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I've come to warn you that in three million years you'll be dead!
Red Dwarf: Complete BBC Series 1 (DVD)
Member Name: carl_lazarevic
Red Dwarf: Complete BBC Series 1 (DVD)
Date: 02/02/13, updated on 02/02/13 (20 review reads)
Advantages: Both writing and cast are on top form.
Disadvantages: The small budget means that the show can look monotonous at times
If you have ever had the good fortune of seeing an episode or two of Red Dwarf then you may be surprised at how humble its origins actually were. The first series had an extremely low budget as the show had not yet proven its longevity. This means that you can forget high concept alien killing machines as the show had to focus more on establishing the personalities of the individual crew members. This does mean that the show misses out on some of the hysterical concepts that it would grow into, but fortunately meant that the writing and dialogue were kept very sharp. Some of the incidental characters who weren't popular enough to survive get a much loved showing here. It's not always easy to cope with the very drab visual style forced on the show by its budget, but all is forgiven whenever Lister's toaster starts complaining.
What the writers lack in budget though, they more than make up for in imagination. Fans of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy will love the random; though often sneakily satirical, nature of the writing in each episode. Some of the smaller arguments between characters are hysterical, and you will be quoting some of the best lines for years to come.
- Episodes -
The first episode The End is set on Red dwarf mostly before the accident. It explains holograms, why Lister survived, and where The Cat came from. This explanatory nature slows the pace right down and prevents it from being the best. However Lister's awakening and the Cat's introduction are hysterical. 3.5/5
The next episode Future Echoes is a classic episode and my favourite of this series. In it the ship hits Light speed and the crew start seeing glimpses of their own futures. It has some absolutely hilarious writing, particularly the banter between Lister and Rimmer. 5/5
Balance Of Power sees Lister get fed up of the loneliness and so applies for a promotion to Chef. He will then outrank Rimmer, and can thus order him to switch off and swap places with the girl of his dreams. This episode is a perfect showcase for all of the characters as Cat obsesses over some fish, and Holly has a lot of fun at Rimmer's expense. 4/5
Waiting For God has Holly announce to Rimmer that he has discovered a Pod. Rimmer thinks it's Aliens with the technology to build him a new body, but Lister is a little distracted. He has recently learned how to read Cat books, and come to the realisation that he is their god. Satire against organized religion is rampant in this episode, and Holly is on top form. 5/5
Confidence and Paranoia is my second favourite episode of the first series. Lister gets sick but Rimmer is more concerned that it's raining Herring in their room! Then the Mayor of Walsall suddenly appears and spontaneously combusts in the corridor! This all culminates with the appearance of two new individuals who are claiming to be the embodiments of Lister's Confidence and his Paranoia. The guys playing Confidence and Paranoia do very well, and there are some classic moments with The Cat. 5/5
Me2 is the series conclusion and sees Lister's worst nightmare come true. He is alone in deep space with two Arnold Rimmers. The question is, will it be a permanent arrangement, or will Rimmer's personality clash with himself get too much? Great stuff in this episode as Lister views a video recording of Rimmer's death while Rimmer has a blazing row with himself. Plus the ending is soup-er. 4/5
- The Disk -
There's a commentary on the first episode with Charles, Barry, and Jules. They seem to have a lot of fun insulting each other over the series hair styles and costumes. There's also a hidden Easter egg on the disk. On the main menu you'll see a clip board with the numbers 4691. Click on that to go to the food dispenser and punch in 4691 to open an animated interview, but it's nothing special.
The first thing you find on disk 2 is a big documentary on Red Dwarf. It's one of those documentaries you always get with a cult classic where the crew sit around talking about how it nearly never happened and the difficulties they faced getting the show made.
There's a photo gallery for those of you who buy DVDs for the pictures. I find them dull personally. If that wasn't exciting enough the next extra lets you watch a photo of Lister and two babies slowly develop. Then more pictures, this time photos of the model ships used throughout the series. Absolutely riveting stuff!
It does pick up. There's a little feature called Drunk, which is basically a music video featuring clips of the characters drinking alcohol.
The different musical scores used in the series are available on the disk and are always fun to listen to.
They've also included clips from the Red Dwarf audio book, but this feels like a cheap advertising ploy actually.
Click on the toilette to gain access to a few outtakes from first season. To be honest I'd already seen them on my Smegups and Smegouts videos, but if you haven't then they're a good laugh.
There are some deleted scenes that are not too bad, but most of them are extended scenes that were cut for a reason.
In fact the leaflet inside the case is probably the best feature as it tells you about making the series in general. It expands this info into a making of description of each episode, and the last two pages point out some of the goofs the crew regret.
Finally; and someone please explain the point of this to me, disk two is home to the Japanese pilot. It's not a different episode it's the British pilot in Japanese and it would have been far easier to just include a Japanese track on the first disk. That would have left space for the American pilot for a series that never got off the air. Sure it was rubbish, badly acted, and recycled jokes from the British show, but if it had been on the dvd then I wouldn't have wasted time trying to find it!
- How does the DVD look? -
The picture quality is fine. It's not earth shattering or anything but it's certainly above average which wasn't difficult considering the lack of colour in these early episodes. As an older TV show it's only available in 4.1 though.
- How does the DVD sound? -
Sound is good but nothing special. It comes through clearly, but is only available in Stereo. Once again this is because the series is so old.
- Overall -
Red Dwarf is my favourite comedy series ever. This first series isn't as good as the later series but it's a nice start. The disk sadly is a waste. You can get the 'Just the shows' boxed set a lot cheaper than the individual series, and all you miss out on so far are a few worthless features.
Summary: The first series isn't as good as the later series but it's a nice start. The disk sadly is a waste!