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  • #275675
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    You asked for it. Ahead of the forthcoming 35th anniversary poll, the G&T community is embarking on a big old rewatch, tackling half a series (or one feature length special) per week. This is your designated thread to make notes, share observations and start pondering your rankings.

    This week, we’re watching THE END, FUTURE ECHOES and BALANCE OF POWER. Have at it!

    #275679
    Stilianides
    Participant

    Excellent. It will give me a good excuse to listen to Rob, Ed and Paul’s commentaries again.

    #275680
    Moonlight
    Participant

    I still think we should call it the Molybdenum Manifest or the Chromium Canvass. Or the Tungsten Tally. It’s time to go silly with the name since this could potentially be the last ever poll to feature a “new” episode.

    Rest assured I will be bugging Cappsy about this relentlessly.

    #275682
    Paul Muller
    Participant

    The Jade Judgement 

    #275683
    Jenuall
    Participant

    The Coral Corollary: Back to Reality is still number 1

    #275684
    Dave
    Participant

    My take on The End is that people think it gets artificially bumped up the rankings for being the first episode, but despite having loads of setup to do (in terms of the characters and situation) it’s also really funny at the same time, probably in no small part thanks to the work they were able to do on it with the reshoots etc.

    There’s loads of great gags and performances in this episode that would stand out in any episode of the show, but I feel like some people credit its popularity to being the first ever episode rather than the fact that it’s good even on its own merits.

    #275685
    Loathsome American
    Participant

    “Balance of Power” was the first episode I ever saw, so I guess it’s hard to be objective. I do understand why it usually places so low; it lacks the strong hook most other episodes have because it was built to really set the tone and establish the status quo after all the high concept table-setting “The End” has to do. And then the fact that they moved up “Future Echoes” to replace it in the second slot shows that the show makes sense anyway even if you jump right into the more elaborate scenarios, so maybe this episode is not even strictly “necessary” as designed.  

    But I found this instantly captivating when I first saw it at a young age (I would guess I was maybe 11 or 12), and it’s why I kept watching. Part of what I thought was so interesting was that it WASN’T very sci-fi, that being on a spaceship was just sort of the background to taking a chef’s exam purely for spite. And I still think this is really sharply written and performed, with a lot of all-time bits that it’s easy to forget are in this episode because they’re largely “day in the life” material. 

    Consider this my official campaign to bump “Balance” up a couple of spots in this round of surveys. My own bias aside, on a purely scene-by-scene basis I think it’s much stronger than it’s usually given credit for. 

    #275686
    Loathsome American
    Participant

    I feel like some people credit its popularity to being the first ever episode rather than the fact that it’s good even on its own merits.

    Agreed. I do think it’s abnormally strong for a pilot, so it’s tempting to think it’s just “important episode” bias. Personally I like any chance to see pre-accident life on the ship as well. 

    #275687
    Dave
    Participant

    I’m also a big defender of Balance of Power. I like it a lot as it addresses early on an obvious way of Lister trying to outmanouver Rimmer, and does it in a funny way. The only thing I dislike about it is the way that its ending is immediately undercut by the following episode’s opening, which always feels like a cheat to me.

    #275688
    Unrumble
    Participant

    I’m also a big defender of Balance of Power. The only thing I dislike about it is the way that its ending is immediately undercut by the following episode’s opening, which always feels like a cheat to me.

    On the other hand, at least they actually explained the return to the status quo.

    #275689
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    The End – Still a fantastic set up episode. It’s sometimes asked what episode you should use to introduce friends to the show (including extensively on this very forum), and there’s still no definitive answer, but I was introduced to it by a friend who had the videos, so I started here, at the most obvious starting point, and, well… it definitely worked. Although it has the common “fault” of the first episode being atypical in structure, you can’t deny results. The blend of plot, character set up and jokes is pretty much perfect to me.

    – It is noticeable how lowkey the audience reactions are at this stage, when they were just dragging in randoms off the street. Like in the first scene – “This is essential routine maintenance. It’s absolutely vital for the well-being of this crew, this mission and this ship. [BEAT] Dispenser 172: chicken soup nozzle clogged.” – that’s a solid gag, but it gets nothing.

    – Even though this was half-accidental due to the reshoot, I like how Holly is essentially not a character until Lister goes into stasis, and there isn’t even really any indication he has any sentience. It demonstrates well how the 3 million years are what made Holly into what he is.

    – It’s intriguing to think about the people watching this on first broadcast who had no idea about the twist. Obviously I kind of was such a person (only like 15 years later), but I didn’t really have much sitcom literacy at that point so wasn’t really thinking about it in that way (although I’m sure I was surprised). I guess there was also an intention to make it seem like Lister and Rimmer weren’t the main characters until the second half of the episode, but that didn’t really happen, because the first half is all about them too. Probably for the best.

    – This might be the first rewatch where I’ve noticed the one guy at McIntyre’s funeral who dances to the music.

    #275690
    Dave
    Participant

    Future Echoes is still the clear standout of this Byte though, and really sets the tone for the whole of the show’s future in being a weird sci-fi idea, explored in a clever way, with some great character moments and big laughs throughout.

    Definitely a Top Ten episode for me.

    #275694

    I’m also a big defender of Balance of Power. The only thing I dislike about it is the way that its ending is immediately undercut by the following episode’s opening, which always feels like a cheat to me. 

     On the other hand, at least they actually explained the return to the status quo.

    if Balance of Power had been made in the Dave era people would be complaining it ended too abruptly

    #275696
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I’ve always loved how different The End is, though as remastered byte 1 was one of the first videos I had (of very few for a while), I’m also more familiar with it than most episodes.

    We’ve analysed these things to death from memory, but like many great episodes, I hadn’t really watched it since going to town on the DVDs through the early to mid 2000s. Some updated observations:

    – I really like pre-accident Lister. I like his simple plan and his demotivational advice about knowing your capabilities and not trying to subject yourself to stress you’re clearly not suited to. Post-accident Lister is unfortunately harder to take seriously due to Craig’s less convincing performance, even though this was a slightly settled reshoot.

    – I really like post-accident Rimmer. They really sell the existential creepiness of the hologram concept.

    – Rimmer’s exam panic was the funniest part and only bit that actually made me laugh. I know all the lines, so it’ll be the performances that make it.

    – The conversation with Todhunter takes place outside the botanical gardens, where Lister and Rimmer were heading. If only Todhunter had taken a little longer to get there, we could have seen some beautiful pot plants against a grey wall.

    #275699
    RealBigOleDummy
    Participant

    Well, as always anymore when I watch a series1/2/3 episode the first immediate thought is …. they’re so young! lol

    I’ve always put “The End” pretty high on my lists, while slow in parts its funny start to finish. Meeting Dave and Rimmer pre and post stasis was/is a treat for me. Sets the dynamics for the whole of Red Dwarf. 

    Future Echos I laughed more this time than I remember. Nice episode.

    Balance of Power. So much potential….lol. Still, very funny.

    Guess i should mention these two things also. The opening credits song/music. This is my favorite “version” of it and always puts a smile on my face.

    Hollys introductions. Yeah, guess I may be the only one but I liked those short monologues. 

    #275700
    PhilPagett
    Participant

    Every time I watch these episodes I’m struck by just what an awful shit Rimmer is at this early stage. 

    Also Craig’s delivery of “Can you just TRY and give me a black coffee?” is really quite bad. I think I could have done it better and it’s a shame I wasn’t asked.

    #275706
    Unrumble
    Participant

    Post-accident Lister is unfortunately harder to take seriously due to Craig’s less convincing performance, even though this was a slightly settled reshoot.

    I think Craig’s acting in the early episodes is perfectly good for the most part, despite the criticism some (including the man himself) have levelled at it. 

    I do, however, wince slightly at “wait… are you trying to tell me everybody’s dead?” The delivery, and look on his face feel so flippant, and for me it’s jarring when the very next shot is him wandering into the drive room disbelieving and distraught. 

    To play devil’s advocate with myself, one could argue that a combination of shock and non-comprehension of what he’s hearing could account for it… and we do get Norman’s disembodied punchline “should’ve never let him out in the first place” which is one of the most hilarious and perfect deliveries ever. 

    #275707
    Dave
    Participant

    I think Craig’s acting in the early episodes is perfectly good for the most part, despite the criticism some (including the man himself) have levelled at it. 

    Yeah I feel the same. A lot of specific moments that people criticise (“and I do respect ya………sir”) work perfectly well in-character.

    In many ways the early Lister feels more real compared to the slightly more mannered later performance. 

    #275708
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    I find it very hard to criticise even those objectively off line deliveries, because to me, that’s not Craig Charles playing Lister; that’s Lister.

    #275711
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Generalising, but Craig struck me as natural and believable in the more sitcom parts, but less so when dealing with the sci-fi plot. That might just be about different moods and how he comes across more than varying capability.

    Or I might *still* be comparing him unfavourably to the ‘deeper’ novel Lister in those parts (who looks like Craig Charles and sounds like Chris Barrie doing a Craig Charles as Lister impression).

    #275713
    Unrumble
    Participant

    In many ways the early Lister feels more real compared to the slightly more mannered later performance. 

    BOTH cheeks, maaan!”

    #275714
    Unrumble
    Participant

    My mind is probably muddled with 25+ years of remembering watching and rewatching the thing, but watching the ‘The End’ last night: when Lister jumps off the bunk to follow Rimmer to the McIntyre memorial, just before he kicks him, Rimmer grabs Lister’s jacket as if to hand it to him, before dropping it to the floor. ]

    In the moment, I felt like I was noticing that detail for the first time, that I’d always just seen Lister picking it up from the floor, without registering the initial action from Rimmer. But that can’t be right, can it?

    There’s obviously no way for anyone else to answer this purely rhetorical musing, but it’d be interesting if anyone else thought “me too!(Me2)”

    #275715
    Warbodog
    Participant

    And Hollister/Mac’s pronunciation of hole-ogram.

    #275720

    BOTH cheeks, maaan!”

    What, no Smega-Drive?

    #275722
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Future Echoes – Excellent of course. Such a well executed sci-fi concept, full of laughs and married perfectly to the character work. It totally set the standard for what Red Dwarf was meant to be like. And it’s impressive how naturally it feels like an episode 2 despite being filmed later. I don’t know if it’s the 11th best episode of pre-2020 Dwarf, but it’s got to be higher than 44th. What was 2018 me thinking??? I somehow placed The End, Rimmerworld, Fathers & Suns, Balance of Power and Emohawk as its immediate superiors… Fathers & Suns! The one that’s 50% racism! Embarrassing. I blame recency bias.

    – Special shoutout to the “Well it probably is deja vu” sequence. The staging of that never ceases to impress me, and was an early showcase of Rob and Doug’s risk-taking attitude with the scripts.

    – Despite how great it is, there are still some drawbacks for me – emotionally, there’s the weird blase/happy reaction Lister has to hearing his future son is going to die horribly, and continuity-wise, there’s aspects to the future echoes which fail to pay off. The fact that Bexley’s navicomp incident never happens, and the fact that Lister should know due to this episode that he’s guaranteed to survive until age 171, and is incredibly likely to never make it back to Earth, and yet nobody ever acts like they have this information, a la Cassandra (or Arthur Dent in Life, The Universe & Everything). I just stick with the headcanon that Future Echoes aren’t actually guaranteed to happen, and that those events are now in a parallel timeline, but that does undermine the story a bit.

    – I had a public misunderstanding a little while ago where I thought that the jump to light speed in this episode was intentional and part of the plan to get back to Earth as quickly as possible, and I feel vindicated on this rewatch that this is never directly contradicted. Nobody actually says they’re at that speed due to 3 million years of acceleration, even if you arguably should be able to infer it from Lister’s comment about not being able to turn around while close to light speed, and the fact that they intend to slow down from light speed even before FTL travel reveals itself as actively problematic. But if you said “They managed to build a hyperdrive for Red Dwarf just recently, and this is the first test of it”, it would fit.

    #275723
    Unrumble
    Participant

     I somehow placed The End, Rimmerworld, Fathers & Suns, Balance of Power and Emohawk as its immediate superiors… Fathers & Suns! The one that’s 50% racism! Embarrassing. I blame recency bias.

    I’m more baffled by the Emohawk placing! 

    Agreed on its excellence, barely a line of dialogue wasted, funny from start to finish. 

    They’re all on form, but Chris Barrie is beyond outstanding. Having just watched, I’d like to highlight two moments of stupendous nostril/facial acting: the first after he says “pretty please with sugar on” and Holly replies “I’ll think about it”, the second as he’s walking off leaving Lister looking confused into the mirror. OTT but perfectly judged. 

    #275724
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    I’m more baffled by the Emohawk placing!

    Understandable! I’m sure my logic was just that, as much of a mess as the plot of Emohawk is, I might have remembered its set pieces as being individually funnier than the ones in Future Echoes. Obviously I’ve changed my mind now (at least in regard to weighing that aspect), but to halfheartedly defend my past self, Emohawk does have Ace Rimmer, Duane Dibbley and GELFs.

    #275725
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Future Echoes

    – I still prefer the idea of it as episode 4 (I tried a full series watch with this order in 2012, but didn’t get very far), as the first kind of random episode after the loose ‘trilogy’ dealing with the fallout of the accident and establishing the status quo, but there are enough reminders and continuity that it works fine as episode 2, and they knew what they were doing.

    – A subtly strong Rimmer episode, with lots of focus on his ongoing adjustment to being a hologram and coming to his decision. He does get too gleeful about Lister’s demise, but it’s a direct response to slights from Lister and it’s been building up.

    – It works better on TV than the novelisation, but was still my favourite part of the novel when I first read it. The teasing description of Lister cutting opening his fish before revealing the circuitry shocked me as an 11 year old, but I knew what to expect when I watched it later.

    – I’d read Rob and Doug’s reservations about the cheap laughs of Rimmer’s wigs before I saw the episode, so like Craig being unsatisfied with his acting, that’s always unavoidably coloured my opinion of those scenes. The shaving foam/deodorant gag is much better. Space Mumps in Justice is a better take on the same sort of thing. Yeah, the hair joke’s shit.

    – This is more something to notice when the pace changes in later years, but I appreciated the long, character-focused scenes. The titular plot doesn’t really kick in until almost half way through (12 minutes), as will happen in quite a few episodes.

    – I think the dispensing machine’s lisp malfunction is just a random filler gag unrelated to Holly’s attention/comprehension problem, but they’re in back to back scenes, so not sure.

    – Lister pursuing Rimmer and pleading with him to listen as they pass Cat is a character-reversed callback to The End.

    – Lister yelling for Rimmer when the crisis starts. They rely on each other, but I won’t slash it.

    – LS: early use of pointless acronym jargon that even takes the piss by not being any faster to say and having to take extra time to be explained.

    #275733
    Jenuall
    Participant

    It is noticeable how lowkey the audience reactions are at this stage, when they were just dragging in randoms off the street. Like in the first scene – “This is essential routine maintenance. It’s absolutely vital for the well-being of this crew, this mission and this ship. [BEAT] Dispenser 172: chicken soup nozzle clogged.” – that’s a solid gag, but it gets nothing. 

    Yeah, this is quite a common thing to spot in the early days, I always think “couple of blanks” *slaps arse cheeks* should get a bigger laugh as well.

    It feels like there was a period where it was popular to shit on The End as a “bad first episode” but I’ve always thought of it as being really strong – it does some extremely heavy lifting to set up the situation and core character dynamics well and has some really solid gags in there too.

    Stray thoughts: having read the excellent article on class recently it now sticks out to me just how much this early interaction echoes that classic upper/middle/lower class sketch, certainly in terms of the visual:

    Also, I’m watching these on Prime and it’s interesting that the original music is back for McIntyre’s funeral given that it was replaced on the versions that used to be on Netflix.

    #275734
    Dave
    Participant

    Stray thoughts: having read the excellent article on class recently it now sticks out to me just how much this early interaction echoes that classic upper/middle/lower class sketch, certainly in terms of the visual:

    Oh, I like that. Great.

    #275735
    Formica
    Participant

    I do, however, wince slightly at “wait… are you trying to tell me everybody’s dead?” The delivery, and look on his face feel so flippant, and for me it’s jarring when the very next shot is him wandering into the drive room disbelieving and distraught.

    To play devil’s advocate with myself, one could argue that a combination of shock and non-comprehension of what he’s hearing could account for it… and we do get Norman’s disembodied punchline “should’ve never let him out in the first place” which is one of the most hilarious and perfect deliveries ever.

    It’s hard not to chalk that up, in part, to the line being a little shit. I don’t think there is a believable way to play it without changing a few words.

    #275738
    MANI506
    Participant

    I’m in guys. Watching again with the Rob, Paul and Ed commentaries. One thing I’ve noticed is that the telephone behind Rimmer and Lister in the last scene of Future Echoes says ‘this phone will not accept incoming Earth calls’. Another one of those tomorrow.

    #275743
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Balance of Power

    Traditionally one of my least favourites of the original run, I can’t really see that changing. (I’m not even a big fan of Marooned, so I guess I need a big concept). It’ll come down to deciding on a case by case basis whether I prefer its prime Grant Naylor character comedy over some good latter years Doug plots and gags.

    It’s still interesting though, and the series would be shallower without Lister’s melancholy night out and taking the time to establish and dismantle Rimmer’s temporary command machinations (the hologram discs are still hidden, of course).

    – Lister being busy means we spend loads of time with Rimmer in this, and Cat hangs out more than he’s done so far. But Rimmer’s exclusively in antagonist mode, and his concerns pettier, so less sympathetic than in Future Echoes (before he went dark).

    – Mission statement for the series: Go back to Earth, generally slob around, have a few laughs.

    – I laughed most at the toilet’s cheery “see you later” and Lister’s nod of acknowledgement. And Cat’s “I wiiill,” obviously.

    – One of those bits of novel/revised/implied canon I’ve always taken for granted is Rimmer being resurrected to keep Lister sane and in check, but Holly’s explanation here seems to be that it was just about word count and he didn’t really think it through. Maybe he’s just not letting on?

    #275745
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Balance of Power – Pretty good episode, I’d say. Not as memorable due its lack of a sci-fi plot (outside of elements already established) or mortal peril, but feels like an episode that needed to exist, because it’s the only one which made the personal conflict between Rimmer and Lister the main plot, and the flashback scene gives the setting some valuable perspective and pathos. Plus there are a ton of quotable lines.

    – Despite him being in the villain role, I actually don’t think that Rimmer is totally unsympathetic here. He’s consistently a jerkwad, but he’s not as cruel here as he was in Future Echoes (even if Lister was cruel to Rimmer first there). He definitely earned a good scare for being a proto-Queeg to Lister, but I do understand his refusal to be temporarily turned off. Even if Lister was being totally honest about his intentions to reactivate Rimmer after his Kochanski meet-up, I would absolutely doubt that when it came to it he would go through with it. (Although maybe you could get Holly to set the swap to be automatic/on a timer?) On top of that, it would set a precedent that his continued existence was up for negotiation and it would get holo-Kochanski into the situation where she gets to live again, but has to confront her rapidly approaching permanent non-existence, which seems like it would just be traumatic, not a fun date – and doing that is of incredibly dubious ethics (not that they had a problem with it in Me^2 or Holoship, of course).

    – Is it weird that Clare Grogan has more dialogue as Rimmer in Series 1 than as Kochanski? I feel like she should have at least had a line in the disco flashback or something.

    – I like Rimmer’s cartoon “raise clenched fist and make an angry face” after Lister walks through him.

    – I notice that Lister’s bike has a union flag on it, so it’s good (?) news that the UK somehow survived hundreds of years into the future. Or at least I hope it did, because if not that might not reflect well on Lister’s politics.

    – Got a rare bit of short sleeve Rimmer action in this episode. Pretty sexy am I right fellas.

    – It’s never outright confirmed, but Holly was definitely just directly controlling that arm, wasn’t he?

    – One of those bits of novel/revised/implied canon I’ve always taken for granted is Rimmer being resurrected to keep Lister sane and in check, but Holly’s explanation here seems to be that it was just about word count and he didn’t really think it through. Maybe he’s just not letting on?

    – I see it more that Holly was using the word count as an obvious example of how much of his life was Rimmer and how little of it was Kochanski, not necessarily that the word count itself was how he decided. The Sartre thing suggests that the likely conflicts he’d have with Rimmer were the actual reason.

    It is amazing how low that Kochanski word count is though. 173. They get through over a third of that in The End alone. I guess I can just about buy that Lister had only had 2 just-as-brief drive room conversations with her before then.

    #275746
    Rudolph
    Participant

    Even though this was half-accidental due to the reshoot, I like how Holly is essentially not a character until Lister goes into stasis, and there isn’t even really any indication he has any sentience. It demonstrates well how the 3 million years are what made Holly into what he is.

    Of the many mistakes Remastered did, adding in Holly jokes – like the one about cheating urine – are what stick out to me most. They really undermine the idea that centuries of isolation are what drove Holly bonkers, rather than the rot having already set in before the nuclear accident.

    – One of those bits of novel/revised/implied canon I’ve always taken
    for granted is Rimmer being resurrected to keep Lister sane and in
    check, but Holly’s explanation here seems to be that it was just about
    word count and he didn’t really think it through. Maybe he’s just not
    letting on.

    I actually think the explanation given in the American pilot – that all of the hologram chips were wiped in the accident, with Rimmer’s being the only one to survive – is a little bit more of a credible idea, rather than Holly’s cod-psychological profiling of Lister and Rimmer’s relationship. The novel clearing it up that Holly’s fibbing works a little better, but here it portrays Holly as a bit cold and calculated, rather than the senile but well meaning friend he’s been for the last two episodes.
    Ultimately, the idea of giving Lister and antagonist to rail against, as a distraction from his loneliness and desire to stay sane, is quite shrewd, but doesn’t really fit with what we know of Holly so far. You’d have thought being Lister’s mate he’d want to at least give him a girl to talk to or any of the other relatively normal people on the ship.

    #275749
    Stilianides
    Participant

    Future Echoes – This episode only goes up and up in my estimation. 

    While Rob and Doug may have had mixed feelings about the wig joke, I can’t say that I have any issue with it. Firstly, because it makes use of the show’s whole concept (few other sitcoms could do the specific joke of a computer giving a character a haircut), but also because there is a good mix of physical and verbal comedy in this episode. Chris performs the joke perfectly with his constant bouncing up and down.

    The thing that struck me when re-watching the ep yesterday is that although they are trapped on the ship, the show is never static. Having Lister riding the bike, Rimmer running through the corridors and the characters generally moving from room to room adds so much energy to the whole thing.

    The repeated deja vu scene is, of course, genius and I remember being spellbound by it when I first saw it as a kid. 

    As well as the quality of the writing, Ed Bye deserves huge credit for his direction of that scene.

    #275750
    Stilianides
    Participant

    The one criticism that I do think is valid is Craig being so indifferent about his son’s death, and Rob and Doug later mentioned that they didn’t like it either. I think it was changed to his grandson in the book.

    #275753
    Warbodog
    Participant

    – I like Rimmer’s cartoon “raise clenched fist and make an angry face” after Lister walks through him.

    I couldn’t tell if that was anger or some kind of weird ‘eureka!’ moment, because the next scene has him impersonating Kochanski.

    Clare Grogan gets stick for her acting here and in Psirens (including from me), but both times she’s tasked with playing an imposter badly playing Kochanski, so maybe it’s not fair. She seemed fine in The End, when she was dealing with an over-familiar stalker who she’d only spoken about 100 words to previously. I’ll see how she does in Stasis Leak.

    Consider this my official campaign to bump “Balance” up a couple of spots in this round of surveys. My own bias aside, on a purely scene-by-scene basis I think it’s much stronger than it’s usually given credit for.

    Series 1 overall did poorer than it deserved last time, but then you can get into the problem where every single episode seems deserving of more acclaim after you revisit it and you’re back where you started. It would be funny if we end up collectively obsessing over, like, DNA, and word–of–mouth propels it to the top 3.

    #275757
    Unrumble
    Participant

    Despite him being in the villain role, I actually don’t think that Rimmer is totally unsympathetic here. He’s consistently a jerkwad, but he’s not as cruel here as he was in Future Echoes 

    It’s interesting, when I was watching it last night, I found myself feeling a little sympathy for Rimmer during the flashback in a way I don’t think I ever have before. 

    Although we’re clearly meant to side with the ‘lads’ against the stuffy, officious Rimmer, and are probably predisposed already (3rd episode) to thinking he’s malicious goit who deserves to be messed around… I thought Lister came across as a bit of a dick. 

    For all his faults and pettiness towards Lister, he’s trying hard (in his own way, love how the novel fleshes out the timeline of the revision timetable construction) to pass an exam, and Lister is rubbing his face in it that he ruined his timetable, with the potentially ‘accidental’ vindaloo-based nature of the act appearing somewhat suspect. While at the same time, belittling his efforts in front of Chen & co. 

    #275761
    Moonlight
    Participant

    The End – Still a fantastic set up episode. It’s sometimes asked what episode you should use to introduce friends to the show (including extensively on this very forum), and there’s still no definitive answer

    Kinda off topic, but The Inquisitor definitely introduces every character effectively and establishes how clever the show can be conceptually. I’ve had good success using it to introduce people.

    #275763
    Dave
    Participant

    Kinda off topic, but The Inquisitor definitely introduces every character effectively and establishes how clever the show can be conceptually. I’ve had good success using it to introduce people.

    Pretty sure this was the first episode I ever saw and, well, I guess it worked.

    #275765
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Ooh, that is a good shout actually. The Inquisitor is a bit less on the nose about it than Psirens, at the very least.

    I guess you need to make a judgement call about whether your mark seems like they’d be able to get into the vibe of Series 1 or not.

    To add one more note to the earlier Craig Charles line delivery discourse, the Infinity audiobook has a very similar line, “Wait. Are you telling me everybody’s dead?”, and I don’t personally think Chris Barrie’s delivery makes it any better. It’s just a bit of a weak line for the emotions Lister is meant to be feeling.

    #275766
    Dave
    Participant

    I think when I read that in Infinity I read it as the enormity of the truth finally dawning. Which might be more realistic but isn’t as funny.

    #275767
    Stilianides
    Participant

    Might part of the issue with the, “Are you telling me everybody’s dead?” be that it was intended for a Chris Lloyd type and doesn’t fit with Craig’s version of the character? (Apologies if this was mentioned above)

    #275768
    Stilianides
    Participant

    Balance of Power – I wouldn’t show this to a non-fan to try to convert them, but I think it’s an important episode for the hardcore due to the character moments.

    It’s also interesting to see some of Rob and Doug’s original ideas like having machines such as the talking toilet, and the flashbacks which only ended up being used fairly sparingly over the years.

    I don’t really have too much of a problem with Clare Grogan’s performance (not that I’m saying it’s great), and it must have been a little tricky for her to attempt to copy a character who was so new when she probably hadn’t rehearsed all that much with Chris.

    I’d comfortably place this in the top half of episodes.

    #275770
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I don’t think it would really matter which episode someone saw, as long as it was from a good era. The style would click or it wouldn’t, then they could go back to the beginning to find out the story and who everyone is. (I caught only the beginning of Justice and only the end of DNA in a repeat run, but they were enough to make me want to see more).

    #275771
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    Observation: these episodes are pretty good

    Nah but I watched The End with a friend who was only familiar with Red Dwarf because I talk about it all the time, and I was surprised just how funny it is right out of the gate, my latent memory of Series 1 being “eh, it gets better”. I guess it benefits from all the rewrites/reshoots it got.

    I also showed him Quarantine because it’s somewhat topical and I thought it would be a great intro to the series; he enjoyed The End more. Weirdo.

    #275772
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    I agree that the delivery of “are you trying to tell me everybody’s dead” is strange, but it is supposed to be a punchline of sorts, it would be weird to have him sobbing while saying it. Like when Red Dwarf fucking explodes in Demons & Angels and the studio audience piss themselves laughing.

    #275773
    Jonsmad
    Participant

     Blimey is it nearly 35 year since I missed the first episode going out? Can’t even believe it’s nearly 5 years since the best ever dimension jump. 

    #275787
    reddwarfnerd
    Participant

    I think Clare in Balance of Power gets stick undeservedly, from my point of view she played it spot on. Rimmer is a dope, so he would come across as a little stiff and unnatural if he had to pretend to be Kochanski. I really cant see how else the scene could be played and still feel ‘right’.

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