Red Dwarf XI title sequence analysis

As has been the case since Series III in 1989, the first episode of a new series brings us a new title sequence, which in turn brings with it several tantalising glimpses of future adventures. Some of them are already familiar to us from the various trailers. Others fall into context when you’re armed with frame advance and a list of synopses. The most exciting ones are the ones that could from anywhere, and there’s a fair few of those. By our reckoning, there are 29 individual shots (plus a title card) in the 35-second sequence, all of which are analysed and annotated below.

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Red Dwarf XI: Twentica Review

A new episode of Red Dwarf has been broadcast for the first time in just under four years, and for the first time ever – whether you like it or not – premiered online. G&T were there, but what follows are my own personal take on the start of a new era for the show.

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Talking Points: Twentica

By now, most of the people who have chosen to watch Twentica ahead of broadcast will have done so, and there’s a hell of a lot to discuss. But there’s a problem. The nature of the online release means that not everyone watches at the same time, and so it’s tricky to give a structure to these discussions that would otherwise be covered by a live DwarfCast. To that end, and to plug the gap before our full written review in a few days’ time, here’s the first edition of our new feature.

Each week, usually on a Friday morning but we’re making an exception for the first one, we’ll summarise what we consider to the five biggest talking points from the episode. We’ll then use your responses to kick off the debate in the forthcoming Live DwarfCast, which will follow the Dave broadcast. Obviously, these are by no means the only talking points – just the things that are in the forefront of our minds after just the solitary viewing. So without further ado, get stuck into these…

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Let’s Talk About Twentica (on UKTV Play)

Yes, it seems like despite having waited for nearly four years for a new episode of Red Dwarf to come along, the big day has crept right up to our astonished faces. A week ahead of Twentica‘s debut on Dave, it’s going to be released online “by this afternoon”. We don’t know when exactly, but we’ll update this post with a link when we spot it. In the meantime, make sure you’re registered and signed in on UKTV Play, to avoid delays.

EDIT: IT’S ONLINE. IT’S BLOODY HERE. BLOODY HELL.

Of course, the above only applies to those of you who aren’t saving yourself for the TV broadcast this time next week. From this point on, things get a little bit confusing. We’re doing our best to cater for all fans over the next seven weeks, so all posts will be clearly marked with a big friendly banner, as you can see above, telling you whether or not it’s safe to read. Our spoiler policy has been updated, and it’s more important than ever that you acquaint yourself with it.

Put simply: before it’s broadcast on telly, you can only discuss Twentica on threads with the blue UKTV Play banner. If you see a Dave banner, or no banner at all, don’t discuss the episode there. We’ll keep the extracts on the home page spoiler free, but if you’re waiting for the Dave broadcasts, don’t click on posts with the blue UKTV Play banner, and don’t read comments on those posts. You’ll see a nice “you can read this” Dave banner on posts starting next week.

It’s still a bit annoying that the audience is split up in this way, but at the very least, we’ll be making it as easy as possible for people to catch up with any episode-based content they’ve missed, with new navigation options waiting to be unveiled as soon as they’re necessary. In the meantime, those of you who can’t resist watching the episode online can discuss it on this post right now, and look out for a brand new feature either later tonight or early tomorrow (depending on when the episode is live), running you through the biggest talking points that Twentica turns up.

Good luck, everybody. Here it comes…

Unabandoned Shop

In amongst all the excitement of Twentica being unleashed to the world, the launch of the brand new Red Dwarf shop has understandably taken a back seat. But on any other day, this would be a huge deal, so let’s take a closer look. The first impression is that the site is functional but attractive. Nice big pictures and prices of everything on offer on the front page, with sub-indexes divided between “clothing” and “accessories”. It’s a bit of a shame, however, that the pictures are quite low-res, and that there’s no option to zoom in to take a closer look at the items you’re expected to pay good money for. There are details you can make out in last week’s TOS update that you can’t actually see on the shop itself!

As for what’s for sale, we have a choice of nine t-shirts (one long-sleeved, one polo, the others regular), all of which are available in S-XXL and presumably intended to be unisex. There’s also two hoodies, a mug, a bag, a poster, a postcard set, a lanyard, a badge set and a keyring. It’s worth noting that none of these things are actually available yet – you can order them all right now, but they’re all listed as shipping in October 2016. Prices are decent, particularly for the clothing, although the lanyard and keyring seem a bit steep at £8 each, before p&p. I placed a massive order earlier, and the shipping cost seemed very reasonable, but I’ve since seen unconfirmed reports that there’s a minimum shipping cost of £5.60 per order, no matter how small the order.

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Constant, guilt-free SFX

As you’re probably already aware, Red Dwarf features in this month’s SFX magazine in a pretty big way. Not only is there a big feature on the forthcoming series, there are four variant covers – each featuring a shot of one of the main characters – and a free mini-booklet celebrating the show’s history. After traipsing round every magazine vendor in West London in an attempt to collect all four, I accepted defeat and actually read the magazine instead.

I was surprised to discover several previously-unseen pictures from forthcoming episodes, many of which give intriguing clues as to the content of the series. I tweeted my discoveries as I went, and those tweets are collated here. You won’t find reproductions of the magazine or any of its contents – you’ll have to actually go into a shop and pay money for that – but there is plenty of description and analysis…

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Tanya’s Newsround – 13/09/16

Rather excitingly, there was a BAFTA screening of Twentica AND Samsara last night, breathlessly livetweeted by @TORDFC. All the great and good were there, and Metro went along, too, judging by this article with its hilarious opinions. Apparently, Metro were sworn to secrecy. I count at least three spoilers, so it’s up to you, dear readers, if you want to waste your time reading that guff.

Amongst the rather pointless and ill-informed praising of the series having a ‘low budget’ (what exactly IS a low budget for a show backed by a major network, anyway?), is the interesting comment by Doug Naylor that Samsara was restricted in scope in order to provide more of the budget for Twentica. Not so much a ‘lol dodgy sets’ situation, and more a tactic that has been used in TV for most of its existence.

I’m sure Red Dwarf fans will be amazed by the sub-header “Good news – it’s the return of the lads”, as I for one was expecting an all-female reboot, Ghostbusters-style. Again, the fact that the main cast will be exactly the same as it was last series isn’t really a reasonable excuse to claim that ‘diehard’ fans prefer it that way. Also, the writer rather undermines their point in the next paragraph by mentioning that neither Holly or Kochanski are returning (based on the first two episodes) and claiming to be disappointed. Ok.

Point 6 of this article also claims that Danny John-Jules using some audience laughter to give him time to remember his next line is the live audience ‘basically creating the jokes’. Writers of sitcom down the years will be kicking themselves that they didn’t just rely on this great tactic, rather than actually writing jokes themselves.

So there you are. The great British media, ladies and gentlemen. Ganymede & Titan, as advertised earlier, will be reviewing Twentica when it’s available on UKTV Play on 15 September, and will be Dwarfcasting LIVE when the episode is shown on Dave on 22 September. We want YOU as a new recruit listening.

DwarfCast 78 – The Beginning Commentary

It’s the end! No, wait, the opposite of that. It’s The Beginning, as we draw our coverage of Series X to a close, just in time for the coverage of Series XI to begin. Join Jonathan Capps (via Skype), Tanya Jones, Danny Stephenson, Ian Symes and the Fan Club’s Jo Sharples as we discuss such burning issues as how many of the Rimmer brothers are illegitimate, what Arnold’s dying words actually were, including whether or not he even said “gazpacho soup” in the first place, and our feelings on Series X as a whole, with the benefit of nearly four years of thinking time.

Plus, we bring you a round-up of all the major Red Dwarf XI news that didn’t make it to the front page of G&T in the last week, and the long-awaited announcement of how exactly we’ll be covering the new series, bearing in mind that the release schedule for each episode is a confusing, divisive mess. Listen to the DwarfCast for far too much detail about our reasoning, but the short version is this:

Live DwarfCasts at broadcast pace. Written material at online pace. Discussion threads for both. Everyone gets some coverage asap after they’ve watched it, and nobody has to miss out on anything they can’t catch up on. Let’s make the TV broadcast the big event, and treat the online releases as an optional preview.

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Two new XI clips!

Four days to go until Twentica goes online, and the promo is ramping up. Dave have posted this video on Facebook, as a sponsored post (so that you can’t actually see it by going to their page, but it will show up randomly in people’s news feeds).

Thanks to Craig Walker for bringing this to our attention.

EDIT: Okay, turns out there are TWO new XI clips. Thanks to Ali Green and Curtis Threadgold for this one.

That second one is truly excellent – with the exception of “could they by any chance be us?”, this is the first footage released where I’ve been impressed by the comedy, as well as just the aesthetics. Very exciting indeed.

The tape must have got twisted, man!

Marooned titlesSometimes, things just work out to provide the perfect story.

Back in 2012 – in the lead-up to Red Dwarf X – I wrote a series of articles detailing the edits UKTV had made to Red Dwarf repeats. One of the worst was in Series III – the seemingly random broadcast of the Remastered version of Marooned, and the only episode of the series where the Remastered edit was broadcast instead of the original. (While it was the first time we had discussed the issue, but it had been going on for years before this. We were too busy complaining about Gold blurring out Fletch sticking two fingers up in Porridge.)

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