Hasslein Blog: May 2015


Hasslein Blog

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Revisiting Red Dwarf, Part Six: Shipwrecked and Comatose (Series IX-X)

Guest blogger Joe Bongiorno wraps up his fun-fun-fun-filled look back at the first ten seasons of Red Dwarf. (View part five here.)

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By Joseph Bongiorno

Back to Earth isn't as offensive as many claim; it's just that everything feels off. The 10 year gap, in which Naylor was trying to get a movie done (and we can debate how that derailed our getting seasons 9, 10, and 11 in that time), really took a toll on the actors who are looking long in the tooth. But then there are the continuity issues, which are too wide a gap to bridge. Why is a Rimmer a hologram? Did the resurrected Rimmer die (again) and become one? This can't be Rimmer from seasons 1-7 because that guy went off and became Ace Rimmer. Why did Kochanski leave? What happened at the end of Series 8? 

It's almost like they're on another TV show.

So my biggest problem with Back to Earth is it feels like we lost valuable stories, the actors look aged, and we've been waiting this long and there's no conclusion to what came before. The Blade Runner take-off is fine, and the reveal at the end works well enough (so too the Russian hologram), and I like that in the end, Lister decides to leave the fantasy of living with Kochanski to go and find the real one…

Except that in Series 10, he's doing nothing of the kind, there are still no answers about Series 8 and the characters have all regressed to their season 1 versions.

Which sucks. Y'know, it's funny when a 20-something guy drools curry and beer all over his clothes. It's not funny a 50-year-old does that. It's funny when a 20-something guy acts like a pompous old man. It's not funny when that guy is a pompous old man.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Red Dwarf Fan Club Reviews 'Total Immersion: The Comprehensive Red Dwarf Encyclopedia'

The good folks at the The Official Red Dwarf Fan Club have included a wonderful review of Paul C. Giachetti's Total Immersion: The Comprehensive Unauthorized Red Dwarf Encyclopedia in the latest issue of Back to Reality magazine. Scans of the pages are available below (click on each image to view a larger version). We offer our heartfelt smeggin' thanks for helping us to promote this project.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Revisiting Red Dwarf, Part Five: Goldfish Shoals Nibbling at My Toes (Series VIII)

Guest blogger Joe Bongiorno's review of the first ten seasons of Red Dwarf continues, helping us to celebrate the recent announcement of two more upcoming seasons of the series. (View part four here.)

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By Joseph Bongiorno

Series 8: I'd seen this season back in the day, and forgotten nearly all of it, with the exception of Cassandra (by which I mean the character, not the episode).

There are lots of surprises here, not least of which is the return of Rimmer and the rest of the original Red Dwarf crew. The resurrected Rimmer is great to have back, in large part because the Lister he's dealing with is a different Lister, so the dynamic is similar but different. Putting Rimmer and Lister in jail was a way to give fans more of Seasons 1-2 type stories, but without undermining anything that came before. Lister acknowledges that he's not the same guy from years earlier; he's not the irresponsible, curry-stained slob of the first season. But hysterically, Rimmer pushes him so far to the extreme that he reverts for a moment back to that guy, which makes for a great punchline that is still grounded in character.

This is not the Red Dwarf you were expecting.

Also wonderful in this season is the fact that Naylor puts Rimmer in different situations that force him to grow and develop along a new trajectory in a way that honors Season 1's craven version of Rimmer without carbon copying him, and which brings him closer quicker to the heroic Rimmer of Season 7. Lister's maturity plays a large role in this in that he's more forgiving of Rimmer's idiosyncrasies and willing to take him on as a partner and friend, something that just wasn't possible in the early seasons.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Red Dwarf Cosplaying: Fun, Fun, Fun at the Con, Con Con

By Paul C. Giachetti

As a creative type, I’ve long been fascinated by the art of cosplaying: the merging of one’s favorite franchises with costuming. It’s mostly been a spectator sport for me; I possess no ability whatsoever to sew, staple or glue two strips of fabric together. My only attempts, a Lost Dharma employee, a Fallout 3 vault-dweller, a member of the Blue Man Group and Pee-Wee Herman, have really been more for Halloween parties than actual con-going. Still, I’ve found and befriended many cosplayers on social media throughout the years, and thoroughly enjoy watching the process of building props and creating costumes from scratch.
Cosplaying has, of course, been around for as long as sci-fi and fantasy conventions themselves, but the term “cosplay” (short for “costume play”) is generally cited as having been coined in the mid-1980s. Since then, it has evolved into its own art form and lately has erupted into the mainstream of entertainment, with many cosplayers now using their skills as a primary means of income. These days, it’s almost a fashion faux pas NOT to dress up while attending a convention.

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mothra's Day to All Mothras Out There


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Revisiting Red Dwarf, Part Four: ...in the Sun, Sun, Sun (Series VII)

To help celebrate the recent announcement of two more upcoming seasons of Red Dwarf, guest blogger Joe Bongiorno's re-watch of the first ten seasons continues. (View part three here.) Here's his latest smeggin' review...

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By Joseph Bongiorno

Season 7 is, I think, amazing! For one thing, it shows what a great writer Naylor has turned out to be, in large part because he not only lost his writing partner, Rob Grant (for reasons no one yet understands), but also because recognized that the show needs to continue growing and trying new things, moving forward while honoring the past. He also uses the partial loss of Chris Barrie to great potential. And he introduces Kochanski, essentially a new crew-member, using his foreknowledge that fans are going to reject her by having Kryten reject her, and by keeping her relationship with Lister ambivalent. Season 7 is also to be lauded because it gives itself permission to be serious and dramatic and even emotional at times, elements that are actually foreshadowed in earlier episodes like "Me2," "Thanks for the Memory" and "Marooned."

The season also looks gorgeous; it's wonderful for them to have a budget to be able to realize their vision, and yet they don't sacrifice the story or characters for effects (we'll get to that sad reversal in my review of season 10). In fact, this is the strongest character arc yet.

Oliver Stone would have had a field day with this one.
"Tikka to Ride": Lister's insatiable lust for curry could've been a simpler Season 1 type episode, except that it takes place in the midst of resolving Season 6's cliffhanger, dealing with time paradoxes and bringing Kennedy's assassination to the fore! The latter is interesting, as well, because there's an unexpected sad note in the fact that Kennedy sacrifices himself for the greater good, which is very resonant when you understand the progressive promise he embodied in that era, and what a blow his loss was to the country. That unexpected bit of melancholy sets the stage for what's to come in the next four episodes.
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