Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum Why is Doug Naylor so determined to bring back Kochanski?

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  • #212118
    besbvesdy
    Participant

    I was listening to Craig Charles’ reading of Last Human the other day and i’d forgotten that there she is, part of the crew, like it ain’t no thang. Perhaps it’s not so disasterous in the more serious novels but the fact is, whoever’s playing her, she’s not a funny character in any way, with the added problem that she totally dilutes Lister’s character.

    From what I can tell, Entangled was supposed to bring her back, just after we’d got shot of her, and he seems to be doing his absolute best to wedge her into the two new series. I mean look at the maths – seven brilliant series without her, two mirthless marathons with her in the crew (and one bizarre anomaly best forgotten)

    What’s his angle? The four boys is a great dynamic, proven over and over again. Why mess with it, especially in a way that’s been proven to be a disaster?

    #212119
    Phil
    Participant

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    #212122
    Nick R
    Participant

    I intended making a similar thread here recently: not so much asking why Doug seems set on including her, more because I’m curious why people think her appearances as a main character haven’t been very popular so far.

    Are the problems with her appearances in Last Human, VII and VIII because her inclusion fundamentally alters the dynamic between the male characters? Would this be the case with the addition of any new female character – or is it specifically Kochanski who, as established, works best when she’s only present via Lister’s idealised memories of her?

    Or on the other hand: does she have the potential to be as funny a character as anyone else, but specific problems with the writing prevented her from being a good addition to VII and VIII? (No doubt for some fans, it didn’t do her any favours that she was added just as Chris Barrie left, so she came across as if she was intended to be his replacement.) Or is it the casting of Chloe Annett that people take issue with – would an actress who specialises in sitcom parts, or a stand-up comedian, be likely to give a funnier performance?

    Personally, I think I’m fonder of VII – and of Kochanski’s role in it – than most people here are. I like her obsessive memorisation of gurgling pipe noises (yes, I know I’m alone in this opinion). I think her sudden burst of genuine enthusiasm for opera-based party games in Blue’s games night scene is pretty funny. And there are some good scenes where she plays the straight man to set up other characters’ jokes (if she hadn’t been present, we’d never have got “What kind of navigation officer can’t tell left from right?”, which is probably my favourite one-liner in VII). But it’s not often her own lines in that series which get laughs.

    It’s been a long time since I watched any of VIII, but it’s hard to tell whether she disrupted the dynamic between the male characters, because that series made so many changes that were far more disruptive, and because she spends so much of the series cooped up in scenes with only Kryten. (It doesn’t help that the “hahaha Kryten is female!” stuff is among my least favourite elements of VIII.) There’s not, as I recall, much time spent on things like Rimmer’s resentment of her outranking him.

    Personally, I think she has potential to be a more popular inclusion in the cast, and to get laughs of her own. And I don’t think she’d have to be recast in order for this to happen. But she’d have to be written in a way that gets away from the “women are always sensible, and nag the men, who are basically immature” setup, which can’t help but make her seem like a killjoy. But altering that would represent quite a change in how she’s been portrayed since she became a regular character in series VII. Also, unfortunately, on the evidence so far, such a change in the sort of material given to the series’ only regular female character might not be one of Doug Naylor’s strengths.

    #212124
    besbvesdy
    Participant

    except she’s not the series’ only regular female character – hattie was great as holly for three seasons and although she’s not written as specifically female (which is half the problem with kochanski in 7 and 8) it goes to show that it’s not just down to a girl spoiling the ‘boyz’ dynamic

    the material in 7 and 8 was rotten, the actress although capable at drama was absolutely useless at comedy – but most of all I think she works best as the abstract concept in lister’s mind

    so why does doug want to scrap all of that good work? especially after such terrible results?

    #212127
    Nick R
    Participant

    I agree that Hattie’s Holly was not written as “specifically female” in the way that Kochanski was in VII and VIII.

    But one of the differences between her and Kochanski* is that she hadn’t spent six series and several novels being built up as the destined romantic partner of the show’s central character! Because of that history between them, I imagine it’s very hard to write Kochanski in a way that she can be incorporated into the programme as simply another crew member sharing the action and comedy. And it’d be hard to change that now, if Doug wants to keep her portrayal consistent with the things that have been established about her since series VII.

    That’s why I wonder if a new character – male or female – could be added as a regular cast member, without feeling like they disrupt the show’s core crew in the way that can’t be avoided with Kochanski?

    * (Hmmm, there’s an intriguing thought: what if Clare Grogan had taken over playing Holly in series 3? Lister’s reaction to that would have been interesting!)

    #212128
    Ridley
    Participant

    Why is Doug Naylor so determined to bring back Kochanski?

    Is he?

    There’s not, as I recall, much time spent on things like Rimmer’s resentment of her outranking him.

    There’s no time spent on that at all.

    —-

    I started watching Red Dwarf with series VII. I like her and think there’s something in her being intelligent but lacking some street-smarts.to draw out the funny. However, I dislike how series VIII puts her and Cat on the sidelines.

    I’d like to see her back but if the material isn’t there then, as with Holly, there’s no point doing it. And we deserve better than her being a homogeneous All-Women blob.

    #212129
    Ridley
    Participant

    * (Hmmm, there’s an intriguing thought: what if Clare Grogan had taken over playing Holly in series 3? Lister’s reaction to that would have been interesting!)

    He presses a button and lowers her monitor.

    #212141
    besbvesdy
    Participant

    I don’t know how to quote the ‘is he’ part of your reply

    but he would seem to be. he had her as part of the crew (not an illusion or a flashback) in his book, in two series of the actual show, then he talked about how he intended to bring her back halfway through x (which in my mind would have negated all the good not having her around was doing) and is still talking about bringing her back in one of the new seasons

    I’m not asking whether she’s good or not, I’m asking why doug seems so intent on bringing her back when all the evidence would suggest (1-6 funny, 7+8 awful, 10 miraculously funny again) that she’s a disaster for the show

    and don’t get me wrong – I love 7+8. but they’re rarely funny, if at all, and oftentimes a bit embarrassing

    #212142
    Ridley
    Participant

    Well, Kochanski was brought in to the show to make the movie more viable or sutin which was dead by Back to Earth. I may be misremembering word out of Dimension Jump but hasn’t Naylor changed his mind after X, saying that if she was brought back it wouldn’t be as a regular?

    And, quite johnhowardandfrankly, if Naylor can find something for Kill Crazy, he can give Kochanski another chance.

    #212143
    Ridley
    Participant

    Another chance-ski.

    #212144
    besbvesdy
    Participant

    well there we are – I liked killcrazy and would welcome giving him a go in the team (although wasn’t that just a bit of banter between the actor and doug?)

    I don’t remember doug saying that if she came back it wouldn’t be as a regular but that is comforting…I do however remember some guff about needing to have her in the film. was it on the basis that people won’t watch a film if there’s isn’t a love story somewhere? is that why they put trillian into the hitchhikers film? surely that can’t be the case (I love the HH film btw)

    #212145
    Phil
    Participant

    “is that why they put trillian into the hitchhikers film?”

    That’s one theory. Another is that she was in the book that the film was based on.

    #212146
    besbvesdy
    Participant

    i’m sure i remember them talking in the making-of about how her role was hugely expanded and turned into more of a love-thing…no?

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