Red Dwarf : Series VIII

Series VIII

Just wondering if anyone else finds it odd that they took the show in the direction they did?

Reviving the crew and putting them in the brig just makes no sense to me. The crew are 3 million years into deep space having just been revived and seem to be going about their business as usual. Cat, Kryten and Kochanski are just reduced to secondary characters with it becoming the Rimmer, Lister and Captain Hollister show.

It's like they changed everything that made Red Dwarf work.

Also it seems to be completely different to the direction taken in Series VII which was more of a comedy drama style to an almost complete slapstick prison-based sitcom. I know a lot of people weren't happy with the changes in Series VII but I think in some ways it was brave to make the show more cinematic.

Has there ever been any explanation to why they changed the format so dramatically for Series VIII?



The world is your lobster.

Re: Series VIII

Because the Beeb gave them more money probably.

Re: Series VIII

I think you've sort of answered your own question. It was because of the fan reaction to Series 7, complaining about how it didn't meet the unrealistic expectations they'd built up in their heads since Series 6 ended. And so Doug Naylor and the BBC panicked, and then jumped the shark (or nuked the fridge, depending on which Spielberg era you prefer to reference).

But, yeah. Series 8 really doesn't feel like Red Dwarf at all. More like, Carry On in Space.




"Attempted murder? It's not like he killed someone!"

Re: Series VIII


and then jumped the shark (or nuked the fridge, depending on which Spielberg era you prefer to reference).
The term 'Jump the Shark' is a reference to the Happy Days episode Hollywood: Part 3 (1977), not Spielberg's Jaws.

Re: Series VIII

I believe it was also partly because at that time they still intended to make a Red Dwarf movie. I'm sure I read somewhere that they were told the cast had to be more than just the main actors so they resurrected the crew as part of that.

Re: Series VIII


I believe it was also partly because at that time they still intended to make a Red Dwarf movie. I'm sure I read somewhere that they were told the cast had to be more than just the main actors so they resurrected the crew as part of that.



That is interesting. I can see the conceit of the resurrected crew possibly working better for a self-contained movie than an entire season of the show. That would have allowed the resurrected crew to be a device for a single story, rather than becoming part of the continuity across a series of episodes. I really appreciate that Series VIII experiments with new ideas, but when you introduce for an entire season a device that changes the entire premise and feeling of the series, it can also add a lot of dead weight for both storytelling and comedy.


Om Shanti

Re: Series VIII

I think it is partly a product of Doug Naylor wanting to try something new and different. You need new ideas, fresh blood, etc., to keep a (relatively) long-running series alive. They were probably also looking for direction for longer-term story arc material. In other words, there may have been a goal to keep the series moving forward rather than running in place, dramatically speaking.

The story arc of the lost Red Dwarf essentially ends with the conclusion of Series VII, so if you're closing that story line out, as a writer you have to ask yourself what's going to replace it. At the time, Naylor's preference seemed to be to restore some of sense of larger purpose or endgame to the story of Red Dwarf, rather than simply showing loosely related episodic incidents. Series I started with the larger goal of Lister and co.'s eventual return to Earth, but that was gradually left behind in favor of monsters/villains of the week and other self-contained episodes. Many of these were very successful, but at the same time, you can argue that there is no "story" in any classical sense if the characters aren't striving for some larger goal, if their actions aren't gradually moving toward an endgame or dramatic resolution to the original conflict. (In this case, the original conflict is "dude stuck three million years in deep space, unable to achieve everything he ever hoped for".)

Each approach (episodic vs. longer story arc) has its respective benefits and drawbacks. For Series X and beyond, the preference seems to be a return to more episodic threads. Again, this has produced some good episodes and really interesting ideas (Twentica and Lemons spring to mind). But it does leave me wondering about larger plot developments in the show's future. What about the fate of Kochanski, let alone getting back to Earth?


Om Shanti

Re: Series VIII

i personally think they should have stopped with season 6. didn't care much for any of the later ones.

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Re: Series VIII

Agreed Doctor_Omega. I used to dislike Red Dwarf 8 a lot because, with all storylines based inside Red Dwarf and so many characters, it was, ironically, the least 'Red Dwarfy' of all series to me.

However rewatching me made me appreciate that there is some BEAUTIFUL writing / slaptsick in series 8. Only Pete 'jumped the shark' a bit. The issue with it, from which Red Dwarf has and probably will never fully recover, is that the sentimentalism is now forced where it occurs.







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