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  • #270358
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    I was surprised that I couldn’t find a dedicated thread for this topic, figured there shouldn’t be any harm in starting one (in theory).

    What are your favourite/most noteworthy Red Dwarf fan theories? (Either ones you’ve come up with yourself, or ones you’ve heard from others.)

    To start us off – Smeg Ups, Smeg Outs , Can’t Smeg, Won’t Smeg etc. are all canon. They take place off screen just before the end of ‘Back to Earth’. Lister is taking advantage of his new lucid squid dreaming to act out fantasies of being a real life TV character in the world where his life story is a popular comedy.

    #270359
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Of the sincere ones I’ve read, I do like the idea that the Stasis Leak future selves are on the path to being the Out of Time future selves, or at the very least an IMDb-style ‘foreshadowing’ thereof.

    The timeline sort of works out (with allowance for the usual irreconcilable continuity), future Lister is an unnecessary dick, and Rimmer’s moustache is a delicious superficial coincidence. Kryten was off picking out a toupee or something.

    #270360
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Ooh yes, I’m definitely fond of that one. The “5 years” time frame roughly matches the gap between Stasis Leak and Out of Time, and the resolution of OoT acts as a neat explanation of why the Stasis Leak future doesn’t happen.

    The lack of future Kryten in Stasis Leak isn’t even too weird, when you consider that there isn’t a future Cat either.

    #270361
    Loathsome American
    Participant

    I like the idea that the changes in sets over the years are motivated by them actually changing which area in the ship they’re living in, whether it’s because they’re still gradually decontaminating new areas, because they’ve trashed the last area, or just because they get bored and want a change of scenery from time to time.

    This requires that Red Dwarf contains multiple independently functioning drive rooms, but let’s chalk that up to a redundancy measure for such an important function.

    #270362
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Well, it would mean the interior design of Red Dwarf is sheer chaos, but maybe that just adds to the charm. (Even if you wouldn’t expect charm from a ship built for purpose by a mining corporation.) And I think Back to the Red supports that idea with the return of the original bunk room.

    As for other changes to the ship made by Back in the Red… let’s just not think about those.

    #270363
    Rudolph
    Participant

    The Chloe Annett Kochanski is the original Kochanski who was wiped out of existence by the Inquisitor, and replaced with the Clare Grogan Kochanski. Erasing the Inquisitor from history restored the original Kochanski back, hence why Lister and the nanobot crew recognise her despite her obvious differences. Unfortunately, the Kochanski hallucination in Psirens contradicts all that.

    #270365
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Yeah the Kochanski/Inquisitor theory is great. And you can handwave the Psirens issue away by saying that hey, the Kochanski Psiren got its image of Kochanski from Lister’s memory, and Lister was directly involved in the timeline changing, so maybe he still has residual memory of the old timeline.

    I also like the extension of the theory which says that The Inquisitor doing this also changed Lister and Kochanski’s dating history so that they never went out with each other, and – if you’re not feeling charitable towards Lister – her dating him was a point against her in her inquisition. (This is unfortunately not supported by the retcon of Lister and Kochanski as exes occurring as early as ‘DNA’, but I don’t know, maybe Lister was able to get memory flashes of the changed history just by being on course to make that change in the near future.)

    #270366
    Loathsome American
    Participant

    There are many potential layers to the “moving around the ship” theory.

    I would posit that the wildly different interior design schemes are a result of this being a huge, kludged-together ship. Maybe it gets periodic refits but only in sections. The Series I/II area is maybe one of the older and, let us say, less glamorous sections (which is where you might expect to find the bunkroom occupied by the lowest-ranking crewmembers). Maybe JMC abandoned the attempt at Esperanto-bilingual signage at some point and that’s why the newer sections don’t have it.

    Why wouldn’t the captain’s office be in the newer/nicer part of the ship? Maybe there are multiple offices he works from on different days, and so there’s one in the Series III/IV/V zone and the Dave-era zone. Maybe he is able to move to a nicer office but is too damn lazy to have done so. If he is Dennis the Donut Boy and blackmailed his way to the top, maybe he stays there to avoid the officers he blackmailed.

    It is a rich tapestry.

    #270370
    loadoftottnumb
    Participant

    I know this was almost confined in series X but my theory is that the Rimmer we have now came back as Ace and saved the ship from the Chameleonic Virus, Nano Rimmer then took over as Ace (possibly tricked into it)

    #270371
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Maybe more of a mundane observation, but just as Book Rimmer’s true calling may have been for art or design (as discussed in the Boob Club – I’ll keep the typo), TV Rimmer might have semi-secret aspirations for show business that he could have focused on if he hadn’t been fixated on officerhood and learned not to take himself so seriously.

    He’s a talented impressionist (he just hides it sometimes out of insecurity) and always ready with a witty put-down (so are all of them, to be fair)*. He was comfortable presenting his own death tribute video (for his enjoyment only, but it’s a start) and plays the Hammond organ, even if he may not have musical talent (unless that’s only the books, but it would fit).

    We saw how much he loved his brief taste of showbiz in Backwards, maybe he didn’t admit how much.

    * ‘Scripted comedy character is funny in real life’ is a murky area generally.

    #270372

    He also dreams he is singing and dancing in Thanks for the Memory.

    #270373
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    He also dreams he was singing and dancing in Para- oh wait no that was The Cat.

    I know this was almost confined in series X but my theory is that the Rimmer we have now came back as Ace and saved the ship from the Chameleonic Virus, Nano Rimmer then took over as Ace (possibly tricked into it)

    That’s definitely the neatest way of transitioning between Only the Good… and Back to Earth, but I don’t buy that nano-Rimmer would choose to become Ace, or that the others would trick him into it. It was barely plausible that original Rimmer would do it. Probably easier just to say that nano-Rimmer died tbh.

    Although by sheer coincidence, I’ve just finished reading Homecoming at International Debris’ prompting, and I can attest that Karnie (RIP) came up with an impressively neat resolution for all that. Even managed to cover a couple of extra Series VIII plot holes while he was at it.

    #270374
    Dave
    Participant

    Yeah Homecoming is just great in the way that it resolves so many of these things, big and small.

    #270376
    loadoftottnumb
    Participant

    Yes I’ve read it before I think, I’ll check it out again as a refresher.

    #270379
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    While we’re on the subject, here’s one for Series VIII:

    The reason Kochanski Prime and Petersen don’t turn up amongst the resurrected crew is that those were the 2 people who Lister gave a proper funeral to, and thus their remains were jettisoned into space. Rimmer also had a funeral – where he gave his own eulogy, of course – but he held on to his remains because he was obsessed with creating himself a new body, and thought there might be a way to use them.

    Lister intended to give funerals to the others, but kept putting it off because he didn’t have the same emotional connection to whomever was next on the list.

    #270380
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Oh wait, revise that, Petersen does get acknowledged as alive in Krytie TV, doesn’t he?

    Everyone pretend I just said Kochanski Prime. It makes more sense Lister would single her out if he isn’t also going to do Selby and Chen anyway.

    #270382
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >I like the idea that the changes in sets over the years are motivated by them actually changing which area in the ship they’re living in, whether it’s because they’re still gradually decontaminating new areas, because they’ve trashed the last area, or just because they get bored and want a change of scenery from time to time.

    The series 3, 4, 5 set is labelled “Officers’ Quarters” below the doorway, so it’s less a fan theory, and more “the explanation”.

    #270383
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >The reason Kochanski Prime and Petersen don’t turn up amongst the resurrected crew is that those were the 2 people who Lister gave a proper funeral to, and thus their remains were jettisoned into space. Rimmer also had a funeral – where he gave his own eulogy, of course – but he held on to his remains because he was obsessed with creating himself a new body, and thought there might be a way to use them.

    You can tell that you’ve been reading the Omnibus, Flapjack.  The funerals are from the assembly cut/pilot script rather The End, so insert “are they canon?” question here.

    #270384

    You can tell that you’ve been reading the Omnibus, Flapjack. The funerals are from the assembly cut/pilot script rather The End, so insert “are they canon?” question here.

    Fan theory – Lister held a special one off funeral for Kochanski

    #270386
    Rudolph
    Participant

    (This is unfortunately not supported by the retcon of Lister and Kochanski as exes occurring as early as ‘DNA’, but I don’t know, maybe Lister was able to get memory flashes of the changed history just by being on course to make that change in the near future.)

    Perhaps the Lister from Stasis Leak went back a little further and changed history to persuade Kochanski to go out with him? Either asking her out on his younger self’s behalf, or doing something to give him the confidence to ask her out himself. Future Lister turned up and explained all to her, causing her to dump ‘her’ Lister in order to go off and get married to him.

    Kochanski was then also corrupted like the others with all the time travelling decadence, becoming too shallow to go out with a brain in a jar. She dumped him and went off with Vlad the Impaler or Genghis Khan.

    #270387
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Fan theory; every single scene is set in a slightly different universe, so even logical errors in individual episodes can be hand waved away.

    #270388
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Fan theory – Lister held a special one off funeral for Kochanski

    Haha, you say this as if it isn’t just a summary of my post.

    You can tell that you’ve been reading the Omnibus, Flapjack. The funerals are from the assembly cut/pilot script rather The End, so insert “are they canon?” question here.

    You know it may well have been the Omnibus pilot script which put it in my mind, but I had already seen the deleted scene too.

    So this isn’t me thinking about whether or not the funeral scene is canon – it definitely isn’t. Its lack of canonicity is what makes the limited version of it happening a fan theory.

    Actually the funeral scene being canon would contradict the theory as well as Series VIII, because Lister implicitly jettisons the entire crew according to that, not just Kristine.

    #270389
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Ah, apologies. I assumed your theory was based on something stated within the show rather than just more theory.

    #270390

    Haha, you say this as if it isn’t just a summary of my post.

    That was the joke ;)

     

    #270391
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Ah, apologies. I assumed your theory was based on something stated within the show rather than just more theory.

    It’s cool, it isn’t totally clear if my fan theory is just “this deleted scene more or less happened”.

    Fan theory: they did drink urine recyc in between Out of Time and Tikka to Ride.

    That was the joke ;)

    Jokes? On a comedy forum??? Bit inappropriate.

    #270392

    All deleted scenes are Rimmer just editing their expeirences in AR as they never actually left BTL.

    #270393
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    All of Red Dwarf post The End is just Lister’s dream in stasis, including all of the scenes he isn’t present for, somehow. The ship is fine and he’s still on track to be woken up at the end of his 18 month sentence.

    #270395

    That would explain why he keeps having weird dreams about slightly alternate Earths.

    #270398
    Jenuall
    Participant

    Theory: all mechanical AI’s within the Dwarf universe are programmed with an inner life based on the Wild West. This explains the Skutter’s obsession with playing cowboys and Indian’s, their membership to the John Wayne fan club, Holly singing “Do not forsake me” from High Noon, and Kryten’s internal struggle against the Armageddon virus taking place in a Wild West town.

    Also I always liked the idea that everything post BTL (episode not book) is still part of the game as it ends with them still “inside”

    #270399

    It would actual fit the world we know of the Red Dwarf universe if at some point in the universe, when AI is being developed, as a cruel sense of irony the developers start giving AI wild west obsessions because they (the human creators) happened to like West World.

    #270402
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    After a failed suicide attempt which knocks them unconscious, Jake Bullet, Sebastian Doyle, William Doyle and Duane Dibbley are captured by the fascist government and forced back into the Total Immersion AR game Red Dwarf, loading their previous save file. Agents had initially intended to arrest or kill the insurgents, but on balance decided that a high profile party enforcer such as Sebastian Doyle being revealed as a criminal would cause unnecessary scandal, and so the government elected to cover up the incident and pay the quad’s game fees indefinitely instead.

    #270403
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Smegazine writers had a ball with the Back to Realityverse, that’s generally some of the better stuff to look forward to.

    #270404

    Kochanski didn’t just leave in Blue Midget, she swapped game servers and now travels the universe with the crew that Lister observes in BtR.

    #270421
    Rudolph
    Participant

    Red Dwarf’s hydroponic gardens were in the hold, and were therefore shut off from the radiation leak on the decks above. Consequently, the cats roamed this vast, forest-like area and eventually used it for agricultural purposes.

    This is why a food supply meant to feed a crew of just over a thousand managed to last an entire species the duration of their existence, and for there still to be plenty of food left over for Lister to eat three million years later.

    #270440
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    I definitely approve of any theory that makes more sense of Cat history, because that is a minefield.

    Here’s another fairly popular theory I think:

    The reason Rimmer found himself alive at the end of Timeslides was that by visiting himself as a child, he had desensitised himself to time travel weirdness, and thus when he later got visited by his future self in Stasis Leak he was more credulous about it, and so he put himself into stasis and survived the radiation leak.

    I find this theory compelling, but I just don’t like the idea of Rimmer being alive up until Series 3. It changes way too much about the show’s foundations, as well as the details of lots of actual episodes. So really I’d much prefer a fan theory which explained why the Timeslides “Rimmer is alive again” history change didn’t stick. Anyone got any of those?

    Maybe you could split the difference and say post-Timeslides Rimmer didn’t survive the radiation leak, but he was able to construct himself a cloned body/solidgram to mind-jump into by that point in Series 3. No idea how that Butterfly Effect would break down though.

    #270441
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I just don’t like the idea of Rimmer being alive up until Series 3. It changes way too much about the show’s foundations, as well as the details of lots of actual episodes.

    Rimmer interacting with props in Marooned and Polymorph is due to a Back to the Future style ripple effect from altering history in Timeslides, same as the appearance of the Grogan Kochanski in VI with the Inquisitor shite. theory.

    #270442
    Dave
    Participant

    I find this theory compelling, but I just don’t like the idea of Rimmer being alive up until Series 3. It changes way too much about the show’s foundations, as well as the details of lots of actual episodes. So really I’d much prefer a fan theory which explained why the Timeslides “Rimmer is alive again” history change didn’t stick. Anyone got any of those?

    This all hinges on why Rimmer is now alive in the first place. It’s because young Rimmer (as he grows up) realises that he must have met a hologram of his older self that night, thus giving him a good idea of the age at which he will die. This makes him extra sensitive to risks at this age, meaning that when the radiation leak hits he is primed to run to the nearest stasis booth and freeze himself alongside Lister.

    Unfortunately, this alternate timeline is very short-lived, because as the ending of Timeslides plays out and Rimmer is celebrating being alive – and hits the crates and they explode – a small piece of shrapnel is fired through the timeslide portal that is still open, into the dormitory, and lodges in young Rimmer’s leg. This then gives him a slight limp for life that, decades later, just prevents him from running fast enough to get to the stasis booth in time. As a result, Rimmer dies after all and (seconds after the televised events of Timeslides are over) reality is once again rewritten so that Rimmer died in the accident all along.

    #270443
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Genius.

    #270467
    Rudolph
    Participant

    I always figured that given Rimmer and Holly remember the timeline changes – even though Lister, Cat and Kryten have been erased from existence – that all the other characters exist in a similar sort of bubble, so they remember the timeline where Rimmer died in the accident and in their memories of the previous sixteen episodes, he was a hologram.

    #270468
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    That idea makes sense to an extent, but is contradicted by Wealthy Lister not remembering. I usually square that in my mind by saying that there’s like a grace period after the change is made before the new timelines become ‘set’.

    Either way, it’s really the change to the timeline overall which bothers me, not just the characters’ memories of them.

    #270469

    Rimmer and Holly are 3million years in the future, maybe it takes a while for the changes to catch up to them.

    So Wealthy Lister doesn’t remember because it directly impacts his life, from his perspective nothing has changed, and because he is much further removed from Rimmer and Holly in time.

    #270470
    Warbodog
    Participant

    If all cast changes have to be explained in-universe, David Ross Kryten was a spare head (4, or maybe even 1) that got damaged in the wash and developed a semi-independent personality and accent over time.

    The idea that the actor change can be explained by his crash and rebuild is disproven as early as Timeslides, with Kryten’s birthday photo from the Nova 5 or wherever. His surviving spare heads in DNA all generally resemble what’s explained in Beyond a Joke to be the template.

    This is also why series III Kryten lacked the new rebellious personality, since that died with the destroyed head. Don’t ride space bikes without a helmet.

    #270471
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Rimmer and Holly are 3million years in the future, maybe it takes a while for the changes to catch up to them.

    So Wealthy Lister doesn’t remember because it directly impacts his life, from his perspective nothing has changed, and because he is much further removed from Rimmer and Holly in time.

    Well we know that the change occurs pretty immediately from the 3 million years in the future perspective, because Holly’s able to look up the new history in her database.

    I don’t know if it rings true that e.g. if you change something that happened 20 years ago, it takes longer for your memories to change than if you change something that happened last week.

    The way I imagine it, from Lister’s perspective he materialises at his current age of 27 in his mansion with full memories of the original timeline, thinking “Brilliant, it worked!” but then a few hours later at most he only has memories of the new timeline. And I think it would work the same way for Rimmer and Holly.

    #270472

    Well we know that the change occurs pretty immediately from the 3 million years in the future perspective, because Holly’s able to look up the new history in her database.

    Well bugger then …

    #270473

    Warbodog
    If all cast changes have to be explained in-universe, David Ross Kryten was a spare head (4, or maybe even 1) that got damaged in the wash and developed a semi-independent personality and accent over time.

    The idea that the actor change can be explained by his crash and rebuild is disproven as early as Timeslides, with Kryten’s birthday photo from the Nova 5 or wherever. His surviving spare heads in DNA all generally resemble what’s explained in Beyond a Joke to be the template.

    This is also why series III Kryten lacked the new rebellious personality, since that died with the destroyed head. Don’t ride space bikes without a helmet.

    If you’re going to argue for in-universe explanation for that, I think you’d need to explain every costume change of Kryten’s.  It is sometimes subtle, but often there are quite major differences – colour, monitor size, lights and bits on the shoulders, head shape changing series to series etc.  It’s that or accept that every iteration is all meant to be the same, its just production changes (i.e. s02 Kryten is the same as s10 Kryten regardless of actor or costume changes).

    #270474

    In Tikka, it is an issue that the Time Drive doesn’t offer teleportation functions in Out of Time and yet when they pick it up they are able to travel back in time and through space to Earth.

    Yet, their future selves in Out of Time had obviously picked up some faster than light/teleporting tech to allow themselves to jump through history and hangout with the worst history has to offer.

    Lister explains at the start of Tikka that their reality is unstable and anomolies have merged from both timelines to cope with the paradox.

    So I posit that the Time Drive they retrieve from Gemini 12 is an amalgamation of the original plus the future crews time drive that is capable of faster than light/teleporting shennanigans.

     

    There’s also complaints that Tikka’s resolution hinges on breaking the logic of Out of Time’s resolution (i.e. by killing themselves they can’t travel back in time to kill themselves in the first place).  Kennedy in theory shouldn’t have been able to kill himself then.  But, Lister et al have already fucked the timelines up, and Kennedy shouldn’t exist.  Perhaps the future-shouldn’t-exist-Kennedy killing himself resets the timeline to before Lister et al arrive in some funky way and two realities merge to cope with the paradox.  He stays dead, but Lister and friends continue to exist in that version of the timeline because the universe dictated they should.

    #270475

    I must admit that second part about Kennedy is a lot wonkier than the first part about the Time Drive, but I wanted a stab at reconciling the two main issues with the episode.

    #270476
    Dave
    Participant

    My theory is that the merging of the timelines after the events of Out Of Time causes a reality distortion that makes everyone in the Red Dwarf universe experience things like they’re being seen through a slightly shittily-applied video filter.

    This is kindly removed by the nanobots as a final favour as Starbug flies into Red Dwarf at the end of Nanarchy.

    #270477

    I think that’s right about the Time Drive, it’s based on the future one from Out of Time.

    The problem with the Kennedy thing is that, even if you can force some sort of headcanon explanation out of it, it’s dramatically unsatisfying. Out of Time is incredible, and is resolved at the start of Tikka with “you can’t kill your past selves” which is completely contradicted in a big emotional moment at the end of the same episode. There are all sorts of unofficial explanations you could give, but ultimately it just feels narratively and dramatically lazy, and is symptomatic of some rather dodgy writing of Doug’s. The show often contradicts itself, but not before in such a big way in the same episode.

    There’s also the issue that, now having the Time Drive, they never use it again. Even if we believe the “it’s irresponsible to go back and change things” idea, it’s still a faster than light device that could get them back to Earth, maybe set to a second in the future. Instead, they’d rather stay stranded in deep space.

    #270478

    The problem with the Kennedy thing is that, even if you can force some sort of headcanon explanation out of it, it’s dramatically unsatisfying. Out of Time is incredible, and is resolved at the start of Tikka with “you can’t kill your past selves” which is completely contradicted in a big emotional moment at the end of the same episode. There are all sorts of unofficial explanations you could give, but ultimately it just feels narratively and dramatically lazy, and is symptomatic of some rather dodgy writing of Doug’s. The show often contradicts itself, but not before in such a big way in the same episode.

    Yeah I get why people feel this way.  Personally it has never ever bothered me, but it is a logical inconsistency and dramatically quite flawed within the same episode.

    There’s also the issue that, now having the Time Drive, they never use it again. Even if we believe the “it’s irresponsible to go back and change things” idea, it’s still a faster than light device that could get them back to Earth, maybe set to a second in the future. Instead, they’d rather stay stranded in deep space.

    How many opportunities do they have like this though? Stasis Leak and Time Slides being the obvious ones.  I like to think that, for all of Lister’s chat about wanting to get back to Earth, he secretly enjoys his deep space adventures as he knows he life amounted to very little in the past.

    He also keeps getting teased worthwhile futures, even if we never see them on screen again, with the twins, marrying Kochanski etc.

    Though could certainly have used it to find Red Dwarf (i.e. go back to when the lost it).  Maybe, after he gets the curry in X-tended, Kryten dismantles it as he knows how much trouble it’ll cause.

    #270479
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Lister uses the Time Drive at the end of Ouroboros to complete his destiny loop, then responsibly goes back to the future. It’s just another thing they casually have in Starbug, like the luck virus and maybe the other time-travelling teleporter from Rimmerworld.

    #270480

    It is funny how we get wrapped up in the Time Drive, because it explictly states its limitations and makes for a rather funny scene everyone agrees is clever – space in the mid 1400s.  When only the episode before the same device basically exists and is used for a throw away gag (and to resolve the episode all at the same time).

    Funnily enough, I always think that the teleporter shouldn’t work as the actual teleporter (the pad they load the supplies onto) is on the simulant ship thats destroyed.  Kryten merely has the handheld controls for it.

    #270483
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Regarding Kryten and Kochanski, I’m definitely on the side of thinking that purely visual changes do not require an in-universe explanation necessarily, but when it comes to major changes in accent, personality or backstory, it feels good to make a theory around it. (Or in the case of Kryten it’s not really a fan theory, it’s a canon explanation that isn’t kept totally consistent.)

    So essentially in the picture of Kryten partying on the Nova 5, I’m imagining that even though he isn’t wearing a smart suit and looks like Robert Llewellyn, he still sounds and acts like David Ross (or at least the ‘factory reset’ Back in the Red Kryten.)

    Regarding the time drive, I do like the explanation that the functional changes are down to anomalies that combined it with the future Starbug version… even though you think they’d mention that or act surprised about it.

    Unfortunately the internal Tikka inconsistency regarding killing your younger self isn’t so straightforward to explain (and no explanation would stop it from being a narrative issue, but never mind). My best swing is that how the universe resolves these paradoxes is more or less a coin flip. The death persisting or not persisting are both impossible – that’s why it’s a paradox – so you may as well argue that it could go either way.

    Of course, an underappreciated aspect of the Tikka to Ride grandfather paradox is that it’s not just the self-assassination which does it. They’ve already caused a paradox by accidentally preventing Kennedy’s death in the first place, because that changes the entire history of human space exploration and thus prevents the circumstances which lead to them travelling back to Dallas 1963 to begin with (“Starbug isn’t there. It doesn’t exist.”). So how the fuck are they still there, then. Kennedy fades away immediately. So they should have done the same just as quickly after they saved him.

    #270484

    Of course, an underappreciated aspect of the Tikka to Ride grandfather paradox is that it’s not just the self-assassination which does it. They’ve already caused a paradox by accidentally preventing Kennedy’s death in the first place, because that changes the entire history of human space exploration and thus prevents the circumstances which lead to them travelling back to Dallas 1963 to begin with (“Starbug isn’t there. It doesn’t exist.”). So how the fuck are they still there, then. Kennedy fades away immediately. So they should have done the same just as quickly after they saved him.

    I want to say because they caused the events (and maybe because they own a time machine) they continue to exist in the new timeline … but that still doesn’t explain Kennedy other than back to my comment about it  resetting the timeline as he wasn’t meant to exist at all – whereas Lister and crew are the catalyst for it all so they remain no-matter what.

    You can understand why Lister managed to destroy multiple video cameras.

    #270485
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    I want to say because they caused the events (and maybe because they own a time machine) they continue to exist in the new timeline … but that still doesn’t explain Kennedy other than back to my comment about it resetting the timeline as he wasn’t meant to exist at all – whereas Lister and crew are the catalyst for it all so they remain no-matter what.

    You can understand why Lister managed to destroy multiple video cameras.

    Yeah, I’m happy to run with that explanation in general, just not in this specific episode where that’s directly contradicted by Kennedy. Even if you say that fading away only happens if your time travel undoes your whole existence rather than just undoing the logical sequence of events in your life (which I guess is “Hard Grandfather Paradox” vs. “Soft Grandfather Paradox”), if Kennedy fades away after killing himself, The Cat should fade away after preventing the creation of his entire species.

    #270486

    Though could certainly have used it to find Red Dwarf (i.e. go back to when the lost it).

    Yes, and it would have turned out that they were the ones who stole it in the first place. I say this every time and am still gutted Doug didn’t go with it. It’s a brilliant bootstrap paradox that would have really suited the show.

    #270488
    Dave
    Participant

    He learned his lesson by the time he wrote Give & Take.

    #270489
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Lister has that realisation about the missing curry supplies in Tikka Xtended, so Doug must have realised the option. He could/should have brought Red Dwarf back in all sorts of ways, but just wanted another Starbug run first.

    #270491

    It’s a shame he had all these plans for episodes featuring miles of ducts, a large artificial reality suite, a landing bay and so on, otherwise he could have just set VII on Red Dwarf.

    #270492
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    The search for Red Dwarf is so half-arsed in VII, that they’re prepared to  backtrack all of the distance they covered between Back to Reality and Episode (which took over 200 years), just to try and find the Nanobots instead. Admittedly, Starbug is capable of going far faster by this point, but it does seem to be the point when they’re essentially chucking in the towel.  Ditto Kochanski and the search for a way back to “her Dave”.

    #270493

    Kochanski’s chance of finding her way home are much slimmer than everyone else’s chances of finding Red Dwarf so I understand her giving up after a while.

    And to be fair to the crew, by the time they go looking for the nanobots, it’s been a couple of years since they lost Red Dwarf, they’ve probably half given up too. Hell, they don’t even mention searching for it in VII really. At that point, healing Lister seems like a more important and achievable target in the immediate future.

    #270496
    Hamish
    Participant

    Given the expansion of Starbug in Series VII you could also make the argument that it was a far more suitable ship for a crew of four people than Red Dwarf was by that point.

    #270497

    A further thought occurs re Tikka’s inconsistent killingnpast self logic

    In Lister’s opening spiel he makes a point of saying their future selves destroyed everything on board ship, including the time drive. So it wouldn’t be possible for them to travel back in time and kill themselves. It’s the second part that then says “by killing us they killed themselves” But that is Lister simplifying it.

    I suggest it’s actually the destruction of the time drive which is the main factor in restoring timelines and merging realities.

    Which means Kennedy’s death is different in that he only kills himself and the time drive still exists, which maybe in some way is keeping track of realities and timelines and stuff and adjusting accordingly. Regardless it does differentiate the Out of Time resolution and the Tikka resolutions a bit.

    Which begs the question, when the realised they had accidentally changed the timelines in the first place, why not desteoy the time drive again to reset things. Rimmer had already had that idea in Out of Time himself and they know that’s what saved them before.

    #270498
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Given the expansion of Starbug in Series VII you could also make the argument that it was a far more suitable ship for a crew of four people than Red Dwarf was by that point.

    The first series I saw were VI & VII (with near-real-time gaps), so I was really settled into Starbug and the survival/adventure style. Finding the ‘Red Dwarf’ of the title was a satisfying quest completion, but the idea of watching them living fairly comfortably on a massive ship by themselves seemed less appealing. I read the novels next, which sorted me out.

    #270499
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Given the expansion of Starbug in Series VII you could also make the argument that it was a far more suitable ship for a crew of four people than Red Dwarf was by that point.

    Effectively negating the “lifeboat vs Ocean Liner” thing they were going for with VI.

    #270510
    Rudolph
    Participant

    Which begs the question, when the realised they had accidentally changed the timelines in the first place, why not desteoy the time drive again to reset things. Rimmer had already had that idea in Out of Time himself and they know that’s what saved them before.

    If they’d simply kicked it to pieces after knocking Lee Harvey Oswald out of the window, it wouldn’t have undone all the changes it had already caused them make. They’d still be marooned in 1963 with a broken time machine and a still breathing JFK.

    #270513
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Right, yes, destroying the time drive they currently have wouldn’t do anything. They’d need to use the time drive to go back and destroy the time drive in their personal past.

    Though despite how Lister chooses to explain the Out of Time resolution, I’m struggling to buy the idea that the future crew destroying the past time drive is an inherently different type of paradox to them destroying Starbug or killing their younger selves

    Trying to make sense of Tikka to Ride is increasingly feeling like a lost cause. It literally has 3 completely contradictory outcomes to the same kind of time paradox in the same episode.

    If only it hadn’t ended with Kennedy fading away, and instead had him simply walk off into the distance, the 2 instances within the main story would at least have been consistent. It would have been the “changing history creates a branching timeline, it doesn’t destroy the original timeline, it just means you can’t get back to it” explanation. Granted, alt-Kennedy having to live a life undercover in a universe where he was assassinated maybe doesn’t have the same pathos as him ceasing to exist, but still.

    #270514
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Though despite how Lister chooses to explain the Out of Time resolution, I’m struggling to buy the idea that the future crew destroying the past time drive is an inherently different type of paradox to them destroying Starbug or killing their younger selves

    The paradox caused the original ending to merge with the broadcast ending in Lister’s (Doug’s) mind.

    #270520
    somecallmejames
    Participant

    The alternate ending to Only the Good is the canon one, and the broadcast version is a nightmare Rimmer had (and it’s worth noting the references in series X’s ‘The Beginning’ seem to match up with it).

    #270582
    Jenuall
    Participant

    I generally just refuse to accept the Out Of Time resolution as presented in Tikka, as has already been eloquently debated it’s contradictory and completely undermines the previous episode which is an all time classic.

    In my head Rimmer saves everyone by destroying the time drive, thus preventing their future selves from ever existing to kill them and then we cut to 19 years in the future and Series X begins.

    #270584

    I sometimes think that’s what I’d do if I was showing someone the show for the first time, but then they’d have all the “erm, why are they on about Kochanski all of a sudden?” questions.

    #270595
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Conspiracy theory: There was a series IX that broadcast sometime around 2000, but it was so terrible that everyone abandoned it after the first episode and put mental blocks over the trauma. It pissed off the BBC big time and was promptly disowned and hushed up by GNP… until nOH GOD WHAT HAV

    #270604
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    I generally just refuse to accept the Out Of Time resolution as presented in Tikka, as has already been eloquently debated it’s contradictory and completely undermines the previous episode which is an all time classic.

    In my head Rimmer saves everyone by destroying the time drive, thus preventing their future selves from ever existing to kill them and then we cut to 19 years in the future and Series X begins.

    OK, but this is also a rejection of Out of Time itself right. We see Starbug explode. Maybe the “the ‘Smeg! I’m a hero’ ending is canon” theory comes bundled in with this one?

    It seems to me that you can’t easily skip over all the disfavoured series without introducing some new, noticable discontinuity.

    If you skip from Series VI to X, in addition to not getting an explanation for their survival, you also don’t get an explanation for how they found Red Dwarf or why there’s no Holly, the repeated references to “finding Kochanski” make no sense, and the basis for one half of “Fathers & Suns” just comes out of nowhere.

    If you skip from Series V instead, it’s the same as above, but you’re lacking an explanation for Rimmer’s hardlight instead of Out of Time’s ending and Red Dwarf’s recovery.

    I think the cleanest cut is to skip over Series VIII only. The only bit of discontinuity (that I can think of) from going straight from VII to BtE is “why is (holo) Rimmer back?”, but that’s there regardless. In fact it’s actually got less discontinuity this way, because if you include Series VIII you’re left with the lingering questions of “how did they stop the chameleonic microbes?”, “where did nano-Rimmer go?” and “what ultimately happened to the 1,000+ crewmembers who abandoned ship?”. Not so if you skip it! (There are the references to the chameleonic microbes in ‘The Beginning’, but those could easily just be about an off-screen adventure; it wouldn’t be too jarring.)

    #270606
    Jenuall
    Participant

    As a kid I always took the red laser and explosion as a visual representation of Rimmer “killing” the future Starbug by shooting the time drive – the explosion isn’t our bug being killed but theirs.

    The fact that what we see on screen is the ship exploding into literally nothing, no debris is left behind at all, is enough for me to believe that this isn’t just the future ship hitting them with a missile but the ship being erased from the timeline.

    The “skip to series X” comment was more flippant than anything, I don’t especially think it’s necessary to erase VII or VIII in that way, but I do think Tikka does a terrible job of resolving things and would rather live with my head-canon version!

    #270607
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    As a kid I always took the red laser and explosion as a visual representation of Rimmer “killing” the future Starbug by shooting the time drive – the explosion isn’t our bug being killed but theirs.

    The fact that what we see on screen is the ship exploding into literally nothing, no debris is left behind at all, is enough for me to believe that this isn’t just the future ship hitting them with a missile but the ship being erased from the timeline.

    Ooh, OK, I actually like this idea.

    Of course, to be a successful fan theory it needs to complement the canon, not contradict it. Maybe we could just say that the crew misunderstood what happened? After all, Lister, Cat and Kryten would maybe or maybe not remember being killed individually, and Rimmer maybe remembers taking a shot at the time drive, followed by darkness, followed by waking up on a very different Starbug. They could have just assumed based on that that Starbug blew up (allowing for the ‘attached’ footage to be partially for our benefit – it wouldn’t make sense for them to actually have the shot of Starbug exploding anyway).

    In fact, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. They successfully kill Lister, Cat and Kryten individually first, yet that doesn’t trigger the “everything gets undone” paradox. Why not? Why does it only happen as/after Rimmer is taking his shot at the time drive? Because the individual kills were the future crew changing their past – so you can imagine the future versions of the dead crew members starting to fade away like Kennedy did, leaving just Rimmer’s future self stable and still directing the assualt on past Starbug. But when past Rimmer chooses to destroy the time drive, this is changing the future rather than the past, so actively undoes the damage their future selves have already done.

    Trying to draw a hard line between “deliberately changing the past” and “inadvertently influencing your past selves to change the future” is still a bit wishy washy, but it’s better than what Tikka to Ride currently gives us.

    #270608
    Dave
    Participant

    Of course the whole ending of Out Of Time is really just an unreality bubble.

    #270609

    It’s a great dramatic moment, and the original ending is actually a bit crap, but I think going for the cliffhanger at the end of Out of Time is actually one of the few mistakes Rob and Doug made. With the hindsight of knowing all the upheaval that went on between VI and VII, Doug’s first solo series could really have done just going on as normal rather than having to resolve a four year old cliffhanger at the start.

    I don’t actually mind the resolution, partially because undermining a dramatic moment in comedy fashion is quite a Dwarf thing to do, and also because, even a couple of years before it was broadcast when I was 12, I’d actually worked out that’s what would happen, thus I felt vindicated. But it just feels unnecessary. Basically, never, ever put in a cliffhanger unless you already know how it’s going to resolve.

    #270612
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I saw it a couple of times on repeats before the VII resolution and thought Rimmer was just shooting the engine or some other vital component to make them blow up, knowing that this would make the events impossible and hopefully “somehow” resetting.

    I didn’t notice the blast effect and even thought that was a retcon added in VII (rather than just a different shot) until I eventually saw VI again.

    For convenience, I like the Smeg Ups version best, resolving it quickly and ending on a gag but skipping over the weak ‘smeg I’m a hero’ bit.

    #270796
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Maybe more of an extrapolation or just getting it than a theory. All of the main AI characters are primarily dedicated to keeping Lister sane and stimulated as the last human / crew member.

    – Holly has stated that it’s his job and admitted that he manufactures distractions to keep him occupied. Was it a coincidence that they broke the light barrier shortly after Lister woke up? Would he have bothered responding to the Nova 5’s signal on the way out? How much weekly peril is secretly Holly’s fault?

    – Holly appoints Rimmer to unknowingly help in this role, which he does well until the antagonism softens and Lister starts hanging out with Cat more. This doesn’t prove beneficial to his mental health.

    – What seems like rebellion or independence from Kryten is really just him pleasing Lister as his new owner. He studies science and literature to be a more intellectual stimulating companion than Cat.

    – Talkie Toaster excepted. Or is he?

    #270797
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Bonus theory: The Cat species was genetically engineered by Holly (opening cargo doors and having the Skutters drop tools at the right times) to evolve a more stimulating ‘pet’/companion for Lister by the time he was calculated to be released from stasis. This may have included igniting the holy war and exodus to get rid of all the surplus.

    Maybe he just waited to release Lister until all that had happened, it is a bit convenient.

    #270798

    The best thing Holly could have done for Lister is kept him in stasis and sent the ship hurtling into a sun.

    in actual fact, he releases Lister at a point a young cat from a new dominant species finds himself on his own after his entire species fucks off on some massive religious tiff.

    Lister is actually only released to keep Cat company, because there’d be no sodding reason other wise.

    the rest sort of checks out. Holly, to some extent manufactures things to keep everyone occupied. Kryten definitely has t broken his programming in any meaningful way and does as he is ordered/expected. Be a science/medical officer alongside cleaning etc.

    Rimmer isn’t there only to keep Lister sane, but Cat too. They all help each other in a way, but Rimmer is there more so as an answer to the question “why not anybody else?”.  They don’t need a hologram, but without one Lister would be trying to start up Kochanski or someone and Holly knows that’d be disastrous

    #270808
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Both of the Listers in Psirens are fake.  The real Lister was killed shortly after shooting the Kryten psiren.  The one that does a better job of imitating Lister ultimately realises that Cat’s brain won’t be much of a meal, so he hangs around for the next thirty years and goes method.

    Craig Charles’s really strange line-reading of “What about Red Dwarf?” at the end of the episode hints at this.

    This is also why Lister has reacquired an appendix in Legion.

    #270811
    Jenuall
    Participant

    As time went on the Psiren stopped trying so hard to imitate the original and that’s why VII and VIII Lister seem wrong

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