Well, here’s hoping we’ve never used that headline before.
Before today the only source of information we’ve had on the Blu-ray releases of Red Dwarf 1 to VIII is from a very premature Amazon listing and Doug’s Tweets on the subject. It is, however, now all official and that, and GNP are going ahead with what seems to be an entire set released on the 1st October as part of their ongoing and extensive 30th anniversary celebrations.
Curiously the TOS update spends a lot of time telling us what this release isn’t rather than what it is, and that’s down to the acknowledged fact that a Blu-ray version of the first eight series is a bit of a weird thing to consider. To be clear, this will never be a true HD release as the source material is around half the vertical resolution of a 1080 image, so this has been acknowledged in the announcement and focus shifted onto taking the opportunity to clean up the picture and sound of the originals as much as possible:
“There are no new effects, no re-recorded lines, no cut jokes, and no mysteriously appearing skutters. Just the Red Dwarf you know and love… given a fresh polish to look and sound even better than ever.”
I have to say, this is a news story that reminds me very much of Ellard’s original DVD announcement way back in the palaeolithic era, which served as an assurance that GNP knew what they were doing with the planned releases (right down to the reassurances about re-mastered!). To be clear, literally any other G&Ter is far better qualified than me to comment on video quality and resolutions, but from my limited knowledge I understand that DVD releases, even of older shows, significantly compromise on the true broadcast quality available due to size limitations hamstringing bitrate and what not. So, done right, an SD release on HD media will allow for much more room for those original versions to breathe while at the same time taking the job of up-scaling in hand to banish inconsistent DVD performance on today’s TVs. I’m cautiously optimistic and excited to see more details as they’re released and we’ll be sure to have someone who actually knows of what they speak to give you our verdict on release.