Red Dwarf: Series I-VIII Bluray Review featured image

Oh boy, where to begin? This is comfortably the largest Red Dwarf release ever, containing not only 71.2% of all episodes ever (or Series I-VIII, as most people refer to it), but all the extras from the original DVD range, including The Bodysnatcher Collection. Not only that, the episodes have been restored, upscaled to a high-definition resolution, and given what’s been officially referred to as an “extensive” colour grade. It’s a release that was rumoured for a very long time before it was finally announced, and one that’s only now arriving some three and a half months later than the original release date.

Our attitude towards the release during that time has ranged from ambivalence to open hostility, but now that it’s finally here, is it indeed the ultimate collection of Red Dwarf – the definitive version of the episodes, packaged with all the extras you’d ever need – that it has the potential to be?

No. Not by some distance. Let’s break this down, old school style.

Many thanks to Andy Holland for providing the Bluray screengrabs used in this review.

The Packaging

You’ve already made your mind up on the artwork from when it was first revealed, let’s face it. Personally, I don’t think there’s much wrong with the concept, and for the most part, dodgy logo with the W and A of “DWARF” cropped aside, the outer box looks pretty damn lovely – a lovely deep shade of purple, and a nice chunky, hefty-looking shape. That is apart from the back cover, which is deeply sloppy. The blurb is a little dull, and could have done with another pass to add some missing punctuation. It’s adorned by planet-shaped cut-outs of five publicity photos from across the years, one of which is from Re-Mastered, one of the few things not contained within. Norman Lovett doesn’t appear in any of them, and the colours are all completely washed-out. Unfathomably, the pictures have been covered by a pink pixelly overlay, and the overall effect makes it look like it’s been printed on an old half-empty inkjet.

Within the box are two disc booklets, each containing four series each, the second a little fatter than the first due to VII and VIII’s extra discs. Again, perfectly lovely from the side, but the cover art on these is what caused so much consternation. I can certainly see what they were going for, but the execution is very poor indeed, and it looks worse in person than it did online, like your mum. I find myself increasingly incensed by the half-finished ram scoop on the pencilly Dwarf. The Starbug one isn’t so bad, but in conjunction with the abysmal rendition of the mothership, they combine to create a feeling that it’s all slightly off-brand.

Sandwiched between the two disc booklets is an actual booklet, which we’ll come to later, and tucked inside the Series I-IV one is a leaflet and the Bodysnatcher disc, in its own little sleeve. The design has changed from the original reveal, with the list of extras gone from the rear, replaced by a logo and a collection of planetoids.

The Discs

These are all pretty uniform as you’d expect – the smaller planetoids change from series to series, but the main red one at the bottom remains the same, as does the sans-serif logo and the placement of various text and logos. I thought I’d spotted something clever when I noticed that the Series 1 discs feature a red planetoid, Series 2 a blue one and Series III green, but the pattern doesn’t continue beyond this. Semi-interestingly, the discs all display their individual BBFC ratings – almost all are 12, the exceptions being Series VI Disc 2 (PG) and Series III Disc 1 (15). Yes, Marooned is the reason the overall set is a 15, and the workaround that they used to get a 12 certificate for the Series III DVD has seemingly been forgotten about in the intervening years, as the episode on Bluray omits the post-credits easter egg that enabled its reclassification.

Of course, the other thing that varies between the disc designs is that some of them have Bluray logos and some have DVD. In principle, a sensible decision to avoid the cost of so many extra Blurays for all this SD material, and it has to be said that overall, you can’t really complain about a £40 price tag for nineteen discs that contain 26 hours’ worth of episodes and tonnes of accompanying extras.

The Menus

We’ll come back to the DVD components of this release later, but let’s start with the actual Blurays for now. Plop one in your machine, and you’ll notice that the disc icon thingy features the serif version of the logo, along with a hastily-plonked on Roman numeral to denote the series, in a slightly wonky font. It doesn’t create the greatest impression, and with this being the only place on this release (other than the episodes/extras themselves, obvs) that this version of the logo is used, you have to question the attention to detail.

After the standard current copyright details and BBC logo, you come to a rather smart looking menu, with nicely-detailed spaceshippy bits framing a montage of clips from the series in question. It’s the same style throughout, but the colours vary – red for the first two series, then Starbug green for III and IV, back to red for V, green for VI and VII, and VIII is back in the red. Bodysnatcher is something different, but again, we’ll come to that later.

In terms of the montages, while III-VIII use something very close to their respective title sequences, Series 1 and 2’s have been specially created for the purpose, for obvious reasons, and they do the job well. There are a few variations in the other series; the bits where the logos normally appear have all been replaced with other shots, and model/effects sequences are used on the end to smooth out the loop.

There’s a few interesting choices: Series III’s features the “Contents 2” sign on the Polymorph pod, thus giving away the punchline to the episode; a shot of Holly materialising over a wireframe of Starbug from Demons and Angels is replaced by a similar shot of her materialising over a wireframe of a strawberry earlier in the episode; and all the extra effects shots added to VII are from the handful of actual model shots used, including that oft-reused Starbug flyby that opens Holoship. Pleasingly, they’ve taken the opportunity to excise the rogue Series 2 shot from the Series III montage, bringing Cat’s backwards-poo-reaction forwards and adding a shot of Kryten in earmuffs to cover it.

The navigation is functional and largely sensible, although it’s a shame that there’s no scene selection option. Instead, we have Play All, Episode Selection, Commentaries and Subtitles On/Off on the left hand side, with submenus appearing on the right. Each episode is represented by a screengrab thumbnail, and are listed in broadcast order. For Series VII, selecting Tikka, Ouroboros or Duct Soup brings up a simple choice of which of the various Xtended and/or Re-Mastered versions to watch, which retains the explanatory text from the original DVDs. For VIII, though, the feature length versions of Back in the Red and Pete appear as a separate option on their respective episode menus, with the explainers. Another difference for these two series is that the non-bonus-disc extras – Identity Within, Fan Films and Comedy Connections – sit on the main left-hand menu.

Let’s get it out of the way. On the Series 2 disc, episode three is listed as Thanks For The Memories. Sigh. On the scale of Red Dwarf cock-ups, it’s not quite up there with accidentally releasing an episode a day early or leaking the following series’ episode titles on a Bluray cover, but it’s still annoying, representing as it does a certain sloppiness that’s sneaked into Red Dwarf‘s commercial ventures since around the time the original DVD range finished, and has festered to such a degree that a mistake as fundamental as getting the name of an episode wrong is something that can simply slip through the net. On the plus side, Bodyswap is correctly rendered as one word, unlike on the Series III DVD menus. Although Emohawk is listed as Polymorph 2 instead of Polymorph II and Only The Good… is missing its ellipsis, both of which are UNFORGIVABLE.

Anyway, meanwhile, the commentaries have their own submenu, with a Play All function. The additional commentary for The End, manufactured from the Six of the Best CD, survives for the Bluray, as do the fan commentaries for Back To Reality and Gunmen. All of this is also accessible as a pop-up menu, with the frames coming in to surround the episode you’re watching, which is pretty neat. Overall, I don’t think I’d have a single complaint about the menus, were it not for that one glaring error.

The Episodes

Right, here we fucking go. Given that the release contains all eight series of the BBC era, and I need to do things like eat and sleep and go to work, I haven’t yet watched absolutely all of it; instead selecting one episode from each series to watch side-by-side with the DVD versions, and dipping in to a handful of others to look at notable scenes or things that people have noted online. As such, there’s a chance that I’ve missed something particularly brilliant or rubbish about the restoration or grade if it happens to have occurred in an episode I didn’t pick, but this should give you a flavour of how each individual series holds up.

Starting somewhat sensibly with The End, the vivid red of the ship is immediately apparent from the first second of the first episode, acting as somewhat of a mission statement for the project from the get go, although weirdly it’s not equally bright and bold in subsequent model shots, denoting the continued presence of our friend Mr Inconsistency. The grade yields mixed results throughout the episode, but the overall theme is darker shadows and more saturated colours, which is regrettably reminiscent of the treatment given to Re-Mastered – it’s basically that look but without the film effect.

Where it works is in the blacks and primary colours, which look great. The pre-accident Drive Room/Captain’s Office scene really benefits; the colours in the original look completely washed out in comparison, and Craig’s skin tone is much more true to life in the new version. But scenes like this are in the minority, and the grade seems to create more problems than it solves. Close-ups of McIntyre have compensated for his paleness, which gives the rest of the shot a somewhat pinkish tint, most evident on the previously white sign behind him. Bluescreen halos are unfortunately more noticeable, appearing darker and thus making the actors look like the cut-outs that they are.

It all feels slightly at odds with the quality of the source material, which still has plenty of grain and video artefacts in evidence. Remember that this is a transfer of a master tape that’s over thirty years old, recorded on a format that was virtually obsolete even then, and with several generations worth of analogue editing loss built in, blown up way beyond its original resolution. And it shows. To some extent, there’s little that can be done to disguise it, and when you’ve got a grade that really brings out the vertical track lines down the left hand side, making them more apparent than ever throughout the whole opening episode, it does little to put my doubts about the whole feasibility of this exercise to rest. I don’t know for sure whether stuff like that could be fixed, but the credits sequence should perhaps have been recreated for the medium (as it routinely is/was for classic Doctor Who releases), as the red text in particular looks every bit as stretched to buggery as it is.

On the plus side, I also checked the split-screen bits in Me², to see how the telltale lines that came to light on the DVD release look here, and these do seem to have been painted out reasonably successfully; either that or the grade makes them less perceptible. On balance, it’s an overall thumbs down for Series 1, but a tentatively raised thumb for Series 2, based on my viewing of Better Than Life. With the slightly improved condition of the source material, the grade is less distancing and feels more natural – more like a tidy-up of what was originally there than a new vision, which is the objectively correct way to treat archive material.

The Observation Dome scenes look particularly lovely with a darker spacescape providing a starker contrast with the actors. But again, it’s a mixed bag, as the hologram newsreader now looks even more glitchy, thanks to the lurid pink emphasising the original keying faults. The beach scene looks a little warmer, and the grass on the golf course more verdant – this extra layer of luxuriousness perhaps the closest thing to an actual editorial change – and yet the sky still changes colour from shot to shot when Rimmer turns up with his kids, an opportunity to fix an unavoidable mistake in the original declined. To do so would be to step on a slippery slope, of course, and I don’t think anyone reading this would want any changes that alter what was originally broadcast too much. But then again, the opening Holly intros throughout Series 2 are more monochrome than there were on DVD, losing the blue tint. Is that not a change that reverses a conscious decision made in 1988? Shall I prepare the guest room for Mr Inconsistency?

Elsewhere in Series 2, chatter online has drawn attention to the “My Other Spaceship Is A Red Dwarf” sticker on the back of Blue Midget. I’ve compared it side-by-side with the DVD version, and it’s not massively clear in the original, it has to be said, but the Bluray grade does make it even harder to make out, as the extra saturation on the white background flares out over the black text. The difference between the two versions has perhaps been overstated a little, but then it could be seen as a missed opportunity to make a subtle improvement to the episode by tinkering a little further to aid legibility. I also had a look at Tongue Tied, just for a laugh, and the model shot at the top of the sequence is considerably duller than the vibrant red that opens the previous eleven episodes. Pfffft.

Onto Series III, which has always looked completely different to all other series anyway, and is perhaps the most difficult, on paper, to bring up to scratch for Bluray. Some improvements have been made to the sharpness, but the motion looks particularly blurry on this version, bringing the spectre of Re-Mastered back into view once more. There’s speculation that there’s a frame rate problem here, but to my eye it looks like just a case of the grade emphasising the low quality source material. It’s still watchable, but then that’s not a particularly high bar to clear. I chose The Last Day, and can report the film dirt all over the Jim Reaper inserts is still there, as is the big red line that appears down the left hand side of one of the studio cameras (most noticeably in the scene where Kryten is packing himself away).

The question of whether its in the remit of this release to fix things like that can be argued either way; nobody wants another Re-Mastered, and you can see why they’d be wary of making too many changes for exactly that reason, but my view is that you’re on much safer ground if you’re merely correcting something that was an unintentional fault in the original. Anything that someone’s decided to put in the broadcast episode – a model shot, a line of dialogue, a music cue – leave it the fuck alone, but I don’t see any harm in fixing a technical error, especially when you’re paying forty quid for the best possible quality version of something you’ve paid for several times before.

So the Manchester years were always going to be a struggle, but Series IV saw the move to Shepperton with its less antiquated equipment, and when the source material is better quality, so is the upscaled version. Other than a bit of extra colour saturation, the grade is much more subtle, and the overall feel is pretty much how I’d pictured it beforehand: it looks decent, if not remarkable. However, I watched DNA and noticed for the first time in what must be hundreds of viewings that one of the cameras in the double polaroid scene has a slightly warmer white balance than the others. It’s there on the DVD version if you’re really looking for it, but it’s barely perceptible – here, the grade has really brought the difference out, and it’s another missed opportunity to fix something accidental. At least the new style of credits introduced in IV translate to Bluray a lot better than the glitchy old red ones.

With slightly more confidence in the picture quality and a determination to stop nitpicking quite so much about technical errors, I plumped for Back To Reality to represent Series V, hoping to see the best possible version of the best ever episode. What I got was an abomination. It seemed off right from the beginning, with the title sequence looking abysmally grainy compared to the DVD version playing on my laptop. Then as soon as the episode proper started, it immediately became apparent that something was horribly wrong with the encoding. I thought at first it was the frame-rate, but it can’t be, because the running times match across the versions. I don’t have the technical expertise to diagnose the cause of the problem – to my semi-trained eye it looks like it’s something to do with the field order settings – but the end result is that it looks like progressive scan (like the Dave era) instead of interlaced video (like all but VII from the BBC era).

Holoship, The Inquisitor and Terrorform are fine, but Quarantine and Demons & Angels are similarly affected. Best guess: they exported their edits in half-series batches, and there was a mistake in the settings for the last batch of V. Still, not like there’s any decent episodes in there, eh? I’ve checked and double checked, cross-referencing the Bluray and the DVD versions, and it’s a difference that may pass viewers who are less sensitive to this kind of thing by, but for me it was painful to watch the undisputed best ever episode of the somewhat-disputed-to-be-fair best ever sitcom in this sorry state. A huge layer of artificiality has been placed between the action and the audience; we’re supposed to think they’re in “our” world now, but they’re more distant than ever.

Admittedly the colours looked really nice in the recuperation lounge scene, but that was scant comfort. Instead I turned to one of the unaffected episodes, The Inquisitor, and that was much more like it. It’s evidently a better transfer of the master tape than the DVD, with a subtle but effective grade bringing out Series V’s distinctive colour scheme and bold lighting style beautifully, as well as revealing details like the wrinkles on Kryten’s neck in sharper contrast. The self-judgement scenes particularly benefit, the richer blacks emphasising the themes of duality. The first half of Series V can safely be considered the definitive versions of these episodes; for the first time, you can really see what they were aiming for with the restoration, and the project seems a little more worthwhile. But the second half deserves to be feathered, tarred and thrown in a big burning bin.

There’s less to say about Series VI, from which Psirens was its representative, which is probably in its favour given what’s gone before. The big red letterboxes in the title sequence still look crap, but we now have the full 4:3 frame intact, with whatever error that required the tops and bottoms of the picture to be cropped on the DVD release now seemingly fixed. For this reason alone, we’re back into “definitive version” territory, but also the picture is sharper – a much bigger improvement than on any previous series – and the grade a good one.

As for Series VII, dare I say it, the film effect looks pretty damn good compared to all previous, lower-resolution versions. Perhaps this is the one series of the original eight which has a look that lends itself best to the medium. That said, the scenes that are a bit mucky or grainy in the original, mostly ones that are fairly low-light, are still just as mucky and grainy here, except each individual grain/muck is now bigger. I watched the Xtended and Re-Mastered version of Tikka, just to get my money’s worth, and can report that the one non-film-effect shot is still non-film-effect. The re-mastered effects still look the same – although watching it now more than a decade on, they’re beginning to look their age in the same way that physical model shots don’t – but the motion blur on the original CGI throughout VII is now worse than ever. The Ace Rimmer coffins in Stoke Me A Clipper are somehow even more laughable.

And finally, the most recent series should logically be the one that looks best of all, but the difference between the DVD and Bluray versions is barely noticeable in Series VIII. The purple prison uniforms are perhaps a bit more vibrant, but that’s about all I’ve got. I chose to watch Back In The Red (Part Three), which is not something I’ve ever said before. The CGI Blue Midgets in the dance sequence look a little better than before, sharper and more detailed. The claymation sequence is still covered in film dirt and blighted by inconsistent lighting.

Overall, I’d say about four and a half series look good on Bluray, one looks alright, and two and a half look terrible. Hey, on one hand, you can say that more than half of it passes the test. But the size of the majority is about the same as the Brexit vote, and in both cases we’re left frustrated, a bit sad and out of pocket.

The Extras

But hurrah for the mere presence of said extras, and the almost absolute completeness thereof. With home video budgets the way they currently are, brand new additional material was never a likely prospect when there’s so much old stuff that could be included, so at least they have included all of it in the end, after it was initially announced that a handful of DVD features would be missing. But the reason that the collection is so complete is very simple: these are literally the same extras discs from the original DVD releases. It’s the same master file, as they all have the contemporary copyright warning and BBC/2 Entertain logos at the start, which varied throughout the original run and are all entirely obsolete now.

As much as it pains us to admit that we’re all getting older, the fact is that those DVDs are a product of their time; we’re further away from the Series 1 DVD than it was from Series 1. The style and length of the animated menus, the slightly clunky navigation and the aesthetic of the fonts and colours are all deeply rooted in the early-to-mid-2000s – not a criticism of them in the slightest, but it’s completely at odds with the actual Bluray components of this release, giving the overall impression of something that’s been bodged together rather than a bespoke package. Honestly, do something you haven’t done for at least fifteen years, and click the weblink option on the top menu. It’s a historical document at this stage.

Also, switching between the main feature on Bluray and clips from the episodes in the extras on DVD emphasises that the difference in quality is… not that huge, really, at least not in the early series. Obviously the grade sets it apart, but in terms of how well it holds up on a big flat screen some thirty years after it was shot, you’d think the contrast would be clearer.

Of course, a by-product of duplicating the exact same DVDs is that the few extras that were originally featured on the same discs as episodes (ie. for the three-disc VII and VIII sets) are included on the corresponding Bluray in SD. Naturally, I couldn’t resist the temptation to watch my own fan film on Bluray, and would like to apologise for everyone for how shit it looks. There’s nothing they could have done – it was originally submitted in about a sixteenth of the resolution of Bluray – but I did note with some disappointment that the subtitles have been amended in the intervening years so that “shut up, Andrew” is no longer given as “shut up, Patrick”.


Which just leaves one last disc to explore, and it’s more SD material on a Bluray disc, but so much of it crammed in. The Bodysnatcher Collection is named in full on the disc icon, which is nice – the legacy of that release lives on. It also retains its uniqueness, with the menu specially tinted blue, and simply featuring a static shot of the ship in place of a series-specific montage. Bodysnatcher itself is given its own headline spot on the menu, with the rest of the Collection weirdly sub-divided into “Extras” (The End Original Assembly, The Beginning, It’s Cold Outside and Re-Dwarf) and “Bonus Material” (everything else). This is to do with how the extras were distributed across the original discs, and while it does make sense to distinguish between the big original features and archive footage, the problem is that “extras” and “bonus material” mean the exact same thing, and so the labels seem arbitrary to fresh eyes.

The next option on the menu is Audio Commentaries, and they’re just that – the audio only. I get why the Re-Mastered episodes weren’t included – they’d have undoubtedly upped the disc count, and while they are without question a noteworthy part of the Red Dwarf oeuvre, the Re-Dwarf doc is probably enough to satisfy most viewers. And while I’m glad that they commentaries were included in some form, I can’t see myself plumping to listen to them without the accompanying visuals. Here, they play out over static close-ups of various CGI elements, as do other audio-only extras, the Tongue Tied archive and the full-length Bodysnatcher script). Brilliantly, they choose Starbug to use for the Better Than Life commentary.

And finally, there’s an Easter Eggs menu, compiling all the bits that happened to be hidden on the main episode discs originally, and avoiding doubling up on the ones on the extras discs that come with the set anyway. Ironically, the Marooned model shot, which was only ever included on a DVD because of the aforementioned BBFC rating thing, is included here, whereas if it had been left where it was the whole set would be one certificate lower. It’s a great little archive though, and it’s neat that the Bodysnatcher disc of this set has the same function as the Collection itself in relation to the main DVD range, rounding up every possible last scrap of extras, the ones would otherwise have fallen off.

Although there is one thing still missing – the What’s Different? text track that originally played out over the Re-Mastered episodes. Unlike the audio commentaries, it’s not really possible to port this across without the episodes themselves in any even vaguely satisfying way, so don’t go chucking away your DVDs just yet. One solitary feature missing for unavoidable reasons is not a bad record. The only other material that could have been included is Smeg Ups/Outs and Beat The Geek. The latter is even more a product of its time than anything else, but I’ve always thought that Just The Smegs was a vital component of the DVD collection – while the fluffs themselves are of course included elsewhere, having them in their original mid-90s form too really completed the set.

None of the extras seems to have been altered for Bluray in any way as far as I can tell. There’s still a promo for how to subscribe to the Red Dwarf mobile service at the end of the mobisode, for example. This is a good thing of course, that archive material is presented in full wherever possible, but a few years ago, when people were actually paying attention to stuff like this, some of Kryten’s links got chopped out of Just The Smegs in order to avoid inaccurate commercial information being included on a new release. I’m not saying they should have changed anything this time, merely highlighting that the change in approach compared to earlier projects can sometimes have unexpected advantages.

The Booklet

Something that’s been sadly missing from the Dave era releases, here it’s a necessary tool for any newcomers to Red Dwarf on shiny disc to navigate the myriad episodes and extras and figure out where everything is – let’s face it, there’s no logical reason for the A-Z to be filed with the Series 2 extras, or Can’t Smeg Won’t Smeg to be intrinsically linked to Series IV, we just already know where to look for them. Those newcomers won’t know that you could previously expect a beautifully written treasure trove of trivia and analysis in your collectors’ booklet, so they’ll probably be happy enough with a plain list of contents. I’ve scoured forensically for typos and spelling mistakes, and it seems to pass the test. The only snag is that it fails to list the isolated music cues and talking book chapters, so you can see how erroneous information ended up on TOS. That and referring to the extras on the VII and VIII episode discs as “VAM”, which makes me vom.

Unexpectedly, I discovered when attempting to get screengrabs for this article that the original booklets from the Series I-VIII DVDs (but not The Bodysnatcher Collection) are included on their respective series disc as PDFs. This is a lovely little touch, which makes it all the more baffling that they’re not listed on the box, in the booklet or online.

The Leaflet

No G&T review would be complete if we didn’t analyse even the most throwaway of components. No stickers this time, for the record. The leaflet is there to implore you to “complete your blu-ray collection” with the four Dave-era releases, complete with a display of awards credentials and a number of press quotes, although none of them are clear as to which series in particular they’re talking about. It’s adorned with the logos of 2 Entertain, Dave, Grant Naylor and Baby Cow, and is the only place that three of those appear anywhere on the package.

In conclusion, then…

Oh, I don’t know. I really don’t. My inescapable feeling is one of disappointment. This review tells the tale of poor attention to detail, missed opportunities, a lack of consistency, a few baffling choices and at least one major, enjoyment-ruining mistake. And yet when it comes to what matters – the quality of the newly-upscaled and regraded episodes themselves – I did conclude that the majority of them pass muster. But only just, and shouldn’t we expect better than a half-decent job?

I guess it comes down to whether, for you, forty quid is a good price to pay for a chunky box, the convenience of having everything in one place, and a slightly better viewing experience than what you’ve already got for just-about-most-of the episodes. So buy it if you want, but don’t feel like you’re hugely missing out if you don’t, and for goodness sake, don’t replace your original DVDs with it. You can’t even say “you might as well get this if you haven’t got all the individual releases”, due to the encoding errors on Series V resulting in three episodes ending up less watchable than a duplicated off-air VHS.

I wanted this to be the definitive Red Dwarf collection, I really did. But it isn’t. It does a lot of things right, and the effort to collate as much material as possible, as well as the attempt to bring the quality up to a higher standard, is admirable. But the execution falls well short.

Thanks again to Andy Holland for providing the screengrabs.

140 comments on “Red Dwarf: Series I-VIII Bluray Review

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  • I think you may have just about summed up the feelings of everyone on here quite succinctly. It’s a shame they fall just short of the mark of being the best possible versions they could be. To the casual viewer that won’t matter, but considering this was hyped up to fans throughout the 30th anniversary year, it’s a disappointment it doesn’t meet what we hoped / were told it would be.

    Personally, I think it’s worth the £40, given it could have been £60 or £80 … that those prices it really would be unforgivable there were errors on there. But to be able to grab everything in one box (despite already owning every other medium) for a relatively small sum is a good deal.

  • This is a great review – I still purhcased the Blu-ray knowing the issues – many years ago I brought my dvd collection to university and lost about half of the discs. This seemed like a solid way to have the full collection again. Plus it looks damn good on my shelf!

    Can anyone fill me in about the Marooned model shot affecting the BBFC rating? I have tried to search for it but I can’t find any info. The closest I have found is some sites claim the lines about Lister losing his virginity at the age of 12 were what caused the increased rating?

  • …it says something when reading the review is infinitely more satisfying than the buying and watching of the boxset itself.

    I’m just gutted. It’s a hot mess, and with just a bit more time and effort (and yeah ok probably money) it could of been just excellent. I never thought I’d say this, but honestly i’m not buying this.


    Love live the DVD.

  • This is a really excellent review that I think fairly reflects all the positives and negatives of this set, without getting too hysterical about any of it. Great job!

  • (Incidentally, I thought all the remastered/Xtended versions of Tikka were still in SD, not HD. Is the Remastered & Xtended version used for the review HD after all? I’ll have to give it a watch if so, as I didn’t check it out yet on the assumption that it would be identical to the DVD version.)

  • Aye, that seems about right. I’ve only dipped in here and there, and it must be said that a lot of the moaning that I, and we as a group, made upon receipt of our long-awaited forty quid purchases, was probably a little bit of an immediate (over) reaction, fuelled by unfulfilled expectations, and has lessened a tiny bit over the last few days. And I’ve noticed more voicing of praise for the good stuff has appeared online. (Although Doug Tweeted a line to a 9/10 review a couple of days ago, which I really think is pushing it somewhat.)
    But at the end of the day, it’s something of a young disappointment, though the hard work is, as you say, admirable.

    Now I’m going to go back and try and work out how to get rid of some of those commas.

  • Hopefully we can get a disc replacement programme for V, as half a series looking different to the other half seems to be an actual error rather than anything else.

    I keep going back and forth on whether I want to get this but then remember that I ordered it from Amazon on Wednesday (just before the V issue was noted!) and should have it arrive today. Oh well.

  • This is a great review – I still purhcased the Blu-ray knowing the issues – many years ago I brought my dvd collection to university and lost about half of the discs. This seemed like a solid way to have the full collection again. Plus it looks damn good on my shelf!

    Can anyone fill me in about the Marooned model shot affecting the BBFC rating? I have tried to search for it but I can’t find any info. The closest I have found is some sites claim the lines about Lister losing his virginity at the age of 12 were what caused the increased rating?

    When Marooned was originally rated they gave it 15 because of Listers lines about underage sex. I think the BBFC have a rule that if what was originally submitted isnt any different then the original rating stands, despite how long has passed.

    By the Mid 2000’s when the DVD was coming out, attitudes and things had changed and the episode would probably not be rated as harshly but because it wasn’t changed it would be kept as 15. So they stuck that footage of Starbug on at the end and resubmitted it because the episode was technically different. It got watched, they decided it was about worthy of a 12 rating and kept it in line with the rest of the sets.

    I guess they didn’t seem as bothered with this Blu Ray as one of the Dave Blu Rays is 15 as well so it doesn’t matter as much.

  • A thought occurs – switching on Motionflow (or whatever the motion interpolation may be called on your HDTV) will actually rectify the issues with 3 and 5. Probably the ONLY time ever it is of any use – though I will admit to switching it on to watch 7 (dvd) in a more traditional fashion occasionally :)

  • It’s arrived, I’ve tested a few episodes and I’m gutted about the 2nd half of series V. This isn’t good enough to replace my original DVDs, which, really, it should be. Disappointing, I’m sorry to say. :(

  • I know it’s meant to be a cardinal sin, but I prefer motion smoothing on just about everything, and had certainly made VII look great.

    Had a flick around with different settings the other day turning it on and off etc whilst watching Tikka and its a vast improvement IMO.

    Should have to be the solution to fixing III and V though should it.

  • Frame interpolation makes me physically sick, I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. I don’t even particularly like watching YouTube videos or anything in 50/60fps, it just feels unnatural to me. It’s never bothered me on Red Dwarf stuff (maybe because it’s genuinely always been 50 fields, nothing fake about it), but even Doctor Who stuff that’s been VidFIRE’d to “restore the video look” from the 16mm film prints makes me nauseous sometimes. I remember being unable to watch The Deadly Assassin without thinking yuck, even though I’m sure that was shot on video and not artificially made to look like 50fps. But maybe my downl… copy of it had some weird shit going on.

  • Should have to be the solution to fixing III and V though should it.

    It shouldn’t no. BBC absolutely needs to offer replacement discs.

  • I’ve emailed asking for replacement discs:


    I have recently received the set mentioned in the subject line, and I am sad to report that Series III Disc One and Series V Disc One (the last 3 episodes on that disc) are of appalling picture quality, soft and blurry, which makes for an unpleasant viewing experience. I am aware that I am not the only person to be experiencing this problem. Will there be improved replacement discs posted out to correct this problem? Thanks.”

  • I pre-ordered it with HMV before Christmas to get something else cheap on 4K disc for a deal. I was 50/50 at the time, because I’ve pretty much stopped buying DVDs and Blu-rays, and have ripped Red Dwarf (and all the extras) to Plex, so going back to physical media seemed a bit of a backwards step when the picture upgrade project seemed, um, dubious.

    I considered switching my order to Amazon a couple of weeks back, when I was a bit wrapped up in the hype of its impending release but decided to throw £40 in HMV’s direction as I assumed they needed the money.

    Then I considered cancelling the order completely when I saw the first reviews on here

    Then HMV cancelled the order on Monday themselves as they were unable to fulfil it.

    Now….I’ve kind of lost interest in the whole thing and probably won’t bother. If they’d released it last year when I was about to embark on a full series watch, I’d probably go along for the ride, but I’m not too fussed about seeing Series I, II and III fucked about with for the second time, Series V half-ruined and Series VIII ever again, actually.

  • For me I wouldn’t recommend it at all if you have the original releases.

    If I could say it’s at the very least as good as the DVDs that might be different but it’s considerably worse in places which is very poor and the places where it’s better it’s marginal.

    Even if you don’t have the original releases I’d say go and get the original releases until this boxset is very cheap. I’m just so, so disappointed.

    Some of that is because it was bigged up so much, it’s easy to see why there were no side by sides now it’s come out. Most of it is just because it’s all over the place.

    The best bit is the Bodysnatcher disc but with it not containing the episodes if you’re a Red Dwarf fan you’ll probably still want to acquire the full Bodysnatcher boxset.

    Hopefully they’ll replace the series III and V discs because III in particular is a smeary mess. I wonder if they’ll have the label on though, I’ve had replacements from the BBC that have just been silver with black labels, anyway that’s for the future, they might not even issue replacements.

    Also the more I think about it the more annoyed I am that I’ve paid for the exact same special features discs I did years ago, even down to the ancient BBC ident. I know they couldn’t afford to do it differently but I wonder if a Just the Shows release may have been a better choice? Don’t know.

    Overall as you say in the article it’s just a bit sad that Red Dwarf output is now always littered with mistakes and lack of care, the store products had typos and just general errors, the iTunes issues, the Blu-ray series XII balls-up, the UKTV Play issues, and now this.

    And that box art, I’m sorry but it’s shite. The Starbug is pretty poor but the Red Dwarf is unforgivable. For a start it’s the wrong ship, and then they’ve drawn it wrong anyway. It’s awful.

  • Agh, it’s so disappointing. There’s a good chance I’ll pick this up at some point just to see the definitive versions of the well-upscaled half of the series, but hearing what they’ve done to Back to Reality and its brethren doesn’t exactly fill me with a sense of urgency. It sucks that even with a 3-4 month delay they couldn’t get the conversion right.

    I know it was always a fool’s hope that any new special features would be included given limited budgets and the absolute mountain of extras that would already be ported up, but it still feels like a wasted opportunity. I’m such a completionist for my favourite series, I probably would’ve pre-ordered this just to get medium quality versions of the remaining Mobisodes.

    Also, I realised something else today. Given that all of the Series 1-VIII DVD extras have been preserved here, does this mean the Blu ray set would work as a replacement for the originals if you also got the Just The Shows sets??? You would end up with 8 fewer duplicate discs that way…

    Oh, and great work getting such a detailed review out within the week, Ian!

  • I emailed the enquiry line and got fobbed off with a stock reply about the “archive nature” of the release despite my email clearly showing I knew what was involved in this release.

    Another email needed now…

    >Incidentally, I thought all the remastered/Xtended versions of Tikka were still in SD, not HD.

    It is included as 576i instead of 1080i. The wording indicates it is a straight port of the DVD version but I haven’t directly compared.

  • Do you think these versions will become the standard for broadcast and streaming? Isn’t that one of the motives behind upscaling/remastering old series, that you get to sell the episodes again?

  • I can’t remember which account tweeted it, but someone/something official said they’d consider releasing them digitally if they sold well. I assume that means they wouldn’t become the streaming norm unless that happens.

  • I wanted this to be the definitive Red Dwarf collection, I really did. But it isn’t. It does a lot of things right, and the effort to collate as much material as possible, as well as the attempt to bring the quality up to a higher standard, is admirable. But the execution falls well short.

    You’ve summed up exactly how I feel about it. God, I wanted this to be the definitive way to watch the episodes.

    There’s no way of saying what follows without risking coming off as entitled, spoilt, twatty and whining of first world problems, as well as ranting. My Plasma LG 50 inch TV has never been able to play the Red Dwarf DVDs properly without any issues like the image being jittery during some scenes and when the credits roll. Maybe it’s just SD not playing well on modern HD TVs (I’m not an expert on these things) but the episodes played well and looked gorgeous on my family’s old Panasonic Plasma TV. Anyway, I was really hoping the blu-ray would fix that issue so I could just sit back and watch classic Dwarf anytime and have a good time without anything to distract or ruin the viewing. But this release has only added more problems than fixed them! I’m really gutted, bloody annoyed and upset over what’s happened to the last half of Series V! That and “Thanks for the Memories”…. as the review points out, it’s just another cock up in what’s become a long line of cock ups with Red Dwarf’s commercial ventures these days, and I’m just starting to get totally fucking fed up of it now.

  • You’d think with 3 extra months to work on it, they’d have used that time to make sure there weren’t any massive errors. But then “Thanks For The Memories” shows up. In three whole months, how did NOBODY spot that and realize it was incorrect?? It just reeks of utter carelessness

  • That and how nobody noticed something might be off with the last half of V… UGH! I’m not even going to pretend to know how the whole process works but how many times were they going over the episodes?? How could they not have noticed!! I was watching Quarantine and it practically looked like it was stuck on fast forward!

  • Of note: Kris posted screenshots showing the subtitles on the Blurays, which appear to be a lot more comprehensive and accurate compared to the DVD releases which were heavily and appallingly abridged. Disappointing that this hasn’t been mentioned in the review.

    And with that, I’m off again. T’rah, Geeantee.

  • I am very happy with it overall, having gone into it knowing that it could never be perfect given the issues with the source material of the older series. I am disappointed that the remastered episodes didn’t make it, I really like the extra Holly jokes and a few changes that they made, even though there were some terrible edits in those ones.

  • An additional shot of Starbug in the snow, lasting around 15 seconds, was inserted at the end of the credits (just after the Production credit, before the PJP logo) so that the show could be resubmitted and reclassified as a 12 by the BBFC. The episode had been slapped with a 15 Certificate when the episode was released on VHS (a 12 didn’t exist at the time for home video).

    If you have Netflix, the version of Marooned on there has the extra shot.

    Edit; Oh, you’ve edited your comment, Firsty and removed your question.

  • Bit mean of Firsty to make Pete Part Three look like they just have a habit of randomly bursting into cogent explanations of Red Dwarf’s commercial release history.

  • Watched the first two episodes and thought they looked alright. Colours a bit bolder than they were. Mostly just enjoyed revisiting the episodes which I haven’t watched for about 3 years. Almost made it feel like I was having a second or third watch of them rather than a millionth.

    Also, I’ve only just appreciated the fact that Lister has a polaroid camera in Future Echoes making his decision to send photos of him and Frankenstein to be developed in the ship’s lab pre-radiation leak even dumber.

  • I love how upset everybody is over a typo. Very Rimmerish. I know it’s indicative of a wider problem, but taken in isolation the idea of a forum full of sci-fi anoraks all getting livid over “memories” instead of “memory” is pretty humorous. I do agree that it is a bit of a total bloody shambles, though.

  • I love how upset everybody is over a typo. Very Rimmerish. I know it’s indicative of a wider problem, but taken in isolation the idea of a forum full of sci-fi anoraks all getting livid over “memories” instead of “memory” is pretty humorous. I do agree that it is a bit of a total bloody shambles, though.

    Even though it’s more generic, “Thanks For The Memories” is actually a better title for the episode. Lister doesn’t give Rimmer one memory or his entire memory, he gives him multiple memories regarding the same person.

  • > Lister has a polaroid camera in Future Echoes making his decision to send photos of him and Frankenstein to be developed in the ship’s lab pre-radiation leak even dumber

    In the novel Lister takes the photos of Frankenstein because he wants to be put into stasis, but doesn’t want Frankenstein herself found and killed. In fact even smuggling her on board in the first place is part of his plan.

  • Well, I forgot about that didn’t I?

    Still, the FE polaroid camera adds a layer to the joke in the show’s canon. Of course he could have got it from a dead crew member’s quarters but that’s not particularly funny…

  • >Thanks For The Memories” is actually a better title for the episode. Lister doesn’t give Rimmer one memory or his entire memory, he gives him multiple memories regarding the same person.

    Pfft. By that logic they should rename “Future Echo” as “Future Echoes”.

  • In the novel Lister takes the photos of Frankenstein because he wants to be put into stasis, but doesn’t want Frankenstein herself found and killed. In fact even smuggling her on board in the first place is part of his plan.

    LISTER: “Oh, no, you caught me. Guess I’ll have to be put in stasis for the remainder of the trip, meaning I’ll get free passage to Earth and feel like I get there instantaneously, huh? What a shame.”

    HOLLISTER: “What? Absolutely not. Stasis is just for offenders that are so violent that they can’t be kept around people. You’ll be going to The Tank. You know, the massive prison complex that makes up more than half the ship? Come on, I’ll introduce you to your new cellmate, Kill Crazy. Oh, and be aware that we’ll be interrogating you every single day and denying you all luxuries until you divulge the location of your cat.”

    LISTER: “… fuck.”

  • The only issue I’ve got with this set (and it’s a significant one) is the quality of series III and the last 3 episodes of Series V. When you’ve got a Blu-Ray release which produces worse results than the DVD quality, then something has gone wrong.

    Just for comparison- I don’t own any of them, but what is the quality of the classic series Doctor Who Blu-ray Discs like? A marked improvement, negligible or awful? The source material for Doctor Who season 12 is from 1974/5.

  • In the context of the confirmation of the filmising of three episodes plus that official ‘don’t care, fuck off’ reply from the BBC’s Gaslighting Hotline above, I think this shitshow is being awarded about 100 times more lenience than it deserves.

  • A rather wonderful person on the forums has tweeted comparison clips, highlighting the issue to Doug and RedDwarfHQ.

  • Took some lateral Googling to find but thanks:

    So, this confirms, to my own eyes, that series 3 plus Quarantine, Demons & Angels and Back To Reality are all *filmised*. Presumably accidentally, but this is an identical effect to Red Dwarf Remastered without the CGI, widescreen bars and sound redub. Kill it with fire.

  • Well done, that man! Hopefully something will come of this. I’d be genuinely pleased to replace the DVDs with the Blu Ray’s if they fixed III and V.

  • >Just for comparison- I don’t own any of them, but what is the quality of the classic series Doctor Who Blu-ray Discs like?

    Superb upscales. At worst it looks like Series IV (Revenge of the Cybermen) and at best it is an even bigger improvement than Holoship. Much like Holoship, there are moments where you could believe it is HD if you didn’t know how it was filmed. I remember some of the studio scenes in Kinda similarly impressing.

    Will be interesting to compare Season 26 when it is released later this year. It was made on similar cameras around the same time as Series I-III. I imagine Ghostlight will produce similar results to Series III.

  • Thanks, SO. Took me 18 years to get the classic DVD Collection, I’m resisting the Doctor Who Blu-ray’s because I really can’t do that all over again, and I’m happy with the DVDs. Obviously, in Red Dwarf’s case it’s £40 for the lot, so no big deal.

  • So, this confirms, to my own eyes, that series 3 plus Quarantine, Demons & Angels and Back To Reality are all *filmised*. Presumably accidentally, but this is an identical effect to Red Dwarf Remastered without the CGI, widescreen bars and sound redub. Kill it with fire.

    God, it’s bringing me back to the days when my missing Series V disc meant I had to put up with a shitty 320×240 25p version presumably uploaded for the legally blind.

    Did somebody just straight-up set these episodes to export in the wrong framerate? You’d think people trained to work with video professionally would be able to tell the enormous visual difference between 25 and 30 frames per second. This is “export and upload your video to YouTube without watching it over one last time because you’re sick of looking at it” levels of laziness.

    The only possible excuse I could imagine is that it was a space-saving measure – which doesn’t make any sense but would at least mean somebody was _trying_ to do their job and messed up as opposed to just not doing it in the first place.

    That VII screencap is from a particularly awful-looking shot, one of the points in the episode where the resolution randomly drops to 50% of what it’s supposed to be for some fucking reason. I’d really like to get a proper technical explanation on why that happens. There’s also shots in Stoke I can think of that do the same, but I don’t remember any examples in the rest of VII – although that said I’ve watched Tikka and Stoke far more than the rest of VII.

    But at least it’s not my American XI Blu-Ray where any shot with stars turns into a flickering mess from the completely arbitrary choice to interlace the progressive video – even while X and XII are progressive.

    Interlacing can go fucking die. Outside of correctly displaying archive material, it has no reason to exist in the 2010s unless you’re really into destroying the image quality of what’s effectively the home release master copy.

  • You’d have though a completed set would have been passed to fresh eyes at some point before they went ahead and sent it all to press.

    One human with decent knowledge of Red Dwarf and the English language sees it before it goes off to be made and they spot most of the problems. I didn’t know the full technical reason why Timeslides looked shite but I knew it looked shite.

    Saying that though, the box art came out ages ago, everyone pointed out the errors and they did fuck all about it so maybe not.

  • Not sure if it’s been posted on here but I’ve just seen on twatter that the Blu-rays are region free.

    The DVDs aren’t obviously, being the same discs as the UK release but it’s something if you want it.

  • > The only possible excuse I could imagine is that it was a space-saving measure.

    I mean maybe but should someone really be worry about getting 3 hours of Red Dwarf onto one Blu Ray disc when all 3hrs 48mins of shot-in-65mm Lawrence of Arabia fits on one Blu Ray disc in absolutely phenomenal quality.

  • Pretty sure you can fit like 10 hours of content on a Blu-Ray disc, no? I might be wrong on that, but I’m sure there’s more than enough room for six episodes of Red Dwarf on each disc

  • You can fit over 4 hours of HD content on a single Blu-Ray.

    Genesis of the Daleks has 4 hours of HD content and over an hour of SD content.

  • OK, I watched that comparison video, and I struggled to notice the difference, except for the colours being a bit brighter. Now I feel quite the scrub.

  • OK, I watched that comparison video, and I struggled to notice the difference, except for the colours being a bit brighter. Now I feel quite the scrub.

    It’s not displaying properly I don’t think because Dailymotion doesn’t do 50fps

  • It’s currently 8th on the Amazon Blu Ray bestsellers and is the highest selling TV series, far higher than the next TV series which I think also came out on the same day (Doctor Who, S11) so hopefully that’s enough cash for the BBC to support a bit of disc replacement work.

  • I’m not as disappointed with the set as some people are. It’s mostly been a good excuse for a re-watch marathon. I’m up to series 6 and here are some of my observations so far:

    Series I and II: Just as smeary and low-quality as the old Manchester studio series always were. The tape noise – seen easily in the grey backgrounds – is now much finer than the blocky DVD noise, which is the most obvious improvement over the DVDs.

    Series III: I watched all of RDIII with a feeling that it looked very poor, but mostly imagined it was down to the fresh production style being spoiled by the old smeary Manchester cameras. Now I can see that it has a (probably unintended) tape-to-film effect. I hadn’t actually noticed; RDIII always looked shit.

    Series IV: Definitely looking good. No dramatic improvement over DVD but subtly better. My problem is with some bad sound issues throughout, mostly stereo phasing. The sound glitches are an old problem that has carried over from the DVDs, and probably from broadcast. I’m surprised that no review has mentioned it, because it honestly makes the episodes hard to enjoy with headphones… I guess because it’s not a “new” problem, just an unfixed one.

    Series V: The same sound problems in most episodes, including the same “shuffling around” noises in the Duane DIbbley scene that make it very irritating. The first three episodes look great: that “5% better than DVD” effect that I was hoping for the entire boxset. I’ll be honest: I barely noticed the problem with eps 4, 5 and 6. They looked *slightly* poorer, but if I hadn’t seen all the fuss about an erroneous tape-to-film effect, I may not have noticed. Perhaps some people see the effect more clearly than others.

    Series VI: Looks pretty awful, but it’s not the fault of the blu-ray. It’s the artistic decision: all that bloom and fuzzy lighting, combined with a lot of edge halos and noise. It’s a bad-looking DVD that’s now an identically bad-looking blu-ray.

    That’s where I’m up to. Chloe Annett awaits!

    Overall observations: I wish the blu-ray menus weren’t a loop of the RD opening theme, forcing me to turn down the volume until I choose to play episodes — it’s a marathon, I’ll be hearing that tune enough bloody times, thanks. I also wish the extra discs weren’t just identical reprints of the DVDs — I wish that they’d compiled all the talking-head documentaries into a blu-ray called “The Documentaries”, and everything else into a blu-ray called “Everything Else”. Those horribly long trudges through CG recreations of the ship to get to the extras was already irritating in 2003. I haven’t played a point-and-click adventure since Monkey Island, so I don’t like pixel-hunting around the screen to find the Smeg Ups, thank you.

  • Overall observations: I wish the blu-ray menus weren’t a loop of the RD opening theme, forcing me to turn down the volume until I choose to play episodes — it’s a marathon, I’ll be hearing that tune enough bloody times, thanks.

    Is it just me, or is the menu music incredibly loud, too? I popped a disc in and went to make a drink while it loaded, and had to rush back into the room and turn it down as it was blaring so loud.

  • The more I look at the cover art drawing of Red Dwarf, the more I cannot fucking stand it! I actually hate it. I can sort of see the frame rates issue being missed if it was part of the export at the end of the production and they just did quick checks to see they played etc … and I can sort of understand a typo here and there, because lets face it, who hasn’t proof read something a million times and still found something wrong they missed all the times before.

    But that art work … you get that back from the artist (or more likely you get different design ideas to pick from then they do another pass which you approve before the final piece is done) and your immediate reaction is surely “somethings wrong, that doesn’t look right, I think they’ve messed up” (followed by Lister suggesting planting a second artist behind the little hill covered in lawn) and you go back to them and ask them to correct the ram scoop. You don’t go, well that looks nice, it’ll do!

    GNP really should have got some sort of project manager in to over see stuff, ala Ellard on the DVDs back in the day. If Doug was running the show on this and trying to do it all himself like he seems to want to these days, then no wonder shit like this happened. It’s too much for one person, and he was probably more focused on the up scaling and colour stuff than the finer details. It’s fine to be focused on that, but then get someone else do put the product together once the content is created.

  • The sad thing is they probably paid someone on freelancer or similar but it feels like the Red Dwarf fan community seems to have a disproportionately large amount of decent graphic/ 3D designers, they could have put out a brief and had a competition. Would have cost them naff all (except prizes maybe) and it would have been accurate.

  • Friend of the website Clayton Hickman revealed on Twitter the other day that he’d been approached to provide the cover art at one stage, but nothing came of it.

  • As minor as stuff like the ‘Memories’ typo technically is, all it does is make you lose a little faith in the rest of the set. Just goes to show we were spoiled rotten with the DVDs! :D

    The 25p issue is pretty sad, though completely unsurprising… it’s very easy to mess something like this up! The worst thing would be if the projects for III and the 2nd half of V had to be started anew, due to originally being scanned at 25fps or setup as 25fps projects. Though that’s not gonna be the case… Even in FCP you just have to cut all clips from the timeline, change the project framerate, then paste the clips back in. At least that’s how I would do it. There will be other ways…

  • If they do the disc replacement will they recall the ones they’ve sold in to shops or just hope that most people don’t notice and replace them on a customer by customer basis do you think?

    Are there any similar cases?

  • Based on my previous experience with disc replacement programmes, they’ll probably leave the bad stock out there.

    Having said that, I don’t think I’ve had to do one with the BBC before.

  • Don’t think there’ll be any disc replacements. Just received this reply:

    “We are sorry you are not completely satisfied with this release.

    Unfortunately the issues perceived are present in the only source masters available to us.

    BBC DVD Support”

  • Amazing.

    Also, bollocks, bearing in mind they reauthored and repressed a Doctor Who Bluray (three times!!) because it had a mislaid end credit slide that no sane person would have complained about in isolation. And that was on “the only source masters available to us” as well.

    This release should have been cancelled back when it was going to be.

  • This release should have been cancelled back when it was going to be.

    It was, this is at least the second attempt.

  • I agree, Darrell. The heady days of the DVD releases are clearly a thing of the past. Oh well. The Bodysnatcher disc will still come in handy as a way of accessing Easter Eggs quickly, I suppose.

  • Unfortunately the issues perceived are present in the only source masters available to us.

    You should reply saying “No, they’re not. These have been changed since the DVD releases. Please stop lying, thanks”

  • So a few people here and on the have e-mailed and got the same response. Is there anyway of everyone collectively sending an e-mail to really press the point home that it’s not a couple of people complaining, but everyone that has an interest in this set isn’t happy with it?

    Just feel there needs to be a little more of a stink made about it to get them to listen and not just dish out stock responses.

  • What a crock of shit. Really you’re missing a fair chunk of Red Dwarf visual wise on the dodgy discs, with the missing frames (half frames?).

    What about one of those petition sites once Doug has finished investigating.

  • They looked *slightly* poorer, but if I hadn’t seen all the fuss about an erroneous tape-to-film effect, I may not have noticed. Perhaps some people see the effect more clearly than others.

    You haven’t by any chance been primarily watching Red Dwarf on Netflix where the show already has been reduced to 25 fps?

    Because I find it a little baffling that people don’t seem to notice the difference in motion when you chop out a fifth of all frames (minus one more per second in America). Video vs. film framerate is a huge difference. We find videotape sitcoms to look as wrong at a film framerate as smooth motion shit looks on something shot with film-look. It’s this omnipresent “offness” to what you’re seeing from how it’s clearly meant to look.

    Literally the only thing that doesn’t look awful to watch in smooth motion is multi-cam sitcoms shot at a film framerate, because they already look like a videotape sitcom visually. Still a poor substitute for the actual video framerate, since it seems to interpolate things that are moving fast while leaving other elements of the picture the same – it’s fucking distracting when the same video is moving at wildly different framerates, especially when the smooth stuff is multiple times as smooth as video tape.

    Just give me shit in the correct framerate. It’s almost as unpleasant to see the wrong framerate as stretched into the wrong aspect ratio, something I am no-hyperbole astounded people could not notice.

    I could see not noticing framerates but an a literally distorted picture? You’re clearly not even looking at the screen if you don’t see that.

  • Being selfish here: I made the second fan film on series 7 Attack of the Giant Hand Monster. Don’t suppose anyone had a look at that one to see how it looked on Blu-Ray?

  • It’s annoying there’s been no decent response from official sources outside of Doug, who seems to be co-creator, writer, director, producer, and chief customer service agent, which is a bit of a ridiculous situation, that is unless I missed it.

    The BBC complaints robots are always shite.

  • well i have everything on dvd already including bodysnatcher which i only in the last few months managed to find, and was really looking forward to this release , unfortunately based on the pretty negative response and issues within ill be passing on this one unless they fix the issues. its such a shame.

  • Starting to think that nothing will happen until people start returning them. What’s the process that triggers one of those ‘we are investigating this item as it is not as described’ Amazon sale suspensions? A bigger boot needs to go into this arse as I feel terrible for you all.

  • I feel terrible for you all.

    It’ll be tough but we’ll struggle on somehow.

    (By which I mean, let’s keep things in perspective – most of the set looks good but these errors are a shame and hopefully they’ll get sorted out at some point.)

  • Watching Holoship just now, and I noticed a fair amount of ghosting that, having compared, was present in the DVD version but seems to have been made worse to my eyes on the blu-ray. In two specific scenes it seemed particularly noticeable;

    When Rimmer and Crane first meet, they both seem to have ghosting particularly around their legs? Also, in the Lister vs Brinks scene, Listers’ cigarette packet and the cigarette sticking out of it are ghosting both to the right and left, and even a little above, like someone had highlighted that area in photoshop and applied an outer-glow filter? (Thought it might have been light reflected off the Cats’ dazzling jacket for a while.)
    As said, there is evidence of these effects on the DVD, but the blu-ray version has made them, to my eyes at least, something that is now leaping out at me.

  • I think that’s playing it down unnecessarily. It’s a faulty release – it’s not in the realms of ‘they forgot a Me2 outtake and have about ten more volumes in which to find a place for it’.

    There are plenty of faulty DVDs about which are filmised in error, but the impact is massively multiplied on a release where a subtle improvement of picture quality is literally its only selling point to a sizeable portion of its audience.

  • Boy, that response from the BBC is infuriating.

    “Somebody broke the encode on this Blu-ray. These episodes play at the wrong framerate.”
    “Nope, it’s in the original source.”
    “I literally own this show on two other formats that play at the correct framerate. Three if you count Bodysnatcher.”
    “On the source, mate. Archives, amirite?”
    “You just don’t want to bother hitting ‘Render’ over again.”
    “I can assure you everyone fucked up but us.”
    “It’s one button. One button and a few new BDs.”
    “We’re not the button people. You’ll have to ask Greg.”
    “Who’s Greg?”
    “None of your business. Communication terminated.”

  • I would say I’m not buying anything else from the BBC ever again, but I don’t like anything they make anyway so I suppose they’ve won.

    They can still fuck off though, the Blu-ray equivalent of getting a half eaten box of chocolates and some dead flowers from your partner a week after your wedding anniversary.

  • Hope yet that the issue might be fixed. A couple of people on have gotten more personal responses which say it is being investigated and they ask for “patience as we attempt to resolve this issue”.

  • Even if it is fixed, I can’t imagine I’ll return to the box set anytime soon, if at all. I’ve watched through everything (well I gave up 10mins I to Back in the Red Part 2) and I honestly don’t feel I got anything more from it in anyway. Picture maybe a little better here and there but DVDs and Netflix are good enough, it’s not as though the blu ray blows the quality of the others out of the water.

  • I’m hoping to rip the Blu-ray and replace my copies on Plex with whichever series look better on the Blu-ray.

    When it’s fixed, of course.

  • >Never understood the attraction of Red Dwarf myself, but then the BBC’s never been that good at ScFi.

  • >Never understood the attraction of Red Dwarf myself, but then the BBC’s never been that good at ScFi.


    Probably because of the Jodie Whittaker Who, when something isn’t good people start rewriting the past due to the present.

  • There is an error there in the comments implying that the original physical master tapes of the episodes no longer exist. They absolutely do, they just haven’t been scanned for a long while and certainly weren’t used on this release.

  • So I just started the process of returning my boxset … thought why the hell not. I can’t imagine I’ll ever watch them again, and whilst I’d like them to complete my collection of Red Dwarf media releases, I’d rather have a product that works properly. I’d encourage everyone else to do the same, to try and send some sort of message.

    I had ordered through Amazon, so rather than going through the automated return process I got on the chat with them, explained the problems and was offered a replacement or refund. I accepted the refund, then told them that I think the product should be removed from sale until the issue is resolved. They said they’d pass the comments along.

    If enough people start returning the boxset someone somewhere might start listening

  • Probably because of the Jodie Whittaker Who, when something isn’t good people start rewriting the past due to the present.

    Seems like many people are already rewriting that very recent past as a complete abomination despite most of the series 11 episodes being totally fine to watch, just a big-picture disappointment.

  • Totally fine isn’t good enough when just a couple of years ago we were getting Heaven Sents and The Doctor Falls…es. I’m sure if they were episodes of Primeval they wouldn’t annoy me so much. I suppose it’s better than a series full of episodes written by Pip and Jane Baker, though. But even when Doctor Who was at its worst in the past there was usually some thing there worth your attention (Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant, Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman), now… there’s nothing. Graham, occasionally.

    I saw series 11 as an abomination while it was airing so I’m not rewriting history, lol. I never even watched the finale tbh. Should I have?

  • It’s interesting that this series of Who got the best viewing figures and press it’s had in years, and yet I’ve seen more vitriol aimed towards it than I have in the entire new series run.

    I enjoyed it a lot, for the record.

  • The disparity between critic scores and audience appreciation had been (seemingly) growing in recent years, with a few high profile examples. I’m not a “all positive reviews are paid” nut, but I think there is an incentive to be positive about things, as not so many people want to read negativity

  • Basing my Doctor Who comment on people I know who like Doctor Who and reviews I see on YouTube, I probably didn’t watch enough to say categorically for myself, but I didn’t like it. I wanted to like it, really did, just thought it was cack apart from Bradley Walsh.

  • I e-mailed the DVDenquiry e-mail address up top yesterday to tell them I was returning the boxset due to the issues with it and the shit response people had received so far and they said this

    This issue is currently being investigated by
    Please can you contact them directly in the hope that they may have additional information to share with you.
    So sorry you were disappointed with this release.
    Kind regards
    DVD Enquiry Line

    So at least somewhere someone has it on their list of things to do

  • Andrew and Quinn – I salute the pair of you. Stopped commenting on this because there were only so many ways to phrase ‘this is obviously worse than some people are saying, I am glad I didn’t buy it but sad I will no longer covet it’. But props for the direct action. Worldwide are absolute spanners.

  • On balance, I think the Blu-Ray set has given fans far more pleasure through schadenfreude than it ever could have done through improved picture quality.

    Let’s hope they get the replacement discs sorted out soon either way.

  • Genuinely no undeserved schaudenfreude from my end though. I am only angry and heartbroken for the people who have bought it, and only a bit smug that Worldwide have slipped up in yet another pool of their own diarrhoea.

  • I am only angry and heartbroken for the people who have bought it

    No need for such an extreme reaction really – it’s a set that has a lot going for it at a decent price, they just need to sort out these errors on two of the discs.

  • I think what made people angry was the responses from DVD enquiries not the actual fact that they made the cock up originally.

  • Yes, the “only available masters” response, which is either them lying or not being bothered to actually research it (“ah it’s an old programme it’ll look crap anyway”), is appalling customer service. The BBC are facing increasing amounts of criticism in recent years – some valid, some not – and stuff like this does them no favours at all.

  • Does it actually have “a lot going for it” though?

    Even if the framerate error was fixed it would still have heinous grading mistakes on a major scale, blanking anomalies, glitches like the Deshaker wobble Si first noticed and a general waft of amateurishness. I don’t understand how encouraging a charitable attitude towards it helps. It could and should have been done properly, and outright wasn’t. From the start. Only then on top of *that* were there major technical errors exascerbated further by Worldwide’s shitty attitude and the need of several fans to spoonfeed the solution to them as if they were a baby.

    You need to be honest or you can’t be fair. It’s like when the XI release came out – had we not condemned the paucity of extras we wouldn’t have then been able to commend the XII release for rectifying it. And defending the 1-8 box against its own flaws does well-mastered SD Bluray releases (like the Doctor Who sets and something exciting coming in October that hasn’t been announced yet but I am creaming my jodphurs over) a huge disservice.

  • You need to be honest or you can’t be fair.

    I think I have been honest and fair, by acknowledging the release’s good points as well as its flaws. As I’ve said before, it’s the very definition of a mixed bag, and the errors on series III and V are a pretty dire mistake that I hope is rectified soon – but the set has good points too, as we’ve discussed before.

    I just find it amusing that the most over-the-top diatribes about it – that refuse to acknowledge any of the benefits of the new set, and so which don’t seem very balanced to me – keep coming from someone who hasn’t bought it and wants to keep reminding us of the fact.

    To be blunt, I don’t think it’s really about feeling “angry and heartbroken” for people who did buy the set so much as it’s about justifying your decision not to buy it. Which is fine, and human nature. It’s just a bit tedious for those people who *have* bought the set and are in a better position to have a balanced appreciation of what’s good about it, as well as what’s bad.

    To try and draw a line under this so it doesn’t keep going round in circles, I thought the G&T review was very balanced and fair in this respect: so much so that I think it’s pretty much the last word on the set – until we hear news of a disc-replacement programme, anyway.

  • Only benefit for me is the fact that the Bodysnatcher extras are included and are on one disc, but I own Bodysnatcher so that’s not that big a deal.

    It really is quite poor.

    Benefits are negligible for a large percentage of episodes, there are definitely more things wrong with it than right with it.

    I own it and only completionism and my unwillingness to deal with Zavvi customer services is keeping it on my shelf, I don’t think I’ll be going back to it.

    Blu-ray set either shouldn’t have been done, or they should have been done for ease of watching, the HD stuff was a ridiculous concept due to the original format, and budget, TOS didn’t help in that regard bigging it up.

    The ideal Red Dwarf Blu-ray set. New transfer of episodes, original resolution but better encoding, series and special features on one disc per series, model shots found and scanned in HD and a 15 minute doc about the 30th, that would have been magnificent.

  • Aside from the technical problems that have overwhelmed the discussion, the new VI grading and (inexplicable?) cropping/zooming are what’s putting me off from buying a future digital release or the boxset if I get something that can play discs. I don’t like it when things are obnoxiously recoloured after decades to fit in with fleeting current expectations, and the cropping just seems like a shame. Are all series cropped, or just certain ones? I think I only saw screenshots from III and VI showing that. If they release specific series I could pick and choose I guess, if IV and [fixed] V look more definitive.

  • I had to sign up to this site just so i could vent my spleen.A few years ago i went with the times and bought a large 4k tv.I started to upscale my Red Dwarf collection just so it would look a little better when watched.Well today i finally got my hands on the Blu Ray Boxset and iam gutted with the quality.I can not believe my upscaled copies are very similar to the blu ray quality release.They were supposed to be re mastered by a company that had to pospone its release giving them more time to achieve a better result.I on the other hand used Pavtube video converter to up scale my copies to 1080/1920 full screen and my results took 12 mins per episode and look at least as good as this release gutted does not even come close

  • Struggling to make an exact side by side screenshot,and thanks for the madhouse welcome.It seems the only diffrence is a slight colour level in listers yellow t shirt in seas 1 ep 6 M2.Surely iam not the only one who has upscaled there Dvds and achieved similar results.Iam sooooooo gutted.I hoped to see something similar to Miami Vice Blu Ray or Star Trek TNG but its seriously lacks what i was expecting from a company who does this as a paying job.Its just not polished up eneough for me.
    Not too long ago me and a friend done a lot of work to upscale Babylon 5 and it looks very good now in 1080p with increased 5.1 sound and a little colour correction here and there and that was over 100 episodes an hour long and it did not take us as long as the time this release was posponed from its original release.Seriously not happy with this remaster

  • An actual journalist from an actual respected publication has accidentally listened to us:

    There’s a guy in there arguing that modern CGI looks indistinguishable from reality, and I would go one for about seven paragraphs about how that’s utter nonsense if this topic were even slightly related. Even watching the most expensive modern movies ever made, more often than not I feel just as aware I am looking at CGI as I am that Red Dwarf is only 8 feet long.

    .I hoped to see something similar to Miami Vice Blu Ray or Star Trek TNG but its seriously lacks what i was expecting from a company who does this as a paying job.Its just not polished up eneoug

    That was never a possibility. Red Dwarf was filmed on standard-def videotape would _only_ contains 480p resolution. HD is 200% that size. You can only get true HD remasters out of shows shot on film, because it’s much higher quality and doesn’t have a hard pixel limit. With videotape like Red Dwarf was filmed on, the best you could ever do is upscale the standard def video to HD (which, again does not do anything to increase the resolution of the source picture), clean up the video and encode it in higher quality than a DVD. Which is exactly what this release was promising to do in the first place.

    The broken encode on nine episodes and the grade being subpar in places is the fault of the remastering process, but this was never going to look even half as good as TNG HD. Maybe the original masters done on videotape, but never the film-sourced remaster.

    Now I am aware that technically we’ve addressed this subject multiple times, but I wanted a turn.

  • Star Trek TNG but its seriously lacks what i was expecting from a company who does this as a paying job.Its just not polished up eneough for me.

    on top of what Katydid said, it was stressed from the beginning that it wouldn’t be like this. Granted unless you followed and looked in the right places you might be forgiven for thinking it was going to get some sort of TNG overhaul, but for several months on the run up to the release they did manage expectations quite well I think.

    Then they borked it all up for faults all over the shop.

    It’s funny how my attitude to the release has changed since the review was first posted. Initially I was more or less ok with it, but over time have realised how unacceptably shoddy the whole affair is

  • Actually, 480p is NTSC SD. PAL is something like 576p. Excuse me, my American is showing. I guess it’s back to jail for me.

    They really should have just stated this release was upscaled and not namedropped HD. The average person isn’t going to understand that HD is nothing but an identifier of resolution that has absolutely nothing to do with picture quality. Video camera manufacturers loved it as a buzzword 7+ years ago because they could take a cheap camera with a really poor bitrate and broadcast that the resulting blurry picture is in fact high definition. Nowadays they’re doing the same with 4K, but fortunately, the march of technology and the computational power needed to process 4K means those consumer-grade 4K cameras are probably no less than decent.

    But really, I wish there was a way to educate people about video now that it’s such a major part of the average person’s life. Not only that, TVs are so complicated to set up that most people don’t even bother. I swear to God, every single time I see a 16:9 HDTV in a restaurant or elsewhere in the wild that’s hooked up to a cable feed, the picture is squashed and letterboxed even though it should fill the TV normally. And the best part is that nobody ever seems to notice, yet they’ll scream and cry if they see a fullscreen SD show that isn’t cropped, distorted and zoomed into by 200%.

    And then there’s that smooth-motion garbage that frankly people should be shot using on anything besides sports.

  • smooth!!! motion!!! is!!! the!!! worst!!!

    it makes me sick

    any local kebab place you go into will have shitty pop music channels on with the smooth motion and it puts me right off my kebab tbh

    i always lowkey shout at my friends about it if they have it on, and get them to see what’s wrong, and if they can’t see it i turn it off when they aren’t looking anyway

  • In unashamedly have smooth motive on my TV. Love it. I’ve never quite understood why people view it so badly so maybe you could enlighten me because I honestly feel my viewing experience is better with it.

  • Granted unless you followed and looked in the right places you might be forgiven for thinking it was going to get some sort of TNG overhaul, but for several months on the run up to the release they did manage expectations quite well I think.

    I don’t think expectations were managed well at all really, there was brief warnings I believe about 1 inch tape being crap but then the promotional shit kicked in and we were getting “four times the resolution” and “definitely better than upscaled DVDs” and “complex algorithms”.

    And motion flow is God awful. Makes everything look like a Spanish soap opera or Homes Under the Hammer. I used to work for a TV company’s tech support and I had multiple tickets a day that were just people asking how to turn it off.

  • In unashamedly have smooth motive on my TV. Love it. I’ve never quite understood why people view it so badly so maybe you could enlighten me because I honestly feel my viewing experience is better with it.

    It’s a physical response from me in that it makes me ill, makes everything look too fast, and makes me feel on edge, full of adrenalin, like a fight of flight response. There are also artistic reasons – artifacting, for one, where interpolated footage doesn’t look quite like it would look were it actually shot at a high frame rate – camera movements look particularly fake and changing from shot to shot can create garbage frames that wouldn’t exist otherwise. There’s also the idea of artistic intent – we want to watch Red Dwarf Series 5 at 50fps because that was the artistic intent of the director, but not so many people bother to ask for VII at 50fps, because it wasn’t intended to be seen that way.

    Here’s Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie imploring you to turn it off:

  • Seamed to have opened a can of worms,but generally speaking iam not a happy bunny.As with all my collection old or new i first rip a raw losless file to my pc of each episode as this way i can manipulate many settings in vlc player,then when iam happy i add the file to my 20TB hard drives.
    After making loads of side by side comparisons i really do not see the point in owning both my DVD Red Dwarf and Blu Ray editions as they are too similar.I know under £40 is not a lot to pay for this classic show but i really can not justify this outlay only to get what i already had beforehand.”Ever get the feeling youve been cheated” is the imortal line bouncing around my head

  • I think we get the message that you’re unhappy. If you’ve made the side-by-side comparisons, why not share them to demonstrate how good your upscale is in comparison?

  • Mine is the first link ,i added a slight picture sharpener during the encode as i found the DVD footage a touch blurry,also added some color correction but this can be a bit of a minefield to get 100% correct.I looks good on large screen TVs(considering the source).You say the second is clearly worse and i agree but i was not going to say that here,maybe now you understand my frustration with this release.I consider myself a bit of a sci fi geek and have done this sort of upscale many times with lots of golden oldies,ive said before and will say it again that i can not believe iam the only one to have tried this,i will please ask other members to show there results.
    This is not even as good as it gets as i consider pavtube video converter as an average tool at best but its fast.If one or two of you wish to try an upscale using the best encoder try Handbrake its results are very good but i does take forever and needs a little bit of a learning curve to master all of its settings,i would love to hear how others do there upscaling as iam 100% eager to learn more and try out other methods

  • Yours is much better, neroon. And I think they focused far too hard with making the colours pop, so your colour correction is restrained in comparison. You also haven’t sacrificed part of the picture, which presumably is missing in all 52 episodes.

    It’s a while since I messed around with Handbrake and I’ve never tinkered too much with the upscale setings, but I may give this a go.

  • That’s amazing. I know VIII has the best quality source, but if it’s possible for the rest of Red Dwarf to look closer to pic 1 than pic 2, that would be very comforting. I don’t understand what the cropping’s even about and they seem to be getting away with it.

  • Yours is much better, neroon. And I think they focused far too hard with making the colours pop, so your colour correction is restrained in comparison. You also haven’t sacrificed part of the picture, which presumably is missing in all 52 episodes.

    It’s a while since I messed around with Handbrake and I’ve never tinkered too much with the upscale setings, but I may give this a go.

    Thanks for the opinion,if i could offer a piece of advice do not try to correct the color as this is really a world of hurt as each and everyone of us has eyes that see diffrently,i have found this out the hard way.Try the upscale first to 1080p/1920p using a 16.9 aspect ratio removing any borders.
    Thanks Warbofrog if you are going to give it a try leave Handbrake at first(although it better)as i takes a while to get to grips with the pro settings.Try pavtube as it will get you up and running in no time.There are other converters i use like format factory .If you go with handbrake extract a sample from your source file no more than 5 mins that way you can see the results much quicker,also some media players allow you to color correct on the fly to see what works before you apply these settings to the encode,best of luck and i can not wait to see what you come up with

  • Ok peeps,ive got some good news and some very good news

    First the good news ive discovered my original encode was from a digital download of approx 550mb.
    Now the very good news ive extracted the same episode as a lossless file and ive found the original file is 896 mb.Even though this does not sound like a big issue it gives me a better source to work with and i have made a new encode listed below.Please remember my encodes were done several years ago so my original settings are long lost so this is a work in progress(i know the detail is higher) but the color correction seems ok and sound is exellent ,let me know what you think and i am fully open to any hints and tips or any corrections you may think may be needed,then armed with any new info i can attempt a new encode ,cheers.

  • That has waaaaaaaaaaaay too much sharpening going on.

    Yeh i know its been a while since i played around with Red Dwarf,all my settings are lost so its start from scratch.I think when i get it right again i will leave an info text file with the folder

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