Broadly speaking (and remember, this is just the opinion of this writer, not G&T as a whole): I LIKE IT. It’s very different – I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t this – and it ought to nicely catch the eye on the shelf. It looks like it’s going to be absolutely huge, which is good and proper for a whopping nineteen-disc set. I’m not sure how well the artwork represents the series (you’d expect a cast photo to be on there somewhere), but I guess it’s not really aimed at people who don’t know what Red Dwarf is. Thirty years on, the brand is at the stage where a logo is enough to let you know whether or not you’re interested in buying it.
Bearing the overall positivity in mind, some less broad opinions and observations:
* I quite like the Starbug on the V-VIII box-within-a-box – it’s not particularly accurate to any particular model, but that’s OK when it’s so stylised. The Red Dwarf one, not so much. It’s clearly based on the pencil version, which is a shame considering how long it’s taken for it to be gradually removed from its position as the default. But worse than that, it’s just not a very good illustration – that ram scoop is weird, it appears to be underneath the ship, which is simply wrong.
* The choice of the non-serif logo is good; I’ve enjoyed the way that’s now become the default branding for the show in general following its reprise on Series XI and XII. But argh, it’s the version where bits of the W and A are cut off by the ellipse, which irrationally irritates me.
* Yay, confirmation that we’re getting all the Bodysnatcher extras, as a bonus nineteenth disc! Excellent news on every level – those features deserve a wider audience than the original release deserved, and it makes the collection as complete as possible for us hardcore fans who already have everything anyway.
* Slightly weird, though, that it’s in its own individual cardboard sleeve – presumably slotted into the big box – rather than incorporated into the main boxes. Seems like a recipe for it getting lost or damaged. Plus, for some reason the front of the sleeve calls it “Bodysnatchers“.
* Curious that the overall set seemingly has a 15 certificate, when none of the individual series releases were above a 12. It could well be that the certificate on the box is temporary while they await confirmation of the final rating.
* Very much looking forward to the final confirmation of what extras are included. I wouldn’t imagine the Re-Mastered episodes will be included, which means we’re potentially losing the trivia track and a few commentaries from The Bodysnatcher Collection, although the commentaries could conceivably end up being used on the proper episodes. No firm indication on whether there’ll be any new extras exclusive to this release, but I wouldn’t put any money on it.
As the TOS update acknowledges, it’s a shame that this isn’t out in time for Christmas, but having now finally seen the artwork and more in-depth details than “we’re doing a Bluray at some point”, it suddenly feels a lot more real and exciting. I’m still cynical as to how much the episodes will be improved by their upscaling, but at least we can look forward to having a significant chunk of our shelves filled by this beauty, and know that virtually everything from the previous DVD releases will neatly contained in one place.