Come in, come in, how lovely to meet you,” which is great. To say that these callbacks are successful would a gross understatement; this is Red Dwarf nostalgia done right. The Nova 3 looks beautiful as well, and the interior set was excellent. Perhaps I’m overthinking it, but the blue color palette and triangular piping of the interior seemed to deliberately hearken back to the interior architecture of the Nova 5 set. Lovely, lovely touch. Obviously a bit of Legion, but the art and novel stuff works as a contrast to Kryten, so it’s not too derivative. And obviously the GELF stuff is very Emohawk, but that’s just in virtue of the fact that it has GELFs in it. And Lister trying to make Kryten feel better is definitely similar to The Last Day, but I really like how it’s subverted here by not working as planned.

    IS IT SHIT OR IS IT GOOD? – It’s not shit. And it’s better than good. For my money, this episode is fucking brilliant. I hope (and suspect) that the shit episode of the series isn’t this one but Officer Rimmer (and even then Officer Rimmer was pretty damn good for the rubbish episode). Krysis isn’t just my favorite episode of XI so far, it’s easily my favorite episode of the Dave era and possibly even further back to Series VI. Unlike the other episodes of XI that I’ve really liked, this one is just paced so much better and has so much more time to breathe. Twentica’s concept felt like classic Dwarf, but Krysis is the first episode in a long time where you could comfortably put that among the first six series and it would belong just perfectly. Not just because of the well-executed nostalgia, but thematically it all just works. It’s Dear Dave done right (though I liked Dear Dave more than most), with an emotional malaise the focus of the plot. No scene is wasted, and everything ties into the main plot. The guest performances are memorable, the character moments are good, and yeah, it’s a deep and profound episode with a heart and pathos. And finally, the semi-abrupt cut to credits with the reveal that Butler planned the Universe encounter all along and had the Universe on speed-dial was actually perfect. Put simply, I LOVED this episode. Krysis is something truly special. I can imagine it not being other fans’ cup of tea, but for whatever reason (I like to think it’s my superior taste and refinement), it really resonated with me. Red Dwarf can be different things from week to week. Some weeks it’s packed full of broad gags (Polymorph), some weeks it mines character pathos (Thanks for the Memory) and some weeks it’s just a rollicking fun adventure (Gunmen of the Apocalypse). This week, it was just excellent storytelling. Krysis, more than any episode in a long time is just such a good STORY, with a central idea and argument explored and played out in numerous scenarios, and it manages to do that with imaginative concepts, good gags, excellent guest performances, and big and small character moments. For me, it’s easily the closest Dave-era Dwarf has come to recapturing the old magic, and I might go so far as to say that this episode actually fully succeeds in recapturing the old magic. Krysis was something special, and I really hope I’m not the only one who feels that way.

    So anyways, yeah. I liked it.

  27. I love you Renegade Rob. We can go off and form a special club.

  28. Really enjoyed this episode, which is quite a relief as I wasn’t sure how the mid-life crisis thing would play out. Turned out to be great. A good-quality, genuinely funny, well-paced episode with bags of good ideas.

    Slight continuity issue: the RD universe doesn’t die. After the universe expands as far as possible, there’s a Big Crunch and it starts contracting, hence the events of Backwards.

  29. I think Renegade Rob has articulated things perfectly for me. I loved this episode. I think it’s because Kryten’s position at the start sort of echoes where I am right now, so it really emotionally resonated with me. The plot, the pacing, the gags, the guests, costumes, make-up, effects…. this episode absolutely nailed everything. Might be my favourite ep of the entire Dave era. Certainly up there or better than some of I to VI.

  30. >Unless Kochanski is also in stasis, that said to does seem that Doug has abandoned that story arc…..which might not be the worst thing in the world.

    Would have been irksome if Kochanski had been brought back in X then Naylor had nothing for her in XI as was the case with Holly from VII to VIII eye em oh.

  31. Unless Kochanski is also in stasis, that said to does seem that Doug has abandoned that story arc…..

    Chances are doug hasn’t abandoned it, he just doesn’t want it hold back other stories by hanging over each episode.

    Is likely doug doesn’t have her in mind when thinking of these stories but when it comes to the character he will bring her back at some point.

    I honestly think when rob grant was around doug was kept on a leash with certain ideas.

  32. I was at the recording of this episode so perhaps I’m being bias, but I really enjoyed this episode. I would definitely consider it much better than last week’s disappointment and probably rank it second so far this series. Give & take, Krysis, Twentica, Samsara then Officer Rimmer. It felt like more of a complete and confident episode, with a clear beginning, middle and (thankfully) end.

    Red Red Whine
    Kryten’s red mech suit is awful. After the recording, this is the part of the episode that I though most people would have an issue with but what you’ve got to realise is that it’s supposed to be awful! There’s even a joke about how crap it is at the end of the episode. After the initial reveal of Kryten’s new look in the Science Room, I’d forgotten about the costume and the story just continues without it stealing the focus of the episode.

    I thought Bobby’s performance was great. I love the scene in the bunk room at the start where he’s talking about losing his desire to mop and wipe. And the jealous aspect is played so much better than Series VII Kryten.

    Interestingly, the special effect of Kryten spinning in his new suit whilst keeping his head still was filmed live. Thankfully, they did not need to remove Bobby’s head to complete this shot.

    I ‘ate you, Butler?
    I really enjoyed Dominic Coleman’s performance as Butler. I think everyone knows someone just like Butler who seems to be good at absolutely everything and, whilst not necessarily trying to deliberately get on your tits, manages to do so by just being so insufferably nice, helpful and good at their job. I think Doug missed a trick by not making Butler look more like the Kryten in Series II but that’s only a small niggle.

    GELF and Safety
    I had mixed thoughts about the GELF sequence at the recording, it just felt a bit random. But I think it works really well in the finished episode and it didn’t bother me at all. It helps to further develop Kryten’s hatred of Butler and is also a more convenient way of removing Butler from the story instead of killing him in some pointless way. I like the “Maaaaah” joke, especially when Lister chimes in and gets it right straight away, but like a lot of jokes it does go on for slightly too long.

    Life
    I enjoyed seeing the journey that Kryten goes on throughout this episode. It’s a nice character piece that doesn’t alter or change how we view a beloved character and he ends the episode back where we want him. This would have been a nice episode to go out after Twentica. Twentica ends with Lister’s conversation about mankind becoming dependant on machines whilst Kryten undresses him and cleans his teeth. This episode opens with Rimmer talking about how Kyten’s purpose is to look after Lister and that leads into the Krysis story.

    The Universe
    Oh wow, this seems to have caused quite a bit of controversy! I honestly don’t see what the problem is. To me, speaking to an intelligent universe is no different to the crew speaking to an intelligent virus, or an intelligent toaster. I think it depends on what your interpretation of this scene is, but as nothing is particularly explained properly we’re free to make up our own conclusion as to what the Universe is. The space station took millions of years to calculate the code to speak to the Universe so I imagine that the Universe is speaking through the computer. Who’s to say that this code/computer isn’t just misinterpreting what the Universe is? Who’s to say it’s not just some deranged droid like the Inquisitor who has lived forever and has delusions of grandeur and has taken on the role of ‘the universe’. I honestly don’t care because I found this sequence very fun and interesting. The idea of giving the Universe a mid-life crisis was really funny and something I wish was explored a bit further. How would the Universe’s mid-life crisis have affected the world? This sequence felt very ‘Hitchhikers’ but I also love Hitchhikers so it didn’t bother me at all.

    The voice wasn’t great unfortunately. I can see why they thought spoofing Morgan Freeman’s voice would be a good idea, but nothing compares to Morgan Freeman’s voice and it just made me wish they could have got the real Morgan Freeman to voice it.

    And Everything
    This episode reminds me of a cross between Legion and Kryten but is different enough to not be accused of copying ideas. Twentic was closer to Tikka than this was to Legion. I don’t feel like this episode has done anything to challenge the cannon set out by Red Dwarf’s past. Even the 3000 series could probably be explained away by Butler salvaging spare heads from derelict space stations. The continuity issue with Kryten’s age is no different to Lister’s year of birth, or the number of crew on the ship but, where people accept the continuity issues of the past, people feel the need to complain about them when they’re new. Give it a few years and the smaller details wont be worth nit picking about and people will be able to enjoy the episode for what it is.

    Is it shit or is it good?
    I thought it was very good. I guess the issues a lot of people had about this episode weren’t really issues to me. But the same could be said about last week’s episode, I had issues about that that other people had no problem with. It’s all part of the fun of fandom I suppose. As I stated above, I saw this one filmed live so may play a part in my fondness for this one. The real test is how I feel about it in a year or two’s time.

  33. Late to the party here but that series 3000 thing really annoys me. I know “it’s just a TV show, don’t take it so seriously” replies are what you’ll mostly get when discussing the continuity of Red Dwarf, but there’s something to be said for consistency.

    I’m not of the opinion that the unreality bubble changed Kryten’s database, I think that’s convoluted. The most simplistic explanation for Out of Time is, the unreality was ‘Lister is a mechanoid’ and Kryten deduces it’s a series 3000 based on his realistic appearance, that’s what’s presented on screen and that’s what makes most sense.

    As for Kryten knowing what Gelfs are, yeah he was created nearly 200 years after the accident. In Stasis Leak they go back to 2177 I believe, and Kryten is created in 2340. I like to take a bit from the books to fill this gap in, so in my head, there was a war of some sort in the intervening century and a bit and simulants were created, the war ends and then a decimated human race creates Gelfs to fill jobs and act as occasional furniture.

    And finally, the Nova 3, a hundred years or so before the Nova 5 but the Nova 5 was likely launched in the 25th century. Kryten had already had a crew that died of old age according to Beyond a Joke before joining the Nova 5, so call that a 60 year assignment, puts us at a nice round 2400AD, maybe a few years waiting to be picked up and reassigned and educated guess is that the Nova 5 launched around 2410, and let’s call the Nova 3 2300, that’s a 123 years after the accident which allows the Nova 3 to be a lot more advanced than the Dwarf, which wasn’t anywhere close to new and cutting edge at the time of the accident, maybe 20 years old.

    Don’t know what my point was really, but yeah. I’m annoyed by the lack of continuity and the Universe space station looked a bit pony. Still better than X though.

  34. “Give or take an ice age or two”.

  35. The characters are all over the place this series. Cat’s stupid, then clever, between episodes. It’s like the direction of the character depends on the episode or joke, so none of it feels sincere or real. Lister has barely done anything all series, and when he does, it barely seems like Lister.

  36. A main character meets a superior, alternative version of himself who has achieved so much more from the same starting point.

    The Series IV parallel continues.

  37. If Cat ends up having sex with a waxwork dummy in the next episode then you’ll have the full set.

  38. Red Red Whine

    It was a silly but very amusing sequence. I don’t mind too much when Bobby hams it up a bit as Kryten as it fits the character fairly well, and in this case the story. I liked the new suit too. It’s tacky, but it’s supposed to be. The new shell=sports car symbology was funny.

    I thought Bobby portrayed Kryten having a midlife crisis and going a bit crazy rather well.

    I ‘Ate you Butler

    The 3000 series mechanoids are supposed to look identical to human beings aren’t they? At least they were ccording to Kryten in Series 6. One way to get round this continuity issue is the fact that the whole sequence where Kryten mentions this is in an unreality bubble. The scene where Cat becomes invisible, and then seems to not exist for the other crewmembers, despite physically still being there, suggests that these pocket universes can affect perception as well as reality. Well perception is part of reality right? So the idea that 3000 series mechs looked human could be as much a fabrication of the bubble as Lister actually becoming one.

    I suspect Doug just forgot about the earlier mention of the 3000 series mechs, but I think that explanation works.

    Edit- I see that explanation was already given, much more succinctly by someone else. Sorry I didnt read any other posts before making my own. I wanted to put down my own thoughts while still pretty fresh in my head.

    Anyhow. I found the Butler character amusing. I did wish that he didn’t look quite as similar as Kryten, but thinking about it, it fits the story well, although I think he maybe should have been another 4000 series. Then again, his being an older and presumably less advanced model serves to rub in Krytens lack of achievement even more. He is in a sense a more successful version of Kryten, and an older model at that.* He serves his role really well, and is likeable in his smug unlikeability. Or something. I’m sure you know what I mean. And that gag at the end was great.

    Gelf and Safety
    I wish they would come up with a different design not so similar to the kinitawowi. Arguably, these could be the same species (I believe ‘kinitawowi’ is the name of a gelf tribe rather than a species, and these guys, while a big different are close enough to pass as the same species) but can’t they do something a bit different? They do look good though. Better than the Beggs of last series, certainly. I like that their ships have a kind of organic creature design, which works well for a genetically engineered species.

    It’s nice to see more gelfs anyway. Part of me wishes they had a larger role in the episode, but they did well in further winding up Kryten in highlighting his shortcomings in relation to Butler.

    Life
    I like thought provoking episodes where a character goes through a journey. And if it’s played for laughs too, fair enough. It worked on this score.

    The Universe
    I’m not keen on the universe being an intelligent being in Red Dwarf. But to be fair, we don’t know for sure they were actually talking to the universe. Someone could have hacked the communications system and be having a laugh at their expense although, how and why is not clear. I liked the scene and the comedy though.

    And Everything
    I covered the continuity issues with Butler’s model above. I guess thematically is quite similar to Beyond a Joke, except Kryten meets an older more successful model rather than a less successful ‘brother’ of the same model. I liked Beyond a Joke, and I liked this. It was different enough to deserve it’s place certainly.

    I wondered at Krytens statement of his age. Maybe Red Dwarf wasn’t exactly 3 million years in deep space. Holly was already getting a bit quirky at this point so might not have been fussed with exact figures, or even miscounted. I’m not sure I really buy that though. I’m curious what Doug’s reasoning was in coming up with that figure. Is it an intentional retcon to make Kryten’s creation much further in the future than Lister’s time period, rather than just 100 years or so?

    Is it Smeg, or is it Good?

    I thought it pretty good.

    * As the Nova 3 left a century before the Nova 5** does that mean the 3000 series is a century older tech than the 4000 series? Considering how similar they look and the longevity of these mechanoids, I’d like to think not. Kryten could have been created quite a while before he joined the Nova 5 crew. In fact, I think it’s mentioned in Series 7 that he served on board two ships.

    **I’m which case, how can they be part of the same fleet? I think the word ‘model’, might be more applicable, as I thought fleets where supposed to travel together.

  39. So is the parallel universe of Parallel Universe the female opposite of the Dwarfers’ universe? Who’s eating this chicken?

    Voiced like Morgana Freewoman

  40. Like Kris Carter this one resonated with me as its a place I’ve been the last couple of years for one reason and another. My car is bright orange not red. It took a 2nd viewing to resonate properly as I nodded off part way through;combination of early 50s fatigue together with rum and Coke. Many moons ago I had an article published in the BTL about why I’d stayed so connected and engaged to the programme and that was I was 3 million light years from where I wanted to be and I saw may self to varying degrees in all the main characters including Holly. Kryten is the one I gave come to identify with most. The balance of Krysis was more weighted to sci fi but perhaps needed to be after Officer Rimmer was more comedy weighted. A very satisfying episode and those effects were just gorgeous.

  41. Only seen the episode once at the moment, but what was the catalyst for Kryten’s ‘As long as love exists, creation has meaning’ ephiphany? From memory he just seems to say it’s something he’s been thinking about, however, surely it would’ve been more satisfying to see an event that leads Kryten to this conclusion – traditionally, this type of gesture would be demonstrated by Lister in one form or another.

    Think something along these lines would’ve helped towards a more satisfying, cohesive feeling.

  42. The whole love speech i dunno if it was as inspiring as it was meant to sound, its one of those things you really have to think about.

  43. >however, surely it would’ve been more satisfying to see an event that leads Kryten to this conclusion

    Absolutely. That ending does feel a little unearned. Kryten observes that love exists…but doesn’t seem to express love for anything in the course of the episode (or even observe love in any sense in the episode)…so why does he decide *his* life has meaning? Kryten rediscovering his love for cleaning may not have been quite so profound, but it would be slightly truer to the character.

  44. Well, I think Lister aiding Kryten by tracking down the Nova 3 and all that entailed might have put his mind on that track. I know it didn’t work out how Lister wished, but I’m sure Kryten appreciated the thought and sacrifice that entailed. It was something which came from kindness and love in the purest sense of the word. Not all love is of the romantic variety.

    Granted, it would have been nice if that were made clearer in Kryten’s speech, and I’m not sure if that’s what Doug Naylor intended .

  45. G&T Admin

    You could fill in the gaps by assuming that he’s talking about the platonic love between him and Lister, aspects of which (Lister going out of his way to help Kryten with his crisis, reminders of how Lister broke his programming, Kryten being snapped back into action when Lister’s life was in danger) were reinforced during the episode. But yeah, it might have been nice to make that the explicit intention.

  46. I wondered at Krytens statement of his age. Maybe Red Dwarf wasn’t exactly 3 million years in deep space. Holly was already getting a bit quirky at this point so might not have been fussed with exact figures, or even miscounted. I’m not sure I really buy that though.

    When one considers all of the time that the crew spent in stasis at the start of Series VI, as well as in a few later episodes such as Nanarchy and Krysis, that three million years figure quickly leaps up the centuries. It has been several hundred years since Holly gave his initial figure in The End. More than enough time to account for Kryten still being created in the future while also being three million years old by the time of this episode.

  47. I guess it sails too close to The Last Day, but maybe a scene of Lister choosing Kryten despite Rimmer’s continued insistence that Butler would make for a better robotic colleague, would serve as the clear catalyst for Kryten’s realisation that relationships imbue life with meaning.

  48. Well, yeah. It’s odd to complain that an episode surprised you by heading off in a different direction, but Kryten resolving his issues directly as a consequence of his meeting with Butler would have worked slightly better for me.

    Compare it to the structure of Camille. Kryten has a problem (he’s unable to break his programming). He overcomes that problem directly through meeting Camille, learning morality, the importance of white lies and discovering that breaking his programming actually allows him to grow ‘as a person’.

    Butler’s actions are far more indirect. While it’s fairly amusing that he intended Kryten to meet the Universe as he knew it would resolve his crisis, it’s a slightly wonky way of doing things. Especially since the outcome is Kryten bringing the Universe into the funk and then resolving that crisis (and his own) by an observation he’s supposedly already made.

    I agree with you, Chris; if they’d played up Kryten’s love for Lister, it would have worked better. You can probably assume that’s the purpose of the scene between Lister and Kryten; but I don’t think such an important story beat should have to be assumed.

  49. Maybe if you’d got rid of the GELF scene and instead focussed on the idea that Butler was artistically accomplished but ultimately isolated, whereas Kryten had focussed his efforts on building relationships and tirelessly helping others, thereby fostering love that makes existence meaningful.

  50. >I agree with you, Chris; if they’d played up Kryten’s love for Lister, it would have worked better.

    I was thinking more of Kryten appreciating the love Lister has shown him in this episode (and what Ian said about what Lister has done for him in the past, aiding him in breaking his programming and essentially breaking a life of slavery, is if anything an even greater demonstration of love. Sure , Lister was happy for Kryten to continue serving him, but maybe that was Kryten’s choice. ) But that works too. Love reciprocates.

    Group hug everyone? Oy what’s that poking my lower back? (Trust me to lower the tone…)

    It’s a shame that just a little change or addition to Kryten’s speech could have made things clearer.

    That being said I REALLY like this episode.

  51. Yeah, maybe one earlier line tying into the love thing would have tied things together better, but Kryten’s had a history of spontaneous displays of depth and profundity. Rebuking the Inquisitor, appreciating the romance movie in Holoship, assuring Rimmer in Terrorform that he was part of the crew… Because of what we already know about Kryten as a character, him bringing up love out of nowhere didn’t really bother me.

  52. >however, surely it would’ve been more satisfying to see an event that leads Kryten to this conclusion

    Absolutely. That ending does feel a little unearned. Kryten observes that love exists…but doesn’t seem to express love for anything in the course of the episode (or even observe love in any sense in the episode)…so why does he decide *his* life has meaning? Kryten rediscovering his love for cleaning may not have been quite so profound, but it would be slightly truer to the character.

    Maybe the fact his mates are prepared to go into stasis and find and old nova ship for him, shows him he is loved. Even if Rimmer does suggest replacing him which equally doesnt really go anywhere in the episode. You can make the leaps yourself. But yeah a couple of lines or a directed look even, could have connected such dots in a more pleasing way.

  53. Yeah, maybe one earlier line tying into the love thing would have tied things together better, but Kryten’s had a history of spontaneous displays of depth and profundity. Rebuking the Inquisitor, appreciating the romance movie in Holoship, assuring Rimmer in Terrorform that he was part of the crew… Because of what we already know about Kryten as a character, him bringing up love out of nowhere didn’t really bother me.

    The problem is, those examples occur in episodes where Kryten is Kryten, and are used to impact the stories of other characters – he’s not the primary character the episode is exploring changing (For me, while Kryten gets his profound moments, The Inquisitor is primarily an episode exploring Lister.)

    Krysis explicitly deals with a Kryten who no longer feels like himself – for example, no longer enjoying cleaning at the start – so him just passively reverting back to his old self, with no pivotal scene of realisation, is an unsatisfying story arc and unearned.

  54. It does seem odd that Doug illustrated Butler’s high-points so as to make Kryten seem bad in comparison, but didn’t highlight the “cost” of that before the character is abruptly removed from the episode (I find it very odd that he doesn’t appear onscreen at the end). He is Kryten’s intellectual superior but is so wrapped up in his artistic endeavors that he wants to spend eternity on his own creating them, rather than associating with other people.

    Krysis obviously drew parallels with the episode Kryten, but a big part of that was Kryten being so concerned with caring for his old crew, that he’d created a defence mechanism to not see that they’d long since died. Butler, of course, wouldn’t be so “foolish” and would mock such stupidity were it mentioned. But it would invariably make us like Kryten even more, and remind us of how much more emotionally invested in life he is compared to Butler.

  55. I have a thought about this episode, and that was that it was meeting The Universe that really turned Butler around to make something of himself and exceed his programming far more then Kryten has. It’s my theory that is why Butler wanted Kryten to meet The Universe aswell, I suspect that Butler wanted it to be the enlightening experience for Kryten that it was for him!

  56. It’s a nice thought and makes sense. But if that’s the intention; it needs to be made clear; otherwise it’s just a fan theory.

    I just find that ending weird. The episode is obviously drawing an analogy with school reunions (to the point where Rimmer vocalises it) and the way people compare themselves with their peers. The solution to Kryten’s crisis should be a realisation that he chose “family” over a “career”, unlike Butler who did the opposite.

    I think we get that, but the episode isn’t really interested in the leg-work to arrive at that conclusion.

  57. I still don’t like this episode a great deal, but I have to say, I’m very happy that other people really do. That assures me that it just wasn’t for me rather than it being poor.

  58. It’s a nice thought and makes sense. But if that’s the intention; it needs to be made clear; otherwise it’s just a fan theory.

    Well I think the pieces are there to come to that conclusion, it seems that Butler has known The Universe for sometime and wanted Kryten to meet him. Butler was clearly aware that Kryten was struggling with feeling a lack of self fulfilment. As smug as Butler was, I don’t feel like he really looked down on Kryten as much as it would seem….it felt like he just believed Kryten needed a nudge in the right direction to fulfill his own potential.

    The idea of The Universe being what inspired Butler to exceed his programming is purely speculation on my behalf, but given what we know it does seem to fit perfectly….and would explain why Butler wanted Kryten to meet him so much. It’s upto interpretation but it just makes perfect since with what we saw.

  59. I dunno why people feel butler needed a reason to be how he was, maybe you don’t like the idea of kryten being made to look lesser then him but lets be honest in real life if someone gets into creative works like painting and novel writing we don’t need a reason for what brought them to that place, we don’t need an ace rimmer style backstory for him also to say kryten went one way and he went the other.

    With Kryten i assume Doug is basically saying like the others he is just as flawed compared to what he could have been capable of.

    I do agree that maybe there should have been abit more of a pay off with krytens realization in the end rather then the love speech which didn’t seem to tie into anything.

  60. I never said there needed to be a reason, I just said what it seemed like to me given the way the episode played out. While I might not be the biggest praiser of this episode, I just feel that would fit with the themes of the episode. Butler himself was never an issue for me, I feel where this episode is lacking in the comedy department, a number of moments fell flat for me….and the fact it got far too derivative of Legion at one point.

  61. Just been looking at the website of RDXI and XII’s production designer Julian Fullalove and came across this section on his work for a sitcom pilot for Channel 4 called ‘Space Ark’. The sets will look surprisingly familiar to anyone who’s watched the last 2 episodes of Red Dwarf. http://www.julianfullalove.com/space-ark/

    Please note there are some slightly spoilerish production images for episode 6 in the Red Dwarf section of his site so approach with caution. (Assuming this is ok seeing as they’re already out there from a relatively official source?)

  62. Just been looking at the website of RDXI and XII’s production designer Julian Fullalove and came across this section on his work for a sitcom pilot for Channel 4 called ‘Space Ark’. The sets will look surprisingly familiar to anyone who’s watched the last 2 episodes of Red Dwarf. http://www.julianfullalove.com/space-ark/

    That show is still going ahead? i believe there was a mention of ITV also doing a space comedy that sounded similar to Red Dwarf also.

    BOOOOOOOO!

  63. We’re approaching the end of the series now. Having looked across at what other people have been saying, the general opinion seems to be one of tonal and character inconsistencies, missed story opportunities, and rushed/sudden endings.

    Things that are normally found, or worked upon during the writing stage by a script editor.

    So, I guess my point is that maybe having fans serve as script editors makes them too close to the material? Might be time to get someone new in. With a bit of detachment, to cut through clearly to what will make the show really the best it can be.

  64. Character inconsistencies haven’t bothered me, as they are part of the show’s past really. The characters are all fairly flexible.
    However, I think every episode could do with a bit of a clean up, sometimes just by adding in a line or two. Most of the plots seem about 95% perfect but they just sag in one way or another, often leaving some element for people to decide themselves when a single line could have explained the matter without being patronising.

  65. Officer Rimmer/Nova 3 corridors and the Karma Drive…..damn quite a bit of recycling there!

  66. Just been looking at the website of RDXI and XII’s production designer Julian Fullalove and came across this section on his work for a sitcom pilot for Channel 4 called ‘Space Ark’. The sets will look surprisingly familiar to anyone who’s watched the last 2 episodes of Red Dwarf. http://www.julianfullalove.com/space-ark/

    That show is still going ahead? i believe there was a mention of ITV also doing a space comedy that sounded similar to Red Dwarf also.
    BOOOOOOOO!

    No, not as far as I know. That pilot was made in Jan 2015, so I’m guessing the sets were taken out of storage and recycled for Red Dwarf. I don’t suppose they’d have been able to use them if they’d thought there was any chance of the series being commissioned.

  67. Officer Rimmer/Nova 3 corridors and the Karma Drive…..damn quite a bit of recycling there!

    Ha! Didn’t notice that was the karma drive there too.

  68. Excellent budgetry savings in that. I’m always impressed at how much stuff the RD designers have been able to scrimp and scrounge over the years. It’d be a lesser show without it.

  69. A script editor who challenged Doug to remain focussed on each episode’s central theme and reign in his tendency to explore too many ideas – regardless of whether he’s thought of a funny gag for said ideas – would be fantastic.

  70. Red Red Whine
    I’m not going to lie, I really liked the new suit segment. It really didn’t even feel all that series VIIIish to me. If that had been attempted in VIII, it would have been overplayed and milked to death but here the tone was pitched just right and didn’t outstay it’s welcome. And Cat dancing with Kryten was such a funny little moment to me, as was the spinning body! Could have done without the race car sound effects, though.

    I ‘ate you, Butler?
    As many have said, terrific guest star. Never seen the chap in any other role so I could fully enjoy the character. Maybe treads on Legion’s toes a bit but it was interesting to see what Kryten could so easily have been if he’d focussed his efforts like Butler. After all, we’ve seen in ‘Kryten’ that the guy knows his way around an easel.

    GELF and Safety
    Bit disappointing. I was expecting lot more when we were teased these ships beforehand. I really liked the GELFs in VI and VII so an episode more devoted to their encounter with them would have been preferable. Still, as a way to get Butler off the ship I guess it worked well enough. I can just about believe that based on their relationship, Butler would be friendly with them. Lister and his wife prove that they aren’t necessarily against mixing with other races.

    Life
    Yeah, Kryten’s jealousy was played well here. Generally, I think I’m one of the more forgiving Red Dwarf fans out there and the squeaky Kryten didn’t bother me as much as he did a lot of people (on a particularly good day I even find him a little bit funny. Maybe.) but if he’d gone for that tone here it would severely have taken away from the lovely character work on display.

    The Universe
    I’d personally prefer to believe it’s a man made simulation of the universe. That’s pretty much the only way I can accept them walking away without asking some very important questions relating to the premise of the show. This is probably my main gripe with the episode. It takes a lot of work to try and explain away why they wouldn’t try and find out the status of the human race or even at a pinch, Kochanski. Speaking of which, when Lister regaled Kryten about his own midlife crisis, I was half expecting a reference to Kochanski there.

    And Everything
    I’m willing to overlook chronological inconsistencies here. It’d be hypocritical to complain about this one and be ok with other times the show has done this, up to and including which century Lister is born in. As for the series 3000 looking like a 4000. I’m totally happy to go with the unreality bubble theory!

    Is it shit or is it good?
    I was expecting a Dear Dave. Instead I got something really really good. Maybe my 2nd or 3rd favourite so far?

  71. As many have said, terrific guest star. Never seen the chap in any other role

    I almost guarantee you have…

    Most recently he had the Brian Wilde role in the new Porridge pilot and he was very good in the ensemble of Upstart Crow. He’s getting bigger roles these days (he’s one of the main leads in Trollied currently), but he’s been Bloke Who Appears In Things for about 20 years now, and I’ve always had a soft spot for him.

  72. Dominic Coleman will always be ‘Burger King Manager’ to me.

  73. when Lister regaled Kryten about his own midlife crisis, I was half expecting a reference to Kochanski there.

    I thought he was going to reference Back To Earth, as if the whole thing had been his midlife crisis.

  74. A script editor who challenged Doug to remain focussed on each episode’s central theme and reign in his tendency to explore too many ideas – regardless of whether he’s thought of a funny gag for said ideas – would be fantastic.

    Yeah probably would help.

  75. >I thought he was going to reference Back To Earth, as if the whole thing had been his midlife crisis.

    I think that was the show’s, too.

  76. I loved the Kinitawawi pronounciation scene. (It brought to mind General Melchett in Blackadder!) It’s probably the broadest bit of comedy in the series so far (except maybe the skeletons in Samsara), and it was also the bit that most had me laughing out loud. One of those cases of a joke starting out funny, then becoming funnier thanks to the length of time it goes on.

    When Rimmer picked up the handset to talk to the universe, I assumed it was going to lead to him immediately screwing up the conversation. So it was a nice surprise that the “driving the Samaritan caller to suicide” moment ended up being caused by Kryten instead! That, for me was enough to make the scene worthwhile, despite its more dubious elements (the similarity to Futurama’s “Godfellas” and HItchhiker’s Deep Thought, the Morgan Freeman voice, and the surprisingly earnest comments about love).

    My current series XI episode ranking:

    1. Give & Take
    2. Officer Rimmer
    3. Krysis
    4. Twentica
    5. Samsara

    @Renegade Rob:

    IS IT SHIT OR IS IT GOOD? – It’s not shit. And it’s better than good. For my money, this episode is fucking brilliant.

    I don’t have much to add to this, but it was a lovely post. It’s nice to know that someone liked the episode this much!

    @tennorman:

    We’re approaching the end of the series now. Having looked across at what other people have been saying, the general opinion seems to be one of tonal and character inconsistencies, missed story opportunities, and rushed/sudden endings.

    Things that are normally found, or worked upon during the writing stage by a script editor.

    So, I guess my point is that maybe having fans serve as script editors makes them too close to the material? Might be time to get someone new in. With a bit of detachment, to cut through clearly to what will make the show really the best it can be.

    I’m aware that critiquing a finished product must be very different from giving notes on a work in progress, but Andrew Ellard is so good at using his Tweetnotes to point out jarring elements of films and TV episodes, that it’s surprising that so many people’s problems with XI’s episodes have involved phrases like “easily fixable”. I think by this point in the series, everyone commenting on this site has made at least one suggestion for things that in retrospect seem obvious improvements: how to make certain plot elements flow together more naturally, or how to to give an episode (well, two episodes in particular) a stronger punchline.

  77. “I think by this point in the series, everyone commenting on this site has made at least one suggestion for things that in retrospect seem obvious improvements”

    I’m really, really, really enjoying the overall constructive attitude here during this series. Granted, I like XI pretty strongly so far, so it’s not like I’m complaining, but seeing so many folks here taking good ideas and making them better has brought me as much joy as the episodes have.

  78. Is it likely that, providing the scripts are written far enough in advance, that writer/producer/director Doug Naylor *might* be a teeny bit of a megalomaniac, and not open to advice?
    Possibly?

  79. Oh, there’s ANOTHER thread in which people are making unfounded assumptions about how the script editing process on the show works. Yay!

  80. So, I guess my point is that maybe having fans serve as script editors makes them too close to the material? Might be time to get someone new in. With a bit of detachment, to cut through clearly to what will make the show really the best it can be.

    And this, I just find baffling. So you’d rather have someone working on the show who doesn’t like it? Would that really work any better? Shall we extend it to other parts of the show? Ed Moore is a big fan, but presumably a DOP who didn’t like the show would be able to light it even better.

    On the one hand, you’ve got people saying that Doug needs a script editor who will know the show well enough to point out continuity problems. On the other, people are saying a “fan” is too close to the material. Well, which is it?

    I don’t really want to get into this much further, but I will just say that if you think Andrew’s job just involves sitting there going “That’s great! Doesn’t need any work!” then you’re doing everyone involved a massive disservice.

  81. >Oh, there’s ANOTHER thread in which people are making unfounded assumptions about how the script editing process on the show works. Yay!

    You should have been here when there were all those threads discussing the relative merits of series VII & VIII.
    Speculating about the editing process is clearly something that Krysis has brought out in people. And – let’s be fair – these are both Krysis based threads. There’s bound to be some crossover.
    I don’t think most people are furious or suggesting anyone’s done a bad job, just having fun speculating. It’s better than talking about the weather, isn’t it!
    The Passion of the Krysis.

  82. G&T Admin

    Yes, it’s all fun and games, but when people start talking about specific people and start speculating as to how good or bad they are at their job, that makes me somewhat uncomfortable if that speculation is based on nothing more than a bunch of assumptions. There’s a difference between saying “here’s how I’d have done it” or “this bit could be improved”, and saying “this person needs to lose their job”. I’ve probably been guilty of it in the past, but being on the receiving end myself has given me a slightly different perspective. It doesn’t matter how much you tell yourself that those people on the internet are talking complete shit and that they don’t know you or your job at all – it still hurts.

  83. I think it’s just the fact that some elements people are talking about seem so glaringly obvious, that questioning the script editor seems the obvious thing. Much like people questioning Doug’s direction on X and whether he should have been the one to do it.

    Consider this:
    Rimmer: Wait a minute, if Lister had no kidneys when he boarded the station, whose were those in the jar we shot?
    Kryten: Best guess, Asclepius bio-synthesised some to replace the ones we took.
    Rimmer starts to grin, smugly.
    Lister: So the only reason I had no kidneys was because we stole them, so we could replace them? Is that what you’re telling me, Krytes?
    Kryten: [sheepishly] Anyway, I should get back to work, there’s a curry stain on G deck that needs wiping up.
    Lister: Come back here, Kryten. Get back here!
    Kryten runs out. Lister runs after him. Rimmer and Cat look at each other and laugh.

    & this:

    Kryten: Over the last couple of days, I’ve had time to think. I realised meaning in life isn’t about composing symphonies and painting landscapes for nobody to appreciate. It’s about having a positive effect on the lives of those around you. It’s about making sacrifices to help out your friends when they’re in trouble.

    I have no idea why, between them, Doug and Andrew decided not to include little bits of dialogue like that which would tie up holes in the plot, but to someone outside the whole process, they certainly seem like things I’d imagine a script editor would be expected to pick up on. Maybe Andrew did and Doug decided to leave them out so people like us could have some daft stuff to speculate about. Maybe they’ll turn up in the game somehow. But surely it’s also a possibility that, for some reason or other, both of them missed that these bits might seem a bit unsatisfying, especially on close or repeated viewing. In which case, people then have to wonder why they missed them…

    It’s all just harmless speculation really. Nobody’s calling Andrew a cunt.

  84. G&T Admin

    To clarify:

    Criticising the final product = fine.
    Making suggestions for improvements = fine.
    Calling for someone to lose their job based on guesses you’ve made about what they do = not fine.

  85. There are defo flaws in the scripts that could be ironed out pretty easy, thats the glaring thing about it.

  86. I have no idea why, between them, Doug and Andrew decided not to include little bits of dialogue like that which would tie up holes in the plot

    … because in both cases, they don’t actually add anything to the episode aside from needless over-elaboration?

  87. (And while that may sound harsh, this is sort of my point: what works as a fix for some people, could actually make the episode worse for others. Especially those who think it was fine as it was.)

  88. I wouldn’t agree that that’s the case, given the reactions on here and Twitter, and that Doug had to talk in an interview about the kidneys. I love the kind of discussion that goes on around here, and some of the interesting snippets Doug gives on Twitter, but I don’t think they should be integral to enjoying the show. But it seems for Give & Take in particular that was absolutely the case. Which I’d say is maybe a flaw in the script editing process.

    Thus I think Andrew and Doug should both be sacked from Red Dwarf and never be permitted employment, anywhere, ever again, ever.

  89. Just been looking at the website of RDXI and XII’s production designer Julian Fullalove and came across this section on his work for a sitcom pilot for Channel 4 called ‘Space Ark’. The sets will look surprisingly familiar to anyone who’s watched the last 2 episodes of Red Dwarf. http://www.julianfullalove.com/space-ark/

    I preferred ‘The Ark in Space’.

  90. Thing about the kidneys in the jar is that they did not need to be there since it would have been a bigger surprise for the audience once they got back to the dwarf and it was revealed by Kryten that lister no longer had any kidneys.

    Instead we just get a shot of some kidneys in a jar which was probably there to help mislead the audience but all it did was make people think there was a plot hole and question why there was any focus on it.

  91. To be honest, the little detail I find mind the most irritating is in the episode synopsis – Kryten never considers leaving his aging crewmates and trading them in for a younger crew. The only person who even comes close to mentioning this idea is Cat in a throwaway line.

  92. Series XI as a whole seems to have some narrative rough edges and loose ends, and as understandably frustrating as those can be given that most are likely easily fixable, the reason they don’t bother me is because they’re largely symptomatic of XI’s increased ambition. The kidney thing is obviously a loose end but it springs out of a genuinely fun sci-fi plot. Kryten’s love monologue came out of nowhere but it was in service of Kryten’s character growth during an encounter with a (possibly artificial) manifestation of the universe itself. Has this run of episodes been littered with some wonky pacing and niggling narrative gaps and needless flaws? Technically, sure. But a lot of the problems for me this series fall into either “Wow, those quality gags are packed too close together and needed more time to breathe,” or “That cool idea could have been even cooler with a minor adjustment.” And relatively speaking, those are very good problems to have.

  93. I think it’s interesting that the same people who complain about jokes being over-explained in, say, VII, VIII, BTE and X are now complaining that plot elements that can be easily inferred through context aren’t being elaborated upon enough.

  94. I think it’s interesting that the same people who complain about jokes being over-explained in, say, VII, VIII, BTE and X are now complaining that plot elements that can be easily inferred through context aren’t being elaborated upon enough.

    I wouldn’t know who falls into either category, but it’s perfectly feasible to think that one story has elements that are over explained, while another fails to make elements clear.

    I’m all for show don’t tell, so I’m immediately wary of claims to improve episodes by adding a line of exposition (which would more than likely devolve into spoon-feeding.) For example, this series’ “Best guess,” speeches have felt like an overused and at times needless, plot explaining device (Why did Kryten have to accurately guess the affair story in Samsara?)

    At the same time, not witnessing the protagonist reaching the moment of transformation within his story arc, but rather simply being told it happened ‘earlier,’ off screen – “I’ve been thinking…” – is a curious choice; you’re essentially losing a pivotal, impactful scene that the whole episode should pivot around. Just because we can ‘fill in the blanks’ via headcannon, doesn’t make it any less of a missed opportunity.

  95. In my head-canon, after the crew leave the space station we see Butler step out from behind a pillar holding a microphone and he says one or two words into it which are repeated in the universes voice.

  96. I think it’s interesting that the same people who complain about jokes being over-explained in, say, VII, VIII, BTE and X are now complaining that plot elements that can be easily inferred through context aren’t being elaborated upon enough.

    I don’t think this is a fair comparison though. An overdone joke can ruin the humour, but a plot with holes that a lot of people aren’t inferring (again, lots of confusion here and Twitter, Doug having to bring it up in an interview) can ruin the story. I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive.

  97. In my head-canon, after the crew leave the space station we see Butler step out from behind a pillar holding a microphone and he says one or two words into it which are repeated in the universes voice.

    Mine too!

  98. >An overdone joke can ruin the humour, but a plot with holes that a lot of people aren’t inferring (again, lots of confusion here and Twitter, Doug having to bring it up in an interview) can ruin the story.

    You haven’t given an example of a plothole “ruining the story”.

    The Kidneys thing isn’t a plothole, it’s a twist. You assumed something (they were Lister’s kidneys) because that was Doug’s intention. If they’d been labelled “Lister’s kidneys”, that would be a cheat, sure. But they weren’t. And I don’t see why we need an explanation shoe-horned in which serves no purpose other that to bring the episode to a juddering halt.

    Butler being a Series 3000 doesn’t ruin Krysis at all. A small element contradicts a couple of lines in Out of Joke and Beyond a Joke. So? DNA contradicts The End. Justice contradicts The End. Legion contradicts Thanks For The Memory. Tikka to Ride contradicts Out of Time. The events of Stasis Leak never happened. You’re watching the wrong show if you’re that fussed about continuity, because it’s never been particularly important to the writers . The episode they’re writing is the important thing; not the one that was written 20 years ago.

    I will give this show an absolute kicking when it comes to character consistency or a tone that seems to betray its roots. I’ll call out a plothole that happens within an episode, or one that creates a huge problem in the characterisation of the central four. But minor plotholes from episode to episode? It’s not worth the effort, guy.

    Here; knock yourself out: http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~doccy/pip.html

  99. The Kidneys thing isn’t a plothole, it’s a twist.

    I can see this from both sides. It’s a twist, but it’s a twist that isn’t fully explained, so it creates an ambiguity which means some people will feel that it’s a plot hole.

    An explained twist would have been “aaah, those weren’t Lister’s kidneys after all, they were….[insert explanation here]”

    An unexplained twist is “aaah, you should probably assume that those weren’t Lister’s kidneys after all, even though I’m not telling you what they were”.

  100. You haven’t given an example of a plothole “ruining the story”.

    Maybe the terminology was a bit strong, but again I point to the fact that a hell of a lot of people have been confused by it, judging by the reactions here and on Twitter. I wasn’t fussed by it (my initial thought was actually ‘redundant timeline’), but I think the episode would have been tighter if it had been at least vaguely explained. I even suggested a way it could be used as a joke. Either way, a number of people came away from the episode at least vaguely dissatisfied, to the extent that Doug felt the need to expand on it in an interview. That suggests to me that the story could have been tightened up.

    I’m not sure where you got the idea I was bothered about the Series 3000 thing. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest, given that Kryten was previously called a Series III. However, again, I think an extra line or two in his ‘love’ speech would have emphasised the fact that he made the realisation due to the actions of the others. I don’t want a clunky five minute exposition scene, but a writer of Doug’s experience must surely be able to throw in a line or two which just rounds things out more and makes them clear.

    I’ll put it another way: can anyone think of any examples of the first six series containing plot elements that people get routinely confused by and need extra-curricular consideration to make sense of? I might be forgetting something, but I’m sure everything is explained away in a manner which never halts the pace of the show. Why can’t that be done now?

  101. The Kidneys thing isn’t a plothole, it’s a twist.

    I can see this from both sides. It’s a twist, but it’s a twist that isn’t fully explained, so it creates an ambiguity which means some people will feel that it’s a plot hole.
    An explained twist would have been “aaah, those weren’t Lister’s kidneys after all, they were….[insert explanation here]”
    An unexplained twist is “aaah, you should probably assume that those weren’t Lister’s kidneys after all, even though I’m not telling you what they were”.

    The kidneys are pure misdirection – the audience are led to assume things from the cinematic language (the establishing shot of the suspended organs and the lingering image of the destroyed jar) and the similar assumptions made by the characters, but that’s all they are, assumptions. It could perhaps have been handled in a slightly different, perhaps clearer way, but they’re *only* a ‘plot hole’ if we consider assumptions to be cannon.

  102. I’ll put it another way: can anyone think of any examples of the first six series containing plot elements that people get routinely confused by and need extra-curricular consideration to make sense of?

    Lister’s appendix? Lister and Kochanski having never dated, and then later on it’s stated that they had? Kryten leaving on Lister’s spacebike having broken his programming, then returning as part of the crew without explanation, with his old programming?

  103. Addendum: within a single episode. Series-wide continuity is separate issue. Although given that Lister attempted to repair Kryten, I’d say that one’s accounted for.

    The one series continuity issue I don’t really see brought up is probably the most glaring for me as it’s effectively two scenes in a row. The last line of III is Kryten saying “I knew I was lying”; the opening of IV is Lister trying to teach Kryten to lie.

  104. The kidneys are pure misdirection – the audience are led to assume things from the cinematic language (the establishing shot of the suspended organs and the lingering image of the destroyed jar) and the similar assumptions made by the characters, but that’s all they are, assumptions. It could perhaps have been handled in a slightly different, perhaps clearer way, but they’re *only* a ‘plot hole’ if we consider assumptions to be cannon.

    Yes, but if you encourage an audience to make those assumptions, and then later introduce a scenario that violates those assumptions, it’s helpful to offer an alternative explanation – otherwise people are just as likely to assume a plothole as they are to come up with an alternative explanation themselves.

  105. The last line of III is Kryten saying “I knew I was lying”; the opening of IV is Lister trying to teach Kryten to lie.

    Then Camille ends with “I can lie, cheat and be offensive now.” But Kryten is still having a bit of trouble with his lie mode in Give & Take, 25 years later. Shocking. Never watching again.

  106. Confession: I didn’t even notice they were kidneys. I just thought they were artfully exploding set dressing and didn’t clock it as plot relevant.

    Yet here we are, on day 21 of ‘People Keep Saying The Word Kidneys And I’m Powerless To Stop Them’.

  107. Re this kidney thing.
    Operating space theatres and the like probably have medical accoutrements in them. Specimens, even. Kidneys could have been chosen to encourage the viewer to think “My goodness me. That Asclepius fellow is looking to remove the Liverpudlian’s kidneys and no mistake! He’d better scarper!”
    Or they could have been Lister and Cat’s kidneys in a jar which as Jo pointed out the next day would have been medically inaccurate.
    Or they could have been testicles.
    Or a Koala bear’s lungs.
    Or some weird-ass eyes.
    I hope nobody really cares.

  108. I think any plot hole or narrative gap in this series, nay ALL the series, can be easily solved by a simple explanation: (the) Butler did it. That smug, overachieving bastard already has the universe on speed-dial, so it’s not a leap to guess he has time-travel capabilities as well and goes around out-doing Kryten by tidying up time and space of paradoxes, just because. Where did the kidneys come from? Butler did it. How did the Twentica timeline restore itself to the status quo after the Dwarfers left? Butler did it. That time they used up a whole bog roll in one day… That was Butler, too.

  109. The one series continuity issue I don’t really see brought up is probably the most glaring for me as it’s effectively two scenes in a row. The last line of III is Kryten saying “I knew I was lying”; the opening of IV is Lister trying to teach Kryten to lie.

    Droids can lie to other droids. They can’t lie to humans. EASY.

  110. The end of The Last Day was an unreality bubble.

  111. Seb’s solution makes sense, but SoundableObject’s is somehow more convincing.

  112. Something I’ve been wondering about Krysis for a while: was Robert in the Ferrari Red costume on the night of the recording, and if so how was that handled – was it kept a secret from the audience until the first scene with him wearing it?

  113. It sounds like it comes as a massive surprise to the studio audience as there’s a smattering of applause. The G&T set reports on Krysis are very interesting in retrospect.

  114. this morning i was reading about how terrible brexit is and thinking ‘this is great, those brxiteers are going to look so stupid…’

  115. the solution to the lying problem is that when he said he was lying he was actually lying so he was telling the truth

  116. The G&T set reports on Krysis are very interesting in retrospect.

    Which is great, because they were boring as fuck at the time. ;)

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