Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Red Dwarf USA - Pilot (1992)

I posted about the US doing a remake of the British TV show Spaced here recently. Well in terms of what's called a cult show it's not the first time the US have remade a British show, or tried to. Back in the early 90's Universal made 2 pilots for the US version of the Brit SF Comedy show Red Dwarf.
It is said that Craig Charles and Chris Barrie were approached to reprise their roles from the UK show but rejected ideas of a remake, although in some interviews Charles says he new nothing of the US show until Robert Llewellyn who plays Kryten told him of it.
Red Dwarf USA as it was known, starred Craig Bierko as Lister, Chris Eigeman as Rimmer, and Hinton Battle as Cat. The UK shows Robert Llewellyn reprised his role as the robot Kryten. British actress Jane Leeves played Holly the ships computer. Danny John-Jules who plays Cat in the UK version was pleased when he heard that Hinton Battle was playing his role in the US show, battle was a bit of a hero of John-Jules, being a well known US Dancer.
Red Dwarf creators Rob Grant and Doug Naylor were onboard the US version as creators and executive producers. The say that the audience responded well to the pilot which pretty much followed the story of the first UK episode 'The End' with the exception of Kryten being in the show from episode one as a regular cast member.
Executives at Universal weren't happy with the pilot and so asked for a second to be made. Cat was recast as a woman, played by Terry Farrell, she was outwardly more catlike in appearance. Rimmer was recast as Anthony Fuscle.

Despite it having reshoots with the new cast the show wasn't picked up.Terry Farrell went on to star in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
From what I gather the US Pilots reused Visual FX shots from the BBC version. Whether the final US show had it been commissioned would have still used these FX is unknown.
Some scenes from the show feature on the UK DVD Red Dwarf Series 5, but they weren't allowed permission to show the pilots.


Moonwatcher said...

The guy playing Lister looks pretty cheesy.

Michael G Clark said...

I've seen it, it's rubbish. To quote Marvin.

I wonder if the US version of Spaced will be as good?