Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum Should Series XIII focus more on drama or comedy?

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  • #236601

    pls respond

    #236603
    bloodteller
    Blocked

    Both ideally, as Doug has shown he can write excellent drama. The last 20 minutes of Back To Earth are really well done- “She’ll feel real!” “Not in your heart…” etc., the whole thing of Lister unsure whether to stay in a world of illusions where the person he loves loves him too and he can have everything he ever wanted, or return to the depressing reality that is the real world, it’s great stuff.

    However, I wouldn’t want it to go too far into that direction- Red Dwarf is a sitcom, after all, and it shouldn’t take itself completely seriously all the time. Sitcoms are meant to be funny, and stuff. However, the humour in the Dave era is arguably pretty weak- there’s not a whole lot making me laugh, really. So I’m unsure, I guess?

    #236604
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

    Focus on being good and true to itself. Whether that’s the more dramatic bits of Red Dwarf or the more outright comedic bits, but just less broad jokes, and less dating with social commentary. Concentrate on it being Red Dwarf.

    #236606
    bloodteller
    Blocked

    Oh yeah absolutely, the social commentary needs to seriously fuck off. Why is Red Dwarf now trying to be a political show? I see enough of that shit in real life, now it’s being forcefed into my favourite sci-fi show? Why does Doug feel the need to do that

    #236607
    Warbodog
    Participant

    How about “more on sci-fi?” I’d like Doug to read more popular science/philosophy paperbacks or just talk to an excitable mate and note down strange concepts that inspire him, like happened specifically with Backwards and the beginning of Entangled before it went off the rails.

    So even if the jokes aren’t great, there might be a more distinctive and memorable plot than time travel, monsters or alternate universes again. I don’t need it to be cutting-edge zeitgeisty technofear as we approach the Singularity, some bloke’s groundless theory from the 70s will do fine.

    It’s smart concepts like holograms, future echoes, positive viruses and despair squids that make Red Dwarf hold its own as sci-fi and not parody. Even when it mines stock tropes for laughs, there’s the occasional thought-provoking one like Dimension Jump a cut above the other alternate universe episodes.

    Problem is, treat it too seriously and you end up with Ouroboros.

    #236608
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I realise those good examples are from over 20 years ago when the series was still fresh and had two writers, so I’m not expecting the same standard.

    From XI/XII the closest for me might be the 3D printed clones or whatever they were in Officer Rimmer, especially the horrific implications of Lister selling his genome. Give & Take had clever time travel ending, even if “it was us all along” isn’t exactly new. I liked the Karma Drive in Samsara, but less as the episode went on and it just became Justice again. Reusing concepts is one of my biggest beefs.

    #236612

    Oh yeah absolutely, the social commentary needs to seriously fuck off. Why is Red Dwarf now trying to be a political show? I see enough of that shit in real life, now it’s being forcefed into my favourite sci-fi show? Why does Doug feel the need to do that

    Tbf, Red Dwarf has always had hints of social commentary throughout it, we’re probably just more aware of it now because we live in a world that is constantly talking about those issues on social media.

    From the very beginning (or The End) it has poked a little fun at religion. The whole dynamic between Lister and Rimmer is one of class differences to a certain extent. Parallel Universe obviously addresses gender. Then you have the more philosophical Lister of later series with big speeches in Justice and Meltdown (especially Meltdown really having a pretty big dig at war mongers).

    Maybe it was more subtle before, but it was there. The only episode recently that has properly tried to address a social issue was Timewave and that flopped terribly. There’s other more contemporary things, like Mechocracy, which I think Doug should steer clear from a little too as it dates it a little and is a little too close to home.

    #236614
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Mechocracy had us worried initially, weirdly because it might not have been current enough – that the massive events which occurred between its recording and its broadcast would make it seem tone-deaf.

    In the end it was about presidential elections in such a generic sense that it managed to dodge that bullet. Little differences aside, it could have been made in the 90s.

    There’s definitely a parallel universe version of Mechocracy where Rimmer’s slogans are all like “Make Red Dwarf Great Again”, “We’re going to build a forcefield, and the GELFs are gonna pay for it”, and “350 million dollar-pounds a week for the MHS”, while Lister goes around pleading with individual robots to “for the love of fuck just vote for Kryten, because whatever legitimate grievances you may have with him, the other guy is a literal Nazi for fuck’s sake”. Then Rimmer would win with 52% of the vote, causing the episode to become a tedious and painful 40-part epic.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Red Dwarf should avoid being political, because all art is political. But it’s certainly advisable for it to avoid getting too specific with contemporary references.

    #236615

    Yeah, I think the social and political stuff in the earlier series tends to be better because it’s broader, rather than simply reacting to recent stuff.

    More of a focus on comedy than drama, but with both in there, and mixed well. Rimmer happy as a mechanoid, Lister alone in Red Dwarf – lovely pathos, more of this. The first half of Skipper, Mr. Rat, persuading Cat to donate a kidney – superb, inventive comedy intrinsically linked to the characters, more of this. Blend it all together and it’s great. No broad jokes, set pieces and on-the-nose drama.

    #236627
    Dax101
    Participant

    Well Doug has said he gets some of his ideas from watching the News on current events.

    #236633

    Well Doug has said he gets some of his ideas from watching the News on current events

    That brief period in 2015 when Polymorphs in Leeds were date raping unsuspecting young club goers to lay their eggs inside them springs to mind

    #236638
    Dax101
    Participant

    >That brief period in 2015 when Polymorphs in Leeds were date raping unsuspecting young club goers to lay their eggs inside them springs to mind

    I did say “some” ;P

    But then he probably also meant other sorts of news related media. for example its kinda obvious that the printing people thing in Officer Rimmer was inspired by 3D printing.

    #236639
    Moonlight
    Participant

    I want to see an honest to goodness monster again.

    #236640

    I really just want an interesting serious sci-fi concept, from which comedy is derived, like most classic episodes. A lot of Dave-era episodes are either slightly silly sci-fi scenarios, or serious plots that don’t provide much in the way of humour (the jokes mostly being broader). Stuff like the white hole, reality bubbles, future echoes, swapping bodies, etc. A single idea that provides some strange circumstances, which is written to provide a lot of jokes.

    For all the great stuff in the second half of Skipper, a huge reason it’s my favourite Dave episode is because the first half really reminds me of the show at its best in that way. Even without Mr. Rat, Holly, the old sets, Blue Dwarf, etc., it was already a favourite of mine.

    #236641
    Paul Muller
    Participant

    I think there’s often a conflation between ‘drama’ and ‘pathos’. Good comedy is almost impossible without pathos – having moments of seriousness/sadness, which you can then suddenly defuse with a joke, help to create emotional engagement. Perfect example, Better Than Life’s scene in the Observation Dome, which effortlessly intertwines heartrending tales of Rimmer’s abusive childhood, and Lister’s dad dying with gags that break the tension (his brother being 6’5″, ‘…reading him the football results’ etc).

    Without pathos, it’s very difficult to feel emotionally invested, which I think is my main problem with Series VIII. There’s almost no pause for thought, no grounded moments, just a relentless onslaught of gags, and consequently, it just leaves me completely cold. When Dave-era Dwarf does include those moments (BTE, Siliconia, M-Corp), they work pretty well – but they’re few and far between.

    I think the same applies to actual dramatic tension, moments of peril, fear etc, which to be fair Doug worked into XI and XII pretty well in places. Part of the reason ‘Can of Worms’ didn’t work for me however, was that the Polymorph never really felt like a threat. Compare its depiction in that episode against its original appearance in the show, or in the BTL novel for instance – it was genuinely pretty scary.

    In conclusion: Make ’em laugh, make ’em cry, make ’em wait. Also, make ’em shit themselves.

    #236645

    Imagine how horrifying Can of Worms would’ve been had that dead Polymorph been moving around for the entire episode

    #236646
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    I want a realistic down-to-earth show that’s completely off the wall and swarming with magic robots.

    And also, you should win things by watching.

    #236656
    bloodteller
    Blocked

    >I want a realistic down-to-earth show that’s completely off the wall and swarming with magic robots.

    Neon Genesis Evangelion, then.

    #236662
    Dollar Pound
    Participant

    idea for an episode: one of the crew can hear the audience laughter somehow and is freaking out but then one by one they can all hear the laughter (this would be a really funny scene where no one says anything for ages) and they infer they’re in a comedy dimension and they use the holly hop or something to go to a drama universe and have a really serious episode and then go back at the end

    #236669

    I think there’s often a conflation between ‘drama’ and ‘pathos’. Good comedy is almost impossible without pathos – having moments of seriousness/sadness, which you can then suddenly defuse with a joke, help to create emotional engagement. Perfect example, Better Than Life’s scene in the Observation Dome, which effortlessly intertwines heartrending tales of Rimmer’s abusive childhood, and Lister’s dad dying with gags that break the tension (his brother being 6’5″, ‘…reading him the football results’ etc).

    Agreed. A lot of people praise BtE for its drama, but for me it actually feels signposted and someone laboured. There are so many scenes in I-VI which are beautifully written character moments with lots of pathos that don’t feel out of step with the comedy of the show. The climax of BtE feels totally “here is the drama moment, stop the comedy, Lister’s going to cry everyone!”, which actually makes me cringe slightly.

    #236675
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    I understand people’s criticisms of the funeral scene at the beginning of BtE feeling unearned because the stuff before it wasn’t particularly funny, but I still think Lister on the bus/the end with Kochanski is brilliant. A real shock to see Chloe as well, since she was kept a secret and I wasn’t spoiled. But I assume it leaked online beforehand.

    An example of a moment of pathos being ruined by shit jokes is The Cat constantly interjecting during Rimmer’s speech in Siliconia. I would much rather have something like that played straight, with maybe one joke afterwards. Feel free to yell at me

    #236680
    bloodteller
    Blocked

    >But I assume it leaked online beforehand.

    Actually no, nobody knew Chloe was going to be in it before the episode aired. There were a lot of comments like “bloody hell, they did a good job keeping that a secret” etc. around at the time

    #236697

    Course Chloe’s guest appearance wasn’t leaked, Norman wasn’t involved in it

    #236711
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    Well that’s nice.

    #236713
    Moonlight
    Participant

    >An example of a moment of pathos being ruined by shit jokes is The Cat constantly interjecting during Rimmer’s speech in Siliconia. I would much rather have something like that played straight, with maybe one joke afterwards. Feel free to yell at me

    I absolutely 100% agree with you.

    #236718
    tombow
    Participant

    It always annoys me when there is some fight about a sci fi/fantasy film/show and someone discounts all calls for realism, like “you want realism in a film about wizards?” There are different levels of realism and different ways to be realistic – for example, Buffy has more serious performances and themes than the 70s Hammer vampire films, the Nolan Batman films have more serious crime themes than the Burton films (despite a lot of the sci fi in the Nolan films being a bit silly), Spider-Man being played by a stunt man swinging on real ropes feels different to a CGI Spider-Man, etc.

    #236733

    I just want my space battles shot in space with real space fighters and laser cannons! Is that too much to ask?

    #236757
    RealBigOleDummy
    Participant

    Comedy in my opinion. Red Dwarf is first and foremost a sit-com and its light shines best in these circumstances. Drama has its place, but not on the Dwarf. I don’t mind a little social commentary from time to time but in the end, there’s literally millions of shows/sites/magazines etc. to cater to this. Comedy is special imo and it IS what brought most if not all of us to the show in the first place.

    #236778
    Dax101
    Participant

    Well Back to reality is still seen as a classic today and there is are scenes in it that don’t have many laughs at all, like the carpark scene which is mostly quiet and the ending which is mostly exposition.

    I think it really comes down to tone and balance.

    The Dave era i think struggles from tonal and balance issues. there are moments that to me feel abit series 8 and there are other moments that feel like the early series.

    Maybe whenever Doug has tried to do Drama it hasn’t gone down very well and now Doug embraces the comedy more to make up for that… or he genuinely feels like fans are saying hey Doug we don’t think the earlier series were funny enough.

    #236784
    A Bailey
    Participant

    Comedy first and foremost, since as Paul explained really well a good comedy will incorporate pathos to enhance the jokes.

    #236786

    Another question I’m pondering, though I don’t want to create two XIII-related posts to the forums so close together; what do you think is almost ‘guaranteed’ to change in XIII in-comparison to XI/XII?

    My two cents? Kryten’s overall appearance, obviously Kryten always gets redesigned to some extent every new production, but I mean I can bet his face will definitely be more angler and blocky to compensate for all the flak Kryten’s look in XI/XII got to the point with mainstream media covering it.

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