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  • #266000
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Do you have any miscellaneous insights on the series that may be worth contemplating for a few seconds before moving on with our lives? Here are some of mine.

    1. The four regulars have names that can work any way around, though this would have been more obvious if David Ross had stayed and wouldn’t work if Chris Barrie used his real name.

    2. The series’ lax attitude to continuity extends to the setting. Outside of Holly’s distress calls, I don’t think three million years is mentioned all that much after series I and before VI (not sure about later years). Instead, we get the extremely fudged “dead for centuries” and “travelling for thousands of years” – not actual retcons, but suggesting a more conventional setting for casual viewers tuning in and the sort of stories they’re telling. It’s only millions when they need it to be.

    3. 200 years of stasis between series V and VI means that the earlier series took place in their equivalent of the early 19th century by comparison (e.g. Blackadder the Third). Since they didn’t run into a long-lived Camille or one of her great-great-etc grandchildren, it didn’t come up.

    4. Although Lister is routinely slagged off in the series, he’s spared the level of seemingly authoritative character assassination that Rimmer gets, because the audience is aligned with Lister’s viewpoint most of the time. For example, we see Kochanski Camille belittling Rimmer’s interests, but we don’t get the equivalent of Hologram Camille reacting to Lister’s pickup lines, we’re left to form our own opinions on those. This flimsy point has not been considered much beyond this single example.

    5. Cat’s costumes are overwhelmingly referenced more than anyone else’s in the series, but the least discussed by fans.

    6. Ace Rimmer and Duane Dibbley were so seemingly ubiquitous in canon and tie-in merchandise through the 90s (Smegazine strips, T-shirts) that they still feel overused today, even though it’s been over 20 years since they appeared. Maybe they’re allowed back after all.

    7. Only series III & V and maybe XI & XII (not as familiar with those) don’t have any sense of an arc whatsoever (though IV’s minor Kryten disobedience arc was already fucked up by episode shuffling). Series III is just about the only series where no episode directly references any previous episode, but it still has the Backwards scrolling text and general references to Rimmer having died and stuff.

    8. One of the series’ most famous and quoted scenes – everybody’s dead, Dave – is a straight-up 2001: A Space Odyssey homage and would have been received that way at the time, but doesn’t work like that for most people coming to the episode later on or new viewers who are young or don’t watch old films.

    9. Sometimes dismissed as lightweight and gimmicky today, Backwards was designed as an innovative interactive experience to reward extracurricular effort. As well as inviting fans to work out the backwards events and filming logistics, Arthur Smith’s eugolonom is teasingly long and “you scoundrels” is clearly a cleaned-up translation gag even before you’ve heard it. Unfortunately, by the time technology caught up with the intent and the ability to reverse media files properly on home computers became commonplace, Backwards Forwards came out and everyone just cheated with the walkthrough.

    Imagine the quality of the musings I left out!

    #266001

    <

    and wouldn’t work if Chris Barrie used his real name

    TIL that Chris Barrie isn’t his name – Christopher John Brown. How had I never known this?

    <

    The series’ lax attitude to continuity extends to the setting. Outside of Holly’s distress calls, I don’t think three million years is mentioned all that much after series I and before VI

    3 million years is certainly mentioned in the Dave Era and is specifically mentioned in the captions at the start of TPL

    <<

    Ace Rimmer and Duane Dibbley were so seemingly ubiquitous in canon and tie-in merchandise through the 90s (Smegazine strips, T-shirts) that they still feel overused today, even though it’s been over 20 years since they appeared. Maybe they’re allowed back after all.

    I certainly think Duane is overused for being an hallucination. I can just about forgive it in Emohawk but by the time the idea is reused in viii, it should have been put to bed. Doesn’t help the joke is shit and also how the hell does Kochanski know who the Dibley Family would be???

    Ace I’m more forgiving of as his character has only returned one, and really what fitting way to write out Rimmer. His inclusion again in Emohawk I can sort of forgive just for that’s how that Polymorph seems to work and having Ace and Duane have scenes together is brilliant in my view.

    So in short, yes you’re right. They felt overused over 20 years ago but a return of Ace wouldn’t really be an issue. We’ve had more Talkie Toaster than Ace in Red Dwarf probably.

    #266002
    Dave
    Participant

    TIL that Chris Barrie isn’t his name – Christopher John Brown. How had I never known this?

    I noticed it when he showed up on the Quarantine Zoom commentaries as Chris Brown (no not that one).

    #266003
    Warbodog
    Participant

    3 million years is certainly mentioned in the Dave Era and is specifically mentioned in the captions at the start of TPL

    I looked it up once and I don’t think they mention millions specifically between the 2nd class post gag in Better Than Life (recorded first in series II) and Pete Tranter’s Sister in Psirens when they were re-establishing the situation for new viewers. They might do though.

    #266004
    Dave
    Participant

    Doesn’t he complain in Timeslides about being stuck looking at Rimmer and Cat’s ugly mugs for the next three million years?

    #266005
    Dave
    Participant

    And isn’t being three million years into space also mentioned in the setup for the traffic cone gag in The Last Day?

    #266006
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Well, you can prove anything with reference to the source material, can’t you.

    #266007
    RunawayTrain
    Participant

    Hooray! I’ve been contemplating this sort of thread for a while for random Red Dwarf thoughts but you’ve made a far better job of it than I ever could have! And of course I can’t remember any of said thoughts right now anyway.

    TIL that Chris Barrie isn’t his name – Christopher John Brown. How had I never known this?

    Christopher *Jonathan Brown :p

    I noticed it when he showed up on the Quarantine Zoom commentaries as Chris Brown (no not that one).

    Yeah I noticed that too; he’d obviously signed up with his real name and not thought to change it – or perhaps not known he could, at that point – despite on that occasion using it for a Red Dwarf thing.

    .
    Re: Backwards, when I watched it before the Quarantine Commentary there were several places where the transitions were so seamless I had to rewatch a few times to work out how it had been put together. One part in particular springs to mind: when Rimmer and Kryten are talking to a man (I forget, it could have ben Arthur Smith’s character) in the pub; Rimmer’s standing on one side and Kryten the other, and Kryten’s translating for Rimmer. The cuts there are obviously where they change the direction of the tape BUT it’s so natural that it took a few watches to click, for me, even when I was looking for the changes! I’m not a huge fan of the episode overall for some reason, but the technical side of it never ceases to amaze me.

    #266008
    Jenuall
    Participant

    If you’ve got an interest in editing/production then Backwards is always going to be an fun one to analyse because there is a lot of impressive stuff going on there, especially considering the technology they would have been working with in the late 80s!

    But on the other hand it’s also an episode that works better the less you think about it, because the more you analyse what is going on the more you realise that lots of the way things play out don’t really work or make any sense from a backwards reality perspective. It’s definitely more fun to just switch the old brain off and enjoy letting it wash over you!

    For example, we see Kochanski Camille belittling Rimmer’s interests

    Interesting, I’d never really thought of the character as being “Kochanski Camille”, if anything I think it’s more telling that the form Camille’s takes for Lister is very much not Kochanski

    #266009
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I’d never really thought of the character as being “Kochanski Camille”

    She’s called that in the credits, it is misleading and not even accurate, it’s just one of those names like Mex and Big Meat that can’t be unlearned.

    #266010
    Jenuall
    Participant

    Crazy, I’m usually too busy singing along to actually read the credits

    #266011
    Dave
    Participant

    Considering they were the lowest ranked staff on the ship, I thought Rimmer and Lister were quite lucky to get a bunkroom with an external window.

    #266012

    Considering they were the lowest ranked staff on the ship, I thought Rimmer and Lister were quite lucky to get a bunkroom with an external window.

    presumably the coldest part of the ship though?

    Or, JMC deems all Human Resources the lowest value so puts them in the most vulnerable part of the ship.

    #266013
    Jenuall
    Participant

    Interestingly I don’t think the Officer’s Quarters had a window?

    #266014

    We never see it, but I’d suggest the implication from the BTE bunk set is that the window is literally the fourth wall.

    #266016
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Why did Doug start numbering the series on screen from VII? Was it to mark a bold new era? A short-term measure to help the new shows stand out from repeats? (VI was repeated twice the previous year, but you’d probably be able to tell from the opening titles that you hadn’t watched these before, and you might not have been following what series number they were on anyway).

    Would the transition from VI to VII be infinitesimally less jarring without that distinction? Considering he was banking on selling the Red Dwarf syndication package and maybe already considering remasters to help unify the series, it’s just odd.

    #266017
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    We never see it, but I’d suggest the implication from the BTE bunk set is that the window is literally the fourth wall.

    That seems loosely based on the book description of the bunk room, too, which described a little seating area down some steps and a big observation window where the fourth wall would be.

    #266018

    We never see it, but I’d suggest the implication from the BTE bunk set is that the window is literally the fourth wall.

    That seems loosely based on the book description of the bunk room, too, which described a little seating area down some steps and a big observation window where the fourth wall would be.

    Ah yes, well done. If only I’d read the book recently and listen to three blokes prattle on about it for several hours, I’d have remembered that.

    #266019
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I hadn’t applied the idea of the window to the III-V bunkroom before, but I like it.

    Them having a small window in I-II is more reasonable when there were just 169 crew in a five-mile-long ship, nearly all cohabiting.

    #266020
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    Them having a small window in I-II is more reasonable when there were just 169 crew in a five-mile-long ship, nearly all cohabiting.

    I like a theory Danny mentioned to me a while ago that that little window is actually supposed to be fake and is just a cloth with holes cut in it in universe too.

    #266021
    Dave
    Participant

    I like a theory Danny mentioned to me a while ago that that little window is actually supposed to be fake and is just a cloth with holes cut in it in universe too.

    Does that make the Remastered window a crap little screen that shows a CGI galaxy screensaver and only works intermittently?

    #266022

    Them having a small window in I-II is more reasonable when there were just 169 crew in a five-mile-long ship, nearly all cohabiting.

    I like a theory Danny mentioned to me a while ago that that little window is actually supposed to be fake and is just a cloth with holes cut in it in universe too.

    But the very first time we see that window, Lister is looking out of it saying goodbye to George.

    I really do love the idea of it being fake but that kinda scuppers it. Unless Lister is just being a moron, which is possible.

    #266023
    Jenuall
    Participant

    Mundane observation relating to the bunk room: One thing I bizarrely love about their attempts to brighten the place up between series I and II is where some poor member of the crew got the thankless job of painting all of the rivets on the set a shade of blue instead of grey.

    Just the thought that some production designer got handed a memo saying “make it more colouful, but you don’t have any real time or budget” and thought “I know what will do the trick… blue rivets!”

    #266024
    Dave
    Participant

    They were even more gutted when they were asked to change them from ocean blue to military blue.

    #266025
    RunawayTrain
    Participant

    :O The observation dome music has been changed in Remastered. Sacrilege! Sacrilege, I tell you.

    #266026
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    I really do love the idea of it being fake but that kinda scuppers it. Unless Lister is just being a moron, which is possible.

    That line was written more for the burnt out middle aged version of Lister, so we can write it off as him being genuinely fooled by the fake window.

    #266027

    I’m rewatching Hitchhikers tv series at the moment and I’m struck by how similar Diamond Light Rimmer is to Hotblack

    https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/hitchhikers/images/0/0c/Hotblack_Desiato.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20180729153947

    #266028
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I would’ve expected more Hitchhikers superfanning on a Red Dwarf forum, but it doesn’t get brought up much.

    I love the first four books to varying degrees (though the first Dirk Gently book won the last big re-read). Enjoyed the two classic radio series, but weirdly haven’t ever listened to them again, probably since I default to the books if I want to revisit it. Never really got on with the TV series, maybe through adaptation fatigue or because it looks a bit crap outside of the animation.

    #266029

    TV show was my entry to the series, as a kid around the same time of Red Dwarf I guess. Then the books. I’ve certainly heard some of the radio series but again as with you, I default to the books of the TV show, and there differences whilst there, aren’t that great. Plus not a huge fan of audio drama.

    But yes, it is a little surprising there isn’t as much mention if H2G2 here considering

    #266030
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I think they’re all pretty much identical until the end of book 1 and TV/radio episodes 4(?), so it’s like having to read through all the novelised Red Dwarf episode dialogue back to back before you get to the new / slightly different stuff.

    I’ll get on them again some time though. It’s interesting how amazingly well the first book stands for being a straight-up radio novelisation, but the narration element was built in there already.

    #266031
    clem
    Participant

    The first two series are well worth (re-)listening to, especially the Secondary Phase which contains a lot of really strong stuff that doesn’t feature in any other versions of Hitchhiker’s.

    #266032
    clem
    Participant

    On the subject of colourless Series 1, it does kind of make sense, in-universe, for the set and no-frills ship issue items to be like that, but it always amuses me how utterly bland Lister’s guitars are. There’s the white one in The End that reappears in Confidence and Paranoia, and the dark grey one in Balance of Power. You’d think they’d at least have put some stickers or something on those.

    #266033
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

    On the subject of colourless Series 1, it does kind of make sense, in-universe, for the set and no-frills ship issue items to be like that, but it always amuses me how utterly bland Lister’s guitars are. There’s the white one in The End that reappears in Confidence and Paranoia, and the dark grey one in Balance of Power. You’d think they’d at least have put some stickers or something on those.

    Pretty certain it’s the same one, I think it just gets a bit of flare when it faces the camera, it a sort of satin silver/grey Ovation/Ovation copy.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B-He_UJANet/?igshid=10o4qrg2rmoss

    #266034
    clem
    Participant

    Ah, well it looks less like a boring prop there than in the show, but still not right just because I think Lister would’ve customised it somehow.

    #266035

    Yeah, Lister really wouldn’t have a grey acoustic. The Les Paul works much better.

    #266036

    Even if he did, Clem is right, it ought to have stickers and stuff all over it.

    #266038
    Ridley
    Participant

    Even if he did, Clem is right, it ought to have stickers and stuff all over it.

    Grey stickers.

    I like a theory Danny mentioned to me a while ago that that little window is actually supposed to be fake and is just a cloth with holes cut in it in universe too.

    Feel like I’ve seen or heard that floated around these parts before unless I’m mistaking it for the cut Trojan fakery stuff. When talking about the layout in relation to the proximity of Me² Rimmers’ room maybe?

    Like the idea, as if the JMC cutbacks had to meet some ethical design requirement so does the bare minimum on the cheap.

    #266039
    Dave
    Participant

    Maybe Doug can reveal in the final episode that they’re not even in space and the entire premise of the show was down to them being fooled by a cloth outside a window.

    #266040

    That’s just the plot of Ascension

    #266042
    clem
    Participant

    Maybe Doug can reveal in the final episode that they’re not even in space and the entire premise of the show was down to them being fooled by a cloth outside a window.

    Doubly ironic when it turns out the screen in the Officer’s Quarters is actually a window and there really is a giant fish tank next door.

    Come to think of it, wasn’t there once talk of an episode where Holly comes to life somehow, and the crew discover her (I think it was from the Hattie days) sitting in a room in front of a camera wearing a black polo-neck jumper.

    #266046
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Does Red Dwarf only have four Skutters all along, or did they expand with the crew complement?

    It’s another obvious thing I’ve never dwelled on, maybe in another case of taking the novel’s word over what’s explicitly said on screen, but I’ve always felt they were virtually limitless, rather than us always seeing the same set of characters having a silent parallel side-sitcom (the Holly one having gone mad – the one from Bodyswap?)

    Probably depends on whether they had reserves and whether Holly’s capable of making more.

    #266047
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

    Does Red Dwarf only have four Skutters all along, or did they expand with the crew complement?

    It’s another obvious thing I’ve never dwelled on, maybe in another case of taking the novel’s word over what’s explicitly said on screen, but I’ve always felt they were virtually limitless, rather than us always seeing the same set of characters having a silent parallel side-sitcom (the Holly one having gone mad – the one from Bodyswap?)
    Probably depends on whether they had reserves and whether Holly’s capable of making more.

    Assigned per corridor? Or per shift, so Rimmer and Lister know Pinky and smegging Perky/ Bob and Madge because those are their skutters.

    One of them has 4457 on it so you have to assume there’s at least that many too.

    I’d imagine that since it’s no big deal when loads get destroyed, like in IWCD, or just don’t work right, there are plenty of spares and they’re easily manufactured.

    #266048
    Jenuall
    Participant

    Well we know from Parallel Universe that the Skutters can procreate so I’m sure with 3 million years and very little else to occupy themselves they could have created quite a few new baby skutters!

    #266051

    I’d always assumed there were more than the few we see on screen. They’re probably dotted all over the place so if say Hollister asks Holly for something physical, a Skutter brings it along (like with Lister and the pop-corn).

    So they sort of exist just to ferry things around and hold things for people whilst they have their hands full. Which would explain why they’re not very good at cooking or hanging pictures and such as they’re not meant to actually be able to do any work.

    #266053
    Ridley
    Participant

    My take is that the skutters are few and scattered to different areas of the ship with any significant numbers lost over the millennia.

    Too many mechs and the ship is too populated a la series X eye em oh.

    #266064
    RunawayTrain
    Participant

    Well we know from Parallel Universe that the Skutters can procreate so I’m sure with 3 million years and very little else to occupy themselves they could have created quite a few new baby skutters!

    The skutters in the prime universe are male, so I guess Madge came over from the Parallel Universe. It does sound like they’re monogamous so any procreating will have been limited to when the children are old enough and by the gestational period of whichever skutter carries them (presumably the female if they’re conceived in this universe).

    It makes sense to me that there probably would have been lots of skutters to start with but over time became fewer, perhaps not a high enough priority to use finite resources to replace them unless needed. So limited replacement, a small amount of procreation – presumably there are ‘enough’ skutters but with more hands and sentient machines not as many skutters are needed as before.

    #266069
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Well thank you, David Attenborough.

    #266166
    Dave
    Participant

    It has only just occurred to me that in terms of the period between the first and last RD episodes being aired for the first time, the BBC era and the Dave era are almost exactly the same length.

    #266169
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    It has only just occurred to me that in terms of the period between the first and last RD episodes being aired for the first time, the BBC era and the Dave era are almost exactly the same length.

    I’m sad to report that we’re going to have to ban Dave. Say your goodbyes, everyone.

    #266176
    Spaceworm Jim
    Participant

    Didn’t even realise Attenborough had an account.

    I remember at a thing in Manchester, the guy introducing the two stars of Red Dwarf called them “Chris Charles and Craig Barrie.” Not really an observation, more a recollection please don’t ban me.

    #266178
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    Not really an observation, more a recollection please don’t ban me.

    You haven’t had to force me to face the terrifying onward march of time, so you’re safe.

    #266181
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Series X being almost a decade ago makes sense in terms of my own chronology and is on the cusp of being classic/nostalgic Red Dwarf, but some aspects like reading the Irene E reactions on here afterwards (“what is this, fucking Mr Men?”) don’t seem so long ago. Series XI & XII are obviously brand new things that only just came out though.

    #266183
    Dave
    Participant

    You haven’t had to force me to face the terrifying onward march of time

    Sorry about that. If it’s any consolation it will be a while yet before the Idea For An Episode thread hits the same age.

    #266187

    Series X being almost a decade ago makes sense in terms of my own chronology and is on the cusp of being classic/nostalgic Red Dwarf, but some aspects like reading the Irene E reactions on here afterwards (“what is this, fucking Mr Men?”) don’t seem so long ago. Series XI & XII are obviously brand new things that only just came out though.

    BTE and X are definitely eras of the show that happened a long time ago to me, which far they were, but they feel a long while ago. All of the stuff that surrounded those releases is, as you say, nearing nostalgia levels.

    But yeah, XI and XII feel much more recent even if they were 4-5 years ago.

    #266192

    Watching X for the first time still feels like the current chapter of my life, which is scary.

    #266193
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

    BtE feels a lot longer ago than X, even though it was only a couple of years. I think it’s mostly Craig, he changed in the face quite a lot between BtE and X, in BtE he looks more like he did in VIII.

    #266194
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    I prefer to count it in ice ages, then it’s only 0.00004.

    #266225
    Ridley
    Participant

    BtE feels a lot longer ago than X, even though it was only a couple of years. I think it’s mostly Craig, he changed in the face quite a lot between BtE and X, in BtE he looks more like he did in VIII.

    Bit harsh, between VIII and BTE was when he got disfigured.

    #266244
    Loathsome American
    Participant

    In the spirit of non-groundbreaking insights, I have just been idly thinking lately about how much Red Dwarf has sort of “grown out of” so many of its original premises. The “last human”/“no aliens” concept is of diminished importance and more of a technicality in the populated space they seem to exist in now, and even before he switched to hard light and could touch things, you could sometimes go a few episodes without Rimmer being dead and a hologram being particularly relevant.

    I wonder, if Doug had it to do over again or had known what the show was going to become, if he would have made some of those premises looser given how much he has to write around them now. Would he find it easier if he could just say there’s people and aliens, or does he on some level enjoy having to justify everything as a GELF or a mechanoid variant or technical nonhumans?

    #266245
    Warbodog
    Participant

    In the spirit of reductive speculation about who did the sci-fi and who did the comedy, I’d guess that the no aliens rule came from Rob, since I know he was against the robot at first. There’s precedent in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books, and the Dune books only have animal-level aliens with all the intelligent races being engineered human-derived things. Rob probably read those.

    #266246

    The restrictions the writers placed upon themselves really work well for the sort of show Red Dwarf was in the first two series.

    As soon as you want to branch out the stories and be a little more action/adventure then something has to give.

    The no alien rule does feel a bit pointless these days considering they have what anyone else would consider aliens. They’re monsterous villains that just happen to have originated on Earth.

    It’s really surprising it takes them so long to make Rimmer a hardlight hologram in the show when the idea originated in the books early.

    I don’t think that’s something you would change though. It is a part of who Rimmer is that he can’t touch anything. And his character develops when he can regain those abilities. Stories like Bodyswap and Holoship likely wouldn’t have happened had Rimmer been hardlight from the start.

    As for Lister not really being the last human, that’s sort of a bit lazy writing really. A bit like in the book itself. Doug just throws that concept out and introduces other humans at his whim.

    I don’t mind a slightly more populated space, again it allows them to do a much larger variety of shows. But constantly coming across other humans (Telford, Irene E) or having them magically brought to you (Timewave) to create a story is a bit cheating and just lets that’s concept of who Lister is down again.

    #266247
    Spaceworm Jim
    Participant

    I think GELFs, Simulants and all the rest are blatant cheats to get around the No Aliens Rule as much as anyone else, but I think there’s a huge difference between that and actual aliens being in the show. Also, Rimmer being right all along about aliens existing in the first two series would retroactively make those scenes poorer. I’m expecting the next special to be about the crew coming across aliens.

    #266248

    I think the gradual introduction of various GELFs and, eventually, hardlight, worked really well for the show, as it allowed them to explore the largely unpopulated universe and Rimmer’s lack of body for quite a while before changing them over time. Part of me still wishes hardlight was only available on Legion’s space station, as giving Rimmer a body does remove a little of what made the character what it was. It’s not a big deal, but I would have preferred it that way.

    As far as humans are concerned, it’s an issue I have with the Dave era. 1-VI Dwarf, we see other actual humans in six episodes, three of which are time travel, three of which are alternate versions of the main characters.
    In X-XII, there are seven episodes with humans, two are time travel, one alternate dimensions, four are actual different people with the crew in the future. Throw in Tikka and VIII and you’ve got 16. If I really wanted to be petty, I could say that the alternate realities joke at the end of BtE means everyone in that was a real human, and thus could push it up to 19. Either way, Doug Dwarf is considerably more populated than Rob and Doug Dwarf, and I think it’s not a good thing. I quite like the VI/VII thing of coming across simulants and GELFs more often, of them travelling through a part of space that’s occupied by effectively ‘alien’ lifeforms, but the more human-centric approach doesn’t work for me, and somewhat spoils the atmosphere of the show.

    #266249

    Throw in Tikka and VIII and you’ve got 16.

    Don’t forget the six episodes of VII that Kochanski is in.

    #266250
    Spaceworm Jim
    Participant

    I agree there, ID. Red Dwarf is at its best focusing on the relationships between the main cast, especially Rimmer and Lister. More humans distracts from that as well as sort-of cheapening the original premise of the show. I’m not sure if Doug agrees with me.

    #266251
    RunawayTrain
    Participant

    ^^^ agree, agree, agree, with all the above. The universe being well-populated in any way is its own problem if overused, but being populated only by human creation and not humans themselves is still a lonely parameter, with Lister the last human alive and Rimmer the only other human in his life.

    I have other problems with the universe being populated by beings with their own personalities, but when they met humans before (BBC-era) you didn’t know when they next would meet one. In Dave Dwarf it feels like every other episode*, so it almost doesn’t matter when they leave Lister’s life, because he’ll meet humans again soon enough.

    *I do not know if that actually is the case, but with the 3 Dave series that’s how it feels to me, anyway.

    #266252
    Hamish
    Participant

    Sure they are all Holograms, but Holoship kind of counts right? At least as much as Telford. And Langstrom was going to be invited to join the crew to begin with.

    #266253
    Spaceworm Jim
    Participant

    Langstrom and the Holoship crew maybe, but I thought Telford was a genuine human? He’s on Irene’s level. He gave the Cat a gun and all.

    #266254

    Yeh Telford is human as he was the one being experimented on.

    I wouldn’t say Holoship on it’s own counts. It in an of itself is an interesting concept and actually, a clever way of them meeting people within the set parameters. i.e. everyone is dead, but Holograms (like androids) would still be functioning.

    I don’t mind a semi-populated space if it is clearly the shit humanity had left behind. Abandoned computers, robots, GELFS, holograms etc. There can be some really interesting stories derived from that. Justice being a brilliant example of this semi-automated system still running and the guys just tripping over it basically and getting caught up in its logic.

    To Runaway Train’s comment, our crew meet

    Trojan – Howard and Crawford (Hologram and a simulant from the past pulled into the present)
    Fathers and Suns – Pree (A computer)
    Lemons – Jesus and other sundry humans in the past
    Entangled – Irene E (Human)
    Dear Dave – No-one
    The Beginning – Hoguey plus a number of other simulants

    Twentica – Numerous simulants in the present and humans in the past
    Samsara – Briefly two humans in the present before they perish (although only Kryten and Cat on comms)
    Give and Take – Snacky and Asclepious (both robots)
    Officer Rimmer – Captain Herring (a printed entity that is ostensibly human)
    Krysis – Butler, a Gelf and the Universe
    Can of Worms – a Polymorph.

    Cured – Telford and the “Evils” (A human and 4 androids)
    Siliconia – hundreds of androids
    Timewave – dozens of humans (from the past pulled to the present)
    Mechocracy – none
    M-Corp – Whatever the people within the M-Corp thing are, holograms or AR or what? But intelligence none-the-less
    Skipper – Rimmer meets various versions of the Red Dwarf crew

    The Promised Land – Cats.

    Aside from anything else there are only two episodes where they don’t meet anything at all and out of 19 episodes 10 of them have some sort of humanity if you include Howard and the M-Corp people.

    It kinda undermines Lister’s moping about missing humanity when he meets them every other week.

    #266255

    Holoship works because, although they are ostensibly human, they have absolutely no interest in the non-Rimmer crew. Although it’s through snobbery, it’s still an alienating factor, and no one from the ship properly interacts with the rest of the Dwarfers. Even Binks communicates with Lister vicariously through his transmissions to the Enlightenment.

    #266256

    Just out of curiosity and because I’m awake, thought I’d run through the rest of the show

    The End – Humans but arguably pre-accident and shouldn’t count
    Future Echos – they see future versions of themselves
    Balance of Power – none (Rimmer appears as Kochanski but it’s still Rimmer)
    Waiting for God – Cat Priest
    Confidence and Paranoia – title characters (hallucinations)
    Me2 – Another Rimmer

    So other than Cat Priest and Hallucinations, they meet no-one new

    Kryten – title character (android)
    Better Than life – computer game NPCs
    Thanks for the Memory – none
    Stasis Leak – pre-accident crew in the past
    Queeg – title character (computer, but really Holly)
    Parallel Universe – alt-versions of the crew in another dimension (humans)

    (Kryten and their Parallel Universe selves are the only new people they meet in this series. Queeg is ostensibly Holly, there’s NPCs in BTL and in Stasis Leak it’s pre-accident crew)

    Backwards – humans on Earth in the future (yep it’s the future, think about it)
    Marooned – none
    Polymorph – title character (a Gelf)
    Bodyswap – none
    Timeslides – humans in the past
    The Last Day – Hudson 10 (android)

    (A GELF and an Android plus 2x lots of humans in the past – which makes for 3 occurrences in two series that’s happened)

    Camille – title character + Victor (two GELF, 1 appears as 2 humans, a cat and an android, plus herself)
    DNA – none
    Justice – none
    White Hole – none (unless we count Talkie Toaster, which I’m not)
    Dimension Jump – alt Rimmer
    Meltdown – numerous human inspired wax droids.

    (This series might be the most devoid of additional characters yet it’s at that time in the show you’d expect more)

    Holoship – numerous holograms
    The Inquisitor – title character (android)
    Terrorform – a couple of semi-naked women from Rimmer’s subconscious oiling Rimmer but otherwise none
    Quarantine – Landstrum (a hologram)
    Demons and Angels – alt-versions of our crew
    Back to Reality – 4 people (Timothy Spall, The “is this the Dibly party” woman, The Fascist dude and the kid – but they’re all hallucination)

    (Again a very sparse series at a time you expect a little more from the original run. Only some holograms, an android and some hallucinations)

    Psirens – various GELFs masquerading as human
    Legion – Gestalt entity
    Gunmen – 2 Simulants and some NPCs in Kryten’s subconscious
    Emohawk – GELFs
    Rimmerworld – Arguably numerous humans all derived from Rimmer’s DNA
    Out of Time – their future selves.

    (So the only humans here are either Psiren, NPCs or Rimmer)

    So in 36 episodes the only actual honest to god humans they meet are from time travel shenanigans. The rest are all varying forms of hallucinations and holograms etc

    Tikka to Ride – they actually only meet 3 humans, the 2 cops and JFK himself. But they see plenty. However all in the past and as a result a split timeline
    Stoke – they only meet a version of Ace, although Lister jousts one and fucks one in an AR game.
    Ouroboros – Kochanski (human)
    Duct Soup – Kochanski (human)
    Blue – Kochanski (Human)
    Beyond a Joke – Kochanski, a stimulant, Able and a couple of others plus all the Jane Austin characters (human, sim, android, NPCs etc)
    Epideme – Kochanski, Carmen, title character (2 humans – 1 deceased – and a virus)
    Nanarchy – Kochanski, nanbots (human and nanos)

    (This series is a lot emptier than I thought it would be too, on par with the rest not counting Kochanski. Although I think you do as she is an additional human Lister has regular contact with)

    Not going to bother listing off series 8. Other than Cassandra every additional character is human and there’s thousands.

    BTE – hallucinations of humans.

    #266257
    RunawayTrain
    Participant

    Thanks for that, quinn_drummer. So not quite humans every other ep, but when compared with the first VII series the contrast is clear.

    In Samsara it’s very odd because we the audience ‘meet’ the humans yet our main characters either don’t, or meet them briefly off-screen.

    Is Dear Dave the one with the vending machines and him falling on top of one? I’ve just put my finger on why miscellaneous machines having personalities in the Dave era irks me but not in the BBC era – they don’t figure prominently as individual characters in the BBC era; at most is Talkie Toaster in White Hole. But dispenser 23(?) is an actual character in Dear Dave, I think, and the vending machines in Mechocracy certainly have more than a passing line.
    *They’re part of the plot*, whereas in the BBC series, interactions with ship machines with personalities are mostly just to give us slices of life (except arguably in White Hole – and TT is never implied to be a character always there. Revived to test the intelligence upgrade, but we don’t see or hear from him again until the Dave era. He’s certainly not keeping them company after that ep by any means). There is no sense of having a conversation with the food dispenser as peers, but the interactions with dispenser 23 are more like friendly acquaintances rather than the machine just there to perform a function.

    I guess it could be a signal of Lister’s loneliness that he’s looking for casual companionship from machines, but I dunno. Just feels like writing that relies on extra characters despite it ostensibly being just the 4 main characters. Fathers and Suns is another, we meet the medi-bot as another character – which it wasn’t before. Doesn’t feel quite such a lonely, lifeless ship any more.

    So it’s not so much having extra personalities that bugs me, but how big a role they play and how much the episode relies on them.

    #266258
    Warbodog
    Participant

    At the same time, writing off the human race and calling Lister categorically the last human being alive (as far as Tikka to Ride as I recall) always seemed presumptuous. Still saying that in the Dave era would be a mid-period X-Files Scully level of stubbornness.

    #266259
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

    Also has to be said the quality of performance of the people they meet is far better in the first 6 series so the crew running into other characters often is a lot more enjoyable, VII and VIII had their moments, there were a few good guests in there too.

    Mac before they made Hollister an idiot in VIII was great, Robert Bathurst, Denis Lill, Suzanne Bertish, Jenny Agutter etc, and even the actors who weren’t well known for their acting chops necessarily and were in Emmerdale Farm and Bergerac and stuff, provided high quality performances with menace/ humour as appropriate and most importantly, believability in the universe of Red Dwarf.

    Could blame scripting, so maybe I’m being harsh on the Dave Dwarf guest actors but apart from Pree and Asclepius, I don’t think there’s been anyone approach the menace or in universe believability levels of the Rob and Doug Dwarf guests. Some characters now take me out of the story because their performances are a bit panto, or just pants, or only there for the gags and the character doesn’t make sense.

    Which is fair enough if you just want to make jokes, but the beauty of Red Dwarf is/was (?) that it’s a legitimate science fiction show too (with admittedly dodgy continuity).

    #266260
    Hamish
    Participant

    Langstrom and the Holoship crew maybe, but I thought Telford was a genuine human? He’s on Irene’s level. He gave the Cat a gun and all.

    I was not saying Telford is not human, but in terms of meaningful character interaction with the main cast he is far less “human” than say Nirvana Crane is in her interactions with Rimmer. And when you have a well drawn Hologram character already at the core of the show, it is not really clear to me how much of a meaningful distinction can be made between a living human or a Hologram in-universe.

    I first saw Holoship from a VHS tape I rented from the library a while after I had already seen most of the Grant/Naylor episodes, and I do remember finding it unusual at the time how populated the episode was in comparison to the rest of the show. Pointing out they are Holograms seems on the same level as justifying the Kinatawowi by making them GELFs to me.

    I do grant the point about how the Enlightenment crew other themselves from the Dwarfers and thus make themselves more alienating, but then Timewave attempts to do the same thing with the crew of the Enconium. It just does so in a much more problematic fashion.

    #266261
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Holoship and Meltdown are both busy and were polarising/unpopular among fans when they came out, maybe this was part of the reason.

    As snobbish as it can seem to claim the show died after series 2 (1 if you’re really hardcore), it’s interesting where different people draw the line based on what you want to get out of it. I’ve seen people saying they stop watching after series 4, or 5.

    #266262
    Jenuall
    Participant

    Better Than life – computer game NPCs

    Depending on how picky you want to be about things you could include Gordon the 11th generation AI as well – it’s a recorded message so they’re not actually meeting him but it’s a new face on screen I guess.

    Thanks for the Memory – none

    Again if we wanted to be picky technically we meet Lisa Yates but that’s a memory/flashback and it’s a very fleeting moment

    Backwards – humans on Earth in the future (yep it’s the future, think about it)

    I’d still say it was the past – time is literally running backwards so taken from the crews point of reference in they year 3 million+ 1993 has to be seen as the past surely?

    DNA – none

    “Empty universe” purists would probably moan about them finding another ship with working technology on it – the crew interacting with another functional talking computer etc.

    Justice – none

    Now this one is just wrong – we meet our first simulant in this episode!

    The overall point stands though, they meet fewer unique individuals in the earlier episodes.

    I also think the point from GlenTokyo is very true – the quality of the performances and writing of the people they meet takes a nose dive after the Grant Naylor era. The people they meet are, within the context of a sci-fi comedy show, pretty grounded and believable in the first 6 series – but as things progress we end up with everyone they meet being some OTT caricature and the zany nob gets dialled up to 11

    #266264

    <

    *They’re part of the plot*, whereas in the BBC series, interactions with ship machines with personalities are mostly just to give us slices of life

    Other than the vending machine in Only The Good … but but I’d comfortably move that interaction into a ‘Doug’s era’ category rather than a ‘BBC era’ category for the sake of argument.

    I’d still say it was the past – time is literally running backwards so taken from the crews point of reference in they year 3 million+ 1993 has to be seen as the past surely?

    But it’s not their past, it’s the universes future. If it was their past time wouldn’t be running backward.

    Now this one is just wrong – we meet our first simulant in this episode!

    Oh of course, completely forgot about him. As I regularly do watching the episode.

    I also think the point from GlenTokyo is very true

    Yeah it is, I’ve said as much myself in the past. All of the characters are played much less comedically. The comedy coming from the situation and the interaction, an evil character is just that, evil. They’re not comedy evil or camping it up for laughs, which seems to happen all to often in Dave era. Take the bickering Exponoids and Simulants in Twentica and The Beginning. Where’s the menace in any of them?

    #266267

    Yeah, I definitely fall into the ‘not liking comedy guest characters’ camp. Humour can arise from them, and often does, but their character shouldn’t be undermined by making them overly wacky. Meltdown has some fairly broad performances, which might be another reason it’s less fondly remembered than most of the Grant Naylor era.

    As a one-off, a ‘comedy’ guest would be fine – I liked Hogey a lot, for example – but it’s definitely the issue that, even though the tone of the Dave era feels either like 1-VI, or at least an attempt at 1-VI, most of the guest characters still feel like they come from VIII. Even Asclepius was ramped up a bit much in the comedy creepy stakes for my liking.

    #266269

    Meltdown has some fairly broad performances

    Meltdown I can forgive though as they are meant to be caricatures of these historical figures in universe.

    The same goes for camp Hitler in Cured. The point is he is the reverse of the man we perceive, so that’s fine. And it is an absolutely brilliant performance.

    But when a character is meant to be the bad guy, to have a dimwitted simulant or what is essentially Johnny Vegas in a pink coppers uniform, undermines the character and the situation.

    I liked Hogey a lot, for example

    I think Hoguey works because he isn’t meant to be a menace, that’s fine and he can be a bit silly. The humour there comes from subverting all our expectation, especially with regards to the crews relationship to him.

    But imagine Inquisitor played like that. Urgh!

    #266274
    Loathsome American
    Participant

    I don’t know if this is a vain grasp at trying to find an objective distinction, but it sometimes feels like they tend to at least meet more people AT ONE TIME in Dave-era episodes? BBC-era, they generally meet individuals whereas now they tend to meet other crews or groups?

    Holoship a notable exception, but also Holoship is really really really really good.

    #266277
    RunawayTrain
    Participant

    quinn_drummer series VIII didn’t count in my mind, because although the universe may not be populated the ship certainly is – but actually it fits very well into the premise of an unpopulated universe, it just feels totally different from the rest because our characters are not alone any more. But the crew are alone in the universe.

    I don’t know if this is a vain grasp at trying to find an objective distinction, but it sometimes feels like they tend to at least meet more people AT ONE TIME in Dave-era episodes? BBC-era, they generally meet individuals whereas now they tend to meet other crews or groups?

    Holoship a notable exception, but also Holoship is really really really really good.

    Yes exactly. Holoship is an exception in the BBC era but we only actually see at most 3 of them on screen at once, and although they are not actively hostile it is immediately clear they are not friendly either, they only stopped in the first place because they were interested in Rimmer. And our main characters don’t even meet the crew, only Rimmer does; the others only ever meet Don Warrington’s character.

    This is one thing most of series X and XI got right, for me, that apart from Lemons and Twentica (and arguably The Beginning, but the Yes-men barely count as actual characters and our crew don’t meet those) although we meet more characters overall it’s usually only one or two on screen at once. Samsara they barely even meet them, though it feels weird for the audience to see and know far more of them than the crew ever do.

    The same goes for camp Hitler in Cured. The point is he is the reverse of the man we perceive, so that’s fine. And it is an absolutely brilliant performance.
    But when a character is meant to be the bad guy, to have a dimwitted simulant or what is essentially Johnny Vegas in a pink coppers uniform, undermines the character and the situation.

    I think Hoguey works because he isn’t meant to be a menace, that’s fine and he can be a bit silly. The humour there comes from subverting all our expectation, especially with regards to the crews relationship to him.

    But imagine Inquisitor played like that. Urgh!

    I largely agree, except the simulants in The Beginning – I can forgive the comedy there because although they’re idiots we know they are a real threat, there is never any doubt that they WILL annihilate our crew when they get the chance. They don’t get out of it by making the villains sympathetic to their side, they only get out of it by outwitting the villains. Whereas throughout much of the Dave era they meet people who are or become sympathetic towards them, which dilutes the original feeling of the universe being a hostile and lonely place towards the last human alive. In the BBC era they rarely leave any characters they meet on friendly or even civil terms! Lots of escaping rather than being let go.

    #266285
    Jenuall
    Participant

    Both Quarantine and Legion even directly play up to the fact that everyone they meet is in some way trying to kill them!

    #266286

    Is Asclepius the first person they meet who can shoot straight?

    #266288
    RunawayTrain
    Participant

    Both Quarantine and Legion even directly play up to the fact that everyone they meet is in some way trying to kill them!

    Has anyone counted whether 31 was an accurate count there or just a comical-sounding number?

    #266290

    Both Quarantine and Legion even directly play up to the fact that everyone they meet is in some way trying to kill them!

    Has anyone counted whether 31 was an accurate count there or just a comical-sounding number?

    It was just the number of episodes at the time.

    No-way have they met 31 unique individuals trying to kill them.

    Attempted kills …

    Confidence, but not Paranoia
    (That’s all of series one)

    No-one in series two tries to kill them (except the BTL game itself if we can say it is trying to kill them, which we don’t know from the TV show)

    Polymorph and Hudson 10

    Curry Monster, Simulant and the evil wax droids which we don’t know the number of

    Inquisitor, Terrorform Beast(?), Landstrom, Despair Squid

    Multiple Psirens

    That’s 9 individuals plus the wax droids and the psirens trying to kill them.

    #266291

    Obviously they meet more people than that, they’re listed above, was just curious on the killer count.

    #266292
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Has anyone counted whether 31 was an accurate count there or just a comical-sounding number?
    It was just the number of episodes at the time.

    Ooh, nice! Like Police Squad where the number of dustbins Frank knocks down corresponds to the episode number (just one reason why it’s a shame it ended at six).

    Tension sheets are red because it helps you relax, but this is contrary to red’s associations with being an energetic and stimulating colour in conventional colour psychology, as followed in manipulative marketing and branding.

    They say it can also lift your spirits, but more traditional stress/anxiety-calming colours would be blue, green, purple or even yellow. Although this varies by culture to an extent, so it’s all kind of bollocks, isn’t it.

    #266294

    It’s quite likely that the pan-dimensional liquid beast from the Mogadon Cluster tried to kill them.

    #266296

    Tension sheets are red because it helps you relax, but this is contrary to red’s associations with being an energetic and stimulating colour in conventional colour psychology, as followed in manipulative marketing and branding.

    The tension sheet is red because Holden over heard Rimmer tell his younger self they should be red.

    It’s a boot strap paradox with no psychological basis to it.

    #266298
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    It’s not a bootstrap paradox as it’s explicitly shown that there was an original timeline where Holden came up with the design (and colour) independently at a later age.

    #266299

    It’s not a bootstrap paradox as it’s explicitly shown that there was an original timeline where Holden came up with the design (and colour) independently at a later age.

    The later age thing I’ve always read as young Rimmer not going to the patent office, and then years passing and Holden remembering the idea (maybe in his half asleep state it sits quietly in his subconscious for a while) and then finally “invents” it. But it was still Rimmer that planted the idea with him as a kid in the first place.

    Holly says you’ve put the timelines back how they were, but thats as a result of him going to his younger self and Holden over hearing.

    So yeah, bootstrap.

    #266300
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    If the timeline was reverted exactly to how it was, Rimmer would not have been dead up to the events of the episode.

    #266302

    That’s another issue entirely.

    That timeline is as a result of Rimmer going back to telling his past self about the tension sheet. Holden over hears it, and it is subsequently Holden that “invents” it.

    #266307
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    A causal loop (bootstrap paradox) is based on the understanding of a single fixed timeline (i.e. Kyle Reese fathering John Connor in The Terminator).

    The changing timelines in Timeslides is based on the understanding of the Time traveller creating a new timeline whenever they travel back in time. (Marty inventing rock and roll in Back to the Future). When the traveller returns to their time, it’s not really the same place they left; it’s the future of the timeline they created.

    A bootstrap paradox would imply that the idea for the Tension Sheet came from nowhere. That’s not the case; it came from the first timeline.

    #266311

    It’s typical Red Dwarf vagueness that makes this arguable on both side. I’ve always taken it as not a bootstrap paradox, though, and that Holden invented it at a younger age than he originally did.

    Lister’s kidneys in Give & Take, now they’re a great bootstrap paradox.

    #266312
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I’ve always wondered about ‘enig’ in that regard. Whether that’s a finitely repeating closed loop (until the Inquisitor’s erased, which breaks it) or was subject to change each time, since Future Kryten shouldn’t say “for some bizarre reason” when he should know what enig means by that point if he followed the same course as Present Kryten. Unless some of the Krytens don’t know it and just pass the (not that useful) clue on, or they just all have to be enigmatic for the sake of the script (Kryten says he’s going to recite it verbatim, but we don’t know whether he did, unless we already saw that he did).

    Nice to have some light reading to relax from the Backwards thread.

    #266313

    Isn’t Kryten repeating what his past self said because he knows that’s what supposed to be said so he says it verbatim?

    #266314
    Jenuall
    Participant

    Yeah enig always bothered me as well, it’s just one of those things that you have to gloss over

    #266315
    Dave
    Participant

    I’ve always wondered about ‘enig’ in that regard. Whether that’s a finitely repeating closed loop (until the Inquisitor’s erased, which breaks it) or was subject to change each time, since Future Kryten shouldn’t say “for some bizarre reason” when he should know what enig means by that point if he followed the same course as Present Kryten. Unless some of the Krytens don’t know it and just pass the (not that useful) clue on, or they just all have to be enigmatic for the sake of the script (Kryten says he’s going to recite it verbatim, but we don’t know whether he did, unless we already saw that he did).

    Now let’s discuss Heaven Sent.

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