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Another day, another DwarfCast milestone as we have finally completed our commentaries on all traditionally lengthed Red Dwarf episodes, marking an end to a series of casts going back to 2006. Unless Series XIII comes along, of course. Also, we’re going to do The Promised Land in a few weeks. And we’ll likely revisit some old episodes if we feel like it. But still.

Anyway, join Ian, Cappsy and Danny as they jump between dimensions to see if they can find a reality in which Doug remembers he wrote Dimension Jump and Stoke me a Clipper as they have a jolly old time talking over the final episode of Red Dwarf XII, Skipper.

DwarfCast 137 – Skipper Commentary (72MB)

As mentioned, our next commentary will be a bumper special as we talk over The Promised Land. For the sake of everyone’s sanity that will not include any waffles but please do send them in anyway as we’ll be likely doing a waffle special soon as we figure out what the next phase of DwarfCasts is going to look like.

Show notes

41 comments on “DwarfCast 137 – Skipper Commentary

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  • they have a jolly old time talking over the final episode of Red Dwarf XI, Skipper

    Don’t you mean Star Knot?

    Surely it’s actually Can Of Worms?

    And Can Of Worms was months ago. Right now they’re talking about the much better things that happened in Skipper.

  • I don’t like the ‘anomaly’ bit, but otherwise the first half of Skipper is, for me, 1-VI quality, for the only time in the Doug solo era. It’s so, so good, I was in fits of laughter just watching it behind the commentary.

    The second half is very slightly less timeless for me, but obviously still chock full of brilliant stuff, and as an episode it’s still the best post-Rob episode without a doubt. It really lacks heart, though, as Ian says.

    My original thought based on the set report was the episode was going to be the crew being caught in some time travel thing and visiting moments of their past and maybe learning stuff, maybe having to choose whether to go back to the future or stay in the past or something… so it always felt very slightly underwhelming compared to the version in my head.

    Some of the conversation about social media really resonated with me, and it’s why I avoid a lot of stuff online these days. Music, TV and film no longer feel like things I enjoy personally, and have become part of a larger critical conversation with strangers, which ultimately is far less fun. That’s said, social media demolishing forums is a particular sore point for me, as most message boards I’ve used over the years have dried up almost entirely when it comes to new members. I’m a mod on a board for my favourite band, and while at one point a new album would result in a 20 page in-depth thread, it now gets one or two pages as when some members drift away, there’s nobody to replace them. People just seem to default to Facebook groups now, but sadly their very structure discourages in-depth discussion. So instead of nerdy fans chasing down obscure tracks the band have sampled and giving their impressions of the music, the only thing now is just people posting YouTube links to songs without even any comment explaining why they like it, or asking a question about a new release that’s been answered two posts down. It’s both frustrating and depressing that fandom for so many things has been reduced to this very shallow level of “look a video” and “I like this song”. We’re lucky here on G&T that Red Dwarf is still a large enough franchise to keep lively discussion going: most forums I use have slowed to a crawl, only a few years after they were really lovely and exciting.
    I never used Usenet but my first experience of this stuff was discussion mailing lists which were quite nice and intimate.

    Waffle: at what point did this episode stop being Star Knot, and how on Earth did the Star Knot concept tie in with the story?

    Looks like I’ll have to get my Promised Land BluRay soon then.

  • You didn’t go back to talk about Hollister!

    I generally really like all of Skipper but I don’t like that it feels like two episodes ideas mashed together. The first half could easily have been its own episode. The fact that the “opposite thing happening” gets dropped very quickly in favour of Rimmer then going on his adventure sort of speaks to it being an idea Doug had half finished or couldn’t find an end for etc.

    It’s not as though the two things really link together other than some flimsy spacial anomaly but even then I’m not sure there’s a direct connection is there? Maybe in Kryten making the device?

    An episode where everyone is caught up in an anomaly jumping them through different realities and they have to find a way to escape it would have been cool. Even have them split up at times so they’re not all in the same realities. There’s a whole 30 minutes there that would allow you to explore so many more options than the 3 major ideas.

    I’ve never really appreciated it as much as a final for XII other than the 2nd half back references. But as an episode in and of itself it doesn’t rate as highly as some others.

  • We’re lucky here on G&T that Red Dwarf is still a large enough franchise to keep lively discussion going

    It’s a source of constant amazement to me that the community here is not only still active but still experiences periods of growth even when new stuff isn’t on the telly. I guess we’re the last proper old school forum, now.

  • It’s not as though the two things really link together other than some flimsy spacial anomaly but even then I’m not sure there’s a direct connection is there? Maybe in Kryten making the device?

    I posted the below a while back in the Unpopular Opinions thread on what I think are some thematic links between the two parts.

    (Apologies if this duplicates discussion on the Dwarfcast – haven’t had a chance to listen yet.)

    ————–
    I actually like both halves of Skipper – I rewatched it recently and found all the opposites stuff in the first half as strong as ever, with a really classic Red Dwarf feel to it.

    It does suddenly veer into a very different-feeling story with the dimension-skipping, but I’m not sure that stuff could have supported a full episode without something more. Even if you had additional funny ideas for alternate scenarios, it would feel like a sketch show rather than the snappier montage of Skipper’s back half.

    I also think that there is at least some thematic link between the opposites stuff of the first half and the final dimension visited in Skipper where the ship’s pecking order is entirely inverted (with Lister at the top and Rimmer second).

    It also makes the point that while Rimmer might think he wants the opposite of what he has in his own dimension, his main source of happiness is feeling superior to Lister and that isn’t something he can bear giving up. So while he is quick to make the decision to leave, it’s not what he really wants and ultimately he ends the episode with the opposite outcome.

  • Some of the conversation about social media really resonated with me, and it’s why I avoid a lot of stuff online these days. Music, TV and film no longer feel like things I enjoy personally, and have become part of a larger critical conversation with strangers, which ultimately is far less fun. That’s said, social media demolishing forums is a particular sore point for me, as most message boards I’ve used over the years have dried up almost entirely when it comes to new members. I’m a mod on a board for my favourite band, and while at one point a new album would result in a 20 page in-depth thread, it now gets one or two pages as when some members drift away, there’s nobody to replace them. People just seem to default to Facebook groups now, but sadly their very structure discourages in-depth discussion. So instead of nerdy fans chasing down obscure tracks the band have sampled and giving their impressions of the music, the only thing now is just people posting YouTube links to songs without even any comment explaining why they like it, or asking a question about a new release that’s been answered two posts down. It’s both frustrating and depressing that fandom for so many things has been reduced to this very shallow level of “look a video” and “I like this song”. We’re lucky here on G&T that Red Dwarf is still a large enough franchise to keep lively discussion going: most forums I use have slowed to a crawl, only a few years after they were really lovely and exciting.

    Yes to all of this. Maybe it’s partly just my age, but the early-2000s heyday of messageboards was a great era for internet discussion. The reductive and more disposable-feeling social media chat doesn’t come close as a decent replacement.

  • It’s a source of constant amazement to me that the community here is not only still active but still experiences periods of growth even when new stuff isn’t on the telly. I guess we’re the last proper old school forum, now.

    Yes, the only other boards I’m on that are remotely busy are very broad in their scope – Cook’d and Bomb’d being about all comedy, WATMM being about (mostly electronic) music – and it’s wonderful that this place is so popular simply on the subject of a single TV show, to the extent that it has its own in-jokes and familiar members in the way classic forums always have done. In contrast, I just checked in on a band’s official forum which hasn’t had a single post in nearly two months.

  • It’s a source of constant amazement to me that the community here is not only still active but still experiences periods of growth even when new stuff isn’t on the telly. I guess we’re the last proper old school forum, now.

    Hey, c’mon, bring it in guys. Feel the love.

  • I love the first half of Skipper. The second half, I don’t dislike… but it’s a bit…cheap.

    Sketch-based fanwank. Enjoyable, but moments remind me of Only the Good, which can’t be a, er, good thing.

  • It reminds me more of Back In The Red, but yeah I know what you mean.

    As a self-referential potential final episode I didn’t mind too much, but I’m glad it’s not the kind thing they do too often.

  • Always found it greatly amusing that in the XII game, the Lister in the Mr Rat dimension is ‘Nice Lister’.

    Surely it’s actually Can Of Worms?

    I was alluding to the XI steelbook episode titles fuck-up.

  • I think i prefer the 2nd half. the first half has its good moments, but like alot of Dougs episodes, i feel there is stuff that could be taken out and improve the pacing.

  • I guess we’re the last proper old school forum, now.

    Not quite. I belong to a forum that has some threads still active since 2008, and they’re only that young because the forum crashed in ’08 and lots of stuff was lost, otherwise there would be a few threads dating back to 2003 when the forum was created. The membership has certainly changed over the years – I’ve only been there since 2017 but old threads are an interesting snapshot of the posting community through time. However the subject of interest there is specific yet intrinsically broad, and membership is truly international. The regulars know each other pretty well and have our in-jokes too :D

    There is also the Gateworld forum but I don’t know how it compares as I don’t frequent it (not sure if I’m even registered or not) – previously it was fairly inactive whenever I’ve looked, although lockdown may have revitalised it, I don’t know.

    I belong to a Facebook group out of necessity and while belonging to the group *is* useful, I find it hard to navigate. It’s not a subject that needs discussion particularly, but I can imagine it would be awful trying to discuss a show or band, etc. there.

    Reddit is be the only social media type site I can think of with a format that is conducive to discussion in the comments.

  • Not quite. I belong to a forum that has some threads still active since 2008, and they’re only that young because the forum crashed in ’08 and lots of stuff was lost, otherwise there would be a few threads dating back to 2003 when the forum was created. The membership has certainly changed over the years – I’ve only been there since 2017 but old threads are an interesting snapshot of the posting community through time. However the subject of interest there is specific yet intrinsically broad, and membership is truly international. The regulars know each other pretty well and have our in-jokes too :D

    Oh sorry, I mean Red Dwarf specifically. It would be very bold of me to say we were the last forum ever!

  • I miss the old TORDFC forums. Happy Memories. My first encounters with G&T alumni* were over there, about twenty years ago.
    Still up and running (if mostly inactive) til fairly recently, weren’t they?

    *don’t think that that’s the right word, actually, but my brain [yes, I do have one, fuck off] isn’t working, so you figure it out.

  • Oh sorry, I mean Red Dwarf specifically. It would be very bold of me to say we were the last forum ever!

    Oh! Oops – though that does make more sense, heh 😅 I was actually going to say that old-school fora are relatively rare now so we could confidently claim to be “one of” the last … but while that claim may *technically* be correct, fora aren’t as rare as I thought.

    Whilst looking for a few that I used to frequent, to see if they are now defunct, the search results showed me all manner of forum sites. While some sections of some of them were evidently idle, all of the sites I looked at had recent activity to some extent. I wonder whether the same was true 18-24 months ago, but either way it’s kind of heartening that people are still sharing interests on the internet, not just via social media sites but discussing as well.

    Edit: and I’ve just seen a brain fart in my last post – ‘Reddit is be’ indeed *sigh*

  • Thanks for finally getting to my very long, over due waffle. (You seemed to get enough Model Shots waffling out of it ;) ). Hearing that not doing a waffle men bit for TPL Dwarfcast, might as well answer this question on here. Having now covered all of BBC and DAVE era Dwarf, plus about to finish all four of the G&N Novels… Whats Next ? (if anything)

    P.S. Glad to see Doug clarify the Starbug Legs business :)

  • Followed by commentaries on the DwarfCast commentaries.

    I thought that’s what this thread was.

  • The next lot of DwarfCasts are going to be Commentaries of the DVD Cast Commentaries.

    Everyone take a bite of a ham sandwich whenever Danny says “ham sandwich”.

  • How does one submit a waffle for consideration? I’ve got some hot takes and topics that I would love to hear discussed when you get round to them in about 5 years! ;)

    Some of the conversation about social media really resonated with me, and it’s why I avoid a lot of stuff online these days. Music, TV and film no longer feel like things I enjoy personally, and have become part of a larger critical conversation with strangers, which ultimately is far less fun.

    I find this happens to me as well – Doctor Who for instance was a show that I came to enjoy less and less because I was more caught up in the online discussion of it than I was in the simple act of watching and enjoying the show. Most of the series 6/7 Matt Smith era was negatively effected for me because I got too caught up in picking holes in things with other people online whereas if I’d just sat and watched the show without all that I’d probably have enjoyed it far more!

    Discussion around something you love can be a great outlet and way to connect with others but it’s easy to get sucked into something of a negativity black hole around things – particularly as the usual rules apply in that more people will go out of their way to leave negative comments about something than positive ones.

  • Yeah, that’s exactly my experience. I had no problem with Chibnall’s first series – I didn’t love it, but enjoyed it – and then stumbled across the absolute hatred it seems to get in quite a few online circles and it definitely negatively impacted my opinion on the show. It’s also why I didn’t join in the instant reaction Dwarfcasts for XII and The Promised Land. Except Timewave, which was obviously going to be far more entertaining than the episode itself.

  • Yeah, that’s exactly my experience. I had no problem with Chibnall’s first series – I didn’t love it, but enjoyed it – and then stumbled across the absolute hatred it seems to get in quite a few online circles and it definitely negatively impacted my opinion on the show. It’s also why I didn’t join in the instant reaction Dwarfcasts for XII and The Promised Land. Except Timewave, which was obviously going to be far more entertaining than the episode itself.

    Click to Edit – 4 minutes and 56 secondsYeah, that’s exactly my experience. Who-wise, I had no problem with Chibnall’s first series – I didn’t love it, but enjoyed it – and then stumbled across the absolute hatred it seems to get in quite a few online circles and it definitely negatively impacted my opinion on the show. It’s also why I didn’t join in the instant reaction Dwarfcasts for XII and The Promised Land. Except Timewave, which was obviously going to be far more entertaining than the episode itself.SaveCancelDelete4 minutes and 56 seconds

  • How does one submit a waffle for consideration? I’ve got some hot takes and topics that I would love to hear discussed when you get round to them in about 5 years! ;)

    Post them in here, tweet at us or email admin@ganymede.tv – whatever’s your poison.

  • Here’s a wafflem’n that I’ve been thinking about for a while. Do you think we’ll ever see (and would you want to see) another significant evolution in the show’s look and feel again?

    I feel like Red Dwarf has more or less looked the same since X, and certainly since XI. Is this effectively the final ‘version’ of Red Dwarf?

    After so many changes in the early years – new living quarters, vehicles, costume designs, even a new version of Red Dwarf itself by the end of the BBC era, as well as all the shake-ups of the status quo and character combinations – it feels like there isn’t really any drive to make those changes now, maybe for financial reasons as much as anything.

    Promised-Land-esque format changes aside, is this basically the last iteration of Red Dwarf? And is that a sad or a happy thing?

  • I think we’re unlikely to see changes, as they were largely for practical reasons and in an era when the creative team were probably less likely to be considering continuity. For there to be a significant change in the sets these days, there would have to be either a very significant practical or narrative reason for it to happen. Same with Rimmer’s costume: in 1992, he was changed to red because they thought it looked good. It feels harder to get away with that kind of thing in an era when everything is publicly scrutinised online.

    It’s a sad thing, obviously. Especially as it’s my least favourite bunkroom and Rimmer outfit.

  • Doctor Who changes outfits on a whim and it seems to go down well, apart from with hypercritical Jenuall c.2011-12 maybe, so it could generate minor buzz. They might have used up all the main variations by this point though, even Out of Time’s was a stretch (literally!)

  • Matt Smith changing his jacket slightly from series 5 to series 6 of New Who was all I needed to know that they had ruined the show completely!

    I wouldn’t actually mind them doing a bit of a design refresh for the next TV Dwarf we get,if we are getting more that is… Whilst X was a bit different from XI and XII they all broadly share the same look and so at 3 concurrent series they’ve matched the record for “period of show with basically the same look” previously set by the III to V era.

    I would like to see Lister get a bit of a visual refresh at this point. Bringing him back to the leather jacket look for the Dave series was a good move, but it feels like he should have probably moved beyond it now. I wouldn’t be against them doing something akin to the series VI overalls look for him.

    And if there is one set I would really like them to rework then it would be the Starbug cockpit, there are some lovely touches in the current design but as a whole it just doesn’t work for me. It’s too cramped compared to what we had in the classic era. Even before they expanded it in VI it was more roomy than what we have now. My main issue I think is that it doesn’t match the external design of the ship any more, it feels like a box inserted into the spherical front of the ship in a weird way.

    That said in the UKTV era where budgets are even more constrained than ever then if keeping the same sets and costumes saves money that can go on other things then I’d rather they made that call than needlessly shake things up.

  • It’s too cramped compared to what we had in the classic era.

    I’m not sure that’s true. If you look at how they moved around, even in the VI ship, you can see if was incredibly cramped. And now Lister and Cat certainly have a LOT more leg room than they used to.

    If anything they crampedness would only come from 3 of the 4 main cast being a lot bigger than they used to be, making it a bit more difficult to navigate the set.

    That said, I agree that as a whole that Starbug set has never worked for me. It’s too flashy and technical and looks more like a fancy Star Trek shuttle than a shitty ship to surface mining craft.

  • It’s too cramped compared to what we had in the classic era.

    I’m not sure that’s true. If you look at how they moved around, even in the VI ship, you can see if was incredibly cramped. And now Lister and Cat certainly have a LOT more leg room than they used to.
    If anything they crampedness would only come from 3 of the 4 main cast being a lot bigger than they used to be, making it a bit more difficult to navigate the set.
    That said, I agree that as a whole that Starbug set has never worked for me. It’s too flashy and technical and looks more like a fancy Star Trek shuttle than a shitty ship to surface mining craft.

    I think the amount of room that Cat and Lister have is probably similar, but other than that I genuinely think the whole thing is much more cramped – they all appear much more on top of each other than before. It’s exacerbated by the fact that the walls are flatter and tighter and the ceiling is much lower (does it even exist in the classic era?). The older design has a feeling that it expands in the middle to match the external design of the bug where the new one is much straighter.

    Obviously it’s hard to know how accurate any of this is without proper schematics etc. for the sets, but its the feeling I get from it personally!

    And you’re right – the cast getting larger is almost certainly a factor in this as well!

  • The console between the two drive seats also reduces the amount of movement space they had.

    Before Lister and Cat could come running into their seats, but now there’s a bit of an awkward step over

    Also Rimmer and Kryten’s consoles look slightly larger too.

    I don’t think that space is any smaller, but the geometry isn’t helping movement.

  • I’m fairly sure the seat spacing is tighter than it was, maybe by about a foot and a bit, but the biggest thing IMO is that the previous Cat/Kryten side walls curved dramatically away from the seats as opposed to being flush up against them, which really makes it feel cramped by comparison.

    As someone said, the front bulkead that extends between the front seats limits mobility, and the shortness of the set means you can’t really get a pace on walking into it – step in gingerly to mind your head, and then within 2 steps you’re at the front console.

    I’m sure it’s been noted but the reason the current Starbug is the way it is is due to the fact that the S11 cockpit was designed to fit in whatever space was left in TV2 after the main Dwarf set was built, hence how narrow it is.

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