Monday, October 13, 2008

13 October 2008: Dwarf

See, I get busy and forget to blog for a week, then I find something hiding out there on the internet and realise I have to put out a short blog on it immediately.

Hence, you're not reading about the global economic meltdown on here today, nor about our exciting discovery of the local 'Nickel Plate' bike trail (and equally surprising discovery of the drag racing track it goes beside). You're not reading about how to make Christmas Pudding in Indiana, nor about England beating Borat 5-1. All that may follow given a little time, but the most important global news was in fact announced almost a month ago, and I've only just seen it now.

There's new Red Dwarf on the way.
Well spin my nipplenuts and send me to Alaska.

Red Dwarf, for the uninitiated, is not (in this instance) a small, relatively cool star. Instead it's the name of a BBC TV sit com from the late 1980s and early 1990s, set 3 million years in the future on a big spaceship where everyone was killed except one... by the time he was brought out of stasis, his pet cat had had kittens and they had had kittens and so on, such that cat-kind had evolved into something fairly human-like, and also the survivor's dead bunk-mate was brought back as a hologram. Add to that a slow-witted ship's computer and, form series 3 onwards, a robot invented to clean toilets, there you had it: the anti-Star Trek, and the nearest thing to Hitch-Hikers that you were likely to get. It was inventive, funny and even genuinely science-fictiony at times - but best were the set-piece exchanges:

KRYTEN: It's impossible to tell at this range. Whatever it is, they clearly have a technology way in advance of our own!
LISTER: So do the Albanian State Washing Machine Company.
RIMMER: Step up to red alert!
KRYTEN: Sir, are you absolutely sure? It *does* mean changing the bulb.

So, new 'specials' to be created, mainly because 'Dave', the Freeview channel formerly known as UKTVG2 (now why didn't *that* name catch on?), has been showing reruns for almost a year now and is single-handedly making that channel a success, bringing in an entirely new generation of Dwarf fans. So, no movie, no season nine, but hey, four 'specials', two of which will be actual episodes.

My fear, of course, is that it'll be rubbish. (Well, my bigger fear is I won't get to see it here in the US since Comcast don't seem to have 'Dave' as one of their channels). The problem was that after series 6, Rob Grant (one of the two writers, and the one who actually did the overall plots and heavier sci-fi ideas) left, leaving Doug Naylor (the more joke-punctuating half of the duo) to write it all, with occasional help from a few others... and the series slid so dramatically downhill that the eighth season wasn't - I believe - ever repeated. I watched it because it was Red Dwarf, but (rather like Asterix after Goscinny died), it just wasn't the same, not even close.

Anyway, so if you're in the UK, watch out for that, and if you feel like telling me if it's any good or not, that'd be great! Oh, when is it going to happen?

"Sometime in 2009."

Don't hold your breath...