Red Dwarf XII: Bluray/DVD Review

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a new record. Series XII was released on shiny disc just four days after the last episode was broadcast on TV, which in any normal circumstances would make you worry that the release would be a rush job. But due to the back-to-back filming of both the last two series and their accompanying behind-the-scenes shoots, the lead time on this package is the longest they’ve ever had.

The Series XI release set the bar pretty low for its counterpart. While the extras it featured maintained the levels of quality and entertainment value we’ve come to expect, it fell short of telling as comprehensive a story as any of its predecessors, and the significantly lower than average running time left us feeling a little short-changed.

Will the Series XII release seek to address those shortcomings, or are we in for more of the same? Let’s rip open the (sadly stickerless) cellophane and find out.

The Packaging

Just the two versions to collect this time: DVD and a standard Bluray, without the steelbook option like the last two releases. Presumably this is because the Series XIII episode titles aren’t available yet. I remain surprised that they chose the Everyone’s Kryten photo for the cover. It may have been the first image released, but more traditional shots were also in use, so I’d have expected something that covered the whole series rather than just one episode. As with the last release, the overall hue is very dark, so at least the brightness of the masks helps it to stand out.

Unlike the last release, however, there’s much more consistency in the layout and font choices across the two formats, with the only major differences being caused by the differing sizes of the boxes – the episode titles on the back being given a line each on the DVD, but listed in two batches of three on the Bluray, for example. It’s a small thing, but the consistency across the board does a lot to reassure me that more care and attention has been paid this time around.

That is until you flip the DVD cover to find that the alternative side contains several twitch-inducing deviations from the classic template. The same photo is used and all four characters are included, when really it should just be Lister and Rimmer. Norman’s Holly is the character on the spine, which means we’ve got a repeat for the first time in eleven designs. Worst of all, the bloody font on the blurb is wrong. It was fine last time, but not now, when all you have to do is hold it next to any of the old DVDs to spot the difference. Strictly speaking, the photo on the back shouldn’t have a border around it, the credits for the cast and Doug should be on the left, and the paint splodges on Lister’s sleeve shouldn’t be red.

It’s a shame that the colour is so similar to the last one, but it’s hard to avoid when the look is so consistent across the two series, and the Science Room has at least been give a more purple tint to help differentiate them on closer inspection. The silver elements have been given a nice drop shadow to help them stand out better than they did on XI, and at least the list of extras is substantial enough to fill the space this time.

The Discs

While it would have been a safe bet to assume that the disc design would match that of XI, but be purple instead of blue, instead it simply mirrors the cover, using that same picture once again on both discs. I miss the days when there’d be a different photo on each disc; the only thing that sets them apart is the tiny little text detailing the disc number. In another change from XI, Disc Two is simply labelled “Extras”, rather than detailing them all individually – another small way in which the first impression is improved, emphasising the fact that the contents are too numerous to list.

The Menus

But stick those discs in your slot and you’ll note that not much has changed since last year at all – the template for the menus is absolutely identical, with the same space graphics, the same wobbly Starbug shot, the same animation for the logo, the same close-ups of Red Dwarf for the buttons, and the title sequence once more playing on a loop. Even the sound effect when the numeral is added to the logo is the Series XI static burst instead of the Series XII taps and swishes.

Back in what I find myself increasingly referring to as the “classic” era, we accepted that the same basic menu design was often applied to two consecutive releases, so this isn’t a complaint as such – I certainly wasn’t expecting anything new this time around. But the difference is that the old menus were so good that you didn’t mind seeing them again, and they were detailed enough that they could be customised for each series pretty effectively just by swapping out some of the props and textures. It’s not that duplicating the menus is a problem, it’s just that it stands out more when said menus are a bit crap.

Interestingly, there’s a couple of extra clips appended to the title sequence that loops through – bonus glimpses of Rimmer running down a corridor, Ziggy doing a face, and Catbot ironing, inserted before the nuclear explosion, and then a shot of a one-thrustered Starbug at the end.

The Episodes

Again, it’s that weird thing that, for us, these episodes are still fresh off the shelves, even though in reality they’ve been on those shelves for about a year and a half. I’ve still got two copies of each episode on my Sky box, but the image quality of the Bluray means that this is the version I’ll be turning to as I begin to soak the episodes in and revisit my opinions, which currently stand at GOOD, MOSTLY GOOD, ABSOLUTELY DREADFUL, MOSTLY GREAT, GREAT, GREAT. I think that’s above average overall.

Once again, there are only four chapter points per episode, and they’re not listed with amusing titles anywhere. And as we’ve come to expect from the Dave era, the ad breaks have been edited out, and the two parts of each broadcast episode smushed together. In most cases, this is fairly smooth and seamless, as the breaks usually came between two distinct scenes. The Skipper one is much more interesting, but I’ll leave the analysis for m’colleague John Hoare to cover in the near future.

What’s also interesting about Skipper is that the title sequence on the discs is very slightly different to the broadcast version. The shot of Starbug flying over a moon (you know, the one that doesn’t appear in any of the episodes) is replaced by a shot of it riding the time wave in Timewave. Is this an earlier draft of the sequence, and if so how did it end up here, and why is it only one episode that’s affected? Bagsy not me lining up the UKTV Play, Dave and Bluray/DVD versions of each episode to look for further changes. But on that note, the episodes all end with the old style endboard, without the new UKTV Originals branding that adorned the broadcast and the initial Play versions.

So the story so far is that things are mostly the same as last time, but with a few of the details polished where possible. But barely any of the above is actually important – let’s face it, from 2002 until now, the only real metric by which we judge a Red Dwarf release is the quantity and quality of the extras. It’s time for Disc Two.

The 28 Years Later Affair

First of all, while that’s not the most concise and elegant of titles, I’m grateful that the main behind-the-scenes feature at least has a title this time, instantly creating the impression that it belongs in the same bracket as the majority of its predecessors. It doesn’t, of course – like Series XI, it deals with the episodes in recording order rather than broadcast order, and the running time is still under an hour. It also suffers from a few of the same pacing issues, with some episodes given much more coverage than others.

However, it soon becomes apparent that the focus of the documentary is very different to its predecessor, with much more attention given to the smaller details of the scripts and storylines, as many of the broader production particulars remain as they were for XI. The more techy aspects are still covered, but it’s more of a flavour this time, whereby one or two examples of elements such as make-up, prosthetics, digital effects and lighting are showcased, as examples of each department’s work on the series. As we’ll come to, the other features on this disc are there to fill in the gaps, and as such T28YLA manages to cover for the lack of commentaries, which we’ll also come to, far more successfully than the Series XI doc.

It’s clear that there was a lot of depth to the cast interviews, which alternate between deep philosophical musings about the nature of the characters and the political angles to episodes like Siliconia and Mechocracy, to detailed dissections of tiny moments such as the Cat being pinned to a wall by his neck, or the difficulties that resulted from Mr Rat’s eyes being situated on the top of Danny’s head. How lovely too to see the likes of David Ross (at the BBC Lancashire studios in Blackburn), Norman Lovett (with his sprayed-on hair looking much better in the doc than it did in the episode) and Mac McDonald (aka Winston Churchill) pop by to say hello.

Plenty of brand new guest stars feature too, and the overriding theme is that they were all really chuffed to be there, particularly long term fans like Ryan Gage, Johnny Vegas and Ian Boldsworth. It was particularly heartwarming to see the love reciprocated for the latter, with Chris describing Ian/Ray as the best warm-up guy the show’s ever had. The only notable omission is James Buckley, although I can’t be sure I’d have noticed if I hadn’t read a comment pointing it out. One of his fellow mechanoids, Laura Checkley, is perhaps my favourite guest interviewee, simply because she appears with her mask on, and the combination of that visual and her endearing enthusiasm for the role makes for an amusingly bizarre spectacle.

Documentary stalwart Doug is on particularly good form, and with no major behind-the-scenes headaches to recount, he instead takes the opportunity to open up about his motivation and inspiration for certain ideas. I certainly empathise with his jealousy of people with normal jobs, if not his desire to become a dog, and was greatly amused by him describing himself as a supplier of “the good shit” when it comes to people who seem to love criticising his work. On that note, there’s a possible attempt to head off any potential criticism about Cat killing Telford being out of character, although that turned out to be much smaller than some of the other debates this series generated, which shows it’s not always easy to predict how fans will react. Doug also provides the funniest line of the documentary: “If Hitler were reincarnated somehow, there’s no way he’d be able to be a recording star.”

As well as the interviews, the main feature is of course the little glimpses of life in the studio, with Nathan Cubitt’s monopod on hand to capture every intimate detail. It’s great to see the cast working through the grenade joke on the set of Cured, witnessing the spark of the idea, the improvisation and the refinement. Danny’s mechanoid dance was a comedic highlight, along with Craig corpsing every time Mr Rat did anything, and the fact that Steve Coogan is clearly visible on the set of Red Dwarf at one point, but everyone’s much more interested in John Pomphrey. There’s even a back-reference to a previously unearthed intimate moment – the M-Corp section starts with Danny quoting his 1988 self complaining about how he should be the one to do a “comedy spray”. Possibly the nerdiest in-joke ever to be committed to shiny disc.

Many of the big behind-the-scenes revelations, such as how Norman’s return came about, and how the cast drove Doug to write The One Where Everyone’s Kryten, have already come to light since the interviews we recorded, but there’s still much to be gleaned from the doc. We learn that Craig is to blame for the Mechanoid Liberation Front acronym gaining an I, that Robert was ill with a “leaking cock” during the filming of Timewave, and that the ending to M-Corp wasn’t recorded on the night because there wasn’t time for Craig to change into his retro costume. Most substantially, the ending to Cured could have been very different, as it was originally intended that Professor Telford was Hitler in disguise all along. This really is a cracking documentary, and my only complaint this time round is that I still want more of it.

It ends on a self-reflective note, with cast and crew wondering if recording twelve episodes in a row was a good idea or not. The consensus is that it probably was, as making Red Dwarf is knackering anyway, and they’d really got into their stride by the end. When you consider that the final three episodes of XII are perhaps the strongest of the twelve, that makes sense. Interestingly, Doug and Richard both seem adamant that any future series would benefit from having an extra week dedicated to rehearsals between each recording session. Slowly but surely, the process of making Red Dwarf is continually being tweaked in pursuit of perfection, and once again the prospect of further episodes is being talked about with a decent amount of certainty.

Deleted Scenes

So while the documentary has made great strides in making up for the disappointments of the Series XI release, sadly the deleted scenes are still not up to scratch. The duration is a measly eight minutes, only eleven individual moments feature, and once again we’re lacking any captions or commentary for context. In fact, the scenes all run into one another, making it feel like a compilation instead of a complete collection. Perhaps there simply wasn’t very much footage removed from XII – which would tally with the short running time of several episodes – but given that there were deleted scenes from XI that never saw the light of day, there’s no way of knowing, and the presentation of this package doesn’t help.

Indeed, a couple of the moments featured aren’t really deleted scenes at all, but are instead storyboard versions of effects sequences, put together with commentary from a cast member to fill in the gaps for the audience. This is not a complaint, as it’s great to see these temporary fixes preserved for posterity. Many of the excised snippets are brief, particularly the one from Mechocracy, which is strangely inserted between the Cured and Siliconia sections. The most substantial cuts are the pair of criticism addicts from Timewave, who weren’t brilliant but equally not the first thing I’d cut from that episode, and the extended entrance for Mr Rat, which is hilarious in itself, but a well-judged edit, as the version in the final episode has so much impact.

Plus, of course, the original ending to Siliconia, in which Lister, Cat and Rimmer perform Baby, Don’t Be Ovulatin’ Tonight. This really is quite something, although I’m not sure what. The song has been retconned as an original Lister composition, and following on from his success with The Indling Song, it mostly consists of verbs that rhyme with the one in the title. I’m not sure how I’d feel if this was part of an actual episode, but as an isolated scene it’s pretty funny, thanks to the technical quality of Danny’s harmony part, and the comedic quality of Chris’s.

Smeg Ups

Ah, now despite the similar running time, this one is an improvement on last year. The snappy editing has been dialled back a notch, allowing for a lot more breathing space to savour and enjoy each fluff. Highlights include Robert/Kryten suddenly noticing the absence of a camera, a montage of prop-based clangers including Craig as Captain Lister failing to pick up a burger, and Chris accidentally going Geordie. A more old-fashioned comedy accent is adopted by Craig and Robert when the latter accidentally says “Mr Limmer”, but let’s not go into that. This feature also manages to clear up one of the few remaining mysteries from this production block – the source of that Series XI publicity shot of Cat and Lister both laughing on the sofa. It was, of course, taken during a Smeg Up that happened in a different series.

The Speed of Dark: Lighting Red Dwarf

So now we move on to these extra behind-the-scenes features, which we knew nothing about until a couple of weeks ago. Very little fanfare has been given for them, and they’re very much there for the hardcore fans. First up is a very thorough look at how Series XII was lit, including how much DoP Ed Moore likes to tit about whenever the behind-the-scenes camera is nearby. Ed talks us through how he and his team used a vast amount of LED ribbon in place of traditional studio lighting, demonstrates the control and flexibility that this gave them, and there’s even a how-to-guide from Ziggy Jacobs-Wyburn and Nick Dale, allowing you to make your own Red Dwarf style light boxes at home.

As the type of fan that likes to obsess over every detail of the show, this feature is right up my street, although that’s not going to be the case for everyone. Across these extra extras, there isn’t quite the level of polish and tightening that’s given to the main documentary, with some sections feeling a little repetitive, and no real impetus to move the narrative forward with any urgency. Instead, the desire seems to be to give the fans absolutely everything that’s not being used in the main doc, allowing the interested parties to wallow in their geekiness, without making any attempt to court those who’d never watch a feature on lighting in the first place. It doesn’t make for the most dynamic seventeen and a half minutes you’ll ever watch, but then if it was done in the same style as the main doc, we wouldn’t be getting seventeen and a half minutes of it.

Lighting Red Dwarf – Then and Now

But that’s clearly not enough about lighting, as here’s a twenty-three minute conversation between Ed Moore and who Ed Moore would turn into if he quantum skipped back to the Series 1 era, John Pomphrey. This is an absolute joy, with that podcast-like appeal of hearing two friendly and knowledgeable people talking at length about a subject they really care about. Ed is rightfully reverential of John, but equally John seems genuinely impressed with Ed’s work, and so it’s another of those heart-warming love-ins, with the pair happily swapping war stories and indulging in vast amounts of mutual praise.

While there’s again a bit of a lack of polish that separates it from classic era features like Settling The Score or Building A Better Universe, it’s right up there as one of the great extraordinarily esoteric extras of all time. How apt that it should have happened as part of Series XII, which itself reached back into the show’s illustrious history in order to tell modern day stories. Now, in addition to Norm, Mac and David Ross, another legend has returned to say hello.

A Font to the Senses

This is graphic designer Matthew Clark’s turn to show off his work, as indeed he has been doing on Twitter during the course of the series. His portion isn’t as big as Ed Moore’s, but he uses it well, with lots of juicy details to freeze-frame and pore over. You get a real insight into his working process, and it paints a picture of a man who’s only happy when absolutely every detail has been filled in as comprehensively as possible. Designs that you see on-screen for seconds – if at all – are packed full of in-jokes and in-universe specificities, making the world of Red Dwarf that little bit richer with every prop, print-out and sticker.

A New Model Army

In place of the traditional compilation of raw effects footage, given that much of the material for XII actually appeared as part of XI’s feature, instead we get a more authored piece on the model shoot for the series, with DoP Nigel Stone talking us through the process as we see it unfold, along with Andy Rolfe and Peter Seymour Howell of the Magic Camera Company and of course our old friend Mike Tucker. It’s always a thrill to see Mike and his Model Unit buddies Nick Kool and ‘Rocky’ Marshall in the vicinity of a Starbug, and this is no exception.

Of particular interest are the details of how the various teams worked together, with different people responsible for the build, the operation and the shooting of the models, rather than it being all under one visual effects umbrella as it was in the old days. As Ed and John discussed in the lighting feature, many of the techniques remain the same, even though the technology has changed, and the trick is always in finding the balance. Another fantastic feature that feels like the target audience is precisely me. I don’t think we’ve ever seen quite so much model nerdery all in one place.

Flying By Wireframe

Meanwhile, this feature covers the digital side of the visual effects, including stuff from XI as well as XII. Painstaking 3D modelling, compositing and digital clean-up is never going to be quite as much fun to watch unfold as middle aged men smashing toy spaceships around, but at least this feature gives us some much needed context to the rough versions of the shots. The last DVD just had a compilation of comps in various stages of completion, but this feature takes the additional step of actually telling us what we’re seeing, and how it’s all done, which unsurprisingly helps a lot.

In Space They Can Hear You Scream

With lighting, design, effects and editing ticked off, sound is the last remaining techy area to cover, with Rikki Hanson guiding us through issue after issue after issue that all the other departments caused him. From ceilings that were too low, to ceilings that were too high, to sets that completely blocked the boom operators’ view, and the difficulties of hiding a radio mic within costumes that weren’t designed to incorporate radio mics. Poor bugger.

The Sands of Stuntbug

And Rikki presumably wouldn’t be happy with the sound on this final mini-doc on the list, which starts off noticeably quieter than everything else on the disc, and later involves Phil O’Connell having to shout over the sound of a 3D printer in action, which is admittedly hard to avoid when the piece is about how 3D printing works. We see the whole process, from scanning to modelling to printing to clean-up, and that last part is particularly satisfying to watch, as the protective white powder is dusted away to reveal the model buried underneath. As with all these extras, it’s serving a very niche audience, but if you’re part of that audience, this content is gold.

What’s Not There

Yes, sadly we can’t quite ditch this unwanted section of the review just yet, as despite huge strides in the right direction, the standard set by the original releases is still slightly out of reach. The main thing is, once again, the lack of commentaries – something which Doug acknowledged this time last year, but which hasn’t been resolved this time. There’s still no isolated music cues either, and some of the traditional features that did return for XI, namely the collection of trailers and the image gallery, have gone missing once more. There’s no leaflet or booklet of any kind, not even one advertising the latest merch or whatnot, and the sticker community is still woefully neglected.

But hey. This time last year, I was glumly reflecting on how even Red Dwarf wasn’t immune from the general decline in the quality of physical media releases in recent years. While the Series XII release clearly suffers from the same lack of resources as the Series XI one, leading to similar issues with all the headline features, it handles the problem much better. From simple things like a keener eye for detail, to refinements like the change of focus for the main documentary, to the unexpected inclusion of so many extra bonus features, it all adds up to an overall package that leaves me a lot happier than I was a year ago.

Unlike XI, it feels just as jam-packed as the original releases – even if the running time doesn’t quite add up, the important thing is that when I got to the end of Disc Two, I didn’t feel like I’d been short-changed this time. Whether these cobbled-together extra bits have the same rewatch value as the classic features of old remains to be seen, but for now at least, we can conclude that just as the episodes became more refined towards the end of the mammoth XI-XII production run, the same is true of the Bluray and DVD releases.

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56 Responses to Red Dwarf XII: Bluray/DVD Review

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  1. > Highlights include Robert/Kryten suddenly noticing the absence of a camera

    Ah, I was hoping this would be there but due to its out-of-vision nature thought it might not. Excellent.

  2. I’m in quite the pickle where it’s very possible my dad will be getting me this for Christmas (last year he got me Just The Shows, the Omnibus and Backwards) but I want to have it RIGHT NOW.

    It does sound much nicer than last year’s, which did feel a bit barren. Watched it all in one go and thought… is that it?



    I’ve changed my rankings twice now and I’m just going to leave it

    I’m really glad Telford wasn’t Hitler in the end, that’s a bit silly

  3. I’ll have a very hard time ranking the episodes until more time has passed. XII’s airing just happened to coincide with some extremely unpleasant real-life circumstances that had me dreading the approaching weekends rather than excited for each new episode. Add to that the cloud Timewave cast over the series, the first episode I’ve ever had such negative feelings about on broadcast. When I sat down to watch Timewave, I was emotionally crushed and crashing from being up for 48 hours straight. I was really happy to have new Red Dwarf to bring me up before the weekend, but…

    Oh geez. I don’t think I’ve ever been so depressed from a disappointing episode of a TV show as I was after Timewave. Especially because I’d enjoyed Cured and really enjoyed Siliconia a lot more than it even deserves.

    All the problems that seemed to bother everyone else about XI didn’t start to bother me until XII. XI was a response to what was missing in X, X was a response to what had been missing since VI, and BtE pulled the show back the excesses of VIII. But XII is the first new series that couldn’t respond to the weaknesses of the previous one, because it was made at the same time. What came across as weird quirks and choices in XI – like the overuse of the same fly-by cue – started to really grate on me when XII continued them.

    I’m in a very weird position, because I like – with the obvious exception – the individual episodes of XII very much but I can’t help but feel underwhelmed by the series as a whole. And I’m very inclined to believe that if in place of Timewave we’d just gotten an episode like Krysis that puts one of the Dwarfers on a relatable emotional journey that I wouldn’t feel this way.

    I’ll wait for Christmas to get the Blu-Ray. Mostly because my dad already bought it to give me at Christmas.

    I want XIII to be its own beast the same way XI/XII are unique from X. I figure XI/XII was Doug taking advantage of being able to do all the ensemble adventures hasn’t been able to do in well over a decade, but I do want more introspection in the future. Rimmer’s fish speech is my favorite moment in XII for a reason – that’s the stuff that makes this show so special in a way other sitcoms simply aren’t, even when they try to have heart.

  4. I read that bit about 3D printing as I am sat in a back room watching and listening to a 3D printer print. How much do you suppose I will get out of watching that feature once I get my DVD?

  5. I read that bit about 3D printing as I am sat in a back room watching and listening to a 3D printer print. How much do you suppose I will get out of watching that feature once I get my DVD?

    The one in the doc is SLS, what I took from it is it’d be a nightmare to clean up if you ever dropped a fresh print.

  6. I’ll have to watch it again to be sure, but as much as i enjoyed the XII Blu-ray, I think the only thing which seemed a bit off was the lack of gloss to the main documentary. It did seem to go from interviews to behind the scene footage to interviews, with the rare occasional clip of the show in it. It didn’t really have much to break it up, like some music or some more clips of the show itself to illustrate the points or just to make a joke at the interviewees expense, which the original DVDs did so well. As such it felt long and I must admit i skipped through bits. Found all the nerdy stuff to do with sound, lighting and model work very fascinating though.

  7. Just for fun I’m attempting to make a more faithful classic series DVD cover of XII I just can’t seem to find the photo of the Science Room they used, if anyone has it (or a high quality cover scan) it would be appriciated :)

  8. “A more old-fashioned comedy accent is adopted by Craig and Robert when the latter accidentally says “Mr Limmer”, but let’s not go into that. ”


  9. Cause it gets people all liled up

  10. There’s a joke in there somewhere about Kryten’s mask looking ‘rubbery’.

  11. I think we’ve found the audience members who were laughing at Taiwan Tony.

  12. I just watched Fathers and Suns about an hour ago, and thought Taiwan Tony was shite, but not necessarily because of the accent. Doug just forgot to give him funny lines or say anything meaningful with him. It’s like there’s a really interesting place they almost take it and then decide not to

  13. It might just be me being thick or my Blu-Ray player, but are the episodes on the Blu-Ray just in stereo rather than surround sound? I’m sure the HD episodes I watched on TV were in surround, with audience and ambient sounds pretty much in the rear speakers and everything else in the front. Blu-Ray says DTS MA HD 2.0 – is that normal?

  14. You said a form of “model” eight times, yet not one mention of a portfolio. What’s up with that?

  15. It might just be me being thick or my Blu-Ray player, but are the episodes on the Blu-Ray just in stereo rather than surround sound? I’m sure the HD episodes I watched on TV were in surround, with audience and ambient sounds pretty much in the rear speakers and everything else in the front. Blu-Ray says DTS MA HD 2.0 – is that normal?

    Both the XI and XII DVDs/Blu-rays are in stereo. X is in DTS-HD MA 5.1

  16. I read that bit about 3D printing as I am sat in a back room watching and listening to a 3D printer print. How much do you suppose I will get out of watching that feature once I get my DVD?

    You’ll get the visuals as well as just the audio.

  17. Both the XI and XII DVDs/Blu-rays are in stereo. X is in DTS-HD MA 5.1

    Thanks for the clarification. So essentially a broadcast rip has a higher standard of audio output than the official Blu-Ray version, for both XI and XII? That seems… odd.

    I don’t know how I didn’t spot this on XI.

  18. I read that bit about 3D printing as I am sat in a back room watching and listening to a 3D printer print. How much do you suppose I will get out of watching that feature once I get my DVD?

    You’ll get the visuals as well as just the audio.

    Boom, and, if you will, boom.

  19. Speaking of quality, X looks so much better on DVD than it did on SD broadcast. Even the model shots looks pretty damn nice, even though they’re blatantly not motion control, and a bit wobbly. And that one shot of the ship going under the camera is just utter, utter trash that should have never passed QC.

    I can’t wait to watch XI on DVD because 5/6 of those episodes I watched 240p web streams of because I missed the window for UKTV Play. XII I watched on UKTV Play which is better quality but I’m still looking forward to those on shiny disc.

  20. You’ll get the visuals as well as just the audio.

    watching and listening to a 3D printer print


  21. Also

    as well as just

  22. And that one shot of the ship going under the camera is just utter, utter trash that should have never passed QC.

    “Eh, this is too shit for the credits. But let’s take the WORST part of the shot and randomly throw it into an episode just to piss off those G&T cunts.”

  23. The worst part is there’s a quite good shot of the ship going under the camera in The Beginning! In fact, The Beginning is an enormous step up in terms of model effects, with some of them actually looking quite impressive.
    Unless it’s all the same flyby and they just use a later section of it.

  24. It’s such an awkward shot I think partly because of the enormous scaffolding it has to get around at the front of the ship

  25. It’s such an awkward shot because the camera is being manually adjusted in an extremely imprecise way. Watching him actually do the shot, it’s an incredibly ad hoc set up they have to try to mimic the look of motion control. I don’t think there’s any possible way you couldn’t made the shot work without proper motion control.

    But I also don’t think the top of that model is remotely interesting enough for the credits fly-over, particularly with the flat boosters at the back causing you to lose arguably the most iconic part of the shot. I really wish when they refurbished the model they’d redone the boosters as something closer to the CG BtE ship, which seems to be the perfect happy medium between the original and remastered ship.

    Y’know, if Series X had Baby Cow on board (or if UKTV simply hadn’t fucked them over budgetarily), we might have actually gotten a brand new model of the original ship design. Oh well.

  26. There are a few shots of Big Dwarf that are dodgy. The one in Give & Take where Starbug flies down the side, the camera is nowhere near close enough to the ship for that shot to have got on air. You can see that the ship has no engine. Awful.

    Same with the bigature panel thing too, the Red Dwarf sign just doesn’t make sense but they used that shot all the time.

    And numerous shots where the background isn’t tracked properly so it makes Red Dwarf look pissed, pitching and rolling all over.

    My biggest wish for any new Dwarf is that with plenty of sets already made they can spend some money on the models. Get the model unit in to build proper Starbugs with correctly sized legs and non bumpy engine cowls, and maybe a real version of a hybrid Dwarf.

  27. The model effects in the Dave era vary in quality about as wildly as Doug Naylor’s writing. The ship looks so SMALL, and not just from the side due to the window scaling thing, but even on the flyover it just feels so short and like it’s over in no time, when the old one seemed to take ages. Could be lack of detail.

  28. It’s extremely lacking yeah. Even when it was new, with the film shot and the attempted flyover that’s on Bodysnatcher, it doesn’t feel as big or as detailed, but having been chopped up and cobbled back together it just doesn’t feel that big at all.

    When you think about how big it’s supposed to be, and the lack of detail on the side panels, you’re talking plating the size of a couple of football pitches with naff all on them. Can’t be right surely.

    The OG MCC model spoiled us to be honest, even the small clenched fist Dwarf made by the BBC was nowhere near as detailed and well painted.

    To be honest I’d be tempted to get some proper CGI on the go for Red Dwarf, or a digital model 3D printed with plenty of procedurally generated widgeting on it to truly convey the scale, maybe some etching for fine detail. Stay exclusively models for Starbug though.

  29. I agree with the comments on the model shots. Please don’t get me wrong, there have been some fantastic model work in the Dave era. Even in Series X, you had the great shots in ‘The Beginning’. the later two series have had some genuinely fantastic shots. Mainly the guest sets and models to be honest.

    I think the shots that i really don’t think work are anything to do with Starbug. Even in Series 3, the Starbug shots were very fluid. Looking at the making of the Dave era, it looks like they keep the model still and the camera itself does the movement. With Blue Midget, this works just about ok as it’s more of a boxey model, but the Starbug shots just LOOK still, even when they’re moving….if that makes sense.

  30. Same with the bigature panel thing too, the Red Dwarf sign just doesn’t make sense but they used that shot all the time.

    Yes, most of the new ship model stuff I dislike, but this is the only one I actually hate. What’s it supposed to BE? It’s nowhere on the bigger model, but then there’s a close-up of it. It’s just really odd and totally out of place.

  31. I like that shot in and of itself, but it is incongruous with the full-size model. That shot actually makes the Dwarf look quite big, because it doesn’t curve away and doesn’t show anything that makes the scale seem smaller. But in the context of all the other shots it sticks out like a sore thumb

  32. Have we ever seen the other side of the Dwarf? I feel like every single shot of any model has been it’s left hand side. Except Back to Earth? I know it might have something to do with the “going home/travelling right” thing mentioned in the BtE documentary, but I’ve always wondered.

  33. There’s a really odd shot in Demons and Angels that shows Starbug approaching Red Dwarf from the other side (with the front of RD on the left and the back on the right). It’s quite tightly framed just next to the ram scoop but even then you can see it’s just a flipped version of the usual model shot, and even has the asteroid lodged in the other side of the ship as a result.

  34. Have we ever seen the other side of the Dwarf? I feel like every single shot of any model has been it’s left hand side.

    There was stuff from the other side shot for the early series, in the s1 and 2 titles, I think.

    Plus, of course, the closing credits. We see bits of the ‘far’ side there.

  35. I’ll take a look at the S1 opening when I get in, I thought the credits flyby was just the top of the ship, though

  36. Isn’t the opening of Parallel Universe on the other side?

  37. I was going to mention that as a possibility but didn’t know for sure

  38. Holoship and Thanks for the Memory are two.

  39. Parallel Universe goes down the usual side, and the credits only show the underneath of the other side so no dice there.

    Had a quick flick through other episode mentioned and didn’t see anything, think you’d have to go into the model footage on the DVDs but I’m 99% sure they didn’t shoot the other side.

  40. there’s one shot in Series 8 where you see both sides of the ship i think?

  41. I think we see the other side during the short passing of time montage while Lister’s in stasis in The End. I might be misremembering that though.

  42. Nope. That’s the proper side.

    I’m willing to say that the other side wasn’t detailed, because in one of the effects features they say that the had to go back in and detail the bottom for the model shoot, which is why the bottom is a glossier pinky red compared to the rest of the ship. I wouldn’t be surprised if they only did the one side too.

  43. I think we see the other side during the short passing of time montage while Lister’s in stasis in The End. I might be misremembering that though.

    I was misremembering. The ‘montage’ is a single fly-by, of the usual side. Think I was getting the Remastered version mixed up in there.

  44. I mean, one of the defining features of Red Dwarf is that it’s got “Red Dwarf” painted on that one side, and I’m guessing not on the other. Also, it works nicely as “passage of time” with it always flying to the right.

  45. Does it fly right in that montage scene in Krysis?

  46. Yes.
    The only time it flies left is BtE. And probably some CG Remastered shit.

  47. I seem to remember seeing a somewhat official drawing, in a Smegazine of the other side of Red Dwarf, and it had a Red Dwarf sign on the main hull, not the cone. Probably as close as you’ll get to seeing the old ships other side (if that drawing exists)

  48. I mean, one of the defining features of Red Dwarf is that it’s got “Red Dwarf” painted on that one side, and I’m guessing not on the other. Also, it works nicely as “passage of time” with it always flying to the right.

    I always assumed that (in-universe) “Red Dwarf” was written on both sides of the ship.

    What does the Corgi model have?

  49. I seem to remember seeing a somewhat official drawing, in a Smegazine of the other side of Red Dwarf, and it had a Red Dwarf sign on the main hull, not the cone. Probably as close as you’ll get to seeing the old ships other side (if that drawing exists)


  50. I seem to remember seeing a somewhat official drawing, in a Smegazine of the other side of Red Dwarf, and it had a Red Dwarf sign on the main hull, not the cone. Probably as close as you’ll get to seeing the old ships other side (if that drawing exists)


    I’m going to go and get my Smegazines out and investigate. I’ll report back later

  51. i think it’s the Smegazine comic set during VI where they find Red Dwarf full of a revived crew, but it’s actually the second Polymorph isn’t it?

    *sidenote that particular comic was better than the ACTUAL sequel to Polymorph

  52. Having been through all the Smegazines, there are only 3 drawings of the other side of the ship, but only 1 is recognisably the same ship and that has no Red Dwarf on the other side.

    Plenty of spelling mistakes though haha..

  53. Okay, here’s some hard evidence.

    First the original ship in the ending credits. You can clearly see there is absolutely no sign on the other side. Just a blank red wall.

    The current ship in the aborted series X ending credits. It’s difficult to make out but there is definitely another sign. It looks like it doesn’t have any words on it though. Possibly it once did when it was the remastered design and they were removed in the refurbishment. Further evidence for this is the CG design which was scanned from this model.

    The CG remastered ship in the ending credits and also seen more clearly in this promotional image. There is another sign and it does have Red Dwarf written on it.

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