Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Return of Red Dwarf

Well Red Dwarf came Back To Earth as I announced previously it would. Should it have? - is open for debate. While it did resurrect feelings of nostalgia for one of the greatest comedy shows on Television, it had the all to familiar Red Dwarf feel but it only had half the punch of the original outings, actually much like the last two seasons of the show.

The lack of punch is mostly due to the fact that Rob Grant, who after leaving the series after season VI [due to wanting more on his tombstone than Red Dwarf], did not return to co-write with Doug Naylor. It seems to be more than obvious now that Grant was more the comedian and Naylor the Sci-Fi enthusiast. Red Dwarf works as a British comedy with Sci-Fi influences but Back to Earth seems like a British Sci-Fi show with comedic influences and I think it suffers for it.

Despite these flaws, I did enjoy it on the level it was presented. Lister, Rimmer and Kryten are nailed 100%. It's as if the Craig Charles, Chris Barrie and Robert Llewelen have been rehearsing for the past 10 years. Danny John Jules does give it his all too, but I think a lot of the Cat worked with the presence of the studio audience - partly due to the fact that Jules is primarily a theatre performer. The story itself perfectly normal for Red Dwarf, in that it is as nonsensical as most of the other scenarios the Dwarf posse have been in and brings our heroes Back to Earth, an Earth however where they are TV Characters in the show Red Dwarf which then begins to spoof Blade Runner! - as I said, perfectly normal.

Apparently ratings for Red Dwarf: Back To Earth were pretty impressive at 2.6m* viewers which is superior to any of the original series and leaving the launch of the much vaunted Torchwood in the dust and became highest-rated commissioned show on a digital network ever. As the show was a test before committing to an additional series, it would seem that if it was just a ratings coup was necessary, than it's a done deal. Personally unless the rumour that Rob Grant may be coaxed to return to write one last series with Doug Naylor I wouldn't be getting too excited.

We'll see.

*This 2.6m is correct at time of posting but does not yet take into account home recordings, which unlike the US, can be calculated and added to ratings within 21 days after broadcast.

Information Sources: /


Constance said...

curse you! I wouldn't have even known they were recording a new show if it weren't for you, and now you are telling me that it is subpar??????


vaughan said...

Constance I'm afraid the Colonel is right , however it was still miles better than the last two seasons and actually had one or two laughs in it.The Question is will the Dwarf return? If you went by the ratings than it's a given but with the current writer would you want it to?

Constance said...

Back in the old days the public television stations would show it when they could, and not necessarily weekly or in order. I have trouble tracking what seasons are which. If you are speaking of the seasons with Chloe Annett and them in the "reconstituted" Red D where they were put in the brig and joined the Canaries... those are not my favorite. I also get confused by plotline inconsistencies and if I have to say "Wait... but I thought..." too many times then I mostly get fed up with the whole thing.

So... what if he won't come back? Does it have to be him? What if they could get Terry Pratchett (they couldn't), or Ben Elton (ditto) or Stephen Fry (never)... and what is Ruby Wax doing lately? Was she involved? Could they get a different writer and have it still be good?

I think that if an artist stops wanting to do the art for which he is beloved and really gets pushed into doing it, audiences just won't be happy.

Civilian Overseer said...

Connie, unfortunately the great Pratchett is slowly losing his marbles. Fry is enjoyibg great success with his QI show so is unlikely to engage with what is now a tranished brand, Elton has been in decline for years and Wax was never really that funny in the first place. No, only one man can save the Dwarf and that's Whopper.

Constance said...

Only the Whopper you say? ok. Have it your way.

vaughan said...

Well Constance Red Dwarf never really made sense , however how to tell the seasons apart is easy ...any episode with Chloe Annette is rubbish...full stop. she was bought in when the original writing team broke up and is the symbol of all the shows Now you may say that's a bit harsh but Annette was also the star of a series that I pray Constance your eyeballs are never forced to see .....Crime Traveller ...a show that often tops the polls for worst Sci Fi series ever!
If the show is revived ( there is a good chance , this was Daves biggest success ever, consider this ,Daves flagship comedy show Arguemental (A show that really should be on the BBC)barely gets a quarter of what the dwarf special got.) than the best chance is to bring in a new group of writers..(just not the people who did Hyperdrive!)

Civilian Overseer said...

Connie, Can you imagine what the Ace version of Whopper would be like?, I'd follow that man to Hell, I might not actually go in, as I'm a big scardy cat but I'd definitely go as far as the gates and maybe take a couple of snaps. Instead we're stuck with the Rimmer version of Whopper.

Constance said...

They should hire me. Of course I only make terrible jokes (Did you see how I made that "have it your way" joke? Funny, huh?)and have limited script writing creds (I say puppet shows count), plus my sense of humor is from the wrong country (Creedon, tell them that the Erectile Dysfunction gag was hilarious satire over here), but why would that stop anyone?

Mr. Vaughan: Thank you. I thought that I was the only one who thought that Annett person was truly awful. But maybe I should see Crime Traveler, being a fan as I am of the MST3K and terrible horrible things like Special Unit 2. Oh, how we popped the popcorn and stayed up all night watching such things!

You did confuse me with the Dave thing. I thought we were speaking of Lister for a mo. What is this "Argumental" and why should it be on the BBC?

As for you Civvypants (everyone is getting pants on the end of their name this week, it doesn't mean the same thing here as there, don't get offended):

You only want the Whopper to join the writing team because he knows the pain of losing a creative partner. And as we all miss Mark (oh, if only I could have heard him hold forth on Whopper's Malted Milk Balls...I weep for my loss...) we'd love to see two broken hearted artists find each other.

Lastly: I thought for a minute that I had met Ace, but it turned out that Rimmer was just worried about getting his supper!
(I really don't know why he gives me free reign to post on his blog)

Civilian Overseer said...

Connie, Rest assured, No offence taken, I shall just have to get you a rear view mirror for next Christmas.