It’s certainly been a week with a lot of news, but today there is only one thing on everyone’s mind; the full official trailer for Series XI.
It aired during the adverts in the middle of Parallel Universe at the tail end of Dave’s marathon of Series II this afternoon, and is now also online to view on demand. All rather helpful for those of us that want to break it down in great detail.
Just in case you’ve yet to see it, you can watch it below:
Given a lot of shots through the trailer are variations on the same scene, we’ll take a non-chronological approach to looking through them and break it down into a few core headings. Click on the images for the full sized versions, and let’s get to it shall we?
1) It’s cold outside…
We start with these two absolutely beautiful shots, and there’s just so much to love about them. In terms of visual style it looks rich and detailed in a way that we just haven’t seen before, but in terms of narrative they perfectly sum up the isolation of the ship and indeed the crew.
Shots of the Dwarf over a moon were always some of our favourites in the likes of Series II, and these seem like an absolutely natural progression of those shots, but with the technology available today.
2) Starbug was built to last
Some more stunning visual effects here. Starbug making a hasty exit from an industrial setting, flying away from a planet as a black mass expands across its surface, and pummelling itself into a desert. All note worthy shots and all offering a great look for the show, though the crash is particularly good. It’s here that the use of models is most clearly on display, and very clearly demonstrates the tangibility of a model that is often lacking in CG shots.
In terms of plot ramifications, we can see that Starbug seems to be getting far more use than in Series X and visiting a few locations. Starbug crashing is perhaps par for the course now, but what led it to do so obviously still remains a mystery. Equally, what is happening to the planet and who left the gas on to blow up the industrial complex remain details to be discovered when we see the shows.
3) Demons & Angels
Well, mostly demons. And once again with this character previously seen in the teaser and photos, this droid looks like one mad bastard. Certainly not for the only time in this trailer, the Series V vibe is very clearly on display, and the silhouette on the smoke shot is perhaps one of the most horror-laden of the whole trailer.
We’ve certainly said it before, but we love a good creepy monster that there’s little to no reasoning with. Recently we’ve had the likes of the simulants, but the characterisation and visuals of them always allow through some semblance of humanity. That’s far less the case with a character like the Inquisitor, and going by the photos above we are hoping that this will be the case again here.
Basically, if it can scare the shit out of a few children that stay up too late, we’re happy.
And while on the subject:
3) I think we’ve experienced this period of time before
Seemingly another droid up to no good. Well, thats what we assume from all the red. As Ethan pointed out on Twitter, this may well look remarkably familiar to fans of Doctor Who:
Looks like the robot in the Red Dwarf XI teaser is the same one seen in the Rings of Akhaten! pic.twitter.com/xKmIA8JhJd
— Ethan (@who_customs) August 27, 2016
There’s very little doubt there that those costumes are one and the same, and given that Howard Burden and Millennium FX worked on both this series and Series 7 of Doctor Who, we think we can probably wrap this one up with a neat little bow. To be honest though, we’re fine with this if the quality of the costumes being used is good, and quite clearly it is.
Perhaps it’s dependent on the size of the role played by the character. If just for a scene then we’d probably barely notice, and the two shows have certainly interchanged plenty of items before now. Plus of course, Rings of Akhaten was a terrible, terrible episode.
4) I see no ships
A handy title for us to wrap up the remaining model shots, comprising of the new Dwarf bigature, a metal space crab and an exploding vibrator.
The Dwarf flyby appears to be the same as the Dave promo, but played in reverse and with the nameplates unaltered this time. The giant ship looks fantastic, and seems to be a great big imposing threat. There also appears to be more than one of them, suggesting that the Dwarfers may have pissed off something approaching a battle fleet.
The other ship meanwhile appears less aggressive, but the explosion suggests seismic events of one kind or another taking place. One thing is for sure though, you certainly can’t say that these don’t appear exciting.
5) A hologram of his dead bunkmate
Our first proper look at the bunks this time around, and Rimmer’s holographic dressing gown. So what’s new? Well it’s all a lot more orange essentially. Little details have changed, with the battle plan timetable now moving into the bunk (presumably a a trophy of the one occasion Rimmer managed to emulate his military heroes), and the various decorations around Lister’s bunk having moved or been replaced.
He also has an ice cream that looks suspiciously like whipped cream in a cone.
6) Mood lighting
Marvellous. A lot of the reaction coming out of the recordings was in regards to how good the lighting looked this time around. This is all too apparent in these shots, with moody lighting on location invoking a sense of unease and dread, and interesting camera choices like the shot from above really mixing things up and making it less static than Series X.
It immediately brings to mind the likes of Alien and that cannot be a bad thing. There is a very strong argument to be made that this looks as good as the show has ever looked, and we simply cannot heap enough praise on the inventive choices that have been made that really bring the shots to life and make it unlike any other comedy.
7) Could these life signs by any chance be us?
All of which is of course nice, but if the gags fell flat it would be pointless. However, the minute we hit the life signs gag, we know we’re safe. It’s a variation on jokes we’ve seen before when the crew are exploring something perhaps, but it’s a good solid gag and it’s very much what we are after. The trailer is actually reasonably light on giving us a preview of jokes, and in many ways this is a good approach, as this is the last thing you want to spoil.
Instead, the trailer opts to play a serious sci-fi tone, before undercutting it with a laugh. It works very well indeed, and sets the tone perfectly without us having to have too many one liners. Aside from this we get a nice put down from Lister in the bunk room that again seems entirely apt for the show, and is a good enough tease without having to give away any big laughs. We heartily approve.
8) Explosions! And other threats of maiming!
Yep, things are set to go bang, which is essentially what you’d hope with the return of the Bazookoids. This looks set to include a jar that is full of fluid and what appears to be either body parts or potatoes. Don’t come between the crew and a Sunday roast.
Nice to see some huge sparks back in the explosions that look like they may have given Craig a trip to A&E were they but a couple of inches closer. Peter Wragg would be delighted.
Kryten also gets stabbed in the face repeatedly by what appear to be darts, while Rimmer uses him as a shield and gun support. Everything about this feels right from a character point of view, and it’s very well executed. The depth of field is also worth noting here, and the three levels of the shot are particularly nicely arranged.
9) Quick let’s get out of here before they bring him back
Rimmer appears to be zapped out of the cockpit and we are immediately put in mind of Holoship. However the interesting thing here is a better look at some of the Starbug cockpit.
Though only a small portion, you can get a sense that there is a slightly more claustrophobic feeling this time around, and this combined with the instruments and set dressing seems to give the whole thing more of a submarine type feel. It’s certainly a different look, but if Series X gave us the redesigned Blue Midget interior for the Dave years, this new Starbug cockpit feels entirely in keeping with that type of design, giving a bit of in world continuity which we very much approve of.
We greatly look forward to pouring over more shots of the cockpit in great detail as we get them.
10) Boys from the Dwarf
And finally, various shots of the crew. Rimmer is anxious, Cat is delighted, Lister and Cat get frozen while doing their best jazz hands and a lot of detritus falls on the crew’s heads. All as it should be. What we really want to address with these shots though is how right it looks. The costumes look good, the cast performances are great throughout the trailer, and we hope that any talk about Kryten’s mask can finally be put to bed as it should have been ages ago.
And that makes up the ten big areas of interest in the trailer. Interestingly some shots from the teaser such as the ship entering the water didn’t appear here, but we are quite happy with that as it gave us more to look over.
We’d wager that there are a lot of happy Red Dwarf fans out there who are very excited at this moment in time, and we are firmly with them.
UPDATE: 11) Mid-life Krysis
It seems fitting for the eleventh series that we have eleven points, and thanks to a couple of trailer variations we can now do that. First of all, if you haven’t seen them, you can see them below:
— Steven Gordon-Wilson (@stevengw) August 28, 2016
So firstly, we have a distinctly Iron Man-ish looking Kryten complete with bright red suit shouting either spectacular or pimptacular, we can’t quite make out the line. Black Sabbath’s Iron Man starts with the line ‘has he lost his mind’, and that would seem apt looking at this costume. Clearly this is from Krysis, where the synopsis says ‘Kryten has a mid-life crisis and changes his body cover from Mech grey to Ferrari red’.
It’s an amusing idea and it looks like there will be some mining of the look of the suit for all the visual gags it’s worth. Of other interest in this shot however is a brand new set; our first look at the Science Room as had previously been teased in a couple of small photos from right back at the start of recording last year.
It’s only a glimpse, but it seems to show a mix of styles from several previous similar sets. It’s also nice to see a different colour pallet to the other sets from the ship, and in fact it’s not that dissimilar to that from Back to Earth. While not many details can be made out from the shot, there’s certainly enough to give an impression of what the rest may look like, and it’s one that we can easily get on board with.
Following this shot, we have the crew in what appears to be another location, shot from above and Lister suggesting ‘let’s hear it for the universe’. Nothing to much to gleam from this shot, other than a second shot of the Kryten costume, this time without head piece, and that the universe appears to have done something Lister thinks is worthy of applause beyond literally creating existence.
Finally, we have the short clip from the other trailer. We see the crew looking around a dark location with Kryten saying that ‘a cold chill has just run straight down my spine,’ before Lister says ‘that was me, I just spilt some larger down your back’. A brief gag like in the other longer trailer, and nothing to much to read into as it is literally a tiny throwaway line clipped for the trailer. Once again though, nice to see some interesting choices in the lighting and a suggestion that once again we will be seeing episodes with a bit of an exploration theme, potentially with some sort of mystery to make Kryten nervous.