Well maybe not a dark side as such, probably an ‘off-white side’ may be a better description, but here goes anyway.
Being one the ‘Older’ fans I have loved Dwarf from the start, the Characters, situations and above all, Humour has been there from the very beginning. Series 1 and 2 were excellent and to be honest I could not see them being improved upon, however Series 3 with the inclusion of Kryten (proper) proved that the future of Dwarf was assured and that things were, without doubt going to get even better. Series 4,5 and 6 followed on in spectacular fashion and after these, I thought that might be the end, how wrong I was. Series 7 with a ‘rationed’ Rimmer seemed a bit of a dip by previous standards but Series 8, although taking a different direction to it’s predecessors went on to become one of my favourite series, well that’s my view anyway which brings me on to my winge.
If you read some of the many posts regarding 7 & 8, opinions range from not bad to absolute crap with many saying they should not have been made, Chloe comes in for particular stick and Doug Naylor has been accused of sinking the ship, Well lets look at this from the outside. Series 7 & 8 according to figures published on reddwarf.co.uk had the biggest audience rating of all the episodes, so ok this doesn’t necessarily suggest the quality is as good (although I think it is) but is does prove Doug was correct to continue with the dream irrespective of what some fans may say. Many fans also believe the addition of Chloe spoilt the Ladish feel to the show, but again I disagree as I feel some of the best scenes in the latter episodes revolved around her. Many have also questioned her acting ability and even looks, but that I suppose is a matter of personal taste and I hardly think ‘FHM’ would be too far off the mark. Also, people tend to overlook her acting credits forgetting that at the time She was probably the only cast member considered an actual ‘Actor’.
Moving on to what we as fans get for our ‘fanaticism’. The list is endless in all honesty, especially when compared to other comedy shows. We have probably the best official fan club site anywhere, in the shape of reddwarf.co.uk which is dedicated to bringing weekly news, updates and provides a webboard and chat room, all paid for by GNP. If you add this to the top notch interviews and on-line shop, I defy anyone to find better. There are also the fan sites which again ooze quality (G&T and Total Red Dwarf to name just two). I shouldn’t forget the official Fan Club site either which again provides us with a place to let off steam, have a laugh and keep up with the gossip. We are of course presented with Dimension Jump by the fan club, something else that is lacking in most other Comedy Shows. The Merchandise is another bonus that undoubtedly pisses on the fireworks of other shows. We have the Books, BTL, Corgi Models, Play sets, Board games, Trading Cards etc and the DVD’s which moves me on nicely to my next rant.
The DVD’s are without doubt exceptional in quality and crammed with goodies that make other BBC comedy efforts look rather sad, yet still the fans can find fault. I have recently read that the sound quality wasn’t good enough on some of the deleted scenes/ out takes and Series 1 & 2 were too Grey !, What do people want, Blood. Everyone behind the scenes has put every effort into producing an exceptional package and still we are promised better to come in future releases. I suppose the moans stand as a testament to just how good they are when the moaners have to resort to nit picking to make a point. There are some arguments for DVD’s being released with no extra’s at all, as Black Adder for instance sold quite well with Naff all additions. I therefore believe anyone who finds fault with the DVD’s should not buy anymore as I get the feeling they would still find fault if the discs were free.
Having said all that, Everyone is entitled to an opinion and without these discussions the World of Dwarf would be a more boring place but lets not forget that as web site users we are arguably the Front Line of Feed Back, although the real feedback is in actual sales figures which thankfully look very good, so far. And if Doug had not continued the Dwarf ‘Dream’ alone most of the stuff about now would not exist and the Movie would be a non starter rather than the ‘fingers crossed about to happen Epic’ it currently is.
In conclusion, if Dwarf does have a ‘dark side’ at all, it is the sometimes over critical, occasionally ungrateful Fans. Give Doug and his team a break, it Aint Perfect but it sure as hell is close.