It’s A Syn (opsis) News Apologies for being a bit quiet of late. We’ve all been busy watching our country slide inexorably into the abyss, whilst remembering the wise words of Arnold J Rimmer. We needed something big and Dwarfy to take our minds off things, and that has arrived this Friday lunchtime. But before we get on to that, what have we missed? Well, the model shoot is now done and dusted, and post-production is well underway, to the extent that rough cuts are being shown to interested parties. Some guy has made a Lego thing, which we’re not going to dedicate an entire front page post to, no matter how many times he emails us. Oh, and somewhat bizarrely, Series 1-V are to be released on Blu-ray. This makes very little sense to me; upscaling the likes of RTD-era Doctor Who to HD is one thing, but we’re talking about 625-line analogue masters on long-since-obsolete tape formats from nearly thirty years ago. Hats will be eaten if the increase in quality is enough to justify spending £25 a pop on them, and hell will freeze over if there’s any new commentaries or extras. And finally, Doug dropped a subtle hint yesterday that appeared to confirm that Series XI will air in September as expected. This was somewhat superseded by today’s TOS update, which not only makes the September date officially official, but also provides a whacking great series synopsis. Let’s break it down, whilst also remembering that our spoiler policy prevents those that attended recordings from confirming or denying any speculation, shall we? Red Dwarf XI, the eleventh series of the legendary sci-fi comedy, reunites the original cast of Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Craig Charles (Lister), Danny John-Jules (Cat) and Robert Llewellyn (Kryten) along with a host of guest stars for a brand new series recorded in front of a live studio audience at Pinewood Studios. The series is written and directed by Red Dwarf co-creator, Doug Naylor, and produced by Richard Naylor and Kerry Waddell for Baby Cow Productions & Grant Naylor Productions. Yes, we all remember this bit, spin on, spin on… The show’s six episode run sees two of the Dwarfers’ dreams come true: Rimmer accidentally saves the life of a Space Corps Captain and is promoted to Officer, This was one of the two episodes I saw recorded, so I can’t really say much. But Rimmer’s quest to become an officer is clearly a classic staple of many a Red Dwarf plot, regardless of the fact that he’s actually become an officer at least twice already. while Cat takes time off from being in love with himself to fall in love with a female Cat with a secret. Ooh. We already knew that the theme of Cat’s virginity would be addressed in this series, but this sounds increasingly like Identity Within, doesn’t it? I mean, it won’t be that, but there will finally be an episode where the Cat meets a female member of his own species. There are so, so many possibilities for how this will play out, and we’re bound to get some clue as to what happened to the rest of the Cats, a mere twenty eight years after that thread was left dangling by Waiting for God. Meantime, Lister wakes up to discover a deranged droid has stolen some of his body parts and Kryten has a mid-life crisis and considers leaving the Dwarfers for a younger crew. Not sure if that’s one episode or two, but I’d lean towards it being two, considering the similar format last time round. The first part sounds very Bodysnatcher, doesn’t it? I’m not suggesting for a second that this series will be in any way derivative, but perhaps Doug is exploring concepts that he’s wanted to do in the past, but hasn’t been able to? Or perhaps the stolen body parts is a red herring deliberately designed to work hardcore fans up, and the deranged droid is the main focus? As for the second bit, it’s probably the least promising part of this press release, although it’s so hard to tell from just a few sentences. Given Doug’s previous proclivity for drawing from personal experience, should the show’s casting director be worried? The posse also find themselves in an alternative America where modern technology is outlawed, making both Kryten and Rimmer illegal. I’ve seen this one, and I think it’s the best episode in at least 23 years. Can’t say much more, but feel free to do so in the comments, provided you weren’t also at the recording. One thing though – even if we assume that the deranged droid/mid-life crisis bits are two separate episodes, that’s still only five of them covered. Something has been held back… is that because there’s a huge surprise that they don’t want spoiled, or because one episode is a bit of a dud that they don’t want to draw attention to? Absolutely no idea either way, just posing the question. With big laughs and dazzling effects, Red Dwarf XI recaptures the show’s golden age. IT BETTER BLEEDING HAD DO. But srsly, everything has been overwhelmingly positive so far, and this is no exception. And the first episode will be hitting our screens at some point in the next 68-98 days. This is exciting.