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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.

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