Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum 'Jump The Shark' – Guardian article

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  • #221477
    Dave
    Participant

    Part of a long-running series of articles on when good TV shows go bad. This week it’s Red Dwarf’s turn.

    https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/sep/18/when-good-tv-goes-bad-red-dwarf

    Readers may recognise some of the received wisdom about the show, both in the article and the comments…

    #221478
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    #221479
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    I love received wisdom.

    Red Dwarf jumped the shark with Backwards. Then it jumped the shark with Polymorph. Then it jumped the shark with Dimension Jump. Then it jumped the shark with Tikka to Ride. Then it jumped the shark with Ouroboros. Then it jumped the shark with Back in the Red. Then it jumped the shark with Krytie TV. Then it jumped the shark with Only the Good…. Then it jumped the shark with Back to Earth. Then it jumped the shark with Lemons. Then it jumped the shark with Kyrsis.

    #221480
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    I -genuinely- feel like I’ve read this article before. Not deja vu, not reading a -similar- article, but -this- article.

    #221483
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    I can’t believe I forgot to list the one time it actually DID jump the shark – Emohawk

    So many things I read on that page upset me – “a drought of comic invention”, “navel-gazing… palled into dullness”, “it killed the franchise for a decade”, “utter smegging ineptitude”, someone praising Lemons and someone shitting on Doctor Who.

    [my three comments would be one if the edit button worked, apologies]

    #221484
    (deleted)
    Participant

    The writer disqualified himself when he knocked The Brittas Empire.

    #221485
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >I -genuinely- feel like I’ve read this article before. Not deja vu, not reading a -similar- article, but -this- article.

    You probably did. I suspect it was written in about 2010 and then given a minor update with the addendum about “further revivals” in the final paragraph.

    #221486
    Me Own Stunts
    Participant

    > But, with the chances of matching its imperial phase receding faster than Chris Barrie’s hairline

    LOL RECEDING HAIRLINES!!!

    Cunt.

    #221487
    Jawscvmcdia
    Blocked

    So we’re just going to insult the guy because he publishes an article about Red Dwarf not being as good as it was (which is true, let’s face it), and call him every name under the sun? Any need to use such derogatory language ‘Me Own Stunts’?

    #221488
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Wow. This is the first time I’ve seen you express an opinion, Jawscvmdia. Keep it up.

    #221490
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    You’re right, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to use the word “cunt” on a Red Dwarf fansite.

    #221491
    Ridley
    Participant

    I’ve seen him express three.

    Combined as one.

    #221494
    Me Own Stunts
    Participant

    > Any need to use such derogatory language ‘Me Own Stunts’?

    Depends what you think of jokes about receding hairlines, I suppose.

    #221495
    Jawscvmcdia
    Blocked

    > Depends what you think of jokes about receding hairlines, I suppose.

    Either way Chris has been quite open about the fact, making reference to it in the recent documentary. You seem to be taking it a bit more personally than perhaps he would?

    #221496
    JamesTC
    Participant

    These days any mainstream critic from a newspaper will be spewing the usual bullshit. Blah blah Breaking Bad. Blah blah Game of Thrones. Blah blah TV is like film now. Blah blah all TV from before 2009 is shit.

    It is that one about TV being so much better now that really infuriates me. Get in the fucking bin with anybody who fucking jokes about a wobbly set for the billionth time. Get a fucking suspension of disbelief you tosser and a new critique that wasn’t lazy before I was born.

    And I should add that I love Breaking Bad. It deserves all the praise it gets. I just don’t think it represents this massive watershed moment in television. I watch television all the way from the late 50s through to now and it is brilliant from then and it is brilliant now. I can just imagine these fucks watching an amazing piece of “early” television like The Twilight Zone: The Masks and having some sneering snobbish view on it which would rile me like crazy.

    I also don’t see why people are desperate for TV shows to end as this guy is with Red Dwarf. I mean The Simpsons have made more than enough episodes now but aside from that why does any show need to end just arbitrarily. I just don’t get this idea at all about shows being ruined by episodes that come later. Are the early episodes of Red Dwarf, The Simpsons, Doctor Who or any other long running TV show somehow ruined by episodes that happen later?

    The Brittas Empire limped on for two further series after the brilliant first five but does that mean the last two rubbish series have ruined the first five series? No, even when taking into account the absolute shite ending. And actually even despite being a bit crap the last two series had a couple of really good episodes.

    #221497
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >I mean The Simpsons have made more than enough episodes now but aside from that why does any show need to end just arbitrarily.

    So, aside from *that* show, other shows should continue?

    #221498
    JamesTC
    Participant

    Quite frankly I’m one of the big champions for later Simpsons (as in post Season 8, I’ve not seen any since around Season 20).

    I was just making fun of how ridiculously long the show has gone on and how they only seem to still be making it to make up the numbers for syndication and to beat Gunsmoke rather than to actually make a good show.

    If people still watch it then sure they should make more. These days it does quite poor in the rating and would probably do just as well with repeats airing but there are people who still enjoy the new ones and it doesn’t overwrite the old ones so I have no problem with new Simpsons other than reserving the right to take the piss out of the longevity.

    #221499
    Me Own Stunts
    Participant

    > Either way Chris has been quite open about the fact, making reference to it in the recent documentary. You seem to be taking it a bit more personally than perhaps he would?

    I only said the word “cunt” mate. You’re acting like something important has happened.

    #221500
    Plastic Percy
    Participant

    “The problem with Red Dwarf is Brown Dwarf Craig Charles.”

    Beat that journalistic gold.

    #221501
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    The problem with that article is that there isn’t an original thought in it, it’s superfluous and unnecessary, and it makes false claims.

    “Wobbly staging” – as with Classic Doctor Who, the sets probably wobbled a grand total of two times
    “Seemingly exposed as the straight man… drought of comic invention…” – contentious
    “Navel-gazing that strove for poignancy but palled into dullness” – debatable
    “It killed the franchise for a decade” – it didn’t
    “Utter smegging ineptitude” – unfair
    The writer – a cunt

    #221502
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    I get really cheesed off when people spew the received wisdom that recent Doctor Who series’ have been shit, when it is an INDISPUTABLE FACT OF LIFE that Series 8 is the best series of New Who and the recent finale was fabulous.

    Other opinions are available.

    And also WRONG.

    #221503
    Toxteth O-Grady
    Participant

    Considering how brief this article is, it’s pretty much right on the money. Is there really that much here to disagree with?

    – He praises the concept, that cast, the writing, and the sheer originality of the show.
    – He says that by 1990, it was the best British sitcom on TV.
    – He points out that Grant left after VI, and that the Emmy award represents the show’s highest plaudit.
    – He notes that VII crept into comedy-drama, and was considered a disappointment.
    – That VIII was even worse, undermining the whole concept of the show.
    – That BTE was hugely anticipated, but inept.
    – Finally he says that X and XI were “much better”, but the chances of the show again reaching its early 90s peak are unlikely.

    Overall, that’s 100% correct for me. And judging by the results of G&T’s ‘Silver Survey’, it chimes with the general opinion on here too, no? Why is this article receiving such backlash?

    The one point I’d disagree with is that Barrie choosing Brittas over RD is the greatest snub imaginable. So I’ll give you that.
    But the rest? Remarkably accurate for a short, opinion-based, mainstream newspaper article about a cult TV show.

    If it’d been posted on here and not The Guardian, would the author still be called a cunt and told to fuck off?

    #221504
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    >If it’d been posted on here and not The Guardian, would the author still be called a cunt and told to fuck off?

    You’d get that kind of response from this site if you started a thread with “I really like Red Dwarf”

    #221505
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    That’s what’s most annoying about it, for me. I agree with the broad gist of the article – that Red Dwarf got worse after Series VI – but the individual points it makes to back it up are clichéd and/or inaccurate. It’s bad writing.

    #221506
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    It’s the tone of it as well – it’s not as good as it used to be, so kill it. Gloss over the fact that it’s still one of the most entertaining shows going, and is experiencing what is very nearly a renaissance. Fucking kill it. Now.

    #221507
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    I don’t get why “stop making it” seems to attract more ire than someone simply saying “it’s shit”.

    It’s just one person’s opinion. It has no effect on the commissioning process of a television show.

    I think there’s an attraction on “going out on a high”, much like a celebrated sportsman picking the right time to retire. It’s not really about how the show is viewed *now*, it’s about the legacy it will leave behind. If there’s a epilogue after the peak or after the perfect ending, which would rather be forgotten, than that’s pretty unwelcome.

    There’s also more to it than “people still watch it, it keeps making money, so let’s make more”. It’s the same problem as movie sequels or remakes. It’s studios banking on “sure things”. Using an established name; irrespective of whether there’s a valid creative reason to continue because they know a loyal audience will still be there, even if it’s just out of morbid curiosity. I don’t think that’s a position that is conducive to being particularly creative.

    From my personal experience of S.O’s “safe” example; whenever I stumble across The Simpsons on a channel-hop, there’s a brief moment where I identify when, roughly, it was made. It will look roughly like the show I love, it will sound roughly like the show I love; but there’s no guarantee it will be the show I love. Instead it will be likely be a bastardised version of it which brings me no enjoyment whatsoever, featuring characters I know longer recognise in situations devoid of any humour.

    This brings to mind John’s recent article about being a fan. Making a conscious decision to stop watching something which you were “emotionally invested” is quite a big thing. it certainly was when I decided after struggling through the 16th season of The Simpsons, that if the show wasn’t going to call time, then I would.

    The Guardian article is clearly written by a passionate fan of the earlier series. I don’t like the way it’s arrived just in advance of Series XII (ot whether it’s been recycled to coincide), but I don’t really understand the anger.

    If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

    (That’s what one says in these conversations, right?).

    #221509
    Warbodog
    Participant

    It’s amusing to see heated, exaggerated fan opinions in the mainstream. Lauding it as the best sitcom by 1990 (I’d go for One Foot in the Grave, and then Bottom in ’91, but alright) then shitting all over it.

    I agree with quality over quantity, and maybe RD should have ended at series 6 like The Simpsons at series 9 or whatever and The X-Files at series 5. But as soon as the damage is done and you’ve perforated that bubble (series 7), you might as well keep it going in the hope things will improve (series X+), which the writer even admits is the case in that tagged-on bit at the end.

    “A 30-year-old sitcom isn’t as good as it used to be, but it’s still alright.” Worthwhile. Almost as worthwhile as me writing any of that.

    #221510
    JamesTC
    Participant

    You might look at something and say it is creatively bankrupt or just a cash in but other people may still get the love that you got from the earlier stuff.

    Not enjoying something is fine. Saying it is shit is fine. Saying it should end because you found it shit and have an internal struggle over your continued viewing of the show despite other people not finding it shit is selfish.

    I regret watching Futureworld. I think it is the worst film ever made. It was purely made to cash in on Westworld. Should that film not have been made? Nah, it should have. Some people do like it. I just read a review that says “with its visual ingenuity, interesting ideas, and a winning couple of leads, I like this just enough to give it a recommendation”.

    #221511
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    Red Dwarf jumped the shark when they brought Rimmer back to life in Timeslides, only to kill him off again immediately. How can you play with someone’s life like that, for a cheap gag – imagine ending an episode with the death of a character. As a gag.. Like if someone fell out of an airlock. A woman, for example. Possibly named Irene.

    It’s shocking, really.

    #221512
    Jonsmad
    Participant

    Come series XII, I’m sending Johnny Vegas round to arrest this cunt.

    #221513
    pfm
    Participant

    The way the guy uses ‘imperial phase’ at the end of the article makes me want to sever my own head and mail it to him, complete with the exact expression I made upon reading said phrase. Tit.

    #221514

    That’s what’s most annoying about it, for me. I agree with the broad gist of the article – that Red Dwarf got worse after Series VI – but the individual points it makes to back it up are clichéd and/or inaccurate. It’s bad writing.

    That’s pretty much it. The overall trend in the show described in the article is roughly one most people here would probably agree with, but it seems to have been written by someone who’s done ten minutes’ research online about fan opinions on the show, rather than by someone who has a passion for the programme and actually understands the nuances of its different eras, and the writers (Doug being the ‘less funny’ of the two maybe held up for the novels, but much as I dislike VII and VIII, I’d take ANY post-Rob Dwarf over Dark Ages and The Strangerers in terms of humour).

    The final paragraph’s “it’s actually quite good again now, but it still should have been cancelled” conclusion is fucking ridiculous. How about “after series VIII, it seemed that, perhaps, the show’s legacy would be stronger had it not continued after series VI. However recent series, if not quite as essential viewing as the show’s peak, have softened the blow and provided enough laughs to feel positive about the show once more”?

    #221518
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    My favorite bit of where he implies that the decline in quality in series VII is why Chris Barrie left, which is absolutely 100% what happened and isn’t a gross misinterpretation of events in the least.

    #221521
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    Considering he decided to leave BEFORE Series VII and was only coaxed into doing a couple episodes with the prospect of Ed Bye returning, I’d say that’s completely accurate.

    Also, I watched two episodes of The Strangerers and laughed maybe one and a half times.

    #221523

    I love the idea that he started series VII, having signed contracts and all, then halfway through went “nah, this is shit” and left, resulting in hasty re-writes and an immediate casting of Kochanski. Although it would actually make sense of a lot of the second half of VII’s flaws, it betrays an incredible lack of knowledge of how TV works.

    #221525
    Toxteth O-Grady
    Participant

    To be fair though, he never says it should stop being made. Some of the reactions on here suggest he wrote “I don’t think it’s as good as it used to be, so nobody else should get any more episodes, even if they still enjoy it”.
    To me at least, the last sentence seems to be questioning what the overall legacy of the show will be if you keep producing stuff that isn’t as good as it once was. He’s not saying it SHOULD BE CANCELLED.

    But, as Warbodog has said, once the damage is done, and you might as well continue.
    I’d further add that once you’ve reached the nadir (VIII/BTE) and you’re now improving (X, XI) then you may as well continue, BUT don’t kid yourself that legacy hasn’t been devalued.

    I’m always happy that there’s new Red Dwarf episodes coming up, but at the same time I genuinely wish series VIII never happened. I’m looking forward to XII, but part of me thinks that had the series ended with the margarita scene at the end of Out of Time, Red Dwarf would probably be held in higher regard. Of course hindsight is 20/20, and I would have always wanted a series VII.

    Like The Simpsons; I don’t want Red Dwarf to end, but I also think its critical legacy would be better if it had done – long ago. That seems to be the point of this article, not “Red Dwarf has been shit for years, end it now!”

    P.S. Barrie became disillusioned during VI and made the decision to not do all of VII. Now the article doesn’t present it quite that accurately, but it also doesn’t say he left halfway the production of VII either.

    #221526
    Dave
    Participant

    To play Devil’s Advocate for a minute, the article says nothing about Barrie deciding to leave after he started on series VII.

    It addresses the old saw about Rob being seen as ‘the funny one’, but suggests that the reason the show got less funny after the partnership broke up “may simply have been the result of a drought of comic invention”. Then it says that Barrie left the show as he was “disillusioned”.

    The idea that he was “disillusioned” by the quality of series VII might be implied (depending on how you read that paragraph) but I don’t think it’s necessarily the writer’s intention. It’s just as easy to read that as Barrie being disillusioned with the decline in quality in general – which seems like a fairly reasonable characterisation of some of his comments on the scripts for series VI.

    #221531
    Jawscvmcdia
    Blocked

    To be fair, this is what Barrie was facing in Series 7 (look at how unhappy he is):

    #221532
    Jawscvmcdia
    Blocked

    To be fair, this is what Barrie was facing in Series 7 (look at how unhappy he is):

    #221534
    Hamish
    Participant

    > Red Dwarf jumped the shark when they brought Rimmer back to life in Timeslides, only to kill him off again immediately. How can you play with someone’s life like that, for a cheap gag – imagine ending an episode with the death of a character. As a gag.. Like if someone fell out of an airlock. A woman, for example. Possibly named Irene. It’s shocking, really.

    Much like the Guardian article, this is a technically valid comparison that misses or deliberately obscures most of the finer points. Such as that laughing about Rimmer’s death in Timeslides is earned to a degree by his actions earlier in the episode, that his death in TImeslides does not bring with it unpleasant connotations about the treatment of women, and that the joke in Timeslides does fit in with the overarching theme of the episode in a way that Irene’s death really does not in Entangled.

    I will grant that it is still a bit naff though.

    #221537
    si
    Participant

    The links at the bottom of that article are to other articles which give bored journalists the opportunity to slag off shows they don’t like anymore.
    The Guardian employs some class right there.

    #221538
    Dax101
    Participant

    Its not that Rob was the funny one and Doug isn’t, its that 2 minds are better than one.

    #221541
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    Hamish mate I was joking with the Timeslides thing, just having a bit of fun. I wasn’t trying to make any sort of point, really. I don’t think Irene’s death does anything as grand or important as “bring with it unpleasant connotations about the treatment of women”, it’s just a bit naff. If Irene had been male she would have been dealt with in much, if not exactly, the same way. You can get away with Snacky fucking off to some other part of the ship never to be seen again, but Irene had to go.

    #221542
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    Legacy is a weird idea to me because like, those old shows still exist. They’re exactly the same. They still have exactly the same impact, historically and to a modern audience. Yeah The Simpsons have twenty shite seasons, but that doesn’t mean people remember the good ones any less fondly, or that they’re retroactively shit. They’re still held in just as high – if not higher – regard.

    #221544
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    The main thing that gets me is that it’s 2017 and people are still using “jump the shark” as if it’s a phrase that has any meaning or relevance.

    But mainly, my thought is just:

    #221549

    I don’t think Irene’s death does anything as grand or important as “bring with it unpleasant connotations about the treatment of women”, it’s just a bit naff. If Irene had been male she would have been dealt with in much, if not exactly, the same way.

    Eh, in the wider scheme of social issues, and also in context of a TV show in which women haven’t always been portrayed brilliantly, there’s something a bit dodgy about blokes not caring that an unintelligent woman has just fallen out of an airlock. Obviously it’s not intended like that, but it’s a shame that a little more care wasn’t put into considering wider implications is all.
    And yes, it’s also naff. I can’t help feeling she could have at least been turned back into a chimp, or she decided the crew were too sophisticated for her and felt left out so decided to go back to the ERRA institute. There were plenty of potentially better ways of getting rid of her. I suppose Entangled is pretty full as it is, plot-wise, without extending that section further.

    #221550
    pfm
    Participant

    Or, for those who prefer their shows without that awful canned laughter…

    #221552
    Nick R
    Participant

    Or, for those who don’t mind that awful canned laughter but do mind the word “fuck”:

    #221553
    cwickham
    Participant

    Wasn’t the entire character of Irene added at the last moment after they discovered the problem with the hours the chimp suit guy could work?

    #221554
    Hamish
    Participant

    > Eh, in the wider scheme of social issues, and also in context of a TV show in which women haven’t always been portrayed brilliantly, there’s something a bit dodgy about blokes not caring that an unintelligent woman has just fallen out of an airlock

    But Rimmer does care, in so far as it ends his chances of getting laid, which was part of the joke if you will remember. Ha ha, nothing ever goes right for Rimmer. Which is actually the same joke from Timeslides, only here someone else dies because of it.

    “Have you got a pen” is still a good line though.

    #221555
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Yes, because 10 minutes of a guy in a chimp costumer would have made a much better episode.

    #221556
    Phil
    Participant

    “The main thing that gets me is that it’s 2017 and people are still using “jump the shark” as if it’s a phrase that has any meaning or relevance.”

    The fact that they refer to Holly as omnipotent reveals to me that they have no interest in meaning.

    #221559

    “Have you got a pen” is still a good line though.

    Yes, it’s a strange mixture of genuine discomfort and humour as it’s actually a very well constructed joke in its own right, just the repercussions of it are really quite nasty.

    #221560
    Dax101
    Participant

    The side ways trip over the boxes into the airlock was pretty ridiculous.

    #221561
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    Charles Augins’ choreography is sorely missed.

    There was something else slapsticky in an episode I watched recently where I thought “I appreciate the joke, but they could have done a retake or something because that fall (or whatever) was incredibly unconvincing”

    #221562
    pfm
    Participant

    It would only have taken a couple of extra lines to remove the irksome feeling surrounding Irene’s death. If she was causing some kind of danger to the crew, no-one would care that she gets flushed out into space.

    Like with Pree, it doesn’t feel wrong that she’s been shut down because she’s been…somewhat threatening to Lister and the others and also the fact she’s a computer and has a computer-like personality. She’s sold to us as a villain. If she had basically been a new female Holly, likeable and done nothing but mildly annoy Lister and he then told her to shut herself down, or he accidentally fires her mainframe off into space… then you’ve got a similar issue.

    #221569
    Me Own Stunts
    Participant

    There’s also the fact that Irene is the first real human they’ve come into contact with for ages. Even taking into account the shamelessly unfiltered guff that was Series 8, encountering real human beings is rare and this should be an ethical crew that cares about other humans. Instead we see Rimmer doing his “ah Bisto” face when his own brother dies, and Lister and Rimmer both deciding to not even try rescuing Irene when she’s sucked out of an airlock.

    I’d like to think Lister would quickly put on a spacesuit and do his best to save Irene, not give up the second the airlock door reseals. Would he give up just as quickly if it had been Kochanski? No, of course not. So he shouldn’t have done it here.

    #221570
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    With the caveat that I’ve only had time to skim it so far, this article on Den of Geek seems to represent the correct way to go about this subject matter:

    Red Dwarf: looking back at the past and ahead to the future

    #221571
    Dave
    Participant

    Interestingly it says much the same things overall, but comes to the opposite conclusion at the end. And the tone is much friendlier.

    I expect people will like it a lot more.

    #221572
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    That’s the thing. The Guardian piece skimmed over the Dave era because it didn’t quite fit with the conclusion they wanted to reach – the Den of Geek piece takes this into account and adjusts the conclusion accordingly. That makes a huge difference.

    #221573

    Mm, that article is much more well thought through and balanced. The writer has no problems with going into length about the problems of the Dave era, but is doing so because those poor bits are surrounded by the show proving it can still do great things. Also, an in-depth discussion of the recent series feels a lot more relevant than focusing solely on VII and VIII again. Leave that kind of bickering to people like us, and get publications like The Guardian writing informed, up-to-date stuff.

    #221574
    Dave
    Participant

    That’s the thing. The Guardian piece skimmed over the Dave era because it didn’t quite fit with the conclusion they wanted to reach – the Den of Geek piece takes this into account and adjusts the conclusion accordingly. That makes a huge difference.

    I agree entirely.

    I don’t know if the Guardian piece was truncated because it had to fit a wordcount for the physical copy of the paper, but it felt a bit half-arsed and I think they did the Dave era a real disservice by giving it a cursory mention but not really discussing it in any detail.

    Because I think it would reshape the piece considerably if it did, and make the argument that they should end the show look a bit silly – if it hit its low point a long time ago (with VIII and BTE) and then started to improve again, why would you cancel something that’s starting to get better and better again?

    #221575
    clem
    Participant

    > There’s also the fact that Irene is the first real human they’ve come into contact with for ages.

    See, I always think she shouldn’t be human, because the whole literally-always-being-wrong thing is so lame. If she was a robot or a computer the idea would be easier to swallow, and her death and the blasé attitude to it wouldn’t be as problematic. Rimmer wanting to shag her might be, though.

    #221578
    Hamish
    Participant

    > If she was a robot or a computer the idea would be easier to swallow, and her death and the blasé attitude to it wouldn’t be as problematic. Rimmer wanting to shag her might be, though.

    “She didn’t think men were better than machines.” ;-)

    #221586
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    >I’d like to think Lister would quickly put on a spacesuit and do his best to save Irene, not give up the second the airlock door reseals.

    Wouldn’t do much good mate, you’ve got about 15 seconds before death if you’re out in space without a suit. She was a goner as soon as she tripped over the box.

    #221587
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    Nothing wrong with shagging a computer.

    If it’s cute why not.

    #221593
    Lily
    Participant

    The Den of Geek article is certainly a good one to read for the people who haven’t really caught on that there’s a new Dave era.

    It’s a fair review of BtE, X and XI, the general feeling that although there’s a few hit and misses, overall Dave Dwarf is an improvement on the low of VIII.

    #221598
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    The DoG one is a nice piece (hey, it’s almost as if DoG is a well-run site with good editors) but there’s that received wisdom about BtE again. I just don’t see how anyone could see the Corrie stuff as “excruciating”.

    #221600
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    To be honest, I can understand people hating the Corrie stuff – it’s meta, it’s self-referential, it is literally only in there because of budget, etc – but I thought it was quite well done, and don’t have a problem with it myself. Some people just don’t like meta stuff.

    #221602
    Lily
    Participant

    Whelp, I’m one of them. I started wondering what the hell I was watching when they were fucking about in a John Lewis and was ready to turn off when they got to the Corrie set. Excruciating nails it, as far as I’m concerned.

    #221603
    clem
    Participant

    > Nothing wrong with shagging a computer.
    If it’s cute why not.

    Because it could rip your dick off and fax it to Canada! D’you know what I mean?

    I really like the Corrie stuff in BtE, especially Craig’s priory line and the other three trying to be northern in the Kabin.

    #221605
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    Oh, the northern stuff is worthy of a giggle or two surely. Just the way Barrie says “qualiteh”

    #221606
    NoFro
    Participant

    Everytime I’ve revisited BTE I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed it and how many moments I’ve forgotten about that I really like. It’s certainly not perfect but thinking about it I don’t really have any problems that majorly detract from my enjoyment of it. Father’s and Suns may have by far the best scene in Dave Dwarf but it also has Taiwan Tony so I have a rougher time revisiting it than I do BTE, for example. I was absolutely dreading the Corrie section when part 2 ended in April 2009 but ended up laughing quite a lot over that ten minutes the following night.

    Also, with the previous series being series VIII it was such a relief to have character based jokes again.

    Also also, the Kryten mask was ace.

    #221608
    pfm
    Participant

    Yeah the constant slating of BtE pisses me off no end.

    – Sophie Winkleman, fucking brilliant
    – Some of the best effects the show has ever seen (especially the epic cargo bay)
    – Craig’s finest hour?
    – Carbug
    – the Corrie stuff, which IS good IMO
    – Noddy and that whole shop scene
    – Chloe’s appearance
    – Richard O’Callaghan as the Creator, again it’s nothing but great stuff
    – The scene with the kids on the bus, is genius
    – The last scene with Craig and Chloe makes me wanna cry, every single time…
    – The chase and glass stunt!! I mean, come on.

    There’s shitloads to like about BtE and I genuinely would have loved the show to have carried on in this vein. It WAS the right decision to switch it up for X; but still….

    #221633
    NoFro
    Participant

    Yeah Sophie Winkleman was damn great. I can understand people not liking it but I struggle when people say it’s worse than VIII. I’ve watched both with casuals and BTE got a far better response.

    #221634
    clem
    Participant

    I love Rimmer wondering how he’s neurotic and hilarious, and Kryten very baldly telling him. Shame there’s not more of that sort of meta stuff, instead of the Blade Runner references and the creator (although I agree Richard O’Callaghan’s performance is good.)

    #221635
    Phil
    Participant

    I hated BTE but enjoyed the Corrie bit, so I’m wrong on all counts.

    #221646
    MANI506
    Participant

    ‘Someone pummel my diodes’

    #221647
    Dax101
    Participant

    BTE has a story that would suit a comic relief sketch much better then a filmic attempt to be played seriously.

    It’s full of call backs that just feel tired.

    It’s not particularly funny either.

    The effects are impressive and as good as the window crashing scene is I dunno the hell was it even there for? Just to be a blade runner homage?

    By the end the plot doesn’t make much sense, it was just a filmic romp that is concluded by a throw back that didn’t even make much sense as a result.

    #221648
    Ridley
    Participant

    The story is about a directionless Lister finding something to live for, those famine bits aren’t the sketches!

    Also Blade Runner.

    #221651
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    >The story is about a directionless Lister finding something to live for

    FUCKIN’ THIS. It’s one of the most thematically rich stories the series has ever done.

    #221652
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >The story is about a directionless Lister finding something to live for

    What was that? Finding Kochanski? Er….

    >Also Blade Runner.
    And don’t forget Blade Runner. Plus Blade Runner. By the way, have you see Blade Runner?

    Would be good if Back to Earth actually had the balls to do something interesting. I don’t actually mind the Corrie stuff, because that’s the closest it gets to doing something *properly* meta. Mentioning Craig’s rehab (or whatever the line is) is about as daring as the story gets (aside from Rimmer murdering people).

    Doug, in interviews, comes across as a remarkably candid. If this had been extended to the story; and actually deconstructed Red Dwarf, its fandom, its faults, and the BTS stuff…this would have at least been interesting. Mention Rob Grant, mention the fact that Rimmer disappeared for 4 episodes, mention the fact that the show has been pushed to another channel because the previous one doesn’t want it. This would allow it to be much more focused on, y’know, Red Dwarf rather than a movie that has no relation to it.

    #221654

    That whole ‘Jump the shark’ series seems to be just pure clickbait. Name a show that is widely regarded to be good and/or popular, write up something in 15 mins about how it’s not good and/or popular, give it a title, then reel them in. Like others have said, there’s not much to actually disagree with, it’s the last paragraph which comes across as just bitter.

    The dig at Chris’s hairline is needless and stupid, regardless of whether Chris has joked about it himself. And I’m surprised that a liberal paper like the Gaurdian [sic] is now a fan of “imperial phases”.

    The DoG article is *much* better. Analysing what went wrong with VII/VIII has been done to death anyway, so an article focussing more on the Dave era is more interesting anyway.

    I don’t hate BTE, actually I do kinda like it, but that may partly be because I like meta, the first time I saw it was as the single director’s cut so I don’t even really think of it as three eps, and I hadn’t seen Blade Runner yet. Now that I have seen Blade Runner and know how much was borrowed from it, I can see why it rubbed people the wrong way.

    Actually, I think the first time I watched BTE the only way I got thru it was by pretending that it was some sort of tribute to Red Dwarf rather than an actual ep, but I enjoyed more on rewatching. It’s better when you know that it’s all happening inside their heads. A consider a lot of it, such as the Corrie stuff, as having the *potential* to be excruciating, and I remember cringing at various points expecting what was coming next was going to be awful, but actually turned out better than I would’ve thought it would and won me over.

    #221655
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    And I’m surprised that a liberal paper like the Gaurdian [sic] is now a fan of “imperial phases”

    Ehhhhh that’s not actually anything to do with political empires. It’s a phrase used in pop culture discussion to denote that point at which an artist can basically do no wrong – it originated with the Pet Shop Boys, and refers to the period roughly between 1986-88.

    http://petshopboys.wikia.com/wiki/Imperial_phase

    Which artist will get everything right in 2015?

    A proliferation of pop writers who themselves had roots in PSBs fandom led to it gaining wider currency. It’s a particular favourite of Kieron Gillen, and the title of the current Wicked + Divine storyline.

    #221657
    Ridley
    Participant

    >don’t forget Blade Runner

    A replicant? Lister’s a replican.

    #221658

    I find BtE to be an incredibly mixed bag. I think most of the Corrie stuff is actually really funny (which surprised me as I was dreading it), and the Blade Runner stuff all looks and feels beautiful and epic in a way the show hadn’t done before. But I just can’t get it to ‘fit’ with the rest of the show. Although it closes the fourth wall and ties it all together again at the end, it still FEELS like – if not quite a Comic Relief special – a one-off novelty story rather than a logical continuation of Red Dwarf.

    One thing that I find jarring – I’m not sure if this would necessarily make any difference to it feeling more Dwarfish as much as it’s just something else that bugs me about it – is the bizarre mix of real and fictional in the reality they visit. Whilst I love the idea that their hallucinatory world now exists as an alternate dimension, I think that would have far, far more weight if it was actually OUR world they visited. Instead, it’s mostly like our world, but with a bunch of Blade Runner stuff stuck in there too. I think it would have felt more comfortable if they’d either been in the real world, or if it was a full-on sci-fi alternate dimension.

    On the other hand, when watched straight after VIII, it’s such a breath of fresh air, and the opening segment in particular feels properly Red Dwarf in a way it hadn’t done since VI (maybe even V). I kind of wish Doug had done something less ambitious but, in its own way, a lot more daring, and done a talky episode set on the ship. It might not have had the visual impact that may have seemed necessary for a special, but I reckon it would have pleased the wider fanbase and critics a lot more. Even if it wasn’t brilliant, a ‘return to its roots’ story would have immediately been seen as a good thing, I think.

    There are bits like the shop scene and ‘a sitcom in a biscuit factory’ which are hilarious. Equally, you’ve got VIII-style nonsense like Kryten thinking a postbox is an android (unfunny and went on for far too long), and stuff like the typewriter scene which starts funny, but goes VIII-wards in being overplayed. The despair squid callback seemed like a cheap conclusion to me at the time, although in context of X and XI it no longer feels quite so odd. And Doug’s commentary on the DVD was wonderful, as everything he was saying felt like he’d really got back in touch with what made the show so great in the first place, and it made me feel really positive about any future series.

    So yeah, overall it’s a mix of very successful stuff and rather unsuccessful stuff. I’m glad it happened as it allowed Doug to rediscover the characters and the setting – after losing touch with them in VII and particularly VIII – and led to the commissioning of (at least) three more series. At the same time, much like VIII, it just feels a touch too far removed from everything either side of it to comfortably feel like part of the same story.

    #221662
    Dave
    Participant
    #221664
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Do you remember when he called that woman a slag, though?

    #221667
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    Would be good if Back to Earth actually had the balls to do something interesting.

    I’m just going to ahead and say this – the jokes don’t always land, but the character moments are strong and the overall story is rich. BtE is probably one of my personal favorite Red Dwarf stories.

    #221673
    Lilly Queen
    Participant

    Count me in as another lover of Back to Earth. Completely agree with all of performingmonkey’s points. And just in terms of pure comedy, the Corrie segment is far and away the funniest material. Such a shame the jammy dodger scene wasn’t reinstated for the director’s cut as it probably has the best big laugh in the whole thing.

    #221674
    (deleted)
    Participant

    Back To Earth is the ‘To Hull And Back’ of Red Dwarf. Completely different to the main show and probably not a good template for the ‘regular’ series, but what a thrill it exists to enjoy.

    Saying all that I could have happily watched a follow-on Red Dwarf series which was filmic, audience-less and much more drama-orientated, too (I still think XI would work arguably better with no audience and more ambitious camera setups). Just as I’d have enjoyed a whole Only Fools series in that Minder style. I’m more easily pleased than I sometimes make out when I’m being pernickety.

    #221678
    clem
    Participant

    > I think that would have far, far more weight if it was actually OUR world they visited.

    It’s not the only reason I don’t really like the Blade Runner stuff, but yes, that would have been so much better. I think maybe it could have worked especially well if up to the point at which they enter “our dimension”, the show had been much more sitcom looking, even had an audience, and then when they get to Earth it goes a bit handheld and more real world. (Even as I’m typing this I’m wondering whether that actually was attempted to an extent, but it’s a while since I’ve seen it. Most of the Earth stuff was filmed on location of course, but that was out of necessity.) I know The League of Gentlemen did something similar in their film, which iirc a few people said BtE ripped off because of the characters in search of their creators idea, as if that had never been done before.

    #221680
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    Just re-watched Camille. Wonder if people who are upset about BtE being a Bladerunner homage are also upset about Camille being a beat-for-beat remake of Cassablanca at points.

    I didn’t like Noddy, but Kryten’s mask did look fantastic – why haven’t they been able to just do it that well again?!

    #221683

    @Ben – I quite like BTE but I think there are differences between BTE and Camille, or even DNA which riffs on a lot of different movie ideas.

    it’s the setting and the way it is parodied. i.e. Camille parodies Casablanca but with Red Dwarf’s setting. And it riffs on many love storylines that have excited prior to and after Casablanca in different forms.

    BTE feels much more like a homage and re-make of sorts of Blade Runner than a straight up parody. It removes the crew from their ship, puts them in a completely different world, and then just lifts the Blade Runner story (which I feel is more unique than Casablanca) and tells it with its own characters.

    Not to mention BTE feels like it is played more for drama than comedy, where as Camille could almost be said to be gently mocking Casablanca as every line, every situation is for comedic purposes.

    That maybe why people view them differently, and are able to accept one over the other.

    #221684
    bloodteller
    Blocked

    the stuff in Camille feels like it actually fits in with the rest of the show though imo. i’m never sat there thinking “well why is this in an episode of red dwarf?” BtE on the other hand, sticks out like a sore thumb because some of the stuff in it doesn’t feel like something i’d ever be seeing in Red Dwarf, e.g. the coronation street scenes.

    carbug can fuck off too, what’s that doing there? get rid of it

    #221720
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Camille works irrespective of you seeing Casablanca. It’s not recreating scenes for the sake of recreating them; it’s using them to tell a failed love story with a theme about “nobility”.

    The scene with Swallow. The creator looking like Tyrell. The bizarre scene with Kochanski dressed as Rachel FOR NO FUCKING REASON. None of this is relevant to even the flimsy plot. It’s just shitty references for the sake of it. It’s a love letter to Blade Runner, without any effort to synchronize the plot to make it work.

    Blade Runner is a stylistic, unique-looking movie. It doesn’t look like much else. When you try and reference it with costumes and characters, it’s not going to blend in. It’s going to draw attention to itself.

    If they’d done an episode about human-looking droids (you know, like that 5 mins in Out of Time), the Blade Runner stuff could have worked, but still not to extremes of BTE.

    >Back To Earth is the ‘To Hull And Back’ of Red Dwarf.
    I think it’s A Royal Flush. Specifically the looong scene at the opera, and the awful dinner scene with a drunk nasty Del, that even John Sullivan couldn’t stand.

    #221722
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    The scene with Swallow. The creator looking like Tyrell. The bizarre scene with Kochanski dressed as Rachel FOR NO FUCKING REASON. None of this is relevant to even the flimsy plot. It’s just shitty references for the sake of it.

    But are any of those scenes ruined if you don’t know why they look the way they do? Does anything that happens rely on your existing knowledge of Blade Runner?

    #221724

    Seb – partly yes. If you don’t know the references, you’re missing out. More so than with Casablanca / Camille I think.

    You don’t need to have seen Casablanca to find Camille funny, it stands on its own merits, BTE does kind of rather require some knowledge of Blade Runner … especially the Kochanski bit, but plenty of other references to. Part of the enjoyment of BTE I’m sure is joining in with the little in jokes and getting giddy/excited etc for being able to pick them out. If nothing else then just understanding them and why they are important or exist at all.

    I’ve only seen Blade Runner twice (actually don’t hold it in such a high regard as others do) so I’m only somewhat vaguely aware of what is being referenced.

    I can never remember what Kochanski’s counter parts role is. I just know its a reference to a character in Blade Runner. I don’t really know why she looks the way she does or why she is important other than Lister lusts after her.

    Same with Cat’s little squid models. I’m aware this is a Blade Runner reference, and I somewhat remember Almos’ character (doing something similar) – but I don’t understand why, what the connection is or the relevence. I’m sure if I did then Cat making them and leaving them everywhere would make more sense.

    Not really knowing Blade Runner that well … but knowing BTE is heavily influenced by it gives me this feeling of missing out that I don’t get with Camille because the episodes stands on its own a lot better. In fact the only direct reference I’m aware of and get in Camille is the “always have Paris/Parrots” line, and thats partly because its somewhat within the public consciousness as a pop culture reference.

    But, having said all that, I still enjoy BTE, for it’s exploration of character and for what it does for the show. I just don’t share in the in jokes because I don’t know Blade Runner well enough.

    #221725

    There are plenty of film references and semi-homages throughout Red Dwarf (Kryten being another episode), but as stated, they aren’t so heavy that the episode is confusing without them. I’ve never seen Casablanca, but what I know of it makes it seem like very much an archetype of a certain kind of romantic film that I definitely recognise in the structure of Camille, and the “maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow” speech is so widely quoted that it’s undoubtedly familiar to a lot more people than have seen the film.

    BtE is so heavy in its Blade Runner references that it’s hard to see it as anything else, however. It doesn’t feel like an episode of Red Dwarf that’s loosely following the beats of a film, it hammers you over the head with Blade Runner stuff. I didn’t get that Kochanski was meant to be Rachel at first, and the plot of part 3 in particular only made sense to me because it brought back memories of the film when I watched it. Without that knowledge, I’d be a bit baffled as to why the Swallow scene was really necessary, or what the origami squid was all about, and probably other stuff.

    The street chase, the whole ‘zoom in, enhance’ etc. bit, the whole look of Tyrell’s room, alone they’d probably be enough because they’d still give it a heavily Blade Runner feel, and crucially it’d feel like that homage was still serving the plot, rather than the other way around.

    At least it’s all done well, though, even if I don’t think it fits. The look and atmosphere of all the Blade Runner stuff is fantastic, so they can’t be faulted on execution. Unlike, say, the Alien parody in whichever VIII episode has Archie.

    #221726
    Ridley
    Participant

    Contrary to popular belief, the Coronation Street sequence is actually a nod to the scene with Deckard and the sheep from the Emmerdale set. #dwarffacts

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