Red Dwarf USA – RD Vlogs

Yes, there was a failed pilot for an American version of Red Dwarf. The fans hate it … but is it really as bad as bad as they say?

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Dena takes a positive and detailed look at retro games, horror games, horror movies, and whatever else she feels like. Also Silent Hill. And cats.

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15 Comments on "Red Dwarf USA – RD Vlogs"

TragicGuineaPig
Guest

I would have included Whose Line in that list, even though technically it isn’t a sitcom, since it’s improv, but still. Also, Cosby was originally British? I always just assumed that Bill based the show on his stand-up routines.

TragicGuineaPig
Guest
Frankly, I never buy arguments that claim that any particular work is so grounded in its source culture that it can’t be translated elsewhere. I’ve seen some sub-only anime fans that make this argument, and frankly, considering that some of my favorite anime have dubs that are better than their sources, I just don’t buy it. In the case of Red Dwarf, a great deal of the jokes actually have their source in AMERICAN culture, so there you go. Star Trek, Star Wars, and other American science fiction concepts have found their way onto Red Dwarf. So, again, I just… Read more »
StormWolf
Guest
There are some things that can’t be translated, though. Some of the things that give British shows their edge (and I don’t mean the edginess of a 16 year old internet troll on YouTube, I mean actual edge) are things that can’t be shown on American network television. Or they’ll be removed not because they’ll get in trouble with the FCC, but because they mistakenly think that American audiences “just wouldn’t get it” or wouldn’t be able to handle it. It’s not impossible to translate things, but you’d be lying to yourself if you think network TV execs would ever… Read more »
TragicGuineaPig
Guest
What she was talking about was British concepts, and the idea that certain British concepts won’t translate to America well. Such things can be translated, it’s just that those handling won’t do it. The concepts themselves are understandable; there is, after all, an American audience for such things as Red Dwarf, Monty Python, and such. As for censorship, I don’t recall seeing terribly many things on Red Dwarf that really couldn’t be shown on American TV. Maybe some of the regional gestures and slang wouldn’t resonate immediately with American audiences; but then again, there were plenty of idioms and slang… Read more »
Goat Boy
Guest

I think, with basic cable and the internet, an American Red Dwarf could work, but, in the early nineties, where you more or less just had four networks to go to, and the lowest common denominator was way more of a thing than it is now, yeah, it was never gonna work out.

Chicken Puppet
Guest

“The lowest common denominator was way more of a thing then it is now”…Not sure I agree.

This was during the era of Seinfeld, Married With Children, The Simpsons, Night Court, News Radio, Cheers, Friends, Frasier, Rosanne, Northern Exposure, etc…It was actually sort of a high point for sitcoms.

Remember this is BEFORE the reality TV boom of the 2000s when sitcoms nearly vanished.

caffeinatedkate
Guest
Lister ending up on Red Dwarf because he got drunk and woke up stranded with no money isn’t from the original series but it is from the novels, the same goes for rescuing Frankenstein from a restaurant. Which makes sense as this episode does seem to be a hybrid. I don’t think it’s utterly terrible, more kind of bland, some of the dialogue sounds too fake and it’s a shame that Rimmer’s role mainly seems to be standing in the background and reacting to Lister. I’m also surprised they didn’t do a better job with Kryten’s casing, that plain matt… Read more »
Spanners
Guest

I first saw the failed pilot in 2002 after someone in my dorm building told me about the failed project and how it actually let to the creation of “Homeboys in Outer Space”.

The original line about still having that library book was better than the baseball card line.

Chicken Puppet
Guest
This really doesn’t look too bad. Terry Farrel as the Cat would have been interesting, and switched up the dynamic a little. Though I totally agree with Dena that the choices for Lister and Rimmer were all underwhelming. I do think the theme song needs to be changed for American audiences, I never really liked the original theme and it’s incredibly British. Finally, Jane Leeves is actually perfect as Holly. She has such a reassuring and matronly voice and appearance. She could deliver the news that the ship was heading straight for a black hole and it wouldn’t sound all… Read more »
turkeypedal
Guest

From what I saw, the second one looked a lot better. Rimmer was better acted, and actually looked distinct. The character interactions were all believable.

Sure, there’s less there, but we know the circumstances, so that’s something you would expect to improve. Chemistry isn’t, and the chemistry is there.

I did notice the lack of diversity in whitewashing Lister, but that’s the same in both. And having a “wacky black sidekick” is kinda worse. The original UK version works because they don’t have a token black character.

StormWolf
Guest

“…but is it really as bad as they say?” YES! OH GOD YES! Why does my country love to take British shows and drench them in beigeness? (With a couple exceptions, of course, but god damn. For another example, look at the US version of Being Human. It got turned into a worse version of The Vampire Diaries.)

BTW, most of those shows you listed as working, you’ll notice, came from the 70’s and 80’s. I think the complaint of American network execs ruining everything comes from later, starting in the mid-90’s.

Dechha1981
Guest
The show almost makes me feel like i could be a comedy writer. I mean, I was thinking, “No! No! The jokes need to come from their personalities. In the UK version, when they did the “7 or 8 women that are right for me” joke, they knew each other well enough to make fun of each other. Also, the main subject of the conversation was relationships, and one of them accused the Cat of being a complete hound, and he was denying being a hound… by his standards. Also, Lister’s reaction was less “ok my god! More than one… Read more »
Captain Chaotica
Guest
APOLOGY: This is long and babbly. But I’m way into Red Dwarf and find the subject of how British stuff translates to other cultures (or not) fascinating. So read if you want, skip if you don’t. Huh! Interestingly, you seem to have almost exactly the same opinion as I do about the (first) American pilot, Dena: “Oh my god, this is going to be SO horrible, I’m already rolling my eyes…hey, wait. That intro was actually kinda funny, in the ‘American-nerd-who’s-way-too-into-Hitchhiker’s-Guide’ way*. And this guy doesn’t _look_ anything like Lister, but…he still kinda FEELS right as the character. Not as… Read more »
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