I used to love The Nitpicker’s Guides, by Phil Farrand. Sitting there and wallowing in all the mistakes made in Star Trek might sound the saddest thing in the world – and that’s because it is. But, dammit, I enjoy reading about the inconsistent nacelles on Enterprise model shots.

Sadly, further books in the series were stopped due to legal troubles – unauthorised guides were being cracked down on at the time, and the publisher didn’t want to accept the risk. But it survives in the form of the Nitpicker Central website. And something I didn’t realise until recently was that their forum has a Red Dwarf section.

A lot of the actual mistakes are stuff that has been dealt with before in the PIPs – although the VII/VIII stuff is new. 1 But what I find most interesting about the board is that it’s a record of Dwarf talk on the net that’s relatively old – there are some posts from late 1998. This is pretty rare, with only alt.tv.red-dwarf, and the occasional thing you can grab from archive.org giving a similar insight. Indeed, there are contemporary postings from 1999 that detail people’s first reactions to VIII, which I find fascinating, and well worth a read.

It does all make me wonder, though – why, in the nineties, did nobody do the equivalent of The Nitpicker’s Guide for Dwarfers? Not Phil Farrand, but anyone? In the 90s, the franchise could support loads of book tie-ins, including the quiz books. You would have thought that somebody would have had a go. Indeed, I meant to start writing one at the time, but never got round to it. A shame, really, or I could be a multi-multi-multi-millionaire…

1 Actually, there is a version of the PIP floating around somewhere on the net which includes some fluffs from VII – the latest compiled by Annette. But I haven’t got a copy to hand, unfortunately.

10 comments on “Nitpickers Unite!

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  • “By Ed Jefferson (Ejefferson) on Tuesday, January 04, 2000 – 12:12 pm:

    No, because no-one can be trusted not to massacre the Red Dwarf master tapes. The originals should be handed over to fans. :-)”

    Isn’t that sort of what happened anyway? Andrew?

    But I can’t help but read that discussion without shedding a tear for the MiniDisc. I still have a place in my heart/pocket for them…

  • Well, I think DVD will probably go the way of Laserdisc.


    I love the past.

  • > They will be the same tired movies that everyone already owns and will be loathe to buy again.

    Same is happening with HD-DVD/Blu-ray. So fucking what, who gives two shits? I owned the Star Wars trilogy on VHS and was happy to buy the DVD set. Now with the prospect of a new entire saga HD set, I’ll fork out because I want it. New special editions of the prequels including updated effects (particularly in The Phantom Menace) and fuck knows what else Lucas decides to do with them. But more importantly (for me at least) HD picture and sound on all 6 flicks. I’m there.

  • The quality of original recordings for allot of programs and movies makes HD releases pointless, allot of TV shows were recorded onto analogue Betacam SP or directly onto UMatic SP both of which are around 350 lines (feel free to correct me) some 60’s and 70’s shows that were recorded directly to magnetic tape media are bad enough quality as it is, releasing any of this on new HD formats would produce a picture quality exactly the same or even worse than the DVD release.

    In much the same vein…
    When DV cameras broke 1MP there was a slew of movies filmed on low budgets using this new digital technology, none of these movies would gain anything from an HD release, if anything digitally upscaling the footage for HD would loose quality rather than make it any better.

    Celluloid of course poses no problem and im sure that HD-DVD releases will look very nice indeed.

    As for the Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD debate, the vast majority of pornography distributors have gone with the cheaper HD-DVD format, nuff said.

    On a final note, Laserdisc was a great commercial success and produce a better quality picture on large screens than DVD as they are actually analogue recordings!
    They are still in production and I own all 6 Star Wars movies on Laserdisc.

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