Today’s TOS update is an exciting one, featuring as it does both a rare interview with Rob Grant, plus a PDF copy of his Into The Gloop script, giving non-Holly Hop attendees an opportunity to experience the co-creator’s first Dwarfy material since the mid-90s. Now that it’s out there officially, we’ll get to work on a proper review, but in the meantime it’s well worth reading the accompanying interview, as Rob discusses working with Paul Jackson and Ed Bye, tailoring the script for the cast of fans, and – most intriguingly – his desire to do more.

Indeed, it’s one question in particular that’s raised our eyebrows, regarding future Dwarf projects. Rob essentially gives an answer similar to his statement at Holly Hop, but with one additional detail:

There are lots of ideas on the table – a stage show, a movie, a new series, spin-offs. Last week we were told of an approach to do an American version again. We’d love to do any and all of them. We want RD flying out of our buttskis. We want to take the diminutive scarlet one on another trip to the stars. Watch this space.

Lol. Of course, just because there’s been an approach, it doesn’t mean it’ll happen. I’m sure lots of people start conversations about working on Dwarf-related stuff all the time, but we never hear about them. There’s no reason to believe that this has more chance of coming to fruition than if I was to “approach” GNP with an idea to make a Red Dwarf breakfast cereal. But just imagine if this is the ultimate outcome of everything that’s been said over the last few weeks. A new Red Dwarf USA for the 2020s.

Excuse me while I have a humiliating panic attack under the scanner table.

98 comments on “Red Dwarf USA 2: Electric Boogaloo

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  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re gonna do American Red Dwarf, just write a brand new science fiction sitcom with a similar spirit to it but unique to the culture of America. Don’t Xerox the British original and just switch out the vernacular.

    That said, I think if they were GOING to make an RD USA and we couldn’t do anything to stop them, now is a much better time than 1992. It’d be far less likely to interfere with the production and legacy of the original series.

    Also, and this is something I’m sure will be an unpopular thought, but Red Dwarf of all franchises actually would make a lot of sense to do a (mostly) female reboot of. Having women would actually fundamentally change the character dynamics in potentially interesting ways, and it could add something to really differentiate a new version. At the expense of a million whiny fan boys crying out in unison that the SJWs are ruining their show with titties.

  • Fuck it, anything’s possible now isn’t it? Bring back Can’t Smeg Won’t Smeg.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re gonna do American Red Dwarf, just write a brand new science fiction sitcom with a similar spirit to it but unique to the culture of America. Don’t Xerox the British original and just switch out the vernacular.

    Absolutely. I don’t wanna see an American Red Dwarf, but I DO wanna see an American show LIKE Red Dwarf.

  • Further differentiate your American reboot by shooting it single-cam without a studio audience and reaping the stylistic differences this brings.

    Also, for the record, in America nowadays studio audiences are pretty exclusively associated with the dumbest sitcoms and many viewers would turn something off the moment they heard an audience laugh, decrying “canned laughter” that “tells me where to laugh.” I’m legitimately convinced that the majority of Americans nowadays don’t realize studio audiences are real people, even though most of these jerks weren’t even BORN by the time canned laughter was already dying out.

    Just avoid that whole trainwreck of a debate and shoot a single-cam sitcom, since those are far bigger anyway. It’s probably also cheaper to do it that way.

  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re gonna do American Red Dwarf, just write a brand new science fiction sitcom with a similar spirit to it but unique to the culture of America. Don’t Xerox the British original and just switch out the vernacular.

    That said, I think if they were GOING to make an RD USA and we couldn’t do anything to stop them, now is a much better time than 1992. It’d be far less likely to interfere with the production and legacy of the original series.
    Also, and this is something I’m sure will be an unpopular thought, but Red Dwarf of all franchises actually would make a lot of sense to do a (mostly) female reboot of. Having women would actually fundamentally change the character dynamics in potentially interesting ways, and it could add something to really differentiate a new version. At the expense of a million whiny fan boys crying out in unison that the SJWs are ruining their show with titties.

    I’ll echo this. If Red Dwarf in the UK has/is coming to an end, then a US reboot is a brilliant way to keep the show alive. And it’s a much better time to be doing it as it wouldn’t interfere with the UK show in anyway. It would be it’s own entity and it can live as such, with us embracing or ignoring it as much as we want to.

    Katy is right, as long as they don’t try and Xerox is they’d do well. US reboots of shows are about 50/50 success rate in the last 20 years. Inbetweeners and Skins flopped because they tried to transplant UK scripts (about UK teens and UK culture) in to the US. The Office series 1 is shite for that, but as soon as it grows it starts to do it’s own thing it becomes a brilliant piece of TV. Shameless too from what I’ve seen. The concept is taken and reworked to suit the American audience. And it succeeds.

    And an all female reboot would definitely be the best way to change the show and make it something different and unique. There’d be different avenues of comedy to explore there that would definitely be worth seeing.

    That said, US audience sitcoms are the absolute worst and I’d be more encourage by them doing a single cam sitcom. It doesn’t work for the UK show because the UK show is really married to the audience and they are as much a part of the show as anything else. But a single cam from the start could work brilliantly. And they’d be no awful woo-ing and ahh-ing every 5mins.

    Of course none of this well happen but what the hell.

  • “My Pokemon cards must be worth a FORTUNE!”

    “My Dogecoin must be worth a FORTUNE!”

    “All my Animal Crossing villagers must HATE me”

  • A single-cam US Red Dwarf show could work brilliantly. Give it to the producers of Brooklyn 99 or The Good Place, and let them run with it. It could be legitimately amazing.

    Hell, it’s Sci-fi. There’s scope for a dimension crossing passing of the baton. Get the UK cast for an episode to guest as part of some Ouroboros style anomoly or some shit, and have a good fan pleasing handover.

    It could work. It really could….

    I mean, it’s probably total wishful thinking too, but still.

  • A single-cam US Red Dwarf show could work brilliantly. Give it to the producers of Brooklyn 99 or The Good Place, and let them run with it. It could be legitimately amazing.

    Hell, it’s Sci-fi. There’s scope for a dimension crossing passing of the baton. Get the UK cast for an episode to guest as part of some Ouroboros style anomoly or some shit, and have a good fan pleasing handover.
    It could work. It really could….
    I mean, it’s probably total wishful thinking too, but still.

    Yes to all this!

  • A single-cam US Red Dwarf show could work brilliantly. Give it to the producers of Brooklyn 99 or The Good Place, and let them run with it. It could be legitimately amazing.

    The American female version of Lister is just written as Eleanor Shellstrop. You know you’d watch that.

  • When I read the interview and he mentioned the movie and the stage show, I just assumed he was taking the piss about the whole thing.

  • “My Pokemon cards must be worth a FORTUNE!”

    “My Dogecoin must be worth a FORTUNE!”

    “My shares in GameStop…”

  • On the possibility of a(nother) US Red Dwarf, I think it’s been discussed in the Book Club threads recently that a slightly higher-end comedy-drama adaptation of the novels would be both plausible and desirable.

    With a sufficiently different approach from the original TV series I’d be happy to see a different cast take it on.

    What I don’t want is just a straight US remake, basically.

    An all-female reboot could be interesting but would likely be seen as a bit gimmicky and all the attention on it would immediately become all about the casting, which might not be a good thing.

    But a high-production-values adaptation of IWCD over eight hourlong episodes or something? Yes please.

  • Quick note on the script – found it a lot more satisfying in text form. Watching it performed at Holly Hop, I think I was just concentrating too much on how the cast performed, and didn’t pay enough attention to what they were actually saying.

  • Regardless of what the newspapers have said recently I think it seems apparent there has been a changing of the guard at GNP as the focus is very much on Rob, Ed and Paul, and personally it’s very difficult to take on board, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Be interesting to hear what Doug says when he decides to say something,

    An American series would work if you maybe put in new characters rather than try and re create the British crew,

    I’d love to set new books and audio stories featuring the cast of they were not able to get another series off the ground!

  • Doug and the cast: “We’ve obviously considered the fact that in a few years, it won’t really be possible to do much, what with people’s ages and such”
    Rob: “Movie, stage show, new series, let’s do loads!”

    It’s a really strange time to be a fan. Other than dispiriting gaps between announcements, the future of Red Dwarf has felt fairly ‘safe’ since X, just a case of “we’ll probably get something else”. At this point, the future of the whole franchise feels more unpredictable than it possibly ever has.

  • I think this is me tapping out. I have no interest in reboots, comedy-dramas, stage shows, spin-offs starring Ace Rimmer, a sequel series starring Bexley or a movie funded by the Duke of Manchester.

    Red Dwarf is a studio sitcom. It’s built on absurd science fiction ideas that suggest a heightened reality. The characters are the comedy. The performances are the characters. That formula WINS.

    Doug has messed around with that formula over the past 25 years. Replace the character? Yup. Single-camera? Yup. Expand the cast with zany semi-regulars? Yup. Comedy-drama with crying and stuff? Yup. Try and make a movie? Yup.

    And all of it was an unmitigated disaster. XI, XII and The Promised Land are some distance below classic Dwarf and incredibly inconsistent, but they are at least an acknowledgement that Doug finally understands not to mess with the formula.

    If you want a Red Dwarf spin-off, I suggest Colony. Turns out Red Dwarf was such a good idea that Rob had it again.

  • they are at least an acknowledgement that Doug finally understands not to mess with the formula.

    Agreed.

    I’m not really sure how I feel about all of this “Rob’s expanded universe” stuff that’s going around at the moment. I think I’d have to see something concrete first, and, most importantly, I’d like to see how Doug fits into it all.

    I know they created it together, but Doug deserves respect for keeping the flame burning on his own since 1997, for good or ill.

    That’s not me being cynical, just… cautious.

  • Doug and the cast: “We’ve obviously considered the fact that in a few years, it won’t really be possible to do much, what with people’s ages and such”

    Rob: “Movie, stage show, new series, let’s do loads!”

    Yeah, basically International Debris has put it better than I ever could in the entirety of his above post.

    Back to my box now.

  • Red Dwarf is a studio sitcom. It’s built on absurd science fiction ideas that suggest a heightened reality. The characters are the comedy. The performances are the characters. That formula WINS.

    While I don’t entirely disagree with you, you do kind of have to forget about the entire existence of the books.

  • Red Dwarf is, in all seriousness, a triple fried egg butty with chilli sauce and chutney.

    The mix of an impressionist, a poet, a dancer and a comic – combined with a comical lack of money, time, resources and equipment – has all the makings of a disaster. But mix them together, and it works. And it works spectacularly.

    Somehow, I really don’t think Red Dwarf USA will be a case of third time’s a charm. The American market is a lot more diluted with science-fiction themed comedies than it was thirty years ago. Even now we’ve got The Orville, Avenue 5, Rick and Morty, Star Trek: Lower Decks and Final Space on the air. Red Dwarf USA will need to be something bloody spectacular to stand out of the crowd. And Rob, with the best will in the world, hasn’t written anything for TV in twenty years and I don’t think is really up to it.

  • While I don’t entirely disagree with you, you do kind of have to forget about the entire existence of the books.

    Dave Hollins would never work as a sitcom so we shouldn’t bother trying.

  • While I don’t entirely disagree with you, you do kind of have to forget about the entire existence of the books.

    There was nothing stopping Rob producing a load more novels out of his “buttski” over the last 25 years. He chose not to.

    Feeing like a child of divorce, whose Dad has turned up after 25 years to tell them about all the fun we’re going to have. Where the fuck were you in 1997 when I was sitting crying over Ouroboros, Dad?

  • a machine dispensing lightly used Japanese gymknickers

    Confirmed that these machines existed at Nakano Broadway in Tokyo, at least as of 2012. If anyone’s interested. (Looks around). I’m not.

  • Doug and the cast: “We’ve obviously considered the fact that in a few years, it won’t really be possible to do much, what with people’s ages and such”

    Rob: “Movie, stage show, new series, let’s do loads!”
    It’s a really strange time to be a fan. Other than dispiriting gaps between announcements, the future of Red Dwarf has felt fairly ‘safe’ since X, just a case of “we’ll probably get something else”. At this point, the future of the whole franchise feels more unpredictable than it possibly ever has.

    But Doug was the one pushing for a stage show. its only been a few years since this was a thing. to the point where the only reason the cast could work into their 70s if Doug can help it is because he doesn’t want to stop making the show. so id argue Doug is probably in the same category as Rob. the cast maybe not so much since they have to do the active stuff.

    And i tell you now. if someone offered Doug the money to make a movie in 5 years time. he would be already on it. screw the casts ages.

  • It was cool to read the script and Rob did a pretty good job of bringing back the characters. I feel quite fortunate not to have seen the fans doing it (which is not meant as a criticism of any of them), simply because it means that I can just use my imagination to think about how the lines would have been performed if it had been made for TV.

    It was obviously written in quite a lighthearted way and made me laugh in a few places, particularly in the directions to Ed.

  • I wouldn’t say that Doug understands not to mess with the formula. The Promised Land was, after all, a departure in itself and (as Dax101 posted) Doug has certainly expressed plenty of interest in a stage show and movie. I’m sure that if a cast member had announced that they wanted to retire from the show, that Doug wouldn’t have simply decided to that it meant a permanent full stop to all Dwarf.

    There are obviously a lot more questions than answers right now, and it will be interesting to hear exactly how all this went down and what the current situation really is.

    It’s true that it’s an uncertain time for Dwarf fans, but I think it’s also a generally positive time. And any of these potential projects could be successful, if they happen at all, depending entirely on how well they are executed.

  • There’s definitely something of a lightning-in-a-bottle element to Red Dwarf’s success. The American pilot had potential and the premise of the show is such a good starting point, but I just can’t imagine a proper reboot really working now.

    A Red Dwarf breakfast cereal, on the other hand…

  • But Doug was the one pushing for a stage show.

    That’s a fair point, even if it’s only been mentioned by Rob in the past couple of years. There was definitely a moment when it seemed like the next Dwarf we’d be getting would be a stage version.

    My overall point still remains, however: the reappearance of Rob and his apparently new-found enthusiasm for the show, talking of them wanting to make things in all sorts of formats, saying he wants to write new Dwarf stuff, even writing a sequel to Out of Time with Paul and Ed involved in the production, it’s far less clear where the whole franchise will be heading now. Not to mention the fact that, to the best of our knowledge, Doug is only confirmed as being able to do one more lot of TV stuff (although I’m fairly confident there won’t be any blocking of potential future Doug projects). Even if Rob is throwing out a lot of ideas that haven’t a chance in hell of being made, it’s still the first time we’ve had one of the show’s creators seriously mention spin-offs, and the first time in years there’s been mention of a movie and an American version. It makes the future uncertain, but generally in a good way. Like back in the ’90s when there were Smegazines and plenty of books and talk of a video game and a movie and such, it felt like it could go anywhere.

  • I think the books prove that there is room for a version of Dwarf that is quite different and still very good. The right people could create a new version of Dwarf that is also really quite special. However there’s always a good chance of any new version being an absolute disaster.

  • But Doug was the one pushing for a stage show.

    That’s a fair point, even if it’s only been mentioned by Rob in the past couple of years. There was definitely a moment when it seemed like the next Dwarf we’d be getting would be a stage version.

    Yeah Doug was talking about how the stage show was gonna be a brand new story suited for a stage show with the cast acting out new scenes and old scenes. and it sounded like he was the one writing it.

    Overall i never liked the idea of Red Dwarf as a stage show. the show doesn’t need to be a stage show. and going by how long its been since we last heard about it. i can’t help but think the idea probably fell apart.

  • Oh and I liked Rob’s script. I thought he captured the voices of the characters pretty well.

    Really? Blimey

  • The ‘Deadeye Dick’ exchange would be funny, read by Chris and Craig.

    You need the original cast. Always. Obviously, this was a fan event, with the script not written for the guys in the first place; but there is no doubt in my mind that ANY potential future project should be the original cast. 25 years ago it might have worked, having two different versions of the show, or even a spinoff. Now?? Senseless. Red Dwarf is the four guys, end of story.

  • I saw the Holly Hop recording, but I missed bits, so I appreciated reading the script. It was generally fine.

    When I read Rob Grant’s interview, I found all his ideas appealing… until he mentioned an American version.

    I’m a person who prefers to watch foreign language originals to English language remakes so I definitely don’t want to see a remake when we share the same language (more or less).

    I certainly don’t want UK remakes of good US shows (sure some references might pass me by, but I generally understand what’s going on and work out the rest) so I’m sure they largely understand our shows just fine as well.

    Whatever arguments one makes for a US show (expanding to a wider base, etc… which basically boils down to more $$$$$) if the focus is on an American show, does that mean the UK show/projects will stop? Another show with a whole new cast? No thank you. At least while our lads are happy to make more, and after that I’d prefer they do a spin-off with whole new characters, if they go that route.

    Anyway, still early days, but that’s worried me a bit.

  • An American version that basically does a big budget version of the first two novels could be fantastic. Would want to see it done differently though, don’t try to be a sitcom, make it as a black comedy that really explores the tragedy of the situation.

  • Yeah, and don’t set it in space. And make every episode a musical.

    Still call it “Red Dwarf” though, so the fans know to watch it.

  • If an American version were attempted, and it’s a huge if, then there is no reason why it need impact on the British show continuing.

    I can’t see Rob being involved in the TV series with the original cast (even if he hypothetically wanted to, I can’t see Craig, Danny, Robert etc. changing allegiances in a hurry).

    And the way things are currently, it doesn’t sound like any American company would need to involve Doug in things.

    While Dwarf is primarily a studio sitcom, it has successfully worked as novels, audiobooks, the radio shows, the storyboards of Bodysnatcher etc. If any of these other mooted ideas were ever to come to fruition, there’s no real reason why they couldn’t work as well.

    And, as mentioned previously, I can’t understand why would GNP would turn down any new British TV with Doug at the helm as long as it is profitable for the company. If no new TV were to happen, you would expect that to be due to inherent problems rather than due to focusing on other pie-in-the-sky projects.

  • Whatever arguments one makes for a US show (expanding to a wider base, etc… which basically boils down to more $$$$$) if the focus is on an American show, does that mean the UK show/projects will stop? Another show with a whole new cast? No thank you. At least while our lads are happy to make more, and after that I’d prefer they do a spin-off with whole new characters, if they go that route.

    Look, are we killing Bobby or not?

  • Red Dwarf as a concept is so good and I think that, even with all that Doug and Rob and the boys have done with it, they’ve still barely scratched the surface of what the show could do even within its current format and, if we’re just getting specials going forward, there’s probably only 2 or 3 of them that will happen before the whole thing is done. These characters are great and the set up is great; I’d be interested in getting more Dwarf beyond the show we know and love.

    Also, I don’t think it’s impossible that someone could do as good a job or even a better job of writing the show in the future. There’s a lot that I’ve liked in the Dave era of Dwarf but it has been very uneven. For me it isn’t a flawless show where the only way is down and I’ve nothing to lose by someone else having a crack at it so go ahead. If it allows Rob and Doug to have a more comfortable retirement as well, fair play to them.

    It would probably be shit though. There’s probably a chasm between what it could be and what it would be.

  • Still call it “Red Dwarf” though, so the fans know to watch it.

    Well, it’s what Chris *fucking* Chibnall has done to “Doctor Who,” so why not?

  • Talking about this kind of thing I’m always reminded that The Munsters Today had more episodes than the original series. And that was a revival rather than a hard reboot – the original characters, all recast, essentially go into stasis (Grampa’s magic sleep coffins) in the first episode, wake up in the eighties and off they go. But I think pfm’s probably right. People wouldn’t countenance a new Red Dwarf cast. That would be more like a New Monkees situation.

  • Still call it “Red Dwarf” though, so the fans know to watch it.

    Well, it’s what Chris *fucking* Chibnall has done to “Doctor Who,” so why not?

    Hear hear sir/madam

  • Well the problem is that there is only so far the show can go before the Cast are indeed too old to play their parts. So at some point the show has to stop. but you know there will always be this desire to keep the show going on various forms. whether its books, audio, comics and whatever. that desire will never go away for a show like this.

    With the american version. obvously Red Dwarf is the type of show that still carries a profitable brand. so there will always be this thought that they can keep the concept alive in new ways. and the idea of a reboot will always be there. infact a Red Dwarf movie with a new cast probably could be a concept one day. and if it does become a concept after the show has ended… do they accept? do they allow it? is that ok?

  • I still think a fairly faithful adaptation of the four novels (with some fiddling around to allow them to stumble across a Kryten / Rimmer / Kochanski Starbug at the end of Backwards so they can end on Last Human) done as a big-budget comedy drama would be a wise way to do any kind of remake. You’d still have Rob and Doug’s voices in there without them having to write it. Any sort of remake would need to be different enough from the original to make it remotely worthwhile.

  • Not knowing the ins and outs of what exactly is going on behind the scenes, it’s very hard to get excited one way or the other about future Red Dwarf projects right now. The heralded moment of Rob’s big return to Dwarf seems to have arrived, but rather than the big celebratory, positive moment that everybody wanted it to be, it’s only created confusion and worry about the show and the relationships between the people involved with it.

    I’m not fussed about more Red Dwarf that doesn’t involve Craig Charles, Chris Barry, Danny John-Jules and Robert Llewellyn. Some TV shows, movies, franchises, just have a built in shelf life. Some can go off in multiple directions with different iterations and spin offs and that’s fine. Doctor Who is all about constant change and I love that. I don’t think Red Dwarf is built for it. For Rob to suddenly come in now wanting to make up for lost time and do all these different ideas…it comes across to me as quite desperate and I don’t really understand how he thinks he’s going to do it. It took Doug years to get anything new off the ground.

    Again, we don’t know the full story, but I don’t want more Dwarf in production without Doug’s involvement. The amount of sweat and tears he put into the show over the last 25 years without Rob, the thought of him being forced out now is awful. And yes they’ve said over Holly Hop weekend that Doug will be involved in anything going forward but there’s a lot of signals to suggest otherwise. And if the future of the show is all about reboots, remakes, spin offs, and what have you, without the involvement of Doug or the rest of the cast, then I’d rather it just end on the relative high of The Promised Land.

  • I think people are taking what Rob said almost as if this is the first time any of this is a thing. but this probably happens alot. many ideas likely have got thrown Grant Naylors way in the last 20 years. even Rob himself back in the 90s they were getting all these ideas from american producers and whatever that they were looking at. including one that wanted to change the cat character. so this is nothing new.

    There is likely a dozen things that Grant Naylor turned down in the past that we don’t know about.

  • Interested to see what Rob does, if anything. Can’t imagine thinking “more content? What a terrible idea”. Don’t want him to take over the main show in any way, though. Even if it was really good it would be incredibly mean to wrangle the show from a man who is clearly passionate about it and has been for many years. Not that I think that’s what’s happening. But if I was in it myself I would feel an obligation to not participate in that sort of thing.

    I hope every Grant script ends with the Dwarfers meeting their demise in increasingly horrible and mean-spirited ways. Like Harrison Ford demanding that Han Solo fucking die ever since 1983. But still coming back time after time.

  • Either way it sounds like Doug is contracted to make another Red Dwarf Special. if UKTV put the money in that is. although personally i have no attachment or love for Dougs Solo Red Dwarf work so if he didn’t get to make anymore… i probably wouldn’t be phased. his solo work certainly has quite alot of issues IMO. and i ain’t really someone whose just happy to get new Red Dwarf for the sake of new Red Dwarf.

    I have no opinion on Rob Grant writing Red Dwarf solo. its hard to say whats going on with that or what to expect. but id always prefer them to write together.

  • It is kinda awkward though because Rob likely wouldn’t want to continue on Dougs Solo work. and that makes the idea that Rob will make any live-action material hard to believe. so i think any Rob Grant solo work will be in various other forms. basically in his own canon. because there ain’t many other choices there that doesn’t confuse things. which is frustrating really.

  • It is kinda awkward though because Rob likely wouldn’t want to continue on Dougs Solo work. and that makes the idea that Rob will make any live-action material hard to believe. so i think any Rob Grant solo work will be in various other forms. basically in his own canon. because there ain’t many other choices there that doesn’t confuse things. which is frustrating really.

    It certainly feels hard to imagine Rob writing anything for the TV show in its current form. But I could imagine a new novel or audios involving the original cast, or.maybe even a complete reboot altogether.

  • Rob should do some big finish stuff. he seems willing to do audio. let him do his own stuff. maybe get the cast back. or just Christ Barrie. come on rob!

  • Hi there. Well this old-timer sure is behind! I had no clue that a new skit was even being written until this morning! Had to wait until lunch to read it too.

  • Yeah, and don’t set it in space. And make every episode a musical.

    Still call it “Red Dwarf” though, so the fans know to watch it.

    The tone of the first two novels is very different to the tone of the show, and to try to copy the shows tone in bringing them to life would also do them a disservice.

    It’s also about there not really being any need for a reboot that tries to do what the show already has done. There’s 30 years of the sitcom style show with the cast we love. I’d prefer them to go on making it until they all die of old age Last of the Summer Wine style, but if any kind of reboot happens I’d prefer it to be a different take on the concept rather than a pale imitation of what we already have.

  • Live-action Red Dwarf (not literature, guys) is a studio-based sitcom, where the comedy derives from the characters and their relationships with each other. One of whom , let’s not forget, was descended from cats, which is an absurd proposition so already suggests a heightened reality and not a single-camera grounded sitcom.

    “Rebooting” would surely mean either changing the characters or recasting the actors. And then what? Opening up the “Red Dwarf universe for story potential”. The whole point of the “Red Dwarf universe” is that it’s fundamentally empty and so it focuses on our characters.

    My point about “still calling it Red Dwarf” is simply to show that dissolving the show into a brand-name (and churning it out like some kind of product which seems to be what Rob is implying) is just ignoring what gave the show a fan base in the first place.

    >I’d prefer them to go on making it until they all die of old age Last of the Summer Wine style, but if any kind of reboot happens I’d prefer it to be a different take on the concept rather than a pale imitation of what we already have.

    Let’s not sugarcoat this; Doug Dwarf *is* a “pale imitation” of Red Dwarf. But at least he’s aiming to imitate a show we love, rather than slapping the name of a show we love on another product and expecting fans to watch it.

  • Let’s not sugarcoat this; Doug Dwarf *is* a “pale imitation” of Red Dwarf. But at least he’s aiming to imitate a show we love, rather than slapping the name of a show we love on another product and expecting fans to watch it.

    I have never got the sense Doug wasn’t afraid of experimenting with the show.

    My point about “still calling it Red Dwarf” is simply to show that dissolving the show into a brand-name (and churning it out like some kind of product which seems to be what Rob is implying) is just ignoring what gave the show a fan base in the first place.

    That happened a long time ago. Remastering. Stage Shows. even that unplanned thing they were gonna do with the cast in 2009 where it sounded like the cast were gonna improvise stuff in character. which the cast didn’t sound to confident about but Doug thought it was a cool idea.

    Doug has had alot of trial and error. there are many things he has done which he clearly thought were good ideas and fans reacted kinda Meh to it, and he just moved on from.

  • Live-action Red Dwarf (not literature, guys) is a studio-based sitcom, where the comedy derives from the characters and their relationships with each other. One of whom , let’s not forget, was descended from cats, which is an absurd proposition so already suggests a heightened reality and not a single-camera grounded sitcom.

    I don’t recall it being a rule that single-camera shows have to be grounded and don’t work with a heightened reality. In fact, that’s kind of…the opposite of true.

    30Rock and Scrubs weren’t grounded. They were both loaded with zany cutaways and other extremely silly things. In fact, it’s actively _easier_ for a single camera show to get away with that sort of thing because you don’t have to worry about a live audience.

  • In what universe does something being single-camera mean it has to be a grounded and gritty piece of realistic drama? That’s utterly insane. Chuck is hardly the grittiest and most realistic show, nor is Doctor Who.

    If you haven’t enjoyed anything the show has done since 1995, first of all why are you still here complaining about it, and second of all shouldn’t you be YEARNING for the franchise to try something different, since clearly it hasn’t been working (to you) for decades?

  • 30Rock and Scrubs weren’t grounded. They were both loaded with zany cutaways and other extremely silly things. In fact, it’s actively _easier_ for a single camera show to get away with that sort of thing because you don’t have to worry about a live audience.

    Never seen 30 Rock, but I can’t think of a character in Scrubs who’s as detached from reality as the Cat. There are zany characters sure, but the situation is intended to have some semblance to reality; with the fantasy coming from the inner thoughts of the protagonist. They even did a “studio sitcom” fantasy episode to show the difference in how the show would be if it was like that.

    It’s a stylistic choice which has to be built on what the show is trying to be, rather than “what’s in fashion”. To say, Red Dwarf should rebooted as a single-camera sitcom, I’d say “show me examples where an episode would have benefited from that format”. In return, I’ll give you 11 episodes where the show floundered with that format.

    In what universe does something being single-camera mean it has to be a grounded and gritty piece of realistic drama? That’s utterly insane. Chuck is hardly the grittiest and most realistic show, nor is Doctor Who.

    Strangely enough, Ben *this* conversation on G&T isn’t about Doctor Who. Doctor Who is not a sitcom.

    If you haven’t enjoyed anything the show has done since 1995

    Where did I say that? Oh. I didn’t.

    first of all why are you still here complaining about it

    Still watching Doctor Who, Ben?

  • To me, part of being a fan of something is to be critical of it as well as embracing its strengths. Pete always puts forward a balanced argument. And he loved ‘Give & Take,’ if I remember correctly. So the accusation that he hasn’t enjoyed anything since Rob and Doug split is unfair.

  • I understand what Pete’s saying, but I also don’t think it’s necessarily impossible. Unrealistic characters can exist in single camera TV. They can exist in comedy-drama. They can exist in drama. It would take a certain amount of reimagining the Cat’s performance, but it could be done.
    Whether it should be done is another matter.

    How was Hitchhiker’s filmed? That was certainly audience-less and far less grounded in reality than Dwarf.

  • How was Hitchhiker’s filmed? That was certainly audience-less and far less grounded in reality than Dwarf.

    No, apparently giving other shows as examples is cheating.

  • Ok, fuck it. Reboot Red Dwarf as a single-camera US sitcom. Do Young Ones as well. And BlackAdder.

    Unfortunately, Red Dwarf “flying out of our buttskis” is just going to involve people close it to being covered in shit.

  • Ok, fuck it. Reboot Red Dwarf as a single-camera US sitcom. Do Young Ones as well. And BlackAdder.

    Unfortunately, Red Dwarf “flying out of our buttskis” is just going to involve people close it to being covered in shit.

    I understand you liking the show a certain way Pete, but what is the issue with taking a property that cannot be made anymore (i.e. cast are unable to do it) and try and make something new out of it with different people/productions/methods/styles etc?

    As long as the basic core principle is in place (Lister last human alive stuck in deep space with an evolved pet and his dead bunkmate who he doesn’t get on with) then you can sure do and try anything.

    I’ll be the first to say the US have a bad track record of making their own versions of brilliant British sitcoms. But every so often they get it right and become much loved series, that are able to live alongside the original and enjoyed by fans it.

    It doesn’t have to erase all that came before, and as long as it isn’t made instead of the show we know and love at the moment, then I see no problem. If it’s shit, we either ignore it or sit and discuss why it’s shite in comparison to the original. But the original will always be there.

    There’s scope for doing a wide variety of different things. Yes it has worked amazingly as an audience based sitcom. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t work as a Scubs/Communityesque single cam sitcom for example. It all depends on the right people doing it.

  • are there any [good] American sitcoms that have “this limited core cast of characters are isolated or trapped” as the basic premise? i’m struggling to think of any. the closest i can think of is Avenue 5, which a) is not really American and b) has thousands of people on that ship.

  • are there any [good] American sitcoms that have “this limited core cast of characters are isolated or trapped” as the basic premise? i’m struggling to think of any. the closest i can think of is Avenue 5, which a) is not really American and b) has thousands of people on that ship.

    How often does any sitcom do that? Outside of Porridge and Red Dwarf, most sitcoms have the freedom to move outside the confines of setting and cast as much as they want as their premise isn’t imprisoned/trapped/isolated etc.

  • Hitchhikers was multi-camera, but without an audience, just to confuse matters.

    Hitchhikers was without an audience because the Earth had been destroyed. Duh.

  • are there any [good] American sitcoms that have “this limited core cast of characters are isolated or trapped” as the basic premise? i’m struggling to think of any. the closest i can think of is Avenue 5, which a) is not really American and b) has thousands of people on that ship.

    and c) wasn’t really very good (better perhaps than Hyperdrive)

  • How often does any sitcom do that? Outside of Porridge and Red Dwarf, most sitcoms have the freedom to move outside the confines of setting and cast as much as they want as their premise isn’t imprisoned/trapped/isolated etc.

    it’s true! even in Porridge you have the standby of “a new prisoner comes in” (i don’t know how much they used that to kick off the plot, but it was always available). obviously “unlikely housemates!” and “unlikely colleagues!” are fairly normal setups. it’s that isolation that i think makes red dwarf uniquely hard to write: the mainline show itself has struggled with that throughout, to the point of more or less abandoning it in terms of feel in the dave era.

    apart from what sort of heightened reality to create, a rebooted or american show would also have to choose how to play that. would it go straight to a GELFs-on-derelicts formula, or would it try and be make a virtue of the inward-looking nature and do a lot of character work? i’d love to see the latter, i’m not so sure about the former.

  • The original intention behind the Janitor from Scrubs was that he was this weird sort-of-maybe figment of JD’s imagination, and that only JD is able to see him and talk to him, even though he somehow is capable of interacting with the real world, or something. In fact he is written this way for a chunk of the first season. Which I think is a little more out there than some cat bloke.

    Also Ted. And that hunky dude who high-fives everybody.

    Malcolm in the Middle is insane, too.

  • Wasn’t there that Last Man On Earth show that did quite well? I never watched it.

    I never watched it either but I hear he meets other human beings basically after the first episode

  • The original intention behind the Janitor from Scrubs was that he was this weird sort-of-maybe figment of JD’s imagination, and that only JD is able to see him and talk to him, even though he somehow is capable of interacting with the real world, or something. In fact he is written this way for a chunk of the first season. Which I think is a little more out there than some cat bloke.

    I think the entire first season is this way … the janitor doesn’t interact with anyone else other than JD I believe.

    It’s only season 2 they move him to just be a real person. Not bad for a character who was only meant to be in the pilot.

  • what is the issue with taking a property that cannot be made anymore (i.e. cast are unable to do it)

    Because it’s been done.

    I echo Katydid’s intiial comment (the first in this thread) where she said “if you’re gonna do American Red Dwarf, just write a brand new science fiction sitcom with a similar spirit to it but unique to the culture of America. Don’t Xerox the British original and just switch out the vernacular.”

    (Katydid then suggested the single-camera reboot idea…so that’s me confused)

    As long as the basic core principle is in place (Lister last human alive stuck in deep space with an evolved pet and his dead bunkmate who he doesn’t get on with) then you can sure do and try anything.

    I’m a bit confused about the “try anything” idea. What’s the obstacle preventing them “trying anything” with the current format? I wager it’s the fact that, trying absolutely anything…wouldn’t be Red Dwarf….because unlike Star Trek or Doctor Who (which it’s compared to because of its Sci-Fi pedigree and enthusiastic fanbase…but beyond that has nothing in common with), Red Dwarf’s remit is actually pretty narrow.

    The best episodes of the show are completely character-driven, which is why a significant amount of the guest characters they’ve encountered have been personifications of their character traits, their dreams or skewed alternate versions. This is why the smartest sci-fi ideas that the show has handled (Justice World, Positive viruses, Polymorph) have simply been a launch-pad to explore the characters in interesting ways. When the show has recycled those same ideas, it’s not worked half as well, as it’s been distilled to “Oh, that was a good sci-fi idea in that episode, let’s do that again”.

    This is also why an episode where the characters meet a dinosaur and it does a big poo is viewed as its absolute nadir. Maybe “try anything” should be with the caveat that it’s not “what can we do with special effects or fancy camera work?”.

    As I’ve said above, Red Dwarf’s universe is purposely empty…because its universe revolves around these characters. Red Dwarf without Rimmer and Lister is not Red Dwarf (yes, I know what this says about half of VII). Just as Blackadder without BlackAdder and Baldrick…is not BlackAdder. The casting informed the writing just as much as the writing informed the casting. This is why, in the novels, Rimmer is identifiably Chris Barrie and Lister is Craig Charles.

    There’s scope for doing a wide variety of different things

    If you like the show for a different reason other than the comedy derived from the characters as played by these actors, then I get why you would think that Red Dwarf can be spun-off like other “properties”. I’m not denying that the format of Red Dwarf is a good one…but I think there’s this perception that it’s strong enough to be repurposed with different actors and different characters…and it’ll still be recognizably Red Dwarf. Only in so much as The Office US is like The Office UK. (So it would share a name… and nothing else).

    Which I think is a little more out there than some cat bloke.

    Someone having an imaginary friend is “out there” when compared to a humanoid descended from cats over a period of three million years? Huh.

  • it’s that isolation that i think makes red dwarf uniquely hard to write: the mainline show itself has struggled with that throughout, to the point of more or less abandoning it in terms of feel in the dave era.

    Absolutely. In the classic era, they only ever met a few characters from parallel universes or in time travel at a time, and it was very much still focused on the main characters. Using the same concepts to meet others in the Dave era hasn’t had the same feel because they meet multiple characters at once; those times/places feel much more populated than they ever did in the classic era (except in Backwards, but there they never really interacted on any kind of equal level, and the Cat and Lister helped keep that feel of disconnect). There were always fundamental differences, whereas a lot of the characters they meet in the Dave era are either human, or very similar in fundamental ways of thinking, or just played as normal parts of the universe (e.g. all the talking machines, simulants being a normal part of life, etc.) – essentially companions. I think that’s possibly why episodes like Trojan, Give & Take and Skipper worked so well, actually, the characters they met felt more like the characters they used to meet in the classic era, who were not and did not become a normal part of the Dwarfers’ lives.

    I love Hoguey the Roguey, but it’s weird them having familiarity with someone outside of Red Dwarf. The talking (sentient?) machines in episodes like Dear Dave and Mechocracy are played as a normal part of life on the Dwarf, whereas before it was the occasional brief interactions with e.g. the vending machine, or Talkie the Toaster who was a recurring character over the years but more of an adversary than a companion. Then Twentica, Cured and Timewave they meet people who are fundamentally like them (even the mechs in Cured acted like humans). Officer Rimmer *almost* has a classic feel to it, for me, except the lifts being independent characters with whom they are all already familiar.

    Ugh. Relevant or not, that was cathartic pinpointing just why the feel is generally quite different between eras. Even VII felt like they were basically alone in their universe. (VIII and BTE are very much their own things.)

  • The best episodes of the show are completely character-driven, which is why a significant amount of the guest characters they’ve encountered have been personifications of their character traits, their dreams or skewed alternate versions.

    I thought you were arguing against a single-camera reboot of the show? There’s no reason another version couldn’t use the same characters, or at least variations on them close enough to be defined by the same characteristics. Certainly Lister, Rimmer and Kryten could be played down a little, maybe given a touch more drama, and retain everything that makes them them. Cat would definitely be more difficult but not impossible.

    I’m not saying it’s a sure-fire hit, and if Rob and/or Doug weren’t on the team in some role, it could easily fall astray, but I don’t think it’s an immediate failure as a concept. I can imagine a good version in my head. Maybe taking the first two novels as the basis for the first series and then developing in its own way after that, much the same way The Office US did with the UK version forming the basis of its first series.

  • I echo Katydid’s intiial comment (the first in this thread) where she said “if you’re gonna do American Red Dwarf, just write a brand new science fiction sitcom with a similar spirit to it but unique to the culture of America. Don’t Xerox the British original and just switch out the vernacular.”
    (Katydid then suggested the single-camera reboot idea…so that’s me confused)

    That was my ideal world, but if we’re going to have American Red Dwarf anyway…

  • I thought you were arguing against a single-camera reboot of the show? There’s no reason another version couldn’t use the same characters, or at least variations on them close enough to be defined by the same characteristics. Certainly Lister, Rimmer and Kryten could be played down a little, maybe given a touch more drama, and retain everything that makes them them.

    Why the need to ‘play them down’? Why does Red Dwarf need an injection of drama when the success of Red Dwarf is predominantly judged on how *funny* it is? Again, this just feels like “Red Dwarf is a Sci-Fi property so let’s play around with it stylistically, and we need to justify that by tweaking it for no good reason”.

    .Maybe taking the first two novels as the basis for the first series

    The first three series were used as the basis of the first two novels. How is this “new”? It’s just a copy of a copy. It’s the Reggie Perrin reboot starring Martin Clunes.

    The novels are great but only because they add context to the characters in a way that cannot be conveyed in dialogue on screen. So they’re good *because* they’re novels. The best bit of Infinity is the pre-accident part; doesn’t mean we need 3 episodes of a single-camera comedy-drama getting to know Saunders, his rubber plant and the inner workings of Z-shift before we get to the point which The End managed to economically land at in 25 minutes.

    This idea seems built for the generation of “oh, you have to give it a few seasons, then it gets good”.

    then developing in its own way after that, much the same way The Office US did with the UK version forming the basis of its first series.

    As I said above, The Offices share so little in common, so it’s incredibly easy to find people who watch/love one but not the other. The point at which that worked was when it stopped being a remake and started being “inspired by the very loose format of a documentary in an office”.

    So if you want to take a cue from The Office and change all the characters in Red Dwarf but retain the format of the last human, three million years from home… you don’t have Red Dwarf. You can slap “Red Dwarf” on it, but it’ll be even less Red Dwarf than “Red Dwarf USA”.

  • So if you want to take a cue from The Office and change all the characters in Red Dwarf but retain the format of the last human, three million years from home… you don’t have Red Dwarf. You can slap “Red Dwarf” on it, but it’ll be even less Red Dwarf than “Red Dwarf USA”.

    While there are obviously huge differences, I don’t think it could be said that they “changed all the characters in The Office”. Those 4 main characters in both the British and American versions retain many of the same characteristics and certainly interact in the same way. Much of the success of both shows is down to that imo and they have a lot more in common than just being documentaries set in an office.

  • I’ve never been interested in them filming the novels, I’ve already read that. A reboot remake would be even more pointless since the original didn’t need to be improved in a Battlestar Galactica kind of way.

    I’d be up for a complementary sister show with a different name and focus. Red Dwarf’s Deep Space Nine / Millennium / Angel.

    And a board game plz.

  • Parks and Recreation to Red Dwarf’s The Office would have been a more relevant, recent and on-topic example than supernatural detective dramas from 30 years ago.

  • Why the need to ‘play them down’? Why does Red Dwarf need an injection of drama when the success of Red Dwarf is predominantly judged on how *funny* it is? Again, this just feels like “Red Dwarf is a Sci-Fi property so let’s play around with it stylistically, and we need to justify that by tweaking it for no good reason”.

    Because there are really good characters and dramatic elements in there among the humour and, if a remake was going to happen, it would be more interesting to focus on that rather than try and directly copy the tone of the original.

    The first three series were used as the basis of the first two novels. How is this “new”? It’s just a copy of a copy.

    It would be a good way to start the show using Rob and Doug’s voice while not trying to be a carbon copy of the TV version.

    So if you want to take a cue from The Office and change all the characters in Red Dwarf but retain the format of the last human, three million years from home… you don’t have Red Dwarf. You can slap “Red Dwarf” on it, but it’ll be even less Red Dwarf than “Red Dwarf USA”.

    The Office US naturally developed from the UK version, there wasn’t a huge stylistic cutoff after the UK remakes when it suddenly became a totally unrecognisable programme in the space of an episode. It started off with the basic UK version and the writers turned it into its own thing, to the point that it became radically different from the original. I have no problem with that happening to a US version of Red Dwarf, if it’s rooted in our version originally.

    Red Dwarf has the potential to be more drama-based. Doug experimented with it in VII to mixed results (and then backpedalled to even worse ones); there are dramatic bits in BtE which seem to be pretty popular among fans; the novels showed that side of the story too. It is a viable option to make a less sitcommy version of Red Dwarf. It might be rubbish. I’m not clamouring for one. But if a remake does come along, whichever side of the Atlantic, I think it would be more interesting and watchable to do this and make it into a different show, albeit one rooted in the same characters with the same drives and in the same scenario, than to simply try and capture the tone of the original. For a start, the latter is much more likely to fail, because even Doug on his own struggles to recapture the tone of the classic era a lot of the time.

    TL;DR: I was perfectly happy without either, but I’d rather have a US Office than a Still Open All Hours.

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