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.
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It’s been just over fifteen years since we all trundled down to Woolworths or Virgin Megastore to purchase the first ever Red Dwarf DVD, and today’s the day that those of us who still crave physical media pick up the latest installment from our doormats. Well, that’s if you weren’t one of the lucky ones who have already received their pre-orders, which started happening as early as last Thursday. The rest of us have had to make do with the methadone-like preview on TOS, which promises a more in-depth look behind the scenes in the featurettes, and a main documentary that focuses on the scripts and actors.
Whenever it is that you finally have your Bluray and/or DVD in your grubby mitts, this is the thread to discuss all the delights within, as you await our trademark excessively detailed review within the next week or so.
Rather alarmingly, there are just five days to go until Red Dwarf XII is released on DVD and Bluray. Pre-orders could start arriving as early as this weekend, and it’s been less than a week since the covers were officially unveiled on TOS. These included the intriguing detail that we’d be seeing over 140 minutes of extras on the discs, but we’re not yet sure exactly what they are. Thankfully, the long-held tradition of details being released as a by-product of the UK’s home video classification laws has continued – Red Dwarf XII and its extras are now listed on the BBFC website.
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Regardless of your opinions on the episodes themselves, the consensus concerning the way Red Dwarf XI has been handled by its various stakeholders seems to be that certain areas have been disappointing. The decision to premiere each episode on UKTV Play was… controversial, shall we say, leaks have been taking place left, right and centre (including the accidental releases of an episode and the DVD extras), the online store has been a heavily-delayed farce, and the rancid cherry on the top came last weekend when we realised what was printed on the back of the very Steelbook I’m about to review.
It seems that Howard Goodall and Ian GameDigits are currently the only ones successfully carrying the torch, at least without getting bits of lighter fluid all down themselves and accidentally causing a series of small fires. It’s getting harder to ignore the cloud that’s gathering over this series, but there’s one area where Red Dwarf has always excelled: DVD/Bluray releases. The original releases of the BBC era remain unmatched by any other comparable show. The Back To Earth and Series X releases had a very different job to do, coming as they did so soon after broadcast, and XI is very much in the same boat. But despite the monumental cock-up affecting one of the three variants, is the content of these shiny discs good enough to distract from the recent shortcomings, and end this chapter of Red Dwarf‘s ongoing story in style?
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We all understandably got a little over-excited on Wednesday when it emerged that Red Dwarf would be making an appearance in Lego Dimensions. My limited knowledge of the game lead me to assume that the presence of the bunkroom set meant that we’d be getting a fully playable Dwarf-based expansion pack, but it soon became clear that there’s a precedent for some franchises making smaller, cameo appearances within other levels. Today’s TOS update confirms that this is the case with Dwarf; scenery from the show forms part of the Fantastic Beasts expansion pack, released today. There won’t be playable minifigs of the crew, but the areas will be explorable using the main game characters of your choice.
It would be churlish to feel too disappointed by this, because if we hadn’t have initially leapt to a dream conclusion, today’s announcement would still be totally mind-bogglingly brilliant. The TOS update features a new set of screengrabs that showcase the beautiful science room area, complete with bio-printer, along with corridors strewn liberally with JMC logos and what looks to my untrained eye like the raw materials required to build a little Lego skutter. It looks fantastic, and I remain incredibly impressed that our little show has been chosen for such treatment. The social media reaction to the initial teaser on Wednesday showed just how much enthusiasm there is for a full Red Dwarf console game, be it as part of Lego Dimensions or otherwise, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that this is just the start.
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The UK release of the Series XI Bluray/DVD is a mere two days away. As is often the case with internet pre-orders, some lucky fans have already received their copies through the post. Imagine their delight as they rip open the packaging to take a look at their shiny Bluray steelbooks in the flesh for the first time. They turn it round to pore over the details contained on the rear. There’s a photo of the main cast, a list of exciting extras, the now-familiar series synopsis, and of course the list of… wait, that doesn’t say Twentica. And that doesn’t say Samsara. What the shitting crikey is happening here?
Yes folks, I can’t quite believe I’m saying this, but the slipcase for the Series XI Bluray steelbook contains the wrong episode titles. And I’m struggling even more to believe that I’m saying this bit, but not only that, they’ve actually printed the episode titles for Series XII instead. Needless to say, if you don’t want any further information, you probably ought to stop reading now.
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Ah, the BBFC, they’ve served us so well over the years, with episode title reveals and confirmations of DVD extras aplenty. As expected the forthcoming DVD and Bluray release has now been through classification and so all episodes and extras can be found on their website. I’ll be keeping this rundown spoiler neutral, although be warned that some of the BBFC’s notes might reveal details about the rudeness levels of future episodes.
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