Well this is something of a surprise. While the prospect of a new Red Dwarf Blu Ray being with us by the end of the year was something we expected, we had assumed that this would just be in the form of Series XI. Instead, a few days ago we were alerted to these listings on Amazon for Blu Ray versions of Series I, II, III, IV and V.
Amazon has something of a history of listing items that never come into existence (of which the continual resisting of the BrownTrout Red Dwarf calendar is a perfect example), but in this instance the listing seemed to be a real one when blu-ray.com listed all five of these releases. Cue then Doug Naylor to shed some light on the matter on Twitter.
@timevaultpod@TORDFC@RedDwarfHQ BBCWW are doing an up-resed version of first 5 series as the Japanese market are very keen for it.
— Doug Naylor (@DougRDNaylor) June 17, 2016
Of course this isn’t the first time that the Japanese market has a rerelease of some kind in relation to the past series, with the remastered project having been undertaken to get the shows aired in Japan by trying to bring the look of the early series in line with the later ones. This does all of course raise a few questions, all of which we’d expect answers to fairly soon, but here are the ones that we imagine most of you are asking and our thoughts on the matters
- Will there be new extras?
We’d say that this is fairly unlikely. Most shows (and especially BBC ones) that are upscaled from their original DVD release for a Blu Ray generally tend to have the same content on both formats. This is certainly the case with things such as the upscaled releases of Series 1-4 of Doctor Who, and we’d suspect that the 2 disks listed for each release will in much the same vein as it’s far cheaper to rerelease content then add more to it. Furthermore, XI and XII being the focus for GNP at the moment, we can’t see this getting a radical overhaul.
What we’d really like to see is the bonus features from Bodysnatcher redistributed between these Blu Rays, especially since that release contains the behind the scenes documentaries for Series I-II and is now out of print. We wouldn’t advise placing too much hope in this though as realistically we’d be surprised by these features inclusion, and would expect that the extent of any differences might be that the menus are more optimised for the new format.
- What versions of Series I-III will be used?
The fact that these releases are coming into existence due to demand from the Japanese market might be leaving some of you questioning if we’ll be getting the original versions of the episodes or the remastered editions. While we obviously have no official confirmation on this, we’d be very surprised at this point to see anything other than the original versions used on the DVDs appearing on these releases. As with the other contents of The Bodysnatcher Collection, it would be great for the sake of completeness to see both versions of the episodes on the disks, but once again this would seem unlikely.
- Will Series VI-VIII follow these?
It’s certainly interesting that mention is only being made of Series I-V, especially in light of the the last round of individual series releases that ended with Series IV. It’s also all too easy to remember the inside cover of the Re-Mastered videos stating that more series would follow. There is always the chance that if these sold well that VI-VIII might follow, but if it happened at all, we probably wouldn’t expect it very soon.
- Will there be a difference from my DVD versions?
This is the hardest to speculate on. The original shows were shot on SD video and how much this will improve compared to say those first 4 series of Doctor Who again remains to be seen. That said, for those of you looking to get these releases, we’d hazard a guess that this might not be the only deciding factor for you compared to say, completism, and wanting to provide some company for the Blu Ray releases of Back To Earth and Series X currently sat on your shelf.
With a release date of 15th August, we’d expect to see more details on these fairly shortly. Well be sure to keep you updated as soon as we hear more.