If your Friday is made by a series synopsis and airing month reveal, you’re probably a bit weird to be honest.
You will however find today’s reveal on The Official Site highly satisfying, after it included these bits of information, and tossed in an animated picture on Twitter just for good measure.
Firstly we had the following animated image that confirmed the airdate as being in October, which the exact day to follow:
— Red Dwarf (@RedDwarfHQ) August 18, 2017
Let turn to address the image for a moment then. While the bunk room is redressed from (most of) Series XI, it’s use in Twentica and in still images for the likes of the game should mean that it’s already relatively familiar. We certainly approve of the way the bunks have been made more vibrant, and the previously seen graphics work on the screen is of course lovely.
The fact meanwhile that the image seems to take three separate parts of the bunkroom and composite them into one image, creating a bunk room that doesn’t look quite right. Whether this is to be the main promo image for the series and eventually the DVD cover remains to be seen, but right now if we had to say what we thought, we’d say it looks a bit… off.
But enough of this tosh, the really interesting part is of course the series synopsis. Following the usual bumpf of the cast list and reminders of the live audience and recent awards, we are presented with several different story strands. So without further ado, lets look at each one individually and match it with what we believe the episode title to be.
“For the very first time, the rest of the crew discover just how it feels to be Kryten when they’re arrested by the Mechanoid Intergalactic Liberation Front. “
Expected title: Siliconia
For the episode we knew the most about going in, not a huge amount more is revealed here. That the crew encounter the Mechanoid Intergalactic Liberation Front (or MILF for short) was of course previously alluded to by Craig Charles, so the main new piece of information is the crew’s arrest, presumably leading to them being mechanised for whatever crime they have committed.
“The Dwarfers come across a ship where criticism is illegal”
Expected title: M-Corp/ Timewave
This one could go either way to be honest, given that both are vague titles. We shouldn’t discount however that when we encountered Mega Corp in Series XI, the crew of the S.S. Samsara were kept in check by the Karma Drive. Is this perhaps an extension of them wanting to control people’s behaviour?
“A space station where the crew have developed a cure for evil”
Expected title: Cured
Well it seems a fairly safe assumption that this episode is Cured. It also goes some way to confirming that as with the synopsis for Series XI, the order the story strands are presented in here does not reflect the running order of the episodes.
“When all the machines on Red Dwarf go on strike Rimmer and Kryten hold a Presidential election, while The Cat faces an identity crisis like never before when he discovers he needs glasses.”
Expected title: Mechocracy
While it had previously been debated among fans as to whether the everyone is Kryten episode was Siliconia or Mechocracy, this synopsis would certainly seem to confirm which is which.
When Series XII was recorded right at the start of 2016, elections were highly topical. While we are now in the aftermath of them however, the issues raised have rather tended to continue long past their conclusion. We even have a President that despite winning is continuing in office as he did on the campaign trail, which lets be honest is quite a Rimmerish idea.
The landscape of the world since then could certainly play to this episode’s advantage in still being topical. What excites us most about this though is that while we have had shades of this idea in Balance of Power, this feels like quite a fresh idea for the show and certainly has a lot of potential.
Does the same apply to The Cat needing glasses? Christ only knows. But if ever there was a character for whom such a revolution would provoke the equivalent of a midlife crisis, this is the one.
There is of course no guarantee that both the Cat section and the election section are part of the same episode, but given the way the synopsis is written we’d say it’s a fair bet that they are one and the same.
“Lister discovers a simple update of the ship’s latest software could be a matter of life or death.”
Expected title: Timewave / M-Corp
Aside from the ‘everyone is Kryten’ plotline, this is the other story strand that we knew about in advance, with Doug mentioning it on Radio 5 back when promoting Series XI. Further back than that though, this was one of the ideas that Doug had discussed back before Series X at Dimension Jump. Unlike the other ideas he mentioned at the same time, that one didn’t make it into that series, aside from arguably a few points in Fathers & Suns and the crew still using things they’d found on the Trojan later in Entangled.
Technology run amok is good subject matter for the show, and as a general theme has been key to episodes like DNA and the afore mentioned Fathers & Suns. We’ll always welcome life and death stakes too, and as we’ve said previously, a bit of peril does the show no end of good.
“Finally, Rimmer decides to leave Red Dwarf in search of a parallel universe where he isn’t such a massive loser.”
Expected title: Skipper
Which finally brings us around to what would almost certainly seem to be Skipper. Parallel universes are of course territory that the show is more than familiar with, previously generating some fan favourite episodes. Even Rimmer finding himself in a universe where he wasn’t such a loser has been seen to some extent with Only the Good.
So why are we still excited by this episode? Because the use of parallel universes provides a wide canvas that means we really don’t know what to expect from this one. Add into this what we’ve seen at least one picture that might see to tie into this episode with Rimmer holding the rank of Navigation Officer and we could be on course for something rather special.