Red Dwarf Blu Rays

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by SweatyChimpBoy, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. UltraDevotee

    UltraDevotee Catering Officer

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    Just another thing worth mentioning is this. The first couple of episodes of series 4 have a couple of scenes which haven't transferred well to Blu-ray and are not that much better overall. But Justice and White Hole had no graininess and looked really good.

    Additionally, although the series 1-8 Blu-ray set has dropped out of the TV chart top 50 media sales, it at least has just about remained in the Blu-ray sales chart at number 78. I suppose it is old material and there has been some poor reviews - so far I am rather satisfied with it though - so I guess you have to accept that is why really and at least it was in a fairly decent position originally.
     
  2. TongueTiedMateyBoy

    TongueTiedMateyBoy Third Technician

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    I just hope those scenes don't look tripe when I watch them on my TV...hopefully it upscale's well onto HDTV's...
     
  3. UltraDevotee

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    The first 3 episodes of series 5 looked fantastic - especially Holoship and Terrorform - and they really do fulfil the meaning of "Red Dwarf in glorious Blu-ray" - the swamp in that psi-moon...well the colours looked incredible and it was really clear.

    But then as everyone had warned the second half of series 5 was a polar opposite. It was quite grainy, the colours were not as vivid and it was a shock after the beauty of the first three shows for it to be like this and a real shame because these final 3 include Quarantine and Back to Reality - 2 of the top 5 most outstanding Red Dwarf episodes ever!

    All you can say if it is true is that the source tape for the second half of series 5 must have been quite terrible. Still watchable but poor.

    As it has been over a week since I was last on the board, I have now just watched Emohawk - Polymorph 2 and I must say although I thought Psirens was a good upscale, generally while the transfers are alright I must say I am a bit disappointed by series 6 so far and I feel the best Blu-ray versions at the moment have to be the first half of series 5 which were spectacular. I mean they are okay versions for series 6 but perhaps after the brilliance of the Holoship, Inquisitor and Terrorform ones I was expecting something more. Hopefully the Rimmerworld and Out of Time ones will be back on the same level as Psirens.

    Additionally, I can't remember what the final 2 episodes of series 4 looked like apart from Dimension Jump which was not too much better. Justice and White Hole looked really good though while remembering harder Meltdown looked okay.

    Overall, so far while some episodes are not much better, some of the others are a marked improvement so I am happy with the Blu-ray box set as I can accept some inconsistency due to the poor source of tape and at least some of them are superior IMHO.
     
  4. UltraDevotee

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    In terms of my thoughts on some of the episodes during this ongoing phenomenal Dwarfathon here goes:-

    Meltdown is underrated by some. True it is silly but it is good plot packed with great humour as always with an important anti-war message. Easily qualifies as classic Dwarf IMHO. 10 out of 10.

    While Terrorform is the least great of series 5 it is still really good, flows decently, I love the "taranshula" scene in particular and the pay off with them all deceitfully bigging up Rimmer was really funny and resolved it well. A 9 out of 10.

    At this present time Quarantine was my favourite episode to re-watch! All of series 2 to 6 encompass Red Dwarf's glory days but while all the Rob Grant co-writes are watertight scripts this Quarantine episode is beyond that insanely funny level of genius comedy. I cannot believe how it says on Wikipedia how Rob and Doug were not satisfied with the script as Quarantine was meant to be the cheaper show of the series (suppose the Quarantine suite was a redressed Officers Quarters) as it is just line for line of side-splittingly funny. Mr Flibble come on - how is that disappointing? Storming episode 10 out of 10.

    Gunmen of the Apocalypse - if you don't enjoy this at all you must be emotionally empty. Easily deserved its international award and an obvious 10 out of 10 too.

    Finally for now, I've got to say the Emohawk episode I've just watched I feel is underrated by some fans. IMHO it is not merely cynical fan service with Ace, Duane and a polymorph re-appearing as Rob and Doug have skilfully filled the episode with so many different plots/parts - like the space filth chase, GELFs and then Emohawk attack - and there are no minutes wasted. Although the first Polymorph episode is always going to come top, this is Rob and Doug still at the peak of their powers and I feel it is yet another vintage ten out of ten and I much prefer it to Can of Worms (or should I say Polymorph 3).

    In fact, while series 2 to 6 is all Red Dwarf's perfect golden age, I personally feel series 6 is ultra perfect and the best Red Dwarf run of all. Just two more of the Rob Grant-era episodes to go but there have been a number of excellent episodes since for sure.
     
  5. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    Its a shame the Blu-Ray's have not had a great response. I doubt the BBC will be willing to fix the issue, since unless they did it all under budget it just means more money they will have to put in and they have pretty much already profited from the sale.

    Honestly these versions should be fixed and past on to Netflix. That way it's upscaled
     
  6. UltraDevotee

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    I must say the quality of the upscale of the final two episodes of the finest ever Red Dwarf series is the gamechanger for series 6 in terms of its validity as a Blu-ray version. Rimmerworld was very sharp, with great colours and the model shots in particular looked amazing. I must say though - despite a couple of Amazon reviewers claiming that you need a bigger 46 inch and above TV - I actually feel that on my smaller 32 inch upstairs TV that is where the series 6 upscales come into their own. Perhaps it is to do with the fact that originally - for those of us who are old enough to remember - the 4:3 TVs in the 80s and early 90s were relatively really small compared to the modern ones and perhaps the BBC series still suit a smaller screen.

    But on the other hand, I just watched Out of Time on my 42 inch TV and that looked rather sharp with no graininess and decent colours and I suppose after all the purpose of the Blu-ray transfers was to make the BBC series look better on modern day sets. Still series 6 episodes Psirens, Rimmerworld and Out of Time look significantly better and now I am more convinced by the 1993's runs validity as a Blu-ray quality version.

    I still think though perhaps some people who have panned this box set have been expecting miracles not just because it was filmed originally on not such good quality tape but you have to consider although there is also a purpose of the Blu-ray to make it more fit for modern televisions, those previously mentioned screens in the 1980s and 1990s were relatively tiny compared to now. But to release series 3 - although it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be tbh apart from Bodyswap and Timeslides - and the second half of series 5 in that state was bad, however.

    Now that I have reached the end of the first era of Red Dwarf and last of the earlier series although some episodes look superior and some not too much better I am overall happy with the box set apart from some of series 3 and 5. Additionally, I hear that the late 90s Red Dwarf Blu-rays are all meant to be really good so hopefully nothing to be bothered about.
     
  7. UltraDevotee

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    In terms of my thoughts on Out of Time. Well...what a spectacular way for Rob Grant to depart and end the earlier years of Red Dwarf. I personally think IMHO that series 2 to 6 was the heyday of Red Dwarf with series 6 as the pinnacle of perfection and amongst them is the giant 5 episodes that are Polymorph, Dimension Jump, Quarantine, Back to Reality and Gunmen of the Apocalypse. For me, Out of Time has to hold the honour of being the sixth best ever show in Red Dwarf's lengthy glorious history. Again so much has been packed - but not overly and not too convoluted - into its 30 minutes and it flows supremely. For me just ahead of Tikka to Ride it is the finest ever time travel story in Red Dwarf ever and the "better dead than smeg" scenes are pure drama but sensational and iconic scenes. Rob and Doug chose the correct dark, negative way to end series 6 but unfortunately two series later Doug should have instead chosen the joyful and elating way to end series 8 and not followed the path of series 6 with this time a cliffhanger that has never been resolved (though it is so many years on now that perhaps it is best to leave it that Rimmer just did something to save them).
     
  8. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    It's an unusual episode for the classic era, but I do like it much more than most Red Dwarf fans seem to. It's a nice idea but too ambitious for the budget and ends up looking not like a giant waxwork planet but like a bunch of people in fancy dress running around some fields in England.
    Out of Time is my second favourite episode of all time (unsurprisingly Back to Reality is at the top of my list) and I always feel that it's underappreciated by most fans. There are so many fantastic and unexpected elements to the episode and the story is by turns exciting, intriguing and shocking and never telegraphs where it's going. I'm surprised it never seems to get talked about alongside Back to Reality, Polymorph, Gunmen and Quarantine as one of Dwarf's classic episodes.
     
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  9. UltraDevotee

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    Yeah I was going to say that the box set is no longer in any chart - Blu-ray or TV - on the Official Charts Company website. So obviously it was only really the hardcore Dwarfers that bought it. But still although it is disappointing that it isn't shifting many more copies now, at least its initial sales were good and like I said this was not new Red Dwarf anyway. Although not all the episodes transfer well I personally think there are enough good upscales to justify the box set's existence though series 3 and half of 5 should have been better clearly.
     
  10. UltraDevotee

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    Thanks for your reply. Probably Back to Reality is the very top episode of Red Dwarf and I totally agree with you there. It is funny but I used to not be keen on it when I was a child but then when I was in my late teens I suddenly "got it" and it became for me - similar to others - the very peak of Red Dwarf's greatness.

    Out of Time is indeed a fantastic one too and you have described well how it is such a skilfully written episode with such an element of surprise too at every corner. Meanwhile of course the "better dead than smeg" scene cliffhanger is inherently clever and sophisticated of course. Proper sci-fi wrapped in supreme comedy all the way through the thirty minutes.

    If Polymorph, Dimension Jump, Quarantine, Back to Reality and Gunmen of the Apocalypse are members of the massive five club then Out of Time should be the plus one.
     
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  11. UltraDevotee

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    Watched two episodes of series 7 so far - Tikka to Ride last night and Stoke Me a Clipper this afternoon - and yes clearly because it was filmed three years later and also perhaps due to the source material being superior as it is not from as far back into the past these upscales are the most glorious so far. Tikka to Ride in particular looked marvellous and a valuable asset to the collection (admittedly I watched that one on my smaller set upstairs but Stoke Me a Clipper still looked very decent on my larger TV in the lounge).

    In terms of the episodes themselves I personally feel these smooth over more the transition into the post-Rob Grant era. Tikka to Ride and Stoke Me a Clipper and are both superb episodes that are virtually up there with the late 1988 to 1993 material IMHO. True, the dialogue is not one hundred per cent impeccable anymore but with Rimmer still part of the crew it is still very funny with some very good comedy material. Meanwhile the plot of Tikka to Ride is the second best time travel story behind Out of Time IMHO and makes the full use of a better budget. Admittedly, there is an issue with the resolution to the series 6 cliffhanger contradicting the logic of President Kennedy shooting his past self but you accept it as a fan in the same way Backwards has inconsistencies. A brilliant start to the largely Doug-solo era and probably the second best episode in these mid to late-period Red Dwarfs behind Give and Take.

    Stoke Me a Clipper... what a show. Again although not totally as hilarious as the Rob Grant co-writes, it is still really funny and the beginning is just wow and again makes good use of the higher budget. I personally feel it does make sense as well that Rimmer tries and becomes Ace as the pay off to the former Ace dying because Emohawk showed how without his bitterness he could be that superhero and if the git-like future selves had not finished Starbug off earlier in the series 6 finale Rimmer would have saved the other Dwarfers anyway.

    The problem now is once Chris Barrie is no longer part of the cast, I feel although some of the episodes are good they are not great and the only one that is really decent is Epideme. Again I used to love Ouroboros until about 2003 when after that it just did not feel like genuine Red Dwarf when I re-watched it. Until about series 10 Doug took time to establish himself as the solo showrunner without Rob IMHO and then by series 11/12 although still not totally at that late 1988 to 1993 level he is significantly closer.

    At least IMHO series 7 and series 8 are half-great - though half-poor too - but I do love the way with these first two episodes of 7 including Rimmer as part of the proper crew it smooths the crossover between the eras. Wish I could feel series 7 was thrilling throughout its entire run like I used to back in 1997 (I even surprisingly preferred it to series 2 back then!) but I doubt my opinion of the other 6 episodes will change upon re-watch next. Still a great Dwarfathon though and I am anticipating the rest of 7 and 8 but I am particularly looking forward to series 10-12 more.
     
  12. Chooky88

    Chooky88 Third Technician

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    Zavvi. Useless company. First they delete. My account so I have no receipt and I have to create a new account. Then they send the box set in a ln envelope. It's. Completely ripped. And. Smashed when I get it. Now they refuse a refund or replacement. becuaee I am not using the original account and are hiding behind privacy laws. Awful packaging and awful customer. Service. I am in Australia so can't use Amazon. So sad, it's a 50th Bday orez to myself.
     
  13. Asclepius

    Asclepius Deck Sergeant

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    Well, you don't have to be so self-critical. Just be careful with dots, they can be tricky.
     
  14. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    Awful punctuation as well.
     
  15. UltraDevotee

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    In terms of the Blu-ray transfer of Ouroboros and Duct Soup, they look alright but not as good as the first two episodes IMHO. Then again, both were watched on my bigger screen downstairs and strangely I tend to see most difference in improvement on my smaller 32 inch upstairs. Really I could do with replacing my 42 inch over eight years old TV at some point to really judge but the fact that there have been some episodes in which you can see an improvement in quality on the bigger screen too suggests that perhaps my opinions of the best upscaled episodes might be fair.

    In terms of what I thought about them...well my opinion hasn't changed. I used to love Ouroboros back in 1997 and thought it was one of the best episodes of series 7 but now I still think, like since after 2003, that it is one of the weakest Red Dwarfs ever. There is no Chris Barrie anymore - apart from in a brief flashback - and perhaps that is the main reason why as clearly the first two shows of 7 were so much better. Chloe Annett is written much better in the next series but here she is so dislikeable compared to the Clare Grogan played Kochanski. True Rimmer was detestable similarly but his snobbery/arrogance was more humorous because he really was in fact quite incompetent whereas this Kochanski is genuinely clever and it just comes across as alienating.

    But anyway regardless of whether you like series 7's Kochanski, Ouroboros is simply too silly as a plot. The dental floss and crossbow pay-offs are just too ridiculous even by Red Dwarf's standards while the Lister fathering himself (impossible) is even worse, though I did like the concept being referred back to in the funnier Fathers and Suns. Rating 5.5 out of 10.

    Duct Soup wasn't bad actually. True it was nowhere near the indomitable standards of series 2-6 and a bit of a poor man's Marooned but the humour was quite funny at times - especially the Lister and Kochanski inviting GELFs for dinner - while the pay-off with them riding the service ducts was good and must have been fun to film. Definitely not classic Dwarf but quite good though. Rating 7 out of 10.
     
  16. UltraDevotee

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    Both Blue and Beyond a Joke's upscaled versions looked fantastic.

    As for the episodes themselves. Well Blue was the first one since the second that I actually found genuinely funny although still not in the class of the Rob Grant co-writes. It had Chris Barrie in for a reasonable amount and even Kochanski when she tries to assist Lister with her "psychobabble" seems more likeable as her insight is used to be kind and helpful. Loved the gags about the games night, all pretty funny throughout and the Munchkin song is simply sublimely excellent. Okay it is not quite on a par as a very good episode but it is certainly underrated - even by me for years - and it is overall pretty good. Rating - 7.75 out of 10.

    Beyond a Joke is another underappreciated episode IMHO. Again while not a totally tight script it is quite funny throughout and the plot with Kryten blowing his top, bartering with the simulant etc. is well written by Doug/Robert. The pay off with Able sacrificing himself with Kryten's negative emotion drive - obviously as he felt guilty due to revealing Starbug's presence in the asteroid belt - is clever, quite affecting and rounds off the episode well. Not quite as pretty decent as Blue but another fairly good episode and the Pride and Prejudice curry eating gag at the end is hilarious. Rating - 7.5 out of 10.
     
  17. Asclepius

    Asclepius Deck Sergeant

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    Just watched White Hole and it looked so much better than I remember it. Lot of scenes are in dark and colour up-scaling really did good job here. The captions in Talkies interface look like HD, even the last scene with green screen stars behind the crew looks good.
     
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  18. UltraDevotee

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    Agreed. Like I said in one of my earlier posts in this thread, White Hole along with Justice is one of the best Blu-ray versions of series 4 episodes. It looked really good.
     
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  19. UltraDevotee

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    However, I have noticed that Epideme again looked fantastic on my smaller 32 inch set upstairs but then when I watched Nanarchy on my 42 inch in my lounge it looked poor. It seems like nearly all the series 7 episodes - and to a lesser extent series 6 too - that I watched on the bigger screen (apart from maybe Stoke Me a Clipper) looked not so good whereas on the smaller screen they looked sharp with great colours and could virtually be as decent as a modern TV Blu-ray. I wonder why this series and possibly some of series 6 too only transferred brilliantly to a smaller screen because I have just watched Series 8's opener on the 42 inch again and it looked sensational.

    Is it because series 7 was filmised it doesn't look so good on a big screen? I noticed though that the picture of Doug in the restoration suite in that article about Blu dwarf last year shows the restoration artist working with a small screen. Is that the reason why those one or maybe two series look so much better on a smaller sized TV (as after all they were first broadcast on the 80s/90s TVs that were that size) or is that how the restoration process works in that they use a small screen to edit it? Or is it just that I really maybe need a new more modern large sized TV since my bigger 42 inch is an LG from late 2010?

    Still the fact that series 8's first episode (not filmised) looks fantastic on this bigger screen and there were some episodes in series 1 to 6 where I could see a more significant improvement suggests that really as long as you have a reasonably decent HD TV then really you should see better versions of most of these BBC episodes apart from most of series 3 and the latter half of series 8.

    Bottom line, has anyone else found the series 7 episodes and even series 6 to an extent look better on a smaller screen? If not then maybe at some point before my next Dwarfathon it might be time to get a new larger TV (though other series do have episodes that look good on this current bigger screen too though).
     
  20. UltraDevotee

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    In terms of the episodes themselves... Well Epideme for the first time since Stoke Me a Clipper felt genuinely Dwarfy. The scenes with the Dwarfers exploring the Leviathon felt like one of the earlier series and it felt more like vintage Dwarf too because it was a more of a heavy science episode with a talking virus. Meanwhile, it was by far the tightest script since Rimmer left - I even love the "even the word hopeless has hope in it" line - and Chloe Annett is so much better and looks more settled into character finally. Her saving of Lister due to the Caroline Carmen arm pay off - which was more Dwarfy too because it was so ingenious - was her top moment of series 7 for me and really heroic. It is an excellent episode, almost as brilliant as the Rob Grant co-written years and one of the three leading lights of series 7. Rating - 9 out of 10.

    Nanarchy, on the other hand, while I used to love it in the first few years since broadcast, it has gone down in my estimation over the years unfortunately. I don't mind the resolution to the missing Dwarf with the nanobots and it rounds it off okay but the script isn't as funny. The bit with the prosthetic arm gets a bit too repetitive after a while and Kochanski although she might have good intentions to make Lister independent again seems a bit too mean and callous. Obviously the Norman Lovett return is sublime though but it just feels like the episode is not as hugely comical as the old Dwarfs. Rating - 7 out of 10. Really the 3 peaks of series 7 - that are either there or thereabout up there with the Rob Grant contributions - are definitely Tikka to Ride, Stoke Me a Clipper and Epideme. 3 shows would have comprised half of the earlier series and while series 7's lowpoints - excepting Ouroboros - are not particularly bad, clearly Grant took half of the genius of Red Dwarf with him when he departed, especially in the first 2 Doug mostly solo series. Still series 7 has three great highs and that is laudable and makes it fairly worthwhile.

    I know I might be unpopular for saying this but Back in the Red Part 1 is for me part of the sensational half of series 8 episodes compared to the terrible other half. It is a very tight script by Doug for the first time in a long while and although his role in this 1999 run is often castigated - and he is more of a joke cracking tool I suppose - I really enjoyed Norman Lovett's contributions too. The ship's psychiatric counsellor scene was the most hilarious part. Rating 9 out of 10.

    Oh yeah, just another thing, I thought halfway through Tikka to Ride was the halfway point of the Dwarfathon but as I watch Back to Earth in its superior Director's Cut form then really the middle was halfway through Rimmerworld. So I am now quite a bit into the second half of my Red Dwarf marathon watch. Wish it didn't have to end: what would be ideal is for a commission for series 13 to be announced just after I have finished this Dwarfathon so I know there is more Red Dwarf coming not too long range away hopefully, to fill in the time before my next marathon watch. Still there is the superior Doug-solo series 10-12 to go so I must make the most of it.
     

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