Today’s update from The Official Site has revealed the cover and content of the upcoming DVD release of Series X. You can view the full cover and the website also has a couple of preview pictures from the special features. More on those below.
Now, obviously there are some good and some bad points to address here. First of all, lets look at the negatives, and specifically the biggey; the lack of any mention of episode commentaries. The cast commentaries have been a constant though out an ever evolving DVD range, and one that was hugely enjoyed by the fans if for no other reason than to hear the cast messing about. The article on The Official site does end with mention of ‘one or two pleasant surprises about the set still to be revealed,’ but the chances of one of those being a commentary as some have publicly hoped online are slimmer than a bulimic supermodel.
We can understand the reasoning at work here; the documentary is twice as long and covers most things that a commentary would anyway. However, both types of extras have typically provided that information in two different manners and has therefore always been nice to have. It’s also doubtless been difficult to get the whole cast together again what with their different commitments having all kicked in again since filing on Series X finished. As G&T have stated though, it’s a shame not to at least see one with Doug. Come to that, a commentary with Doug, Richard and Andrew would have been lovely.
The lack of commentary is our main niggle, but there are some other little ones. There is a worrying lack of reference to any of the promotional material like the specially filmed trailers for HMV, Zavvi and Play for example, and that’s a shame considering how good previous releases have been in collating all of this sort of thing. That’s not to say that some of this won’t appear as an easter egg or be featured in the big documentary, but the inclusion of all of those oddities in that manner is unlikely. Furthermore, while we don’t have a great problem with the poster being used for the DVD cover as it does stand out, it still bugs me that the Dwarf doesn’t look quite right due to the way it’s been photoshopped in. We await the alternative cover with great interest.
Anyway, enough criticism for now. Lets look at the plus points:
- “We’re Smegged”: The Two Hour Documentary – While commentaries may be absent we do instead have a documentary that is nearly double the length of the ones we’ve had in the past. Let’s be totally clear here; this is a big deal no matter what issues we have with the rest of the extras. 2 hours is longer than most films get for their making of documentary, and having Nathan Cubitt on hand to film the making of the series from start to finish will doubtless have resulted in the single mod entertaining documentary yet. Frankly, if this were released on it’s own as a separate release we’d buy it. In fact, we’d buy it in multiple formats. For most people, things like the Dave bumpers do not have rewatch value in the way a well put together documentary does and in reality the documentaries have always been the extras a lot of us have looked forward to most. As such, if we are going to lose the little curiosities at least we have a monster documentary that should more than satisfy.
- Reversible Cover – While it’s not mentioned here, we know that the cover is to be reversible and that the other side is likely to tie in with the covers for the I-VIII DVDs.
- Smeg Ups & Deleted Scenes – Standard extras for any Red Dwarf DVD, but great to see them included all the same. We are hugely looking forward to the 12 minutes of Smeg Ups as there were some great ones at the recordings, but surely the 27 minutes of deleted scenes are the highlight here. That’s nearly an extra episode worth. Which brings us onto…
- Doug’s Deleted Scenes Commentary – Now this is an interesting one. We loved Doug’s commentaries on The Bodysnatcher Collection and Back to Earth, so we are delighted to see him providing a commentary here and presumably detailing why he chose to remove these scenes. It does seem odd to have him providing commentary on the material he took out and not the material he left in, but don’t get us wrong, we are delighted with this feature.
So, what are our overall feelings? Well mixed to be honest. On the one hand, if you forgot about any of the other previous Red Dwarf DVDs this would clearly be a great package. It’s only the weight of our expectation from the previous releases that makes us feel that we are missing out on something here, while in reality we are still getting a great package. We are genuinely as excited about seeing “We’re Smegged” as we are about watching the new series. Does that make us sad? Really? Well yes, of course it does, but sod it. Bring on the DVD!