Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a new record. Series XII was released on shiny disc just four days after the last episode was broadcast on TV, which in any normal circumstances would make you worry that the release would be a rush job. But due to the back-to-back filming of both the last two series and their accompanying behind-the-scenes shoots, the lead time on this package is the longest they’ve ever had.
The Series XI release set the bar pretty low for its counterpart. While the extras it featured maintained the levels of quality and entertainment value we’ve come to expect, it fell short of telling as comprehensive a story as any of its predecessors, and the significantly lower than average running time left us feeling a little short-changed.
Will the Series XII release seek to address those shortcomings, or are we in for more of the same? Let’s rip open the (sadly stickerless) cellophane and find out.
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It’s been just over fifteen years since we all trundled down to Woolworths or Virgin Megastore to purchase the first ever Red Dwarf DVD, and today’s the day that those of us who still crave physical media pick up the latest installment from our doormats. Well, that’s if you weren’t one of the lucky ones who have already received their pre-orders, which started happening as early as last Thursday. The rest of us have had to make do with the methadone-like preview on TOS, which promises a more in-depth look behind the scenes in the featurettes, and a main documentary that focuses on the scripts and actors.
Whenever it is that you finally have your Bluray and/or DVD in your grubby mitts, this is the thread to discuss all the delights within, as you await our trademark excessively detailed review within the next week or so.
Rather alarmingly, there are just five days to go until Red Dwarf XII is released on DVD and Bluray. Pre-orders could start arriving as early as this weekend, and it’s been less than a week since the covers were officially unveiled on TOS. These included the intriguing detail that we’d be seeing over 140 minutes of extras on the discs, but we’re not yet sure exactly what they are. Thankfully, the long-held tradition of details being released as a by-product of the UK’s home video classification laws has continued – Red Dwarf XII and its extras are now listed on the BBFC website.
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We hope by now that you’ve hung up your stockings on the wall, your family has arrived, and that you’ve ascertained whether or not you have the room to spare inside. But before your granny proves herself to be a musical hypocrite, take a moment to look back on the past twelve months. It’s been a strange one by all accounts. Brexit. Trump. A cull of beloved celebrities. The rise of the far right. Terror. Fear. Division. Prejudice. Aston Villa being relegated. Frankly, I’m not convinced we’ll all survive the last seven days.
Which is why we’ve chosen Christmas Day as the perfect time to focus on the positive, and look back on what has been a much better year in the world of Red Dwarf than it has been for anyone in the actual world. Six brand new episodes recorded. Another six brand new episodes aired. A mobile game. New merchandise. Live DwarfCasts. The dramatic increase in usage of the word “cloche”. It’s definitely been a busy one, so settle down for a comprehensive look back on everything that happened and how we covered it.
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Regardless of your opinions on the episodes themselves, the consensus concerning the way Red Dwarf XI has been handled by its various stakeholders seems to be that certain areas have been disappointing. The decision to premiere each episode on UKTV Play was… controversial, shall we say, leaks have been taking place left, right and centre (including the accidental releases of an episode and the DVD extras), the online store has been a heavily-delayed farce, and the rancid cherry on the top came last weekend when we realised what was printed on the back of the very Steelbook I’m about to review.
It seems that Howard Goodall and Ian GameDigits are currently the only ones successfully carrying the torch, at least without getting bits of lighter fluid all down themselves and accidentally causing a series of small fires. It’s getting harder to ignore the cloud that’s gathering over this series, but there’s one area where Red Dwarf has always excelled: DVD/Bluray releases. The original releases of the BBC era remain unmatched by any other comparable show. The Back To Earth and Series X releases had a very different job to do, coming as they did so soon after broadcast, and XI is very much in the same boat. But despite the monumental cock-up affecting one of the three variants, is the content of these shiny discs good enough to distract from the recent shortcomings, and end this chapter of Red Dwarf‘s ongoing story in style?
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Well, we were hoping to have the weekend off. But because the staggered, disjointed manner in which we all watched Series XI was so much fun, the extra features on the forthcoming Red Dwarf XI DVD/Bluray have been quietly and unexpectedly released on iTunes and Play Store. The extras were seemingly made available overnight to anyone who bought a series pass on either platform. Alternatively, the main documentary is available to buy on its own, while the deleted scenes and smeg ups are series pass only. The visual effects, model shots and image gallery are not available, but the trailers are there – for free on Play Store, but at the price of £2.49 on iTunes. Insert joke about Apple products being a rip-off here.
So, this was certainly a surprise. I assumed at first that this was a Krysis-esque fuck-up where things had gone live before they were meant to, what with the lack of any official notification, and the fact that we’re still a fortnight away from the physical release of this stuff in the UK. But the fact that it’s on both of these platforms makes me think otherwise. If this was a mistake, it’s pretty bloody amateurish. If it’s not a mistake, it’s also pretty bloody amateurish. Much like the way the release of the episodes themselves were handled, this is all a big mess.
So yeah, we at G&T are going to have to figure out between us how and when we start reviewing and discussing this stuff, but in the meantime… I dunno, use this thread for whatever. It seems that while the makers of the programme care about how its presented to the public, those in charge of its distribution do not give a solitary shit, so why should we?
UPDATE (30/10/16): They’ve disappeared from iTunes. The downloads will still play for those who grabbed them yesterday, but you can no longer buy them. It’s all still there on Google Play, though – if those disappear soon too, we’ll know the whole thing was a cock-up. Still, some sort of communication from an official channel would be nice, eh?
Rounding out our immediate coverage of Give & Take we now present to you the archived version of this Thursday’s LIVE DwarfCast, where we dissected the episode for all of its jucy, jucy kidneys. Present were Ian Symes, Tanya Jones, Jonathan Capps, Danny Stephenson, the Fan Club’s Jo Sharples and an intermittently snoring and purring black short hair called CJ. Discussion topics this week include the large number of talking points generated by the episode, as well as some breaking DVD news, speculation as to how the mobile game will eventually represent the events of the episode and finally a preview of what’s to come next week / today.
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Ah, the BBFC, they’ve served us so well over the years, with episode title reveals and confirmations of DVD extras aplenty. As expected the forthcoming DVD and Bluray release has now been through classification and so all episodes and extras can be found on their website. I’ll be keeping this rundown spoiler neutral, although be warned that some of the BBFC’s notes might reveal details about the rudeness levels of future episodes.
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Samsara sara, whatever will be will be. The future’s not ours to see, so instead, head very slightly into the past with this downloadable version of Thursday night’s live reaction DwarfCast for Samsara. Jonathan Capps, Tanya Jones, Danny Stephenson, Ian Symes and TORDFC’s Jo Sharples were on hand to talk you through all their complicated feelings about the episode, along with some little known facts, an update on Red Dwarf XI: The Game, a preview of Give & Take and a round-up of the latest Dwarfy news, including the DVD details, a teased plot for Series XII and more rumblings about a stage show.
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There’s a bit of context required for this one. As recently documented in our forum, online listings have started to appear for the Series XI DVD/Bluray. While all details are still TBC, it seems that there’s going to be a special edition steelbook in addition to the standard releases, and that they’ll all be released on 14th November. Temporary placeholder artwork can also be glimpsed, such as this for the DVD and this for the Bluray steelbook.
Then, earlier today, Danny John-Jules noticed that some US retailers are using some really dodgy fan mockup as a placeholder. He was not happy about this, given that the Cat is nowhere to be seen. Baby Cow’s Dan Kay moved to reassure Danny that this cover was not genuine, and then the bantz began, with Dan tweeting an amusing alternate mockup. Then just now, Doug took it a step further with this tweet…
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