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    With Red Dwarf being a joint venture in the early years (Series 1-6) it seems by all accounts that Rob had more control over Doug as to what material was featured in the show.

    At a convention in 2015 (?) for example, Doug was quoted as saying that he constantly had to “chip away” at Rob in order to get any of his ideas made (Kryten being the most notable example) and it seems that even until his last series Rob was constantly dismissing Doug’s ideas, notably resulting in the final show of Series 6 having to be penned live as it was being recorded. Also, in the Series 6 documentary Doug revealed how he was constantly putting ideas to Rob who kept refusing them until the last minute, suggesting that it was Rob who had the final say about what would ultimately get made.


    Not really. Rob would say “we can do better” which is different to shooting him down. He just had more nerve.

    Also Kryten becoming full time broke one of the rules they both agreed on full time to make it less like other sci fi, which is why there are also no aliens in Red Dwarf. So that’s why it took a while to get Rob to agree.


    Without Rob having a counter argument, it’s a bit moot anyway, isn’t it? Rob might have had to chip away at Doug for a lot of things for all we know.


    Honestly the “we can do better” part of Rob Grant may have actually been what helped make the early shows as good as they were.

    But at the same time they probably both had to agree to an idea before using it so who knows really what each gave to the show.

    My guess is that rob was the stubborn one, while Doug was the more open one and when you look at Series VIII you can kinda see just how open Doug was to big changes.


    Doug wanted to change the status quo every series, he said in an interview. And Rob “wasn’t so keen on that” so if Doug had full control of the series from day one we’d have had all kinds of different series with different tones and settings, presumably?

    Pete Part Three

    {citation needed}


    “From the beginning, I’d always been quite big on “Let’s change everything each series”, and Rob had been slightly less enthusiastic”

    source- http://www.reddwarf.co.uk/features/interviews/doug-naylor-anniversary/


    I think he said it in one of the documentaries aswell where he felt like Series 8 had gone abit far with its changes and he wanted to take it back to what it was.


    If Series 8 was written into one of those Red Dwarf novels where they take everything seriously and a lot of terrible things happen, it might’ve worked.

    Ben Saunders

    “I may have gone too far in a few places.”

    Pete Part Three

    Sorry, my comment was actually in response to the first post, not yours Bloodteller,

    Ben Paddon

    I think one aspect of Red Dwarf discourse that will never, ever get old is the ongoing debate of whether Rob or Doug was the Good One™. Definitely a conversation that is absolutely worth continuing 25 years after they split.


    The answer is clearly Ed Bye anyway.


    if it was Doug at left and rob that stayed to write 7 and 8 I think they wouldn’t be as good as the co-written stuff. I don’t think rob would have brought kochanski in or brought the crew back for series 8 but Dougs lack of presence would be felt.

    One issue with Dougs solo material is often there is no filter. The Kryten strangling lister joke in Samsara is dreadful IMO and probably would never had made it into a Rob and Doug Co-Written episode.

    Timewave alone is… Yeah.

    Ben Saunders

    I like to pretend that if Rob wrote Dwarf solo it would just be constant torture porn


    i’ve often thought Rob was responsible for the darker elements of the first six series- there’s a lot of rather scary/horrific things happening to the crew (especially in V) and the tone feels bleaker overall – “I knew he was dead….I mean, they’re all dead aren’t they?” etc. after Rob left Red Dwarf hasn’t really done a dark and serious storyline, and the villains are silly in the newer episodes wheras in I-VI the villains were treated seriously and it was the posse who were the silly ones.


    >I like to pretend that if Rob wrote Dwarf solo it would just be constant torture porn

    so the Backwards novel, then?


    Last Human’s violent and gory in places. VII has dark patches with Lister and Cat eating a guy, the “giant pizza” and Epideme’s near-necrophilia, falling apart corpse and grisly amputation played for laughs. The Dave era has psychopathically callous deaths all over the place and the entrails stuff in The Beginning. The idea that Rob was the bloodthirsty one seems exaggerated (unless his other novels are all full of that too, I can’t remember them very well).


    IIRC most of Rob’s solo projects have the characters being tortured in some way.

    >The Dave era has psychopathically callous deaths all over the place and the entrails stuff in The Beginning.

    oh sure, but all of those feel like they’re played for laughs- the entrails stuff in The Beginning is rather silly and comical-“that bit looks important’- and stuff like Rimmer murdering Katerina doesn’t feel that grisly, it just feels like it’s trying to be funny. in the Rob and Doug era, it definitely feels a little more serious in tone- in VI you had the simulants who were completely serious for example, and the humour in the scenes with them was the way the crew reacted to them. in XI, the simulants are suddenly silly too and they have what basically amounts to a lover’s quarrel while the posse slip in some cheeky remarks.

    maybe it’s just me, but in the classic era it felt as if the crew were the misfits and the silly ones, and the rest of the world and characters were serious. in the Dave era, everyone seems to be a bit daft and it’s hard to believe that Simulants ever posed a threat to anyone when you could just stop them by causing a fuss, or that you could stop a corporation that took over the entire planet by just requesting to buy a virus that’ll shut it down, or that there could ever be anyone as borderline insane as the crew of the Enconium.


    > The idea that Rob was the bloodthirsty one seems exaggerated (unless his other novels are all full of that too, I can’t remember them very well).

    I can only speak for Backwards and Colony, but both of those are quite nasty in places.

    Ben Saunders

    The Simulants in The Beginning were shit.

    Oh, this isn’t the unpopular opinions thread


    Last Human was fairly dark, Doug sure tortured lister in that Novel.

    Apart from the Mercenoid in Can of Worms and Asclepius alot of the villains in the Dave era are played for laughs.

    The Simulants in The Beginning were bigged up as being pure evil and maybe the irony is the reason they ended up being shit. personally if Doug was gonna do that i think he should really have made them threatening villains as they just lost so much credibility as bad guys by the end.

    I do feel like Doug may have softened as he got older.


    apparently an “insane biomechnical entity of PURE EVIL” is just a bureaucrat who makes his lieutenants disembowel themselves for lulz.

    not that i’m complaining though, as The Beginning is excellent.


    > in the classic era it felt as if the crew were the misfits and the silly ones, and the rest of the world and characters were serious. in the Dave era, everyone seems to be a bit daft

    Yeah, partly this is down to Doug’s attempts at something akin to Menippean satire in the Dave era, so we get stuff like ERRA and Professor E always being wrong, a society where technology is prohibited, one where criticism is illegal. It does feel like a different, less realistic world than the classic era.


    I’d argue Aniter from M-Corp is played straight, the jokes coming from Lister being milked for all he has for the most basic of items.

    The Simulants from The Beginning are fine, I like how the Dominator intentionally makes one of his subordinates disembowel himself, only to tell him he wants him to polish his sword and write an apology moments later. I get a feeling the Simulants in that episode are kinda like BDSM enthusiasts with how they refer to their leader as “My Dominator”, they wear all black, their rooms kinda look like sex dungeons. Or maybe I’m overthinking, idk.

    Best Red Dwarf villain has to be the Agonoids tho, you don’t need to be 100% serious to be a good villain, but with the Agonoids its well-done how consistently they are treated as major threats. They kill multiple major characters, gut Red Dwarf, and force the protagonists (Lister and Cat) to literally abandon their universe because how badly they screwed them over.


    yes, the Agonoids are excellent.


    I’d argue Aniter from M-Corp is played straight, the jokes coming from Lister being milked for all he has for the most basic of items.

    Agreed, she’s one of the best antagonists from the Dave era, as well as Pree, who provided amusing situations but played completely straight. It’s a discussion that’s been had a few times, particularly in the Let’s Discuss threads, but I definitely agree that the universe and guest characters getting sillier is a move for the worse.


    I think Asclepius has been the best villain in the Dave era.


    Ascleipus isn’t a villain, though. He was trying to save Lister’s life by giving him kidneys!


    Its possible, but really its left ambiguous enough that Asclepius could well be a villain which is what I go with. Just because the build-up, introduction, and look of Asclepius make him really cool and intimidating which we don’t get enough of in the Dave-era.


    The fact that Asclepius may or may not be a villain is part of what makes him the best villain of the Dave era.


    It’s also what maybe makes him not the best villain of the Dave era.


    I always felt that Asclepius wasn’t used very well. There’s no build up to meeting him, then next scene he’s bazookered into bits. At least with Lanstrom there was some tension.


    Too much bloody tension, to paraphrase Spinal Tap. Lanstrom is as scary and serious as I ever want the show to get.

    Flap Jack

    This “the villains are too silly nowadays” complaint has me wondering how this has trended over time. So let’s do this (I’ll exclude monsters with no particular personality and villains that are just versions of the main characters):

    • Confidence/Paranoia (Confidence & Paranoia) – Silly
    • Queeg (Queeg) – Secretly Silly but played as serious.
    • The Polymorph (Polymorph) – Serious, but with a silly facade.
    • Hudzen-10 (The Last Day) – Serious
    • The Simulant Convict (Justice) – Serious
    • The Wax Droids (Meltdown) – Silly
    • The Inquisitor (The Inquisitor) – Serious
    • Dr. Lanstrom (Quarantine) – Serious
    • The Psirens (Psirens) – Serious, but with a silly facade.
    • Legion (Legion) – Serious
    • The Rogue Simulants (Gunmen of the Apocalypse) – Serious
    • The Surviving Simulant (Rimmerworld) – Serious
    • The GELFs (Emohawk – Polymorph II) – Silly
    • Captain Voorhese (Stoke Me A Clipper) – Silly.
    • The GELFs (Ouroboros) – They don’t really do enough to say?
    • The Simulant Captain / GELF Tribesman (Beyond A Joke) – Serious
    • Epideme (Epideme) – Silly
    • Captain Hollister (Back in the Red) – Kind of serious but the Dennis the Doughnut Boy thing made it silly.
    • Cassandra (Cassandra) – Serious
    • Warden Ackerman (Series VIII in general) – Silly
    • The Other, Meaner Prisoners (Krytie TV / Pete) – Silly
    • Sim Crawford (Trojan) – Serious
    • Pree (Fathers & Suns) – Serious
    • The BEGGs (Entangled) – Silly
    • The Simulants (The Beginning) – Silly
    • The Exponoids (Twentica) – Silly
    • Asclepius (Give & Take) – Serious
    • The Mercenoid (Can of Worms) – Serious
    • The Lady Cat Polymorph (Can of Worms) – Serious, but with a silly facade.
    • Professor Telford (Cured) – Serious
    • The MILFs (Siliconia) – Silly
    • Captain Ziggy / Crit Cop (Timewave) – Silly
    • Aniter (M-Corp) – Serious

    SO, provided these judgements are fair (which they may not be), this means the different eras of the show have serious and silly villains in the following proportions:

    Grant Naylor Era: 53.8% Serious / 23.1% Silly / 23.1% Mixed

    Naylor Solo Era (BBC) – 25% Serious / 62.5% Silly / 12.5 Mixed

    Naylor Solo Era (UKTV) – 50% Serious / 41.7% Silly / 8.3% Mixed

    So there, according to these incredibly scientific calculations, you have it. The Dave era proportionally has almost as many serious villains as Series 1-6, but also more villains that are more easily categorised as silly.

    However, keep in mind that this is only if we exclude the times where a member of the crew (or a version of them) has been the villain, which is inherently silly and happened a lot more in 1-VI than X-XII.


    >The Other, Meaner Prisoners

    this made me laugh, for some reason


    Malcolm Peter Brian Telescope Adrian Umbrella Stand Jasper Wednesday (pops mouth twice) Stoatgobbler John Raw Vegetable (whinnying) Arthur Norman Michael (blows squeaker) Featherstone Smith (whistle) Northcott Edwards Harris (fires pistol, then ‘whoop’) Mason (chuff-chuff-chuff-chuff) Frampton Jones Fruitbat Gilbert (sings) ‘We’ll keep a welcome in the’ (three shots) Williams If I Could Walk That Way Jenkin (squeaker) Tiger-drawers Pratt Thompson (sings) ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’ Darcy Carter (horn) Pussycat (sings) ‘Don’t Sleep In The Subway’ Barton Mainwaring (hoot, ‘whoop’) Smith – Very Silly


    Flap Jack that post deserves Hall of Fame status, but you forgot

    Despair Squid/Hallucinations (Back to Reality) – Serious
    Joy Squid/Hallucinations (Back to Earth) – Serious

    also I think you could just sum up the other, meaner prisoners as just Kill Crazy and Baxter since they are the frontmen in the two episodes.

    Otherwise, ye, that post was good


    I suppose that kinda fucks up your statistics tho

    Flap Jack

    The good news is that I deliberately excluded the hallucination squids as being more “monster” than “villain”.

    It’s debatable whether a person who only exists as a hallucination or simulation can be considered a villain in their own right, but ultimately they derive from the crew’s minds, so wouldn’t count for this anyway.


    Fair point with the squids, though in the case of simulation villains I’d argue they could be considered villains depending on the circumstance.

    In events such as Better Than Life with the Tax Man that’d be from Rimmer’s subconscious; but with the Apocalypse Boys from Gunmen I’d say they are more or less independent villains since they are able to operate on their own without the Simulants similar to how Confidence and Paranoia are able to exist independent of Lister (unless he gets better with the Medicomp; so actually they are more similar to the Rimmer’s hallucinations on the Psi-moon in a way but meh)

    If we were to count hallucinations/alternate versions/monsters I’d say it would go:

    Rimmer Duplicate (Me²) – Silly
    Tax Man (Better Than Life) – Silly
    Unspeakable One / Psi-moon Hallucinations (Terrorform) – Serious
    Mr. Flibble (Quarantine) – Serious, but with a silly facade
    Lows (Demons & Angels) – Serious, but with a silly facade
    Despair Squid / Fascist Cop (Back to Reality) – Serious
    Rimmerworld Inhabitants (Rimmerworld) – Silly
    Future Selves (Out of Time) – Serious
    Pete (Pete I & II) – Silly
    Chameleonic Microbe (Only the Good) – Serious
    Joy Squid / Katerina / Creator (Back to Earth) – Serious
    Rimmer Gestalt (Officer Rimmer) – Silly
    Rimmer’s Inner Critic (Timewave) – Silly


    I don’t think it’s as simple as a binary silly/serious distinction, as you can have a villain who is nominally ‘serious’ who is still part of an overall very silly and light story.

    Take professor Telford in Cured, for example – you may categorise him as a ‘serious’ villain, but the whole plot is so silly and plays out in such a light way that he’s a world away from the likes of Lanstrom.

    The entire tone of X-XII means that even the ‘serious’ villains of those series end up featuring in pretty silly stories. Imagine ending the Inquisitor with the crew reprogramming him and sticking him in the corner as a drinks-stirring machine and you get the idea.

    Pete Part Three

    Telford is a fucking Scooby-Doo villain.


    I don’t think Stalin got any lines of dialogue in that episode now that I think about it

    Flap Jack

    I suppose I only consider characters which exist outside of a virtual or imaginary world to be “real”, so to speak. So that’s why I excluded them. I already explained why I didn’t include monsters or villains that are just clones or versions of our main 4.

    I definitely agree that the Serious/Silly binary is way too simplistic and many villains are more nuanced than that – this is just interesting to think about.

    As for Telford, I stand by my classification. The cured evildoers around him are very silly, but Telford himself is played as just a normal dude for most of the episode, and then he gets violent – but not silly (except for the specifics of Kryten’s decapitation, but that’s just one thing).


    I don’t wanna live in a world where Dr. Lanstrom is serious and yet the Simulant Death Ships™ are silly.


    I’m still not sure how Asclepius is a villain?

    I’d also put the Kinitawowi down as serious or serious with a silly facade rather than silly. Humour comes from Lister having to marry one (and her being ugly), but they’re played pretty straight. Compare them to the BEGGs.


    it’s not solely about whether the villains are serious or silly- Confidence and Paranoia are both rather silly characters, but the whole episode and its plot is rather dark and strange and it takes itself seriously. Confidence backing Lister into a corner trying to get him to take the helmet off is silly, but it’s also rather sinister and unpleasant.

    BTE-XII doesn’t really have many serious or dark plots- Siliconia is the only one i can think of, in which the crew slowly losing their personalities to the mechanoid programming is played for laughs but it’s such a disturbing idea that has quite scary implications. the whole cult-ey atmosphere in that episode is generally quite dark.

    aside from that, the Dave era is notably a bit more silly. i don’t quite know how to explain it, but there’s a definite lack of seriousness that i felt in most of the episodes


    i think maybe it’s that there’s generally not much that’s played straight in the Dave era- it all feels a bit cartoonish and silly, and maybe there’s an over-reliance on the show not taking itself seriously.

    in the classic era, there were serious and quite moving moments that were still very funny. for example, Rimmer leaving in Holoship. “I’ve come to regard you as…people…I met…” is a funny line but it’s played seriously, and there’s quite a somber feel to the whole scene as Rimmer quietly mutters “I’d just better go, okay?” and Lister gives him a sad little smile.

    compare that to the same sort of scene in Skipper, where Rimmer does a cartoony “see ya!” and just leaves. it’s just ridiculous, especially him pulling out the blank piece of paper- why? it’s dumb and not even funny


    Well Sim Crawford from Trojan was written fairly serious-ish, it’s just by the end her credibility got abit silly even if she wasn’t straight out one of the sillier villains of the show.

    Flap Jack

    Oh, whether the show is now too silly in general is another matter entirely. I just can’t anally quantity that.

    I will say that the Dave era isn’t entirely free of serious stories or moments. Back to Earth, Fathers & Suns, The Beginning, Krysis and M-Corp all have dramatic elements to them.

    I’m still not sure how Asclepius is a villain?

    I like how you question the villain status of Asclepius – a scary-looking robot who knocks Lister and The Cat unconscious, kidnaps them, and prepares to perform invasive surgeries on them without their consent, all while creepily speaking to people who aren’t there – but didn’t question the villain status of Queeg.

    It’s important to remember that “Oh, Asclepius was actually trying to help Lister!” is really just a fan theory, not something which was confirmed in the episode. As far as we know he was just planning to remove and add organs to Lister/Cat at random, because Asclepius is a badly malfunctioning robot.

    But, even if Asclepius was secretly only trying his best to be good and kind, the fact is that he still functions in the role of the villain for that part of the episode, so he still counts as a villain.


    To be honest, he had a pair of kidneys, and Lister didn’t at that point, so I think it’s fair to assume he’s doing A Good Thing, albeit in a deranged droid manner. The fact that he’s scary is because he’s a red herring. He’s no more of a villain than Able.

    Holly in Queeg persona is a very small-scale villain – although it’s as a joke, the intent is to ruin the lives of the crew for however long the episode is meant to last.


    >however long the episode is meant to last.

    jape of the decade, so ten years.

    Flap Jack

    If him having a pair of kidneys is enough evidence that he was a good guy just trying to help, why did he take The Cat? The Cat didn’t need a kidney, nor was he missing any afterwards (and if Asclepius were doing a Cat-to-Lister transplant, he would have only taken one kidney anyway).

    But, yeah, fair distinction as far as Queeg is concerned. If there was proper indication in the episode that Asclepius was a goodie all along, I’d agree with you, but ultimately all that’s revealed was that he hadn’t yet mutilated Lister when Rimmer and Kryten arrive.


    Asclepius thinks that the Cat is the donor, as is clearly stated onscreen. He was preparing to treat one of the Cat’s kidneys to make it compatible with Lister when Rimmer and Kryten blundered in.

    Flap Jack

    Maybe Asclepius was going to transplant a kidney from Cat to Lister.

    Maybe he was going to transplant the kidneys which were out in the open to Lister.

    Maybe he was going to transplant Cat’s lungs into Lister’s arse and then transplant Lister’s legs onto Cat’s face.

    The episode doesn’t tell us. It just shows Asclepius getting up to some ambiguously dodgy business.


    Asclepius is clearly fucked up and nasty in all sorts of ways, but you’ve got to love an insistent fan theory.


    I think Asclepius is lovely and you all hate him just because he has a scary face.


    Asclepius CLEARLY acts under the impression that Lister is the patient, and the Cat is the donor. He says it out loud and everything.


    it’s left ambigious, no?

    though i’m sure Asclepius is trying his best leave him alone


    At the very least his grasp of medical ethics is questionable.


    Snacky though, there’s a *real* bastard.

    Flap Jack

    Why would anyone even design a robot doctor that looks and sounds so terrifying? 100% Asclepius is a haunted house attraction that got infected with a violence virus, killed the real Asclepius and then assumed his identity.


    No, you leave Scleepy alone, he’s nice.


    Why would anyone even design a robot doctor that has four flashing buttons on its front, is a massive fucking blob, and has a flipper spinning on its head? They wouldn’t, that’s for sure, but it doesn’t stop the whole crew from thinking it’s him.


    CAT: Buds, I’ve got a question for you. What’s the best kind of Red Dwarf villain?

    KRYTEN: A serious villain, sir. Silly, but serious.

    CAT: Huh! Silly but serious. That’s what I thought! I knew that!

    Flap Jack

    Why would anyone even design a robot doctor that has four flashing buttons on its front, is a massive fucking blob, and has a flipper spinning on its head? They wouldn’t, that’s for sure, but it doesn’t stop the whole crew from thinking it’s him.

    I mean, it was probably a bad idea for me to go down the “the robot designs should be totally logical” rabbit hole, but there’s quite a difference between building a robot doctor that looks like a chunky, generic robot from classic sci-fi and building a robot doctor based on the design brief “What if Freddy Krueger was a Sentinel?”.


    in the deleted scenes of Give & Take they explain it was a space station where they recycled old junk and parts to make new robots. so that’s why they all look so weird


    What is Asclepious and Snacky were in a tender, loving relationship and Rimmer and Kryten just brutally murdered the love of Snacky’s life before kidnapping him and subjecting him to hours of hard emotional out pouring before bullying him into designing a time machine?

    Why is no-one talking about that?


    I hope XIII’s running plot arc is that Snacky is angry, at the very least from being left alone for, like, two years, and trying to murder all of them, and they are all trying to escape.


    Insider Scoop:

    If Norman Lovett says he’ll be in Series XIII, he really means he’ll be appearing as Snacky; who has been brought back as a main character but who’s original actor was unavailable

    Ben Saunders

    Bit cruel to make a ninety year old man tumble about in that costume surely


    He’s only seventy, he’s still got the strength within him; of course it’ll take a decade off his life per episode but Norman’s mom didn’t raise no bitch

    Flap Jack

    I hope we get a flashback explaining why Snacky wasn’t in Mechocracy.

    Maybe he didn’t register to vote on time. That would make for a funny, exciting scene: Snacky being politely turned away from the Red Dwarf polling station.


    Who says Snacky didn’t vote in Mechocracy? Maybe Snacky doesn’t like making his political preferences public.

    Though we’d all know he would have voted for Rimmer.

    We should do a tally of the list of robots abroad Red Dwarf and speculate who they voted for:

    Snacky – Rimmer
    Talkie Toaster – Kryten
    That vending machine Lister fucked – Kryten
    Bob the Skutter – Kryten
    Shaft 6 – Kryten


    That vending machine whose logo Lister groped – Rimmer


    That vending machine who hates immigrant vending machines – Rimmer
    That vending machine that hit Rimmer over the head with a soda can – Kryten


    Snacky wasn’t in Mechocracy because the studio audience wouldn’t have had a clue who he was

    Ben Saunders

    Tony Hawks – Lister

    Flap Jack

    “Is Snacky A Libertarian” – the greatest thread in the history of Ganymede.tv, locked by Ian Symes after 12,239 pages of heated debate,


    Sidetracked into a Series VIII discussion 2 pages in

    Taiwan Tony

    Control usually falls to the director, ultimately, doesn’t it. And considering the early series had some stuff that Rob and Doug disliked, I’d venture the control went to the director. And producer. Same as most UK sitcoms now and then.
    Which is why Doug should step away from the director’s chair.


    I think 2 pages is a little pessimistic there don’t you?

    4th post “Snacky is just misunderstood … kind of like vending machine in Only The Good …, DAE think that’s a shit episode?”


    If Only the Good was solely rewritten by Rob Grant; Rimmer’s head would exploded when the soda can hit him, resulting in him suffering a million agonies. Wait… this isn’t the episode idea thread.

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