Mac McDonald will some fine arse acting, thereHurrah!

Most of you online shopping will have finally gotten your filthy mitts on the new (and probably LAST) Red Dwarf DVD today. I have to say the Skutter and the box are utterly lovely and the final spine image on my shelf brings a tear to the eye. Even if it is quite wonky in places…

Now, you’ve heard my view on the whole package, so those of you who disagree with my findings (or even if you, heaven forbid, AGREE with them) get your best typing gloves on let me know what you think. Right now.

13 comments on “VIII DVD released!

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  • And John Hoare still hasn’t posted his Red Dwarf VIII review!

    Glad I didn’t stay up all night refreshing the site as he ADVISED.

  • A reviewer on amazon here who says they saw the preview discs. Anyone know who this might have been? A finite number of people saw the previews, so either this person received a disc from GNP, or they have a friend involved with an official magazine or website. Unless it’s somebody who hasn’t seen the discs at all, of course, which is always a possibility on amazon. I’m interested because they say that the cast and crew are really positive and backslapping about series VIII which would actually make me likely not to buy it!

    Merely to complete your set? Still ends on a cliffhanger…, March 22, 2006

    Reviewer: A viewer from Bath United Kingdom

    Complete your set with this… cliffhanger. A really strange position this series is in, completing the logo on the DVD spine but still lacking the catharsis of an actual Red Dwarf end. Or even a sense of point for this series or resolution for the final episode. This is for me an abysmal series, I can’t watch it because the familiar characters remind me vaguely of a formerly great show and it just makes me sad. Red Dwarf is now puerile pantomime nonsense – it’s like watching the final series of Rentaghost, to be honest. People scampering around with their knees kicking high as though mocking the very notion of running away from something, seemingly infinite instances of Lister and Rimmer being led sheepishly to the ship’s captain to be told off, everything about this series is badly thought-out and written, overlong and ultimately poorly structured. Not only does nothing of worth happen (which in itself needn’t be a bad thing), the episodes actually seem to be gratuitously wasting time before your eyes – it’ll make you furious. And with the live audience back, the cast have a new aura of smug self-congratulation every time they do something that’s supposed to be funny. Absolutely insufferable.

    I’ve seen a preview of this DVD which not many people will have done. The menus are gorgeous (larger and more realistic than any of the preceding releases) but the fact that so much time and money have been slavishly spent recreating the inside of the ship when the series is so unpleasant makes me feel a strange melancholy. Imagine any other third-rate sitcom getting this kind of treatment and the detail and beauty of these menus is bizarre. It also only makes the let down of the episodes themselves all the greater.

    I’d say buy to complete your collection but there’s no conclusion here, which just makes this set all the more unsatisfying. Other extras are as per usual, but none hit the heights of Dwarfing USA (series V), or the documentaries of V, VI and VII which all picked apart interesting troubled aspects of the series history. Everyone involved seems to adore series VIII which makes the documentary frustratingly one-dimensional and back-slapping. The extended episodes remove the recaps but put more padding in, and lack the intrigue of the sans-laughter episodes from series VII. Very little here to watch more than once I’m afraid, and first viewing will leave you feeling very cold, and sad that there’s probably no more to come and redeem this mess.

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  • What are the reasons, if you don’t mind me asking?

    If it helps, the more honest your review the better.

  • Oh don’t worry – it’s honest. I never lie in my articles or reviews.

    The reasons are:

    a) I’ve been very tired recently,
    b) I’ve had a bit of a case of writers block, and
    c) VIII just isn’t as good as I remember – Back In The Red and Pete, at least.

  • James, I wouldn’t worry. The docco isn’t quite the backslapping mess as described by a viewer from Bath. Norman shows a healthy cynicism throughout, and Doug comments on what some fan’s thoughts were about the Blue Midget dance (whilst stating he never visits Internet sites anymore – for obvious reasons, I guess).

    I suppose it shows that we have to accept that fact that the majority of Red Dwarf fans enjoyed VIII, and there’s nothing we can say or do to change that. It’s viewed as a success and so is presented as such. VII had so many obvious flaws it’s almost as if it was safer for them to give a rougher perspective on that series, as it’s more acceptable to slag off VII than it is VIII.

  • It’s also worth mentioning that it’s a PRODUCTION documentary, not a critique. It’s about how it felt to make the thing. VI felt like it was last-minute chaos, VII felt like it was uncertain of its direction. VIII felt like it was working. Scripts were there, the director knew what he was doing, Doug was confident, Chris was back, Mac was in, and they had an audience giving feedback.

    If you want the truth in a documentary, that has to include the positive, too. But no way is it ‘backslappy’ – the tone is consistent with all the other docs.

    The Bath reviewer (Future Publishing is in Bath; probably an SFX work experience kid) seems mostly upset that the DVD hasn’t changed his opinion of the show. Which, honestly, we can’t do much about.

    Rating the entire disc with one star because the menus are good and the people who made the show it LIKED it…well, that’s just dumb.

  • It?s also worth mentioning that it?s a PRODUCTION documentary, not a critique. It?s about how it felt to make the thing. VI felt like it was last-minute chaos, VII felt like it was uncertain of its direction. VIII felt like it was working. Scripts were there, the director knew what he was doing, Doug was confident, Chris was back, Mac was in, and they had an audience giving feedback.

    That’s a good point, actually. One thing that’s obvious from the smeg outs and the documentary is that everybody seemed to adore making the series – regardless of how good they thought the scripts were, that enjoyment will always spill over into a retrospective. Which is fair enough. It’s nice to have the odd touch of ‘down to Earth’ comments from Doug or Norman, but it would be dishonest for anyone to pretend they didn’t love making the series.

    Some of the negative points are no less truthful or valid than positive points – and the doccos have delt with both, so I find it easier to sit through a documentary which largely disagrees with my opinions, simply because I know it’s honest.

    Rating the entire disc with one star because the menus are good and the people who made the show it LIKED it?well, that?s just dumb.

    Oh, I didn;t see he only gave it 1 star! It makes me think the guy who REALLY got the preview disks, didn’t let him watch the whole lot. I gave the set a 4 star in my re-published review on Noise to Signal, and I thought that was harsh.

  • Brilliant. Just brilliant. The commentaries felt a little over-crowded, and therefore not as informative or quite as amusing as usual, but great nevertheless. Although the endless references to ‘current’ events such as Craig being in The Games, and starting in the Street ‘in May’ did at times make the whole thing seem a year out of date already. But they’re my only gripes. Honestly.
    I said a few weeks ago that I realised that VIII wasn’t as good as I’d remembered, but after *really* laughing at Pete yesterday afternoon, and loving every episode (apart from the last five minutes of Only The Good… – why oh why wasn’t that other ending used?), I’m going to backtrack a bit.

    Oh, and the Red Dwarf logo down the spines looks *gorgeous*, and a photograph of the sight is now my current wallpaper on my phone.

    Thank you GNP. My life is now complete (apart from a movie…).

  • Anyone fancy posting an image of the accumulated spines on one of these sites just for the hell of it?

  • “after *really* laughing at Pete yesterday afternoon”

    The extended one, right? The one I haven’t yet seen.

  • What’s Doug’s perspective on the rubbery dinosaur parts? Is it similar to his view of the alligator in Stoke (which I actually thought was deliberate and quite liked)?

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