It will hardly have escaped anyone’s attention that 2018 is Red Dwarf‘s 30th anniversary year. Five years on from the Silver Survey, our attempt to canvas the opinions of as many fans as possible to create the ultimate ranking of every episode ever, it’s time to do it all again. How will Series XI and XII compare to their many and varied predecessors? Has opinion on the then-recent Back To Earth and Series X changed in the intervening years? Is the Series 1-VI bubble still a thing, now that those 36 episodes are outnumbered for the first time? Will there ever be a survey in which Back To Reality and Pete (Part Two) aren’t top and bottom?
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a new record. Series XII was released on shiny disc just four days after the last episode was broadcast on TV, which in any normal circumstances would make you worry that the release would be a rush job. But due to the back-to-back filming of both the last two series and their accompanying behind-the-scenes shoots, the lead time on this package is the longest they’ve ever had.
The Series XI release set the bar pretty low for its counterpart. While the extras it featured maintained the levels of quality and entertainment value we’ve come to expect, it fell short of telling as comprehensive a story as any of its predecessors, and the significantly lower than average running time left us feeling a little short-changed.
Will the Series XII release seek to address those shortcomings, or are we in for more of the same? Let’s rip open the (sadly stickerless) cellophane and find out.
It’s been just over fifteen years since we all trundled down to Woolworths or Virgin Megastore to purchase the first ever Red Dwarf DVD, and today’s the day that those of us who still crave physical media pick up the latest installment from our doormats. Well, that’s if you weren’t one of the lucky ones who have already received their pre-orders, which started happening as early as last Thursday. The rest of us have had to make do with the methadone-like preview on TOS, which promises a more in-depth look behind the scenes in the featurettes, and a main documentary that focuses on the scripts and actors.
Whenever it is that you finally have your Bluray and/or DVD in your grubby mitts, this is the thread to discuss all the delights within, as you await our trademark excessively detailed review within the next week or so.
Last Friday morning – a mere twelve hours after Skipper had landed on UKTV Play – a DwarfCast splinter group consisting of Ian Symes, Danny Stephenson and Jo Sharples descended on returning guest star Mac McDonald’s house, and he foolishly decided to let us in, for the second time in as many years. Later that night, we played you a brief snippet during the Live DwarfCast, but our conversation was long and rambling, so here’s the full-length uncut version.
Our rambling chat touched upon all manner of Skipper-related topics, such as last-minute script amendments, the similarities between Mac and Hollister, the benefits of budget constraints, Doug’s approach as a director and what happened to Hollister after Series VIII. We also touched upon such diverse topics as lost luggage, being cast in Batman, Donald Trump, pornography, moustaches and tales from the rehearsals of the Red Dwarf Movie.
Hello there, Dave viewers. The time has come. After tonight, you won’t be Dave viewers any more, and the other lot won’t be UKTV Play viewers – we’ll all be one glorious whole again. The final episode of Series XII airs at 9pm tonight on Dave, after which we can finally retire the longest-serving Spoiler Policy in Red Dwarf history. But until that moment comes, this is the thread for non-spoilery discussion of Skipper, and we’d ask that anyone who’s seen the episode already should please be careful not to give anything away until it’s been on the telly.
When we’re finally all on the same page again, you might want to catch up on the Play-paced discussion thread, or listen to the epic and somewhat emotional final Live DwarfCast of the series, or read the in-depth written review of the episode, provided by yours truly. But save some room for pudding, because after the episode airs tonight, we’ll be releasing a bonus DwarfCast containing an Xtended interview with a member of the Skipper guest cast.
Take one last look at that Spoiler Policy graphic, folks. *salutes*
Rather alarmingly, there are just five days to go until Red Dwarf XII is released on DVD and Bluray. Pre-orders could start arriving as early as this weekend, and it’s been less than a week since the covers were officially unveiled on TOS. These included the intriguing detail that we’d be seeing over 140 minutes of extras on the discs, but we’re not yet sure exactly what they are. Thankfully, the long-held tradition of details being released as a by-product of the UK’s home video classification laws has continued – Red Dwarf XII and its extras are now listed on the BBFC website.
For the third time since Red Dwarf‘s revival, I find myself sitting down to review a series finale, and pondering the very nature of what a series finale ought to entail. The Beginning went for an emotional resolution, leaving the characters very much in a place where they can be picked up again, but providing a satisfying full stop to their adventures if the worst came to the worst. Can of Worms didn’t have to do that, and indeed it wasn’t initially designed to be the final episode; it was placed at the end presumably because it was deemed to be one of the strongest, with an attention-grabbing premise to raise expectations.
Skipper aims to tick both of those boxes, and yet in many ways it’s like no Red Dwarf finale that’s been before. While it shares with Back To Reality the threat of a fundamental change to the show’s formula, it packs so many big and varied ideas into its running time that it feels more along the lines of a Doctor Who finale – throwing handfuls of elements from the history of the series together, jumbling them all up and turning everything up to 11. It super-serves the hardcore fans and hooks in the casual and lapsed ones with a much-publicised returning guest star, then hits them all with surprise after surprise when it gets underway.
Such a unique episode of Red Dwarf needs to be tackled in a different way. The story can be split into three distinct stages, both in terms of the progression of the plot and the journey of the main character. So let’s deal with those stages one by one.
It’s the final live DwarfCast of the series, and this very special occasion is marked with an almost full set of G&Ters gathering in the same room at the same time. John Hoare, Tanya Jones, Danny Stephenson and Ian Symes, along with returning guest star Jo Sharples of the Red Dwarf Fan Club, came armed a whole heap of opinions on the series finale, and a few surprises up our sleeves, the most exciting of which is an exclusive interview with…
It’s the end. But the moment has been prepared for, with this here discussion thread. More than two and half years after Doug Naylor announced that twelve new episodes had been commissioned, we’ve reached the twelfth. For the last time this year, and possibly ever, at 10:20pm it will be time to frantically refresh UKTV Play until we see the word “Skipper“. Unless you’re in the dimension where it’s already been released, in which case the link is below.
Don’t be sad when it’s all over, because there’s still one more LIVE Instant Reaction DwarfCast to come, and it should be rather a good one. Not only will we have a series-high amount of G&Ters in the same room at the same time, we’ve also got an exciting extra surprise that’s so exciting and surprising that we can’t tell you about it until after you’ve watched the episode – head to the comments if you want to know what it is. Don’t miss all of this and more at 9pm on Friday – as usual, the link will appear on here, on our Twitter feed and our Spreaker page at 8:40pm.
Hello there, Dave viewers. I must admit I’m slightly envious – you’ve got two episodes of Series XII left, and the rest of us have only got one. All that will change at 9pm tonight on Dave, and we’ll all briefly be in the same boat for about forty minutes after the episode airs. As usual, this is the thread for viewers of all paces to register their thoughts on the episode, but the UKTV Play lot should be wary of giving anything away before broadcast.
After the episode airs, do catch up with the Play-paced discussion thread, listen to last Friday’s Live Instant Reaction DwarfCast, and have a good old read of John’s in-depth written review. This cycle will shortly begin to turn one last time, and the Play-paced discussion thread for Skipper will be along as the sweet sound of Jenna Russell floats from our televisions, ahead of the episode’s release at around 10:20pm.