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For several years many people thought that the British sitcom Red Dwarf was dead, and that is was simply one of those shows that 'used to be on telly.' More Dead that Red, perhaps? However its co-creator Doug Naylor always thought otherwise and tried to get it back on the screens, be they big screen or small. In 2009 this happened in a mini three part series commissioned by Dave TV, who regularly show quite a number of the repeats, called Back to Earth. Then in 2012 the series returned, again commissioned by Dave TV, with Red Dwarf series ten... or X as it is better know.
But what is Red Dwarf? Well... Dave Lister is the last human being alive and he resides on the mining ship Red Dwarf, which is light years from Earth. How did he become to last human? Well he was put into stasis on the ship because he smuggled a cat on board and would not give it up when asked, as he knew the cat would be killed. Meanwhile a radiation leak kills everyone on board and the ship's computer keeps Lister in stasis until it is safe to come out, which just happens to be three million years later. In that time, his cat gave birth to kittens who evolved into humanoid beings, but these all die save for The Cat, who becomes a companion for Lister. The computer also resurrects Lister's crew mate Rimmer, who Lister hates, but Holly (the computer) chooses Rimmer to keep Lister 'sane.' In series 3 the three characters are joined by a robot Kryton. The series is all about Lister's slobby, curry eating and beer drinking existence and where they all get up to various adventures.
The series was created by both Doug Naylor and Rob Grant. Grant left the set up after series 6. As already stated, Dave Lister is a bit of a bum, but he has a good heart nonetheless, and is played by actor Craig Charles. Arnold Judas Rimmer is a coward and thinks mostly of himself, but can be brave on rare occasions, and he is played by actor Chris Barry. The Cat is super cool and vain and is played by Danny John Jules. Kryton is a mecanoid who is a bit 'tetchy' and is played by Robert Llewellyn. Other cast members are Holly, who has been played by both Norman Lovett Hattie Hayridge. Kristine Kochanski is Lister's ex girlfriend, played by Clare Grogan and Chloë Annett.
Red Dwarf X hit the screens in late 2012 and then the DVD stands in November of that year. I wasn't really expecting much as I always felt that the series had declined since series six. I have been a fan of the series since series 3 and have all the DVDs, which I have watched over and over and tend to 'mis' quote some of the lines from time to time. But I was pleasantly surprised by the series. It was back to basics and back to its best with the series performed live in front of a studio audience. All four actors slotted back into their roles with ease, as though they had never been away: I guess the live audience helped.
First up for this series is Trojan. This is a great start to the series and left me with a big smile on my face. The crew discover a ship 'Trojan,' and whilst there they receive a distress call from none other than Rimmer's older, and more clever and talented brother Howard. There follows a fun last part in which Rimmer tries to pass his Officer's exam in order to impress his bother when he arrives. Obviously he cannot pass the exam... he never has before, so the crew make an elaborate world of make believe in which Rimmer is an officer and we learn a secret about Howard... Next is Fathers and Suns. Every Father's Day Lister gets drunk and records a message for himself to see next year. He is in fact his own father - followers of Red Dwarf will know what I mean. It is father's day he is looking forward to his message. Meanwhile, the ship gets a new computer, who is a bit psychotic. And decides to set a course for the ship to crash into the sun. Having watched the extras on this disc, we learn that Craig Charles had been suffering from flu before this episode was filmed. He performed amicably, however, and there is a great scene where he is talking to himself on the screen.
The third episode in this series is Lemons. The crew are sent back into time to the year 23 AD and meet up with none other than Jesus. Jesus is being chased, but the crew need Lemons to work their teleporter. They return to the ship with Jesus. Jesus, however, reads all about his history and does not really like what he sees, so returns, and the crew go after him. This is another fun episode, classic Dwarf. Next up is Entangled, where Lister managed to lose Rimmer in a bet to a nasty bunch of genetically engineered life forms. This is classic Lister and classic Rimmer. If Lister does not pay up on the bet a device that has been attached to his groin area will explode in 24 hours.
This is followed by Dear Dave, in which Lister finds a letter that was addressed to him years ago from an ex girlfriend stating how he coukd be the father of her child and that the next letter with confirm if it is or not. He then goes in search of this letter. Meanwhile one of the vending machines starts to have a crush on him. Lastly we have The Beginning. This is an episode in which Rimmer finds out he is not the man he thought he was and manages to save the day!
The DVD comes with lots of extras for you to view. We're Smegged is an interesting documentary on how the series came about and what happened whilst filing. It was filmed in front of a live audience, so it was interesting to see how the actors coped with that. We have the usual deleted scenes as well, plus the normal 'Smeg Ups,' which fans of the series will know to be outtakes.
Overall, this is a pleasantly surprising series and well worth the watch if you were once a fan, or if you are new to the series.
I've been a fan of Red Dwarf since I was quite young, and I was excited when the series returned to Dave in 2012. I received the DVD set for Christmas, and it was excellent.
Trojan was a brilliant opening episode. The crew find a derelict vessel and receive a distress call from another ship, which turns out to be run by the hologram of Rimmer's brother, Howard. A very funny episode, involving a parody of TV shopping channels, the crew pretending to be Space Corp personnel, and a huge revelation about Howard Rimmer.
Lister being on hold for the majority of the episode
Howard Rimmer's revelation
The use to which the crew put Crawford, Howard's simulant companion, at the end of the episode.
Cat: Not paying attention as to whether it's a little green man or a little red man? Of course they're not, they're mooses!! Jeez... Swedes: they expect too much!
2. Fathers and Suns.
It's Father's Day, and Lister is making a card for his Dad. Who, incidentally, is himself. He receives the card he made last year, then drinks himself to oblivion so that he forgets what he has written. Meanwhile, Rimmer and Kryten boot up the new ship's computer, a female called Pree. Pree can predict what will happen based on her analysis of the crew, so makes entire conversations redundant. Because of this, Lister ends up jettisoned from the ship, and the rest of the crew find themselves in a dive into the nearest sun. Due to flawless logic, the ship reverts to normal and Lister ends the episode as he started- playing computer games.
Lister's video and punishment for his son.
Rimmer's desired design for the new computer.
The Cat's reaction on seeing the new computer.
Lister's argument to save the ship and crew.
After a flat-pack rejuvenation shower goes wrong, the crew find themselves on Earth, 23AD. As they left the battery for the remote on Red Dwarf, they need to make one- out of lemons. This leads them to India, where Lister accidentally discovers Jesus. Once they make the battery, they bring Jesus back to the Dwarf and operate on him for gallstones. Jesus reads a history book about things that have happened in his name, and returns to India trying to denounce Christianity. The crew return, and discover that Jesus is in fact, Jesus of Caesarea. The episode ends when the crew decide to stay in India for a little longer to get a curry, and possibly spot a famous religious figure...with his famous twin brother.
Jesus of Caesarea, and his obsession with bags.
Lister's use of "Jesus"
The travel through 1st Century Earth
Rimmer: A bald mullet. A skullet. Bald at the front, mullet at the back. You wouldn't want to go out in public with this guy.
The Cat is chasing a space weevil through the ship and stumbles across Kryten conducting an experiment which causes the two to become quantum entangled. Meanwhile, Lister has lost Starbug (and Rimmer) in a poker game with some BEGGs, who die before they are able to remove the explosive device they have fitted Lister with. A trip to the space station where the device was developed leads to a meeting with a Professor Irene Edgington, who (once transformed back into a human from a gorilla) helps (somewhat) remove the device before an unfortunate event causes her to disappear.
Rimmer's love of the space station, which was staffed by scientists that were always wrong.
The Cat and Kryten speaking at exactly the same time, annoyingly
5. Dear Dave.
Lister is depressed. He misses the human race, a fact which Kryten inadvertently keeps mentioning. Rimmer and Lister are going through the mail pod, trying to find letters addressed to them, when Lister finds a letter telling him that he may be a father. Meanwhile, a love triangle occurs between Lister and two vending machines- one in love with him, one accusing him of sexual harassment. The rest of the episode involves Lister coming to terms with being a father three million years in the past, before discovering that he was not the father.
Rimmer and Lister betting on who will find a letter addressed to themselves first.
The Cat's advice to Lister
6. The Beginning.
The crew are visited by a rogue simulant called Hogey, who (yet again) challenges them to "a duel across time and space." He has attracted the attention of a group of Annihilators. Rimmer attempts to plan an attack, but can't concentrate. The Cat tells Rimmer that he can't concentrate because of his father. After watching a Holo-lamp, including some very important information regarding his father, Rimmer plans to save them- a plan that works.
Hogey the Roguey is fantastic
The Annihilators and their planning
The last line before the credits, echoing the first ever episode.
I felt that the series as a whole was excellent. There were some fantastic jokes, and I felt that the episodes were all great. The weakest episode, I thought, was Dear Dave, although I still enjoyed it. My favourite was Fathers and Suns, with Rebecca Blackstone playing the new computer fantastically. Overall, it was a great series, with very little to complain about.
The DVD contains some extras- a two-hour documentary on the making of Red Dwarf X, which is fantastic and really interesting, called "We're Smegged", also deleted scenes and the usual Smeg-ups. Unfortunately, the DVD did not contain the usual commentaries on each episode, which I was a bit disappointed by, but I understand that they could not fit it into the schedule with cast members having other commitments.
Overall, I do think that this DVD is well worth getting for any Smeg Head.