With each new series comes a new and exciting title sequence. From Series III onwards, we’ve been treated to a fast-cut montage of model shots, funny faces, explosions and intriguing teases, and Series X is no exception. Now that we’ve got the final sequence at our disposal, with five full episodes remaining unseen, let’s take a little look at each of the twenty-three individual shots, analyse and annotate them where possible, and speculate wildly about the rest…
The first shot we see is of Blue Midget speeding away from Red Dwarf. Obviously, this could be from any episode between Fathers & Suns and The Beginning. We just don’t know.
We’ve then got a beautiful shot of Red Dwarf’s name plate, with a nice lens flare going across the screen. We see this shot at the very start of part two of Trojan. It seems like the type of shot that may be recycled and repeated a few times throughout the series – a generic establishing shot, and a very handsome one to boot.
The first glimpse of our actors comes with a shot of all four of them dancing around, while Lister air guitars, in front of a vending machine advertising CRISPS. They seem to be celebrating something; from Lister’s spacesuit and the yellow truck in the background, we know that this is from Fathers & Suns, as we saw both of these in the trailer. So perhaps they’re celebrating having defeated Pree, or having saved Lister after he’s flushed into space?
Next we’ve got the shot of Rimmer smashing up his exam results in Trojan. This shot also features the first of the unfathomably-controversial actor name credits. Some people seem to really despise these, but I can’t really see why they’re stirring up such strong feelings. I mean, I like them, but I don’t adore them, simply because they’re not that important. What is odd, though, is that Chris’s is the only name that appears on two shots that actually feature him. All the others either have model shots or a different character on screen for one of the two shots bearing their name.
Here we have another shot of a celebration – Kryten, Rimmer and Cat hugging and jumping up and down excitedly, whilst dressed in their c. 23 AD Indian garb. This is pretty obviously from Lemons, and if you require further proof, simply look at the bottom left corner. Maybe they’re celebrating finally being able to find a lemon to power their improvised battery?
Another shot from Trojan, this time it’s the shot of the Trojan drive room being shaken about and plunged into darkness by Rimmer pissing about with the inanimate quantum rod.
More disarray, this time from an as-yet-unknown episode. Some kind of explosion or hull breach has just taken place, judging by the various bit of paper and carrier bags being blown about. The shot features Rimmer and Lister and… who’s that in the middle?
Now this is beautiful. A breathtaking model shot of a couple of small ships attacking a section of Red Dwarf. Big explosions everywhere, missiles being fired and great movement from the wee circle-y ships. Bill Pearson, take a bow son.
Next up, illustrating Craig Charles, a brief snippet of his main phone rant from the climax of Trojan.
And another Trojan shot, of the Cat smugly wheeling away in celebration after informing Rimmer that the moose was in the road, not driving the car.
This is followed by a shot we know from the trailer, of Lister causing an explosion in the drive room by spilling chilli sauce from his kebab onto the console. We still don’t know what episode this is from – in fact, I’ve seen it recorded and I can’t even remember which one it’s from!
Next, another model shot, this time of Blue Midget heading towards a little blue-green planetoid. Blue, green and planetoidy.
And Danny’s main illustrative shot is an extremely brief glimpse of him doing something very rapid and disconcerting. Is he about to sneeze? No idea.
MORE EXPLOSIONS. A different design of craft to the ones seen earlier, but firing the same sort of missiles, this time at a couple of asteroids. Clearly from the same episode as the earlier clip, and probably safe to assume that it’s The Beginning, based on all the comments we’ve heard about this episode being the most effects-heavy. Could one or more of these craft be the ‘annihilator’ that Bill Pearson mentioned to us prior to Trojan‘s premiere?
Next, a glimpse of Lister being squished and pushed around by a couple of trucks; similar shots are seen in the Fathers & Suns trailer, culminating with Lister declaring he’s being “truck-napped”, and then flushed in to space W.O.O.
Certainly one of the most intriguing teases. A shot of a very hairy pair of legs, being transformed into human, female-looking ones. This doesn’t tally with any of the episode synopses we’ve seen, so it’s very hard to gauge any information about this. But the three main questions it poses are: 1) what manner of beast, natural or man-made, has the hairy legs? 2) Who’s the leggy woman? 3) Why are our Dwarfers transforming one to the other?
Then, there’s more of Danny dancing about, showing off. Lovely stuff. Again, no idea what episode this is.
Robert is illustrated with a clip of him pissing about with some plastic tubing. We’ve seen a snatch of this before in a trailer, I seem to recall, although the specifics elude me at this stage. He does good faces, though.
Next, Lister, on a video monitor, taking a shot of something brown and boozey. We see a similar shot of Lister-on-a-monitor during the Fathers & Suns trailer, so presumably this is from the same scene.
Yet another shot from Trojan, this time showing Rimmer’s main resentment attack.
And then a shot of the crew beaming down onto a bit of woodland outside Shepperton. We know that there was only one bit of ‘location’ shooting for the entire series, so it’s safe to presume that this is from Lemons.
The penultimate shot is of Lister leaping onto the car-shaped sofa in the sleeping quarters, with Kryten pottering about behind him, with what looks like a glass bottle of something or other. You can see the framed photo of Lister on the central table; we previously saw this in a publicity shot from Fathers & Suns. Either this clip is from the same episode, or that picture becomes a permanent fixture at some point in the series.
We’ve then got one final model shot, of Blue Midget flying away from a MASSIVE EXPLOSION, before whizzing past the camera just as the Red Dwarf X logo turns up.
I love the way the main Red Dwarf logo animates on to the screen, although I’m not sure sure about the ‘X’ flying on to join it. I think it would be improved without the clanking sound effect – it’s gilding the lily slightly, but it’s not a major problem.
Overall, this title sequence certainly does not disappoint. I was a little underwhelmed when I first saw it at the Trojan premiere, but that could well be down to the fact that the sound was dipped for the first few seconds, and it knocked me out of the zone. But after more than a dozen viewings in the last few days, I can see that it works beautifully. The balance of shots used is perhaps a little heavy on effects shots, but hey – if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Another thing you notice from watching it as a whole is that there’s not nearly as much variety in locations as we see in previous title sequences – we’ve got just one exterior shot, one bit of Lemons and two bits on the Trojan hull, but the rest is entirely split between the two main rooms and a few corridors on the ship. Not surprising, given that we’re not expecting X to be as expansive as previous series, and it’s only something you really notice when you’ve seen the sequence multiple times.
The main things you take away from the sequence are: lots of explosions, a slight sense of claustrophobia, and a lot of funny faces. That’s Red Dwarf X in a nutshell, and on that basis, the title sequence is a massive success.