Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum Red Dwarf VIII?

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  • #211642
    Jawscvmcdia
    Blocked

    It has been more than fifteen years since Red Dwarf VIII was first shown British television, but how well does it hold up?

    Given its change in direction, as well as cast of new characters from Bird Man to Chopper, the series has been isolated as a ‘backward step’ but is this the case? One could suggest that it was a brave new step for a series that, by Series VIII, had gotten stale and repetitive. Even by Series VI, the cracks where beginning to show when the writers, Naylor and Grant, had to effectively write out the main ship in the series to come up with new ideas. Eventually by Series VII, this premise had too worn itself out, so a decision to bring back the ship, this time with its original crew, was a risky move but understandable.

    Lister’s original mission was to get back to Earth and buy a farm on Fiji with Kochanski. Whilst he did eventually get back to Earth on three occasions, it was obvious to anybody that his plan was far-fetched at best. Getting back to Earth when three-million-years into the future, with a woman who was out of his league, and start a farm in a tropical country in the middle of nowhere wasn’t the smartest of ideas. The whole idea that Lister is supposed to be the last human alive is one that has been thoroughly explored, so isn’t it time for it to be put to resolved?

    #211643
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    Hi, Alex!

    No.

    If you have any other questions, please let me know.

    #211647
    Phil
    Participant

    “…cast of new characters from Bird Man to Chopper…”

    I honestly have no recollection of who or what Chopper is.

    Not trying to be a dick…I really don’t know if this is a typo, an error, or something I’ve totally erased from my mind.

    #211648
    MANI506
    Participant

    In many ways I find VIII the most fascinating series of all. All the series have their own distinctive tones but VIII is completely out on it’s own. It’s full of contradictions. It’s one of the least loved, yet one of the most successful in terms of initial audience and reviews. It has an amazing model sequence in episode one, but it’s surrounded by CGI. It has skutters, but one of them is in a stomach. It is funny, but it’s also stupid.

    #211649
    Ridley
    Participant

    Chopper played a guard apparently. Maybe he’s thinking of Archie?

    #211651
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >It has been more than fifteen years since Red Dwarf VIII was first shown British television, but how well does it hold up?

    As well as it ever did. So not very well at all.

    >the series has been isolated as a ‘backward step’ but is this the case?

    Yes.

    >Eventually by Series VII, this premise had too worn itself out, so a decision to bring back the ship, this time with its original crew, was a risky move but understandable.

    I don’t think anyone questioned the decision to go back to Red Dwarf. That wasn’t risky and was completely understandable. Going back to the mother ship wasn’t changing what the show was “about”.

    Bringing back the original crew though? That seemed questionable right as soon as it was announced. Red Dwarf I-VII was a case of the crew tackling the loneliness and dangers of deep space, Red Dwarf VIII was a case of the crew being ordered to do menial tasks or they would get in trouble with Captain Hollister.

    >The whole idea that Lister is supposed to be the last human alive is one that has been thoroughly explored, so isn’t it time for it to be put to resolved?

    Yes. When the show ends. If you’re suggesting the show should end, then I wouldn’t argue too much with you. However, if you want the show to continue, then I don’t see why resolving *that* would be in its best interests.

    What’s the alternative? Bring back the crew again? Have a series set on Earth?

    #211652
    Renegade Rob
    Participant

    Series VIII was ill-conceived and poorly executed to say the least.

    However… there are a number of interesting ideas and opportunities that, on paper, COULD have been really good and were maybe touched on. Is VIII a pile of horse shit? Absolutely? Do I have anything good to say about it? No, though it has a cool DVD menu. However, there are some underlying themes and ideas that VIII touched on but squandered that had potential:

    1) The idea of resurrecting the crew isn’t necessarily a bad one. The prison thing, maybe, but the Canaries could have been cool. Start an episode in the bunkroom then go on a mission. But I don’t think you needed a prison setting to do that. I would have really liked a scenario in which Hollister goes “Look, you’re fuck-ups, but clearly there’s mitigating circumstances. We’re all on the same team here. It’s 3 million years in the future, we’re stranded, and you guys are our best experts on what’s out there. How about you become our resident explorers and help us suss out where we are and what happened to humanity.” They could have had the Montague bunkroom AND had adventures like V and VI, all while dicking around with Todhunter and Petersen. It could have been the best of the early and later series combined. However, like I whinged on about in another thread, that would require the crew to be more serious and competent and less cartoonish. The revived crew had potential, damn it.

    2) On that same note, what VIII touched on was things coming full circle. Much like a Campbellian cyclical journey, Lister started out with a crew and as a bozo, but then left that setting and then had seasons of space adventures, and now the crew’s back and he’s back to being on the bottom, but now he’s matured and grown. The concept of the Series VI-era Lister back in a Series I-II setting is a FUCKING COOL idea, and BITR1 touches on it, with the occasional semi-okay gag. Everything kind of comes full circle in VIII, and there are constant past references to Legion and Future Echoes. It’s got male Holly and Kryten and Kochanski. Hollister interacts with the Cat. The Dwarfers are kind of meeting their maker, and while it made for horrible television as originally executed, the full-circle-ness of it was interesting. It kind of felt like a final season that way.

    3) I liked the idea that, even though the Boys from the Dwarf have had years of experience making it through crazy space adventures, they’re easily outwitted and outmatched by the competent old crew. In a world where it was just the four of them, relatively, they were cool and badass for triumphing against various enemies, but the fact that they’re so handily beaten and outclassed by Hollister and Holly just shows perspective. The Dwarfers were always still losers, but for years they weren’t losers relative to anything else, but now they are again. interesting concept, again, not done well.

    4) Kochanski had a couple good moments in VII whereas in VIII she was absolutely given nothing. The Cassandra scenes don’t count. Kochanski was SQUANDERED which especially sucks because VIII, theoretically, should have been her season. Are you telling me a navigation officer doesn’t have clout? She could have just pulled Hollister aside at any moment and been like “Listen, so here’s our situation.” When the Dwarfers were first arrested, Lister was in trouble and had stowaways “along with navigation officer Kristine Kochanski.” Isn’t it the bigger deal that Kochanski was on board? Shouldn’t she have been the main target of their inquiry “along with technician Dave Lister?” Why was she secondary to him in that situation? The idea of Kochanski back on board ship in her natural habitat could have been a rich mine for plot and comedy, but no. Instead we stick her in a jail cell and give her a teddy bear.

    5) It’s a “rumor” that Red Dwarf is 3 million years in deep space. The Red Dwarf crew in VIII seem to be taking that pretty well. In Series I, that subject is given a great deal of emotional weight. But after Hollister acknowledges it early on in BITR1, it doesn’t seem to bug anyone else?! It would have been cool to see the other crew react to that and try to deal with it a little more. Instead, they’re just hangin’ out on the ship doing their thing.

    6) The prison idea HAD potential, not just for the bunkroom and action settings. The Dwarfers against “the man” could have been really funny and subversive. But again, the crew has to be serious. If they were really kind of stuck in a future dystopian prison setting, there could have been some really great stories and sci-fi concepts.

    I guess my point is VIII sucked the big one, but it had some underlying cool ideas that were mishandled (understatement).

    #211654
    srmcd1
    Participant

    It really could’ve been an interesting twist on the old premise. Still having those same old adventures, but now they have someone to report to. Suddenly those ol’ Space Corps Directive actually MATTER.

    It does strike me as odd, though, that after all the hectic adventures with GELFs, simulants, mad holograms and other weird creatures, the universe suddenly goes a bit silent, with nothing popping out of the woodwork to destroy the resurrected crew. Would’ve been a neat idea to have them getting caught with their shorts down, as a bunch of officers on a mining ship would have no idea how to deal with a triple-buttocked GELF warrior tribe attacking them, forcing them to rely on advice and tactics from the Boyz to survive.

    Also, I would’ve preferred it if Rimmer had retained his memories of being a hologram. The whole ‘reset Rimmer’ would’ve been okay for the first episode, but then I would’ve liked him to start remembering over the course of the premiere and be back to normal by the end.

    #211655
    Dax101
    Participant

    I remember around 1999 to 2001 in the fanclub magazine there was a favourite series poll and the results were red dwarf 5 as the best series with red dwarf 8 as second best series… so looking at how the red dwarf 8 episodes have dropped quite low in peoples minds over time i’d guess it hasn’t held up very well

    if you was gonna do the crew being brought back it should have been for 3 episodes at the most but overall i don’t think that was the major issue of series 8

    #211656
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >I remember around 1999 to 2001 in the fanclub magazine there was a favourite series poll and the results were red dwarf 5 as the best series with red dwarf 8 as second best series…

    I think this was around the time I stopped renewing my membership.

    #211657

    I always liked the idea that Lister would have to go back to work, and nobody would believe him about his adventures in space – suddenly he’s living a menial technician’s life again, and he begins to question whether he was happier when he was the last human being alive…

    Of course this would still leave open the utterly ridiculous plot hole of just *what* the crew of a mining ship are going to be doing 3 million years into deep space other than panicking and working out how to get home.

    Ugh. Obviously pointing out plot holes in VIII is old hat now, but it never fails to anger me how little of the series actually makes sense. Even now it still bugs me that technically, out there somewhere, the crew of Red Dwarf are still around in countless Starbugs and Blue Midgets. I’m terrified the Red Dwarf lot are going to stumble across Captain Hollister, probably having killed the rest of the Starbug crew so he can munch all their supplies, the fat bastard. Actually, Lister being sad again about being the last of his species in X is nonsense, isn’t it? There are 1,167 of them out there that you know of! Like Lister wouldn’t go off in serach of his best friends Petersen, Chen, Selby and Bent Bob.

    I’m beginning to remember why I use the ’10 Years Later’ caption at the start of BTE as a resolution for the VI or VII cliffhangers, depending on my mood.

    #211658
    Slainmonkey
    Participant

    This blows my mind actually given just how poorly I through of Series VIII back at the time and the fact I was only 13, I remember thinking how juvenile I found most of it to be. My opinions of it haven’t changed much outside of growing to dislike it even more which was kinda the opposite of how I feel with series VII which I’ve warmed a bit towards. However it astonish me that people were that fond of series VIII given that many fans would have been far older then I when I first saw it.

    #211659
    Slainmonkey
    Participant

    Welp, seems in my time gone I’ve forgotten how to use the tags

    #211666

    I was 14, I cringed a lot.

    #211711
    Renegade Rob
    Participant

    Maybe I’m a snob, but every time I read that a lot of people really liked VIII and considered it a return to form and all that, and even when people say they just have a soft spot for it… I don’t get it. I mean, when people shit on VII, even though I really like large parts of it, the hate’s totally understandable.

    But VIII is utterly devoid of coherent humor or anything to latch onto. Can someone explain to me how the people who enjoy VIII are able to enjoy it? Is it just that they hated VII more? For all of VII’s flaws and unfunniness, at least it knew how to tell a story. How is not leagues ahead of VIII? I’d actually be interested in that perspective; if I ever watch VIII again, I’d be stoked to watch it from a different angle, a more positive one, but I just can’t latch onto anything positive. So what am I missing?

    #211717
    MANI506
    Participant

    I remember Stephen Hawking in the A-Z saying how he loves that Red Dwarf doesn’t take itself too seriously. So I choose to watch VIII in that spirit.

    I would recommend the fan edits of Pete and Every Dog… on Daily Motion as the best way to revisit the series. Every Dog… In particular makes the last episode so much better

    #211719
    Renegade Rob
    Participant

    > Every Dog… In particular makes the last episode so much better

    Yeah, I’ve seen it. It’s not bad.

    I feel like VIII’s incoherency gets in the way of any potentially good jokes. It’s the opposite of VII, which was coherent but with less jokes. Almost as if putting VII and VIII in a blender and taking the best of each and mixing them would result in a semi-okay series. I doubt it’s possible, but a VII-VIII edit, reducing those 16 episodes into a single 6-episode series… that I’d love to see on dailymotion.

    #211720
    Jawscvmcdia
    Blocked

    It seems to me that by Series VII, Doug was trying to produce a comedy-drama with an emphasis on the drama, rather than on the comedy. This was possibly inspired by the Series VI ending which was very dramatic indeed. After the series aired, and quite possibly due to the negative reception it received, Doug turned up the silliness factor by Series VIII to over compensate.

    This also backfired as Red Dwarf isn’t the same as One Foot in the Grave or Keeping Up Appearances, which whilst are sitcoms in their own right, are much more relatable than four beings on a space ship in the middle of space. For example, One Foot in the Grave throughout its run was able to be both comedic and dramatic, but Red Dwarf had established a set formula of humour in the first series at a time when the opportunity to be dramatic was much harder to do.

    #211721
    MANI506
    Participant

    I remember Douglas saying at the time of the tenth anniversary that he felt he owed the fans a really funny Red Dwarf novel after the dramatic direction of Last Human so it was definitely his intention to make series VIII as funny as possible too.

    It’s a shame we have to take the rough with the smooth with VII and VIII. I’ve always thought that there are two decent six part series in there.

    #211723

    I’m really quite amazed that anybody ever thought VIII was up there with the others. Even on first watch, with the (relatively few) good jokes new to me, so raising some big laughs, it was clearly weaker than everything so far.

    VII was obviously an experiment into taking the show in a new direction, one which certainly didn’t work, partially because the loss of Rob and Chris made it just seem TOO different. If there was a gradual move in the direction of the dramatic, that would be much better as it would be more finely honed and the humour would have been developed to suit the style better (i.e. you don’t end up with daft VIII-style shit like pipes that say hernunger). Although personally I’m not sure if the more cinematic style would ever have suited the show well. I like the grimy look of the first six series, which was lost in the polish of 7 onwards.

    Anyway, yes, VII is bad Red Dwarf, VIII is bad television.

    #211724
    Brayds2006
    Participant

    > VII is bad Red Dwarf, VIII is bad television.

    I think that’s the best way I’ve seen those two series summed up.

    Also I agree with Renegade Rob and MANI, I think somewhere in these two series is some decent material, more so in VII than VIII. I also like the Idea that Red Dwarf could have gradually become a more dramatic show. Now I’m imagining a series VII made in 1995 featuring Rob and Chris, which probably wouldn’t be terrible compared to the VII we got.

    This is fueling my love of Red Dwarf AND Alternate History. Hmm, I’m getting ideas.

    #211725
    MANI506
    Participant

    On the intro cast Heath and Angela responded very strongly to BITR part one. I also think that as a half hour it is very good, especially as a reaction to VII. I laughed heartily at the French movie star dialogue and it was so good to see Chris and Norman back. I’m convinced that most of the good reviews on the back of the VIII script book are for this episode.

    #211726
    Paul Muller
    Participant

    I’ve never really had an issue with the drama elements in Red Dwarf, especially going back and looking at the first two series – there’s some real pathos and nuanced character stuff going on there, as well as some genuine peril and proper science fiction ideas. Obviously, VII was a bit flat, but I think that it’s as much to do with the lack of Chris, pacing and scant jokes than the overall comedy/drama balance of the series. As a twelve year old, watching series VIII when it was first broadcast, I remember noticing the massive contrast between the two series – VIII was more like a cartoon. Performances were broad, jokes that might have worked as one liners were bloated and overlong and characterisation, plot, logic and development were presumably bludgeoned to death and buried under Paul Alexander’s patio. The subsequent series’ are definitely an improvement but I still get a chill run up my spine each time one of the cast gurns at the camera or a guest character is killed off in a comedy fashion…

    #211728
    clem
    Participant

    > I remember Douglas saying at the time of the tenth anniversary that he felt he owed the fans a really funny Red Dwarf novel after the dramatic direction of Last Human so it was definitely his intention to make series VIII as funny as possible too.

    That’s interesting. You do have to wonder what Doug was thinking with VIII. I’ve said before that series is the RD equivalent to the Gene Deitch Tom and Jerry cartoons, except they really were made by people who didn’t quite get what they were meant to be doing and had very little respect or affection for what had come before. VIII just seems like it was. And yes it’s “bad television” but it’s fucking awful Red Dwarf.

    #211729
    Dax101
    Participant

    i think someone mentioned it above but i remember reading in an early fanclub magazing in 1998 where there was a poll about what people wanted for series 8 and “more comedy” won so i don’t know if that had an impact on the direction to make series 8 more spoofy but it certainly was a wrong one

    #211731
    pfm
    Participant

    People should just be thankful they have a roof over their heads. It’s a slightly sub-par series of a brilliant television programme…

    #211733
    MANI506
    Participant

    It’s true, we’re lucky to be alive and very lucky to have two new series to look forward to. This is a true story, on new years day 1993 I had a bike accident (totally not serious or life threatening). I genuinely thought to myself ‘I can’t die now, I still haven’t seen series one of Red Dwarf.’

    #211734
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    I’m bemused by the assertion that Red Dwarf has *ever* strayed close to being a comedy-drama. There’s a difference between a show not trying to make you laugh every 30 seconds, and simply failing to make you laugh every 30 seconds. A random scene where the tone is suddenly a bit “off” (as in BTE’s first scene and stupid Blade Runner finale) does not alter the genre of a show. Balance of Power does pathos far better. Look how it deals with death, for example. Specifically Rimmer’s “hilarious” murder of Katarina.

    Same with VII. It’s *trying* to make you laugh. The atmosphere may be off and more reminiscent of a comedy-drama, but there really isn’t a tonal shift.

    There’s not an increase in (attempted) gags in Series VIII compared to VII, it’s just that the bar has been lowered substantially and all of the characters are acting like fucking morons because that’s apparently funnier

    #211740
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    I don’t get how you can look at Red Dwarf VII, with it’s increased emphasis on continuity, on consequences to actions, on the actions and inactions of characters influencing the mood of others in ways that affect the plot and, importantly, the shift in presentation, and think, “Yeah, this isn’t comedy-drama.” Whether you feel it’s successful or not, VII is very clearly trying very, very hard to push the drama buttons. It’s experimental, true, and it doesn’t stick around for VIII (though it makes a partial return in BTE) but it’s definitely comedy-drama.

    #211743
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >with it’s increased emphasis on continuity,

    Like Red Dwarf VI?

    >consequences to actions,

    When *weren’t* there consequences to actions?

    >the shift in presentation

    That’s like saying The Office is a comedy-drama because it has no studio audience. Presentation doesn’t equal genre, especially when the cast are pausing in dialogue for laughs to be added in later. I sincerely doubt there was a conscious decision to inform the actors they were now in “comedy-drama mode” and, if there are differences in their subsequent performance, it’s simply because they’re no longer responding to a live audience.

    >VII is very clearly trying very, very hard to push the drama buttons.
    Give me examples of VII doing this, and I’ll give you examples of I-VI doing this. And I daresay it’s incredibly difficult to find a moment of true pathos in series I-VIII inclusive that isn’t subsequently undermined by a joke.

    #211744
    Taiwan Tony
    Participant

    I think of series VII as a comedy-drama.
    The reason I think of it as a comedy-drama is because I didn’t laugh at it much.
    But I didn’t find it very dramatic either.
    So I am probably not adding to this discussion.
    Or am I just agreeing with Pete Part Three?
    Starting to read like a beat poem?
    No.

    One thing I will suggest is that, genre-labelling aside, Red Dwarf has always been a dramatic comedy. The crew being killed. The near-loss of the human race. That time Lister cut off his dreadlocks! You wouldn’t get that in On The Buses.

    #211745
    Paul Muller
    Participant

    Yeah I think ‘dramatic comedy’ is more accurate than ‘comedy drama’.

    Anyway, in summary, I hate Series VIII.

    #211746
    Slainmonkey
    Participant

    I feel the dramedy elements in VII or worse in BTE would have worked better in smaller doses. Fathers and Suns almost got this balance perfect if it didn’t have that dreadful Taiwan Tony garbage that felt like it was lifted right out of series VIII and The Beginning had some of those traits too. Now I just hope that Doug keeps trying to play the balancing act in the writing and doesn’t slip too far into the realm of drama or go as stupid as series VIII was.

    #211747
    Ridley
    Participant

    Neither the Rimmer coffin sequence or Lister saying goodbye to his incest baby are played for laughs.

    #211748
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    I’m not really sure what the Rimmer coffin sequence is supposed to be saying beyond “Buy into this, because Chris Barrie is out of here”. Either way, I’m not convinced cartoonish CGI and library music really helps its cause.

    Ouroboros holds the distinction of having an ending which neither ends on a cliff-hanger nor *intends* to make you laugh. Unfortunately, since it also includes a scene where Lister dresses in a frilly pink dressing gown and bunny slippers for cheap laughs, it’s kind of lost me by that point.

    If the scene was Lister truly giving up his son (as he did with Jim and Bexley offscreen), I’d find it easier to call it “dramatic”. However,since Lister knows *exactly* what will happen to this son (by means of an unoriginal sci-fi idea), I do find myself thinking “So?”, especially as it’s hard to equate this to a comparable real-life situation. Mind you, I am a heartless bastard.

    I really don’t think you need to look further than the very first scene of Red Dwarf VII to see its intentions. 3 years after the best, most dramatic cliffhanger the show ever pulled and they hurriedly defuse it with a joke about camcorders.

    28 minutes later, the most fondly remembered POTUS assassinates himself. And then Lister makes a joke about curry and the rest of the crew stamp on his head.

    #211755
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    So a drama-comedy can’t possibly be a drama-comedy because of the presence of comedy?

    #211756
    srmcd1
    Participant

    It’s a classic “Catch 44” situation.

    Oh, wait. Series VIII gag. Sorry.

    #211758
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >So a drama-comedy can’t possibly be a drama-comedy because of the presence of comedy?

    No, but a sitcom with dramatic moments shouldn’t be reclassed as a “drama-comedy” as it’s kind of a given that most sitcoms, within their own trappings, will have dramatic moments. They’re kind of integral for anything to happen in a plot.

    “Drama comedy” gives the impression that there’s a more equal weighting between drama and comedy. This is absolutely not the case. The plots of VII – like its predecessors – are, on the most part, built on comically quirky ideas, relying on the characters to act in irrational ways to create drama.

    It’s also general rule of sitcoms that there should be a “funny line” at least every 3-4 lines. By and large, Red Dwarf VII sticks to this. It may not achieve it, but its objective is still to make you laugh. A comedy-drama really doesn’t have this obligation.

    Keep the same scripts, add a studio audience and some cameras, drop the film effect…and it would “feel” just like regular sitcom Red Dwarf. Albeit distinctly subpar sitcom Red Dwarf.

    #211763
    Taiwan Tony
    Participant

    Do you all know Tikka to Ride – best ep of VII IMO – is a story as seen in the Twilight Zone?

    It’s good, this discussion. Anyone remember that episode of Barbara when Sam Kelly killed Hitler?

    #211764
    Moonlight
    Participant

    >Either way, I’m not convinced cartoonish CGI and library music really helps its cause.

    But that wasn’t a library track, it was composed by Howard Goodall. It’s the same tune as the action sequence at the beginning of the episode.

    #211765
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Yes, I probably should have checked this (or, at the very least, tried to find the sequence on YouTube and reacquaint myself with it). It’s a long time since I watched VII.

    Thanks for reminding me of the bit in the comedy-drama where someone sky-surfs on an alligator though!

    #211766
    Ridley
    Participant

    Wait a minute… you don’t like Red Dwarf VII!

    #211774

    C’mon now, this is the thread for talking about how shit VIII is. Get your own thread, VII bashers!

    #211783
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Sorry. I work to a schedule:

    Mondays: Moan about Red Dwarf VII
    Tuesdays: Moan about Red Dwarf Remastered
    Wednesdays : Moan about Red Dwarf VIII
    Thursdays : Moan about The Simpsons season 11 onwards
    Fridays : Moan about Red Dwarf Back to Earth
    Saturdays : Moan about Red Dwarf X
    Sundays : Write meandering posts on websites referencing the meandering posts I make on websites.

    I’ll be back on Wednesday, right after I learn Portugese.

    #211787

    I think you’re being very kind on The Simpsons season 10 there.

    #211788
    Moonlight
    Participant

    While I admit the cracks in the show are becoming prominent by season 10 (and season 11 is actively collapsing under its own weight most of the time, especially in the godawful third act of “Saddlesore Galactica”), I didn’t tap out until 12 on my recent watch-through. Although maybe I’m being to lenient on them for feeling so much more like the classic era than the current season that I’ve been following merely the novelty of watching Simpsons episodes I’ve never seen before. Even if they’re rarely funny enough to be worth it. I’ve got nothing better to do, alright? Lay off.

    Aaaaaaaand this is turning into a “when did the Simpsons stop being funny” debate. But then again those are a lot less clear cut than the same debate for Dwarf, since almost everyone can agree it crashed and burned after VII. Minus of course those who dislike VI for being too formulaic, but their opinions are bad and they should feel bad. (I’ll just state for the record here that I don’t think that that’s an unreasonable criticism, it’s just that with only six episodes it doesn’t last long enough to become repetitive in my opinion).

    Now, the REAL Dwarf debate is whether it got good again, and if so in which season. This will become increasingly interesting to argue about as XI and XII come out.

    #211808
    MANI506
    Participant

    I was a Simpsons addict until I saw the episode with Kid Rock when the family went to Florida. Not sure what season that is but I remember how disappointed I was. At least the movie was good and a recent episode set in Iceland was good too.

    Most disappointed I’ve been with Red Dwarf is probably the end of Emohawk. First time I thought ‘is that it?’ on first broadcast.

    #211809
    John Hoare
    Participant

    Most disappointed I’ve been with Red Dwarf is probably the end of Emohawk. First time I thought ‘is that it?’ on first broadcast.

    WHAT A DIBBLEY

    (I like Emohawk a lot, but that ending isn’t great. And the first half of the episode is far stronger than the second.)

    #211810
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >Most disappointed I’ve been with Red Dwarf is probably the end of Emohawk. First time I thought ‘is that it?’ on first broadcast.

    Emohawk was my introduction to being disappointed with Red Dwarf but, was by no means, the pnacle.

    I’d be (relatively) satisfied with the final joke, if Kryten and Lister had actually been transformed too. But it’s just seems like half an episode. It also seems to take far too long to get to the stuff with the Kinatowi clan (and,as a consequence, the “sequel” stuff”).

    The problem with sequels, is that you have preconceptions of where the story will go.

    #211811
    MANI506
    Participant

    The same disappointment was there for series VIII (excluding BITR1 and Cassandra).

    The ending of Back To Earth part two was way too much WTF but I don’t think I was disappointed.

    Dear Dave and Entangled made me a bit sad inside. Aside from that I’ve really enjoyed the last twenty years of Dwarf.

    #211812
    MANI506
    Participant

    The end of Beyond A Joke could fuck right off on first broadcast too! I don’t mind it so much these days…

    #211813
    Ridley
    Participant

    I was a Simpsons addict until I saw the episode with Kid Rock when the family went to Florida. Not sure what season that is but I remember how disappointed I was. At least the movie was good and a recent episode set in Iceland was good too.

    “Kill the Alligator and Run”. It’s my Worst. Simpsons. Ever.

    Pretty sure I only ever learned the name of it for a thread here.

    #211814
    Ridley
    Participant

    Learnt?

    #211815

    VI is my least favourite of Rob & Doug Dwarf, with action taking precedence over character stuff a bit too much for my taste (I can’t help feeling Rimmerworld would have actually been explored in more depth a la Terrorform in earlier series, rather than it just being the climatic five or ten minutes of the episode), and bringing back three elements of earlier episodes in Emohawk. I also miss the more run of the mill / everyday life aboard ship stuff, which had, admittedly, almost gone in V. I don’t mind some of the formulaic running gag elements of it, though, as they’re pretty much all gags that work well. And, crucially, I still enjoy watching it and find it very funny, which are the most important things.

    I do wish they’d left in the original ending of Out of Time, though, largely because VII would have been better set on Red Dwarf – partially because it would have got rid of the nonsense of Starbug being somehow massive on the inside now. And it would have meant no video camera gag. And VIII would have been different. Etc.

    #211818
    Jonsmad
    Participant

    Renagade Bob Said… “Maybe I’m a snob, but every time I read that a lot of people really liked VIII and considered it a return to form and all that, I don’t get it. Can someone explain to me how the people who enjoy VIII are able to enjoy it? Is it just that they hated VII more? How is VII not leagues ahead of VIII?

    I’d actually be interested in that perspective; if I ever watch VIII again, I’d be stoked to watch it from a different angle, a more positive one, but I just can’t latch onto anything positive. So what am I missing?”

    You are looking too close at it’s detail and questioning it, not going along for the ride and laughing.

    I enjoyed all of series VIII on broadcast. More than I enjoyed the experience overall of watching VII.
    That remains my preference now that VIII is better than 50% to 60% of VII is to me, though my perspective is massively different now to how it was on those shows in the 90s. Some of my hate for parts of VII has faded a little and my love of VIII has massively eroded as it’s many clear faults have been explained online irrefutably so in many cases or have shown up on re-reviewing.

    My hate for things in series VIII on first viewing was pretty much just 3 things. A couple of gags I thought were dumb or flat (the post joke, flours joke, dot to dot book joke and there was stuff in VI I hated similar to that before to be honest), secondly Krytens beard (why are we doing a Beadle parody in the late 90s when he wasn’t doing that sort of TV show anymore on tv?? it felt pathetically late to target that as an idea) and thirdly I hated the “Smeg it is” text ending to the series as much as I hated polymorph remastered typing a script on screen at us, as if that’s good enough when you’ve no more time or money to show us something. That was just a few weak points for me in a series I otherwise enjoyed on broadcast.

    Coming into series VIII, Red Dwarf had entertained solidly as a well plotted, character driven, 30minute audience sitcom in space for six series, twice In that time presenting a radical twist (the jump from II to III+kryten and series VI being set starbug only, and I managed to jump with them ok both times. Still felt it was a strong show.

    VII then I had to suffer that dynamic between cast and LIVE audience missing, especially in ship based scene this impacts most heavily, Then the departure of Chris Barrie, Then the emergence of whining Kryten, kochanski changing actress and having a massive role now, even lister getting wimpy by the end about claustrophobia then losing an arm. And also my then flat mates not liking the changes either and slagging the show off for the first time I was watching with an unappreciative audience. Lot of heartbreak as a fan as some episodes of my favourite show I now agreed with the flat mates on they were shit, other episodes I liked more I had to watch on video when they were out. But Duct Soup (I detest it’s my all time zero point show) and to a lesser extent Epideme and Nanarchy fail mostly as whole shows for me, little bit’s of other shows.

    VIII then was a return to form, because that live audience dynamic came back, Chris and Rimmer came back, Red Dwarf came back, lister and rimmer two handed scenes came back, Norm Holly had already come back and was staying, Mac was also back in the twist, and a token Listers mates scene too, Kochanski was a smaller role but for my liking had two funnier set pieces to get involved in this time, if not three plots, some times she was in jeopardy in the gang a bit more against the crew or prison nutters, she felt in the team not the outsider she felt in VII, even if she was marginalised to far less lines or character, I now liked Chloe in the role more. Kryten was back or at least whining much less. At a surface level this was all very much better. We had just got a big wide screen TV for the first time and I was back in the family home, laughing with more casual viewing parents. With the starbug explosion, rat joke (at the time for cgi then, not now), dancing ships, big dinos it all felt pretty exciting and dazzling on the big dolby sound tv and it was more gag, gag, gag again now, so the laughs kept coming, rather than VII’s plots which sometimes felt exposition heavy or relationship/affliction moany. It was a successful space/prison comedy gang runaround romp. Different, Unique to other sitcoms still. Holding 8 million viewers each week. I went along with it, Red Dwarfs third or fourth maybe big jump of what it was. It’s funny like a Bilko/Porridge emulated way, they no longer have a home they control or any power and don’t massively focus on themselves for once because they’ve a world in which conflict is happening to them weekly form outsiders. Performance wise they are still making An audience laugh. A studio audience, and a more general TV comedy audience perhaps. It may have even been by design, that Doug wanted to popularise the series again to make the movie audience large and so went a certain way to try and achieve that, in getting 8 million etc he achieved something like that.

    Where it all falls down into a big fat despised dino turd is in looking closer, and questioning, and comparing it to what series 1 to VI delivered. So much of the previous main character is gone or the usual expected interplay or backstory revealing, subtle style of humour is now pantomimed farce most of the time, the sci fi ideas there are a few time travely type bits about future or past or evolution, nanobots, or parallel dimensions but nearly all of that feels like it’s been done before somewhere and is so secondary to “not in front of the boss” worry set ups. Episode structure is all over the fucking place all series. Rather than one twist “The crew is back” we get two twists of “the prison floor” maybe even a cake and eat it third twist of “the canaries” makes an uneven situation for the series with so much potential in it you are forever questioning “but what if they had done it like this.” or stuff like “Where’s Peterson”. It’s full of holes.

    If you didn’t once, and naively so perhaps, enjoy series VIII superficially, you are unlikely to ever get it/enjoy it. You could try watching it with people in the room who’ve never seen the show. But if you are a hardened dwarf fan who looks deep your more likely to enjoy the shows you love, and want to moan when you see through series VIII in the context of the whole show history it’s very low ranking and multiple differences and flaws to pick at. I hate Duct Soup, epideme, nanarachy and a few other bits of series VII and even with the intro cast and such have different opinions on those etc I find it still impossible to really engage with those episodes to any great enjoyment.

    #211820
    Phil
    Participant

    “Bart to the Future” is what killed The Simpsons for me. The first time I felt truly baffled was The “Principal and the Pauper,” but overall the rest of season 9 was pretty good. I was glad to view it as an exception.

    “Bart to the Future,” for whatever reason, just convinced me it was over. And while I know there have been a few truly good episodes after that, they were infrequent enough that I’m convinced I got out at the right time.

    #211821
    Renegade Rob
    Participant

    > You are looking too close at it’s detail and questioning it, not going along for the ride and laughing.

    First of all, it’s Renegade Rob. Renegade Bob is my cousin, we’re not on speaking terms.

    Second of all, I get your point about not taking it too seriously, and to some extent, yeah, you have a point. I’ll even admit that, having had a drink or two, I’ve put in VIII and laughed more than once.

    But here’s the thing: it’s not about just looking at its detail and questioning it. I do indeed do that a lot; it’s part of being a geek. But even on a first watch, classic Red Dwarf was always something that took itself seriously and had a coherent plot and well-drawn characterization. Those things aren’t aspects that you consider by picking something apart too deeply; they’re just basic competence. These things are largely absent in VIII. Even on a cursory, non-serious, non-sober viewing of VIII, it just doesn’t hold together. There’s not really a ride to go on. The tracks don’t connect.

    Maybe I can see that VIII has a sense of “fun” that VII lacks. Sure, okay. And yes, the audience is better. And sure there are bunkroom scenes. The highs of VIII might even rival or surpass the highs of VII. But the lows… Jesus. (of Caesarea)

    Your explanation is helpful. I still can’t find it in myself to ignore the lows, because holy shit. But yes, the “sense of fun,” misguided as it is, is there. I still prefer a more dour tone because that’s sort of where Series I began from, finding comedy from a serious sci-fi setting. The bunkroom and audience… those ARE things to grab onto and enjoy. So thank you. I’ll never really enjoy VIII, but your explanations have given me a slight foothold to possibly, with the proper lack of sleep and substance intake, seeing what entertainment value it potentially has. Maybe it’s not zero. It might even be one over infinity.

    #211825
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    > You are looking too close at it’s detail and questioning it. You are looking too close at it’s detail and questioning it, not going along for the ride and laughing.

    Don’t really understand this. Red Dwarf was never supposed to be “switch your brain off and enjoy”. I hated VIII in 1999 and hated it when I last mustered up the courage to watch it . I’ve no inclination to ever watch it again.

    I’d “go along for the ride” if it made me laugh. It does not.

    >“Bart to the Future” is what killed The Simpsons for me.

    Saddlesore Galactica did it for me. By the time Homer got raped by a panda a season later, I wasn’t even paying much attention.

    #211827

    The problem with the bunkroom scenes in VIII is they’re shit. The early bunkroom scenes usually explore something about Rimmer and Lister’s characters and their interactions with each other – they even have moments of poignancy. The ones in VIII are almost all whimsical, often with Lister playing a far stupider character than anyone in a believable programme would (dot-to-dot, Petersen planning his own funeral, etc.). They’re usually just a chance for a bunch of very weak gags: something VIII is full of, but by putting them in a bunkroom, the comparison with previous series is actually accentuated – like when a band have past their prime and do shitty re-recordings of their classic songs and end up highlighting just how far they’ve fallen.

    #211828
    Ridley
    Participant

    –“Bart to the Future” is what killed The Simpsons for me.

    Saddlesore Galactica did it for me. By the time Homer got raped by a panda a season later, I wasn’t even paying much attention.

    The rest of Season 10 after “When You Dish Upon a Star” was where my enjoyment of the show trailed off. Treehouse of Horror IX was the first warning sign (the Jerry Springer one) as the first three episodes of season and Dish – episode five – are from the season nine production block/code/whatever.

    I like The Principal and the Pauper by Ken “‘The Devil’s Hands are Idle Playthings’ and ‘Meanwhile'” Keeler.

    #211832
    peas_and_corn
    Participant

    The DVD is worth buying if for no other reason than to hear Ken explain what exactly he was trying to say when he wrote the episode.

    #211833
    Stephen R. Fletcher
    Participant

    > The DVD is worth buying if for no other reason than to hear Ken explain what exactly he was trying to say when he wrote the episode.

    And how almost pissed off he seems to sound as the commentary goes on.

    Like Series VIII of Red Dwarf, I enjoyed the later seasons of Simpsons more when I saw them first air, and didn’t really notice the flaws till going on the internet a few years later. I can’t really recall a particular episode of The Simpsons which first made me feel the decline in quality was noticeable and there was no going back, but I can recall the one episode that truly pissed me off when I first saw it – and it still makes me really angry the few times I’ve watched it since. It was the episode “The Boys of Bummer” in Season 18. Possibly the cruelest episode they’ve ever done. It made me REALLY hate the townspeople of Springfield. The way they treat Bart in the episode after he loses a Little League game is shocking! It truly baffles me how the writers thought ANY of it was funny and not just completely fucking cruel.

    #211834
    Phil
    Participant

    “I like The Principal and the Pauper by Ken “‘The Devil’s Hands are Idle Playthings’ and ‘Meanwhile’” Keeler.”

    I thought I responded to this but I guess I didn’t.

    Just want to say that I love Ken Keeler. He wrote some awesome stuff, especially when he graduated to Futurama, where his hit-rate was incredible.

    I have nothing against him, but Principal and the Pauper is indeed shit.

    P&C is right, though: it’s worth watching with the commentary.

    #211835
    Ridley
    Participant

    Owning seasons one through ten on DVD has been on the to-do list but other stuff gets in the way.

    #211838
    Stephen R. Fletcher
    Participant

    Better hurry up. Sadly, FOX has decided to stop making any more Simpsons DVDs. I don’t know if that means they’ll also stop making more copies of the previous releases, but with FOX, you never know.

    #211839
    Ridley
    Participant

    Thanks for the heads-up.

    #211841

    I remember my first ‘er, what?’ Simpsons episode (other than The Principal & the Pauper which, satire on reset buttons aside, is shit) was Screaming Yellow Honkers, although looking back at season 10 now, I remember Bart the Mother, Kidney Trouble, Mayored to the Mob, Viva Ned Flanders, Mom and Pop Art and Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo also left me pretty cold on first viewing – some good jokes, but they definitely left me with a feeling of ‘this isn’t the same programme’. They just break with the reality of the show a bit too much (particularly stuff like ending the episode with Homer flooding the whole of Springfield)

    Yeah, I stand by Seasons 2 – 9 being the period of the show I like. Eight series, not much in the grand scheme of how long it’s been on.

    #211842
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    190 episodes is still a pretty amazing achievement.

    #212024
    Ridley
    Participant

    P&C is right, though: it’s worth watching with the commentary.

    Have now watched the episode with and without commentary. Does anywhere have the lines that were cut?

    Laughed at “I’d sure hate to get a dozen crapweeds for Valentine’s Day. I’d rather have candy.” for the first time. Which was nice.

    #212028
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    I watched Some Unenchanted Evening with the commentary on recently, but had to switch it off as there wasn’t nearly enough apologising about it.

    #212029
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Some *Enchanted* Evening. What happened to the edit button?

    #212037
    Jawscvmcdia
    Blocked

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