Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum Has Doug bitten off more than he can chew?

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  • #218597
    Jawscvmcdia
    Blocked

    During the classic series, Doug Naylor was usually writing alongside another person, be it Rob Grant or another of the writers later drafted in to assist with Series 7 and 8. Additionally, directing duties would be dealt with by resident director Ed Bye, who had been with the series since the beginning and (barring a gap in Series 5 and 6) was there until Series 8.

    Nowadays, Doug is writing and directing Red Dwarf on his own and one must question whether he has ‘bitten off more than he can chew’ by doing this. Already, we have witnessed a number of mistakes regarding the release of the latest series and to anybody it would seem that writing and directing twelve episodes of a complex science fiction television series with no assistance is a very difficult thing to do.

    Has Doug bitten off more than he can chew? And should other writers and/or a director (Ed Bye or somebody else) be drafted in to assist with the production of any future series?

    #218598
    Brayds2006
    Participant

    But those mistakes aren’t his fault. Shipping delays from the shop are to do with the shop, the episode titles error has to to with the DVD distributor. Krysis going up a day early is UKTV’s doing.

    I will say you might have a point though. While I think Doug’s direction’s improved greatly for XI, it might not be the worst idea to get Ed back or to find somebody else to direct so Doug can focus on scripts. I agree with the opinion I’ve seen on here that some episodes were another draft away from being fantastic. Maybe that could happen.

    Or maybe it wouldn’t make a difference. I don’t know a great deal about the making of a sitcom. If Doug feels confident to do both then more power to him.

    Frankly I just want Ed back so he can be involved in the Series documentaries again.

    #218599
    Dax101
    Participant

    Yeah i think doug has bitten off more then he can chew, he really needs someone to look at his scripts and be abit more judgmental, thats one thing missing with not having rob there, rob apparently was the stubborn one and always felt they could do better and i can’t help but agree the show can do better then what we are getting.

    Doug is pretty much the boss, the writer and director.

    Least get Ed bye back to lessen the load and also be another eye on the script and structure.

    #218600

    Red Dwarf worked best when there was an intrinsic co-operation between the writers, the directors, the actors and the producers. Each had their own distinct role and from that, there was an agreeable dynamic where views could be shared, story structure and overall direction could be altered and re-fitted even on the day of shooting (Out of Time is a particular example). A constructive criticism allowed Series I to VI to excel as there were no egos in play, just the aim to make a very funny sitcom.

    Doug lost Rob after Series VI and never really gelled with guest writers. Doug decided to take on directing from BtE onwards and never really found his own style. Production was handled by Doug from BtE up to XI where Henry Normal took over but I wouldn’t be surprised if Doug saw it as more of a co-production.

    He’s lost that dynamic where you have three or four strong but focused voices all chipping in and really shaping the episode as pre-production, shooting and editing is underway.

    I don’t like saying it because it’s become a point of contention over the years but I honestly think Series I to VI worked because Doug and Rob came from two contrasting tangents during writing. Both were fans of big concepts, scientifically, technologically and philosophically but Doug reaches for the big idea and doesn’t always do the heavy lifting in terms of jokes and how to seamlessly craft the comedy in and around the idea. Rob has come across as the guy who would always be reaching for the joke, looking for the woofer but of course, with a keen eye on the overall plot.

    You put those two together and bingo, you’ve got the first 36 episodes with nary a clunker amongst them. There’s some right dodgy moments but where the plot runs thin or the editing can’t tighten in as much as you want it to, there’s always a guarantee that the jokes will land and it gets you through.

    Once Rob left, the dynamic and the balance altered considerably and Red Dwarf lost part of itself, literally.

    Series XI is a confusing, strange collection of episodes which I don’t dislike but I’m so bloody cold to them. It’s odd and I don’t like thinking that because what other comedy from near 30 years ago is still going strong? Especially one that started off post-watershed on BBC 2 in a very, very different televisual era.

    #218601

    I think given that there have been criticisms at script level on almost every episode of the Dave era, it would definitely be beneficial for Doug to have the opportunity to have more focus on them in the future. However, he obviously has such a strong idea of what he wants the show to be like that I’d imagine having somebody else direct would mean that it no longer meets his vision, so I understand his decision to take that role as well.

    #218603
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    We don’t know how Doug works. We don’t know his workload. We don’t know his writing process or his directing process. We don’t really know how Red Dwarf is made, certainly not in any great detail of the day-to-day nitty-gritty. What we do know, from the documentary, is that Baby Cow were brought in to assist with the logistics of the production, and that as a result Doug was able to concentrate on the creative side to a greater degree than he did on X. So if anything, a reduction of his workload has already occurred.

    Also, neither Ed Bye or Rob Grant have done anything post-Red Dwarf that’s better than X or XI. The assumption that either of them would magically make everything better is optimistic at best, and at worst unfair on Doug.

    Also also, Doug wasn’t directing on VII and VIII – plus he had help with the writing duties – and X and XI are better than those.

    Sorry, it’s just that a decade of “was Rob the funny one?” debates has now morphed into this, and I don’t think anyone gives Doug enough respect for his role in what made/makes Red Dwarf so special.

    #218606
    si
    Participant

    What he said.

    #218607
    Phil
    Participant

    That’s the first time I’ve ever seen anyone include VII and VIII in “the classic years.”

    #218610
    Ridley
    Participant

    None of the credit as writer, all of the blame as director. Hooray!

    #218611

    It’s never been a question of who was the funny one. The gestalt entity Grant Naylor was a wonderful writing partnership. Both were able to draw the best out of each other, fire back and forth in terms of story direction, plot and the jokes that surround that but when one leaves, the dynamic changes and you begin to substitute and emulate where you once had your co-writer in place, working away. Doug is a funny guy and Rob is a funny guy and they both approach the set-up, the joke and the plot from different perspectives and that fuels the process and you create something better than what can be achieved individually. I can only base that on the mood and the cohesion of the first six series next to what came after Rob left the show.

    It is purely a personal opinion but one without the other doesn’t work. Rob hasn’t did anything as good as Series X or XI but Doug hasn’t done anything as good as Series I to VI. There’s a reason for that and it isn’t time, or age, or workload, or reflection or a new perspective on Red Dwarf that Doug may have now. If Doug had left after Series VI and Rob kept at it, I have little doubt the quality would’ve faltered and we’d be grimacing about a Rob Grant penned VII & VIII.

    It’s because they need each other. They wrote the greatest sci-fi comedy of all time together and one of the best British comedies of all time.

    Then they didn’t, and you get Series VII to XI.

    John without Paul.

    Waters without Gilmour.

    Symes without Hoare.

    Doug is an admirable man, and he’s worked tirelessly to get Red Dwarf back on its feet and where it is now.

    #218613
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

    The only thing Doug Naylor could do better really for my money is give a shit about continuity but he nor Rob did in the classic days so I can’t hold it against him.

    All the issues this time round were after it was filmed. By all accounts what was written and performed was fantastic, even on episodes not viewed as favourably post editing.

    #218614

    Well if the point simply comes down to ‘Red Dwarf was better when they were both writing it’ then I’m sure we can all agree, although it’s not worth a whole thread at this point.

    #218615
    Dax101
    Participant

    Doug naylor solo Red Dwarf still feels like diet Red Dwarf to me, it’s almost like when Rob was there he helped iron out all the flaws in the episodes but without him Dougs just throwing in the flaws along with the good stuff.

    no one is saying rob was clearly the funny one but Doug hasn’t written anything as good as the early series either and that’s such a shame Because we have seen the show do so much better because we seen I put to better but I don’t think Doug has what it takes to construct a well balanced episode by himself as series XI had quite a few questionable ideas IMO which seemed fixable but clearly doug doesn’t notice this stuff untill fans speak up about it.

    As for saying rob hasn’t written anything as good, that’s unfair to say since rob wasn’t the one writing red dwarf and dougs already been changing the tone multiple times to try and get favourable tone so it’s not like he had trial and error.

    #218616
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    As for saying rob hasn’t written anything as good, that’s unfair to say since rob wasn’t the one writing red dwarf and dougs already been changing the tone multiple times to try and get favourable tone so it’s not like he had trial and error.

    Rob has tried and failed to get several projects off of the ground. He did write Dark Ages, which wasn’t very good, and The Strangerers, which also wasn’t very good.His novels were pretty good, but the last one – “Fat” – came out a decade ago and there’s nothing to his name since. Y’know, if we don’t include “Bodysnatcher”.

    So Ian has a very valid and real point when he says Rob hasn’t done anything good in a while, because he hasn’t. Not for a full decade now.

    #218622
    Kris Carter
    Participant

    I don’t think Doug has bitten off more than he can chew. I think that Series X (and maaaaybe Back To Earth, but that production is a crazy anomaly within Red Dwarf anyway) was the only instance where things seemed to get out of hand, and even then the problems didn’t seem to be ‘Doug generated’ – he seemed to be putting out the fires rather than starting them. How much is Charles Armitage involved nowadays? He didn’t come across as particularly helpful in the Series X documentary, and he’s nowhere to be seen in the XI docs.

    I think the current set-up where Baby Cow is now involved is a much better situation for everyone. You can also see how much more assured Doug’s direction has become, tracking from X, through Over To Bill, through XI/XII.

    That said – Personally, I’d love to see Andy DeEmmony have another crack at the directorial whip, but that’s because I’ve been watching a lot of Red Dwarf VI again recently.

    #218624
    (deleted)
    Participant

    Charles Armitage is no longer involved directly, although I think he is still technically a director of Grant Naylor Productions. As of recently he no longer represents Doug or Chris Barrie or Howard Goodall.

    That’s interesting. And, given that it connects to the financial and business affairs of wealthy well-connected people with their own personal lawyers, worthy of zero further discussion.

    #218627
    Dax101
    Participant

    I’d argue that Doug isn’t the only one who could direct new Red Dwarf in the way he may envisioned, as if he is a producer he would obviously be able to talk the director through what he thinks is best for the show, but i think Doug just wants to direct now in general.

    Doug has a foot in the door that Rob doesn’t have anymore, Doug pretty much has full control over Red Dwarf and its popularity no matter how mixed the reception has been over the last 16 years is going to keep bringing the show back and he is going to get plenty of support from any fans in the industry so Doug can make a Doctor who style sitcom that he has full control over and has the option to write and direct.

    I do think Doug needs Someone who is willing to be abit more judgmental on his script though, like someone needs to be able to say Doug is this personality tuck idea really necessary to the plot? or do you think perhaps you should cut some stuff out of Officer Rimmer so you can give it an actual ending?

    #218628

    The brazenness of Charles Armitage on ‘We’re Smegged’ was the most astounding aspect of the documentary. He just straight up tells the interviewer that Red Dwarf could’ve went and fucked itself all because of the budget, cast availability and filming scheduling.

    I know he’s looking after a business but it’s became a numbers game. There’s zero doubt now in my mind that the creative element is a distant, invisible second to achieving a healthy profit, even if it means cutting down a show and all the elements within to save a few thousand quid at most. Take location shooting, audience participation, model work. It all stunk of saving a few bob here and there and in turn, sacrificing essential parts of Red Dwarf that allow it to work and flourish.

    #218630

    >I do think Doug needs Someone who is willing to be abit more judgmental on his script though, like someone needs to be able to say Doug is this personality tuck idea really necessary to the plot? or do you think perhaps you should cut some stuff out of Officer Rimmer so you can give it an actual ending?

    Dax – I’d imagine that’s the job of the script editor at this point. It does worry me a tad that both of those points, and many others throughout the series, got through both Doug and Andrew. I don’t, however, think it’s a case of Doug feeling he can do whatever he wants. I think there’s an obvious attempt, from VIII through to XI, to steer the show back to what made it great in the first place. Whether Doug’s been successful at that is another matter, but I think it’s unfair to put it the way you have. The Sexist Weatherman gave a good idea of the quality of his work when he’s not got his heart in it these days.

    #218643
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    Has Jawscvmcdia started far too many annoying threads based around negatively-leading questions?

    #218647

    Is Red Dwarf shite?

    Find out on this week’s ‘Friday Night, Saturday Hoareing’ with guest presenter Lee Cornes.

    #218649
    Jawscvmcdia
    Blocked

    Well that was a pointless comment Seb, wasn’t it?

    #218650
    Dave
    Participant

    Has Seb started reacting too sensitively to Jawscvmcdia starting annoying threads based around negatively-leading questions?

    #218651
    (deleted)
    Participant

    It is Shitstirring 101 though, isn’t it.

    #218652
    Kris Carter
    Participant

    You’re presuming there that the script editor and producers AREN’T already doing this – they can offer advice as loud and judgmental as they like (Well, to a point – you’ve got to be professional and courteous with this stuff too), but it’s up to Doug to decide if he wants to heed that advice and implement it.

    #218653
    Kris Carter
    Participant

    You’re presuming there that the script editor and producers AREN’T already doing this – they can offer advice as loud and judgmental as they like (Well, to a point – you’ve got to be professional and courteous with this stuff too), but it’s up to Doug to decide if he wants to heed that advice and implement it.

    I do think Doug needs Someone who is willing to be abit more judgmental on his script though, like someone needs to be able to say Doug is this personality tuck idea really necessary to the plot? or do you think perhaps you should cut some stuff out of Officer Rimmer so you can give it an actual ending?

    #218654
    cwickham
    Participant

    Has Dave Wallace started questioning if Seb has started reacting too sensitively to Jawscvmcdia starting annoying threads based around negatively-leading questions?

    #218656

    Shiteception.

    #218689
    A Bailey
    Participant

    Doug has my respect and admiration for having been half of writing the show originally, and working incredibly hard to keep it going, but regardless of personal opinion on its quality (and remember there are some people out there in the world who think VIII was the best) it seems crazy to me to deny that the show has lost something since the original I-VI run.

    That isn’t a criticism of Doug, or saying Rob would be or was better, it’s just an acknowledgement that a lot of the original writing came from a duo. Just reading the novels you can feel the clear difference in their writing styles, and from that draw lots of hunches about which writer was responsible for particular themes in episodes.

    Doug is great, we’re not privvy to details of what happened behind the scenes but it doesn’t seem like he kicked Rob out, and I’d much rather have Doug only Dwarf than none at all.

    #218706
    Dax101
    Participant

    Dougs a very intelligent guy and thats what makes certain decisions he makes abit odd like when you get an episode like entangled where lister claims kochanski is 31, its a weird thing to even be there when its kinda obvious chloe isn’t 31 and the character shouldn’t be either at this point.

    Now perhaps doug thought it would be ok to say that because lister is stupid and wouldn’t know how old Kochanski was but the audience won’t see it that way and they will question it.

    Or maybe dougs head was nostalgically in the past and didn’t think about it at all when writing it.

    Overall there needs to be someone proofreading this stuff abit better lol.

    #218708

    I’m sure he meant ‘Kochanski was 31 last time I saw her’, which is perfectly reasonable in-universe, as she’s found in a stasis pod.

    #218720
    pfm
    Participant

    Getting someone else in to direct, at this stage, would feel akin to having to watch your ex-wife’s new partner take your son to the football.

    #218732
    Dollar Pound
    Participant

    dax101 brought up kochanski being too young in entangled. here’s where we got into this before: http://www.ganymede.tv/2015/11/the-first-day/#comments

    #218733

    THERE’S ONLY ONE ANDREW KELVIN DE EMMONY.

    #218742
    Dax101
    Participant

    “I’m sure he meant ‘Kochanski was 31 last time I saw her’, which is perfectly reasonable in-universe, as she’s found in a stasis pod.”

    Yeah that would make sense if he hasn’t seen her for 9 years, which is a long time, but it does seem like something the audience wouldn’t really think about and it will just come across as odd so i dunno whether the line should even have been there at all really.

    Its also playing on lister being abit of an idiot not realising she would be around 9 years older and listers intelligence often changes between episodes depending on whether lister needs to know stuff or not.

    #218744
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    #218747
    clem
    Participant

    Is that Kerry Shale?

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