Ah, here were are again. You’ll all have seen the full 40 second trailer for Red Dwarf: The Promised Land by now, and made your minds up about the jokes within. Personally, I like them, my favourite being the way Kryten, Cat and Rimmer all confirm that Lister is a nobody in slightly different and expertly timed ways. But let’s face it, we always get into a bit of a tizz ahead of a new Dwarf broadcast by over-analysing the handful of gags we’ve seen, when deep down we know that only a certain type of quick-fire joke works in a trailer, and they’re not necessarily representative of the humour of the whole show.
So we’re going to ignore the actual dialogue for now, and instead do what we do best – painstakingly and pointlessly analysing every single shot, pointing out both the big talking points and the little things you may have missed. Well, we say “every shot”, we’ve not bothered doing screengrabs every time it cuts back to a similar shot within the same scene, because the tiny snippets you see in the montages are much more interesting anyway. Here we go…
This opening shot was also the opening shot of last week’s teaser, but this time there’s a big old “Dave presents” graphic over the top. You know, like a movie but done by a TV station.
Around a third of the running time is dedicated to one snippet of a scene between Lister and an Cat, which gives us a nice long look at our scouse hero, seemingly completely unchanged since Series XII, despite the two being filmed roughly four years apart. Good.
This three-shot, on the other hand, show’s off Kryten’s befucked monitor, along with the Cat in his little shiny gilet/bodywarmer/life preserver, and one of several Rimmer costumes. Judging by the background, this scene takes place in the same location as that shot of an empty corridor from the first teaser.
And look, our first glimpse at a brand new character! This is Tom Bennett as one of the Cat Clerics; he’s the only one of the three who we get to see or hear properly, although you can just about make out another character next to him at the left-hand edge of frame for a fraction of a second at 0.06: someone with long, blonde, curly hair. I love this look; the fangs combined with the deerstalker, leathers and cigarette in the ear, like cosplay via the medium of thousands of years of folklore.
During this scene, there are a couple of cutaways, firstly to this same shot of Rodon from the teaser…
…and also to the fleet of blue-tinted ships. This shot is also in the teaser, but flipped horizontally! Will they be travelling left-to-right or right-to-left in the final episode? Or will both be used at different points, as a foolproof way of recycling effects shots? THESE ARE THE BIG ISSUES RIGHT NOW.
Not much else to point out about this four-shot that provides the punchline to this scene extract, except that you can make out yet another blue-tinted area in the background, and that Rimmer is holding something with a sturdy handle.
It is, you know.
Here we see the full extent of just how knackered Kryten’s bodywork is, in a rare reverse angle shot of Starbug’s cockpit, with the ceiling visible and everything. Hey look, they have a monitor right above the viewscreen. As someone for whom Series VI is perhaps my favourite version of the show, I’m very pleased by the sheer amount of Starbug action implied by the promotional material so far.
Kryten shows off his rusty shoulder while Rimmer has a good old think about something or other, whilst making notes. He’s always got a pen. Behind Kryten, some sort of scientific-looking equipment. Behind Rimmer, some kind of blue curtain.
Lister literally throws a bazookoid at the Cat, who doesn’t seem happy about it. Danny looks great in everything we’ve seen so far, doesn’t he? I know that opinion is split on his costume, but the man himself has barely aged, and his comedy faces are on point.
This shot, which lasts longer than average for the trailer as Rimmer does his “scarcely mastered human” joke, is noticeably darker and with duller colours than most of the others. Almost as if it isn’t graded, except I think it is, so it must be deliberate, like the location they’re in has dim lighting or is in night mode. There isn’t a blue gel or LED in sight.
Hooray, a different shot of Rodon! Clearly the same basic set as before, but redressed to imply a different location on board the same ship. He’s standing, which clarifies that the lower half of his costume is in fact a kilt and knee-high boots. Kinky. The same two Feral Cats who are slightly out of focus in the background of the previous shot are now slightly out of focus in the foreground of this shot. Rodon just loves being flanked.
Another brilliant effects shot from the Starbug-being-twatted-by-missiles sequence, from the POV of the aggressors. Our screengrab shows the most impressive array of explosions, but towards the start, when Starbug is closest to camera, you can really tell that it’s missing its rear section.
Ah, the most intriguing section of the trailer, albeit one that I was surprised to see teased ahead of broadcast. Rimmer’s classic Series 1 style costume, oversized H and ridiculous syrup have been dusted off from Skipper…
…before Rimmer reconfigures and reappears in his Series III-IV era Captain Emerald number. Amazing, clearly. Although as MANI506 pointed out in a comment, this is specifically a throwback to The Inquisitor, which is the only time Rimmer combined the green costume with the serif version of the H that he’s had since Series V; this costume was far more often seen with the flat-but-sans-serif H throughout the previous two series.
A brief shot of Lister providing a feed line for…
Holly! He’s back, and providing a reason for the aforementioned new cockpit monitor. It really is ridiculous just how much better he looks compared to Skipper. The lighting and make-up on that occasion was unfathomably weird, whereas this is simply the exact same character that we last saw in Series VIII, except the actor is 20 years older, and that’s about all we can ask for.
Oh dear, that doesn’t look very safe. Don’t open the door, it’ll be extremely warm out there.
Kryten with an eyeball attached to his finger! I think it’s a taranshula. Also note: patched up breastplate/shoulder on his left/our right, and a fancy JMC graphic on the monitor that I can’t remember whether or not we’ve seen before.
Lister jabbing some sort of implement at the camera, or more accurately a POV shot of him jabbing at someone or other. Unless this special breaks the fourth wall again and Lister is trying to kill us all.
A light bee falls ominously to the ground. We assume Rimmer’s, but it’s not inconceivable that it’s someone else’s.
Aww, Lister doing a Boys From The Dwarf. Oh hey, you see that cockpit door? Graphic designer and all round nerd superhero Matthew Clark points out that the reason it’s changed between series is that the old one has been snaffled away by Armando Iannucci’s Avenue 5.
Cop a load of Matthew’s lovely on-screen graphics as Starbug speeds away…
…into this wonderful shot from the previous teaser…
…and then the endboard. It’s no longer merely “coming soon”, it’s coming on Thursday 9th April, ie. the day before Good Friday. At first I wasn’t sure why it wasn’t part of Easter Weekend proper, but I’ve quickly come round to it – Thursday is very much a traditional Red Dwarf broadcast day, especially in the Dave era, and it being the day before a bank holiday means that the majority of people can stay up late to watch it and discuss it without having to worry about work the next day. I mean, that will have been the theory before all… this happened, but still.
We don’t yet know when the three-part retrospective documentary will air, but I’m hoping it’s throughout the remainder of Easter weekend, so that we can have one big mega dose of Dwarf to get us through these fuck-awful times. And of course, we’re all very very much hoping that the special isn’t released on UKTV Play prior to its linear broadcast on 9th April. Releasing simultaneously is absolutely perfect, but please – this is a one-off special event as opposed to an ongoing series, and now more than ever, it’d be really really lovely if everyone could come together (virtually, of course) and share this communal experience as one.