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  • One Britain's great science fiction comedies, "Red Dwarf" is one of the United Kingdom's finest television exports. This is due to the fact that alot of the comedy, through the characters, satirizes British stereotypes (slobs, snobs, neurotics) and makes its own commentary on the bleakness and absurdity that is human life.

    The format, which has become considerably more flexible in recent years, started thus. Set in space, some two or hundred years or so in the future, on an enormous mining ship called Red Dwarf, working class slob Dave Lister (Craig Charles) finds himself placed "in stasis"(frozen in time) as punishment for illegally hoarding a cat on board the ship. Awakened by the ship's senile computer Holly (Norman Lovett), Lister is shocked to discover he's been in stasis for three million years and the rest of the crew have been killed by a freak accident.

    Asides from the now-senile computer, Lister's only company is a vain, narcissistic lifeform who evolved from his cat (Danny John-Jules) and a hologram of Arnold Rimmer (Chris Barrie), his bossy and officious superior.

    This was the set up for the first two series of Red Dwarf. The format changed in series three when Holly swapped sexes and became Hattie Hayridge, and the crew recruited Kryten (Robert Llewllyn), an eager-to-please mechanoid with an overactive guilt chip. In series six, Red Dwarf and its computer were abandoned, and the crew were forced to survive in modified shuttlecraft Starbug.

    Chris Barrie left as Rimmer in series seven and was replaced, courtesy of an alternate universe storyline, by Kochanski (Chloe Annett), the love of Lister's life. The ship, complete with resurrected crew, returned for series eight and saw the adventurers, along with a back-from-the-dead Rimmer, thrown in the ship's brig for their adventures in the previous series.

    In the first two series with a minimum main cast, the much-despised grey sets lent an appropriately barren, lonely backdrop to the very character based comedy. Most of this consisted of intimate comic banter between Lister and Rimmer, occasionally livened up by the Cat's hilariously self-obsessed prescence or an off-the-cuff joke from the laconic Holly.

    Seasons three to five broadened the scope of the series, making it more experimental with different science fiction concepts. The added prescence of Kryten helped this, his 'groinal socket', susceptibility to the whims of a sometimes deranged Rimmer and increased attempts to break his restrictive programming brought new comic dimensions to the series.

    Series six and seven reverse the comedy-science fiction ratio of the series in that the former now takes a back seat to the latter. In other words the comedy of the series accentuates the main science fiction based plots. The comedy emphasis was restored for series eight, although, much like series seven, this element was alot weaker than before.

    The series benefitted from alot of strong characterisation. Craig Charles embodies carefree slob Lister, while Chris Barrie turns in a wonderfully uptight performance as the hopelessly neurotic Rimmer. Dancer Danny John Jules brings alot of colourful charm to the Cat, while Norman Lovett is wonderfully sardonic as Holly, whose almost apathetic stupidity allows for alot of comic misunderstandings. After being replaced by Hattie Hayridge for a few seasons, Lovett returned in series seven.

    Robert Llewellyn, his entire head covered in a prosthetic mask, has some fine moments in a character that is very much a comic take on the android "Data" from "Star Trek:TNG". Chloe Annett is wonderfully superficial as Kochanski, but is attractive enough to make plausible Lister's attraction to her.

    Series eight was helped considerably by the return of Mac MacDonald as Red Dwarf's hapless Captain. During the two-part episode "Pete" he is subjected to a series of increasingly hilarious indignations, prompting a wonderfully humiliated performance from MacDonald.

    Time will tell whether or not the series will return, but the series remains one of the definitive comic staples of British television.
  • Let's get one thing straight here: I don't watch much TV. A lot of the shows nowadays really get on my nerves. But RED DWARF is different. DWARF is shown on Saturday nights on my local PBS station, and the week just isn't the same if I can't see my favorite bunch of marooned space bums. The story is a bit of a long one: Dave Lister, a technician aboard the mining ship RED DWARF, is punished for having an unquarantined cat on the ship. His punishment involves going into stasis for 18 months, forfeiting all pay (which he wants to save up so he can move to Fiji with his cat and the love of his life, Kristine Kochanski). But while he is in stasis, his supremely anal-retentive superior officer and bunkmate Arnold Rimmer fails to fix a restraining plate properly on a warp drive, and the whole ship undergoes an internal nuclear explosion. When awakened by Holly, the ship's slightly loopy computer, Lister finds out he has been in stasis for over 3 million years. Rimmer, resurrected by Holly as a hologram, is back to keep Lister sane yet seems more probable to do the opposite. Lister's cat, who was pregnant, was safely sealed away in the cargo hold of the ship. There the cats have bred for 3 million years, and the last survivor of their race pops out of an air vent, a Felis Sapiens, or commonly known as just Cat. Together, they try to find a way back home to Earth...even if it takes 3 million years!

    I would recommend this to anyone who likes a good laugh. :o)
  • Red Dwarf is for anyone who enjoys a good laugh, and doesn't mind taking their science fiction with a grain of salt. Yet I think it's necessary to break the show up into three distinct parts.

    Part One encompasses seasons one and two, which revolves primarily around the relationship of Rimmer and Lister. The first two seasons have a great low-budget appeal (most of the scenes take place on a couple of sets)and really mixes sharp wit and satire with a sense of loneliness.

    Part Two is seasons three to six, and a new character, Kryten, is added to the list (this is not bad at all: Kryten gets a lot of the best lines). With the show's growing popularity and increased budget, the characters venture more and more outside their giant spaceship and explore "strange new worlds". Action and physical comedy take more and more precedence during these seasons. This is the high point of the show's run.

    Part Three includes seasons seven and eight, and in all honesty, are best avoided. Several years elapsed between seasons and six and seven, and it shows. The show's creators made several mistakes in plot, story, and character, and the actors appear to be going through the motions, and much of their character traits, which made the show so great in the first place, are missing or warped in very disappointing ways.

    Still, I highly recommend the first six years of this program. They're just the motley crew I'd want to be lost in space with.
  • Red Dwarf is probably one of the most entertaining TV shows ever made. It's a hybrid of sci-fi and comedy that, when it works, works perfectly. The four core characters - Lister, the last human in the universe, Rimmer, a hologram of his worst enemy, Kryten, a cross between C3P0 and Data, and The Cat, a super-evolved humanoid feline - are very strongly written and played by a great cast. The show is not perfect, as the small budget often shows and The Cat, and Rimmer in some cases, are often given lines that they simply wouldn't come out with just so they have something to say. Apart from this, though, the show is of a very high quality and very unique.

    Series I and II were very cheap - everything was cotton or plastic - and focussed on the sitcom aspects and character development. It was with Season III, and the introduction of Kryten as a regular, that Red Dwarf began to achieve it's potential. Suddenly there was more sci-fi and adventure in the episodes, with spaceships, bazookoids (mini-bazookas), shape-shifting, emotion-stealing aliens, and a cool guitar version of the theme tune.

    Series IV was even better, and Series V even better than that. The show became just as much sci-fi as it was comedy, very cool indeed and tackled some imaginative premises with more skill than Star Trek: TNG in many cases. Finally, Season VI was absolutely superb, with the best production values the show had ever seen, and the funniest, most exciting storylines. Plus the fact that Red Dwarf itself, the spaceship, wasn't even in Season VI, which made it exceptionally cool. Every single episode was excellent, with the highlight proberbaly being 'Gunmen of the Apocalypse' wherein the crew entered a virtual reality version of the wild west. Series VI ended with five minutes of pure drama and a stunning cliffhanger- you'd be hard pressed to find a more exciting climax on TV. With Series VII, except for the great first episode 'Tikka to Ride', the show faltered. Rimmer left along with one of the two script-writers, which half-crippled the show. Whereas there used to be constant laughs throughout previously, with Season VII there were a few laughs an episode. Rimmer returned with Series VIII, but then Red Dwarf became a total farce with no real sci-fi and everything played for cheap laughs. It became a plotless string of lame sketches and was simply not funny. The characters became caracatures. The show became a complete mockery of the blend of sci-fi/comedy it had achieved previously. Let's hope the forthcoming feature film, with both writers at the helm, can bring back some of the old magic the show had.
  • Although Red Dwarf is over 17 years old now, it's only in the last year or so that I've seen it in-depth. At first I was a little cautious as it was described as a "cult" favourite, which I think is a polite way of saying geek/nerd fest. Fortunately my concerns were unfounded, as it is one of the funniest sitcoms I've ever seen.

    The reason for this, in my opinion, is the terrific writing by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor - who also wrote the excellent Spitting Image. Of course, good writing would be useless without good actors delivering the lines, fortunately ever part in Red Dwarf is perfectly cast. Craig Charles (an unknown stand up comic before he was cast) and Chris Barrie (who previously worked with Grant and Naylor on Spitting Image) are both excellent in the lead roles of Dave Lister and Arnold Rimmer respectively. Robert Llwellyn, who plays Kryten, an android, only joined Red Dwarf in season 3, but quickly established himself as a lot of peoples favourite character. My favourite character, however, has to be the Cat, played by Danny John-Jules, mainly for the outlandish outfits he habitually wears.

    Unfortunately the series is no longer on T.V. (in fact they haven't made any new ones since 1998), but you can now buy the series on DVD, and I strongly recommend you do (especially for the fantastic extras that are included).
  • Reading through these reviews brought on a wave of nostalgia for me , I watched this show religiously from the very first episode , it's quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever seen . The first series when it was originally shown was so new and so different it was a really refreshing change from the usual dross that is the vast majority TV comedy . The friction between Lister and Rimmer is what really drives the show in the early episodes , it's great the way in which you have these two people who utterly detest each other but are confined together with no hope of escape from each other's company .

    With the third series the show took a change in direction and pace , with the introduction of the character Kryten as a regular and the all new female version of Holly . With any other show this might have signalled the beginning of the end , such radical changes rarely go down well but with Red Dwarf it was like a new lease of life and saved the show from becoming stale or repetitive . Series 4 and 5 continued in a similar vein with the stories becoming ever more way out and crazy , all riotously good stuff .

    Then along came series 6 and another set of very major changes , for a long time I had a really hard time getting into this series , the loss of the ship Red Dwarf was such a major change and it really kinda threw me . Upon repeated viewings this series really grew on me though , and it has some seriously funny episodes right up there with the best of them , and the end of the last episode in the series was really quite shocking , it actually brought a tear to my eye .

    Next we have the ill fated seventh series which started out well enough with the episode tikka to ride , but after that it rapidly degenerated , it deeply saddened me to see what my favourite TV show was becoming , it was but a shadow of it's former self and with series eight things took a further plunge into banality and throw away one liners , what a terribly sad way for it all to end .

    At it's best this show is the best entertainment it has ever been my pleasure to watch , but eventually I guess you can have too much of a good thing and I doubt we'll see it's like again .
  • Where to start? The writing, the cast, the effects . . . superb.

    Firstly, the writing. The situation is so unbelievable it works. Three million years out into deep space, with the unlikeliest crew you could find. And bizarre and funny things just keep happening. The secret? You might ask the same question of previous comedy greats. It just is.

    The effects - especially since remastering - are breathtaking. I don't know how "true to life" it is, but it doesn't need to be. Seeing Starbug come crashing through the cargo bay doors is a joy to behold.

    And the cast. Sensational. Chris Barrie (Rimmer) is the outstanding comedy actor of his generation. With the possible exception of Rowan Atkinson, I don't think there's a single man alive who could play the smeghead so well.

    Equally, Craig Charles as Lister - a complete slob who is in fact the most decent person among the crew. A beautiful irony, and Charles focuses on the slob part so well that we tend to forget the character's decent side. This is not a bad thing - quite the reverse. When the decent side does appear, it is all the more prominent for it.

    Norman Lovett (1-2, 8) and Hattie Hayridge (3-5) as Holly, the computer. I prefer Lovett's take, and don't fully understand why he was replaced. Hayridge did a fine job (indeed there's some moments that Lovett couldn't have done), but Lovett is the definitive Holly. He has the comic face for it.

    Not forgetting Robert Llewellyn as the guilt-happy mechanoid Kryten, who overacts beautifully, as does Danny John-Jules as the vainest life form ever to have existed. Brilliant.

    These ingredients made Red Dwarf amazing. Rob Grant and Doug Naylor's writing collaboration was a thing of beauty. As a team, they function superbly.

    Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Something's missing when they're not together. Series 7 had its moments, but was distinctly lacking - not least because Chris Barrie was in less than half the episodes. Series 8, it dropped even further. Barrie was back, but that was the only plus. Bringing the entire crew back was a very big mistake.

    Overall? I'd say 8/10 for originality and sheer zaniness!
  • I have watched this show as long as I can remember, and I've always loved it! This is "Men Behaving Badly" in the extreame! The completely OTT character traits and the extreamly exagerated situation make for the funniest 30 minutes of TV you could watch! All the characters are both lovable and cringe worthy in their own ways.

    Lister (Craig Charles), with his lazy, slobby ways and Rimmer (Chris Barrie), in his uptight neurotic way are the two people you would least like around in a crisis! Rimmer would be too concerned about panicking professionaly and Lister would save his beer and curry before anyone else! Watching them throw insults at each other constantly makes for the funniest scenes! Not that the others aren't brilliant as well! Cat (Danny John Jules) And Kryten are brilliant too. They all bring something to the show.

    The person (or machine) that steals the show everytime is Holly, played by both Hattie Hayridge and Norman Lovett. They are both briliant! Holly's frankness and detached obseravtions are brilliantly written and make me laugh everytime.

    A True cult classic if ever there was one. Will be remembered long after the likes of Friends and Will & Grace have been tossed into the pit of TV oblivion. It just goes to show that you don't need great special effects and top rate Hollywood actors to make great TV. The cheapness of it is part of it's charm!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is by far one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. It comes from the UK.

    The basic premise of the show is as follows. It is about 2077. The place: Jupiter Mining Corporation Deep Space ship Red Dwarf. Our main character is Dave Lister. He is the lowest ranked technician on the ship. Pretty much even the little bots known as Skutters out rank him. He is paired with Arnold Judas Rimmer the second lowest ranked member on the entire ship. No one likes Rimmer. He has tried to advance to astro navagation officer but keeps having panic attacks when taking the exam. Once he even just wrote "I am a fish' a hundred times and turned it in. Anyway, Lister is found to have a illegal pregnant cat on board. The Captain finds out because Lister foolishly took pictures of himself with the cat and had it developed in the ships lab. Lister refuses to give up the cat because it will be destroyed. He is sentenced to spend 18 months in stasis lock (suspended animation). Only problem is while he is in stasis a radiation leak occurs and kills the entire crew except him and the cat. 3,000,000 years pass before the ships computer Holly can let him out. To keep his sanity Holly recreates Rimmer into a hologram even though they hate each other. The cats, that come from Lister's cat, on board have evolved into a humanoid species. Only one remains and he considers himself the best looking thing in the universe. Holly, the computer, supposedly has an IQ of 6000 (that is the same IQ as 6000 P.E. Teachers), but the time alone has given him computer senility and he is a bit off. Lister tends to spend his days eating curry, drinking beer, and being a slob. Eventually they run into a mechanoid, Kryten, with a head shaped like a novelty Ice cube.

    The show is just a series of their weird adventures through space. Some of the episode plots were:

    Travel to a paralel universe and meet female versions of themselves from a universe where the gender roles are reversed. (Lister get's pregnant)

    Lister rakes a chef's exam so he will outrank Rimmer.

    Rimmer creates a doppelganger of himself and they move in together.

    Kryten and Rimmer travel through a worm hole and land on an earth where time runs backwards.

    The ship is invaded by a shape-shifting alien that steals emotions.

    All in all the series is just plain hilarious. I suggest looking for it on PBS, at your local library, or video store. 10/10
  • I would have rated Red Dwarf 10/10, but unfortunately, when rating the show in its entirety, you must consider the final two seasons/series.

    Series 1 - 6 will always be what I remember about the show. It was funny and original. You could relate to all characters (all the actors deserve the highest praise), and although there were plenty of plot holes, and continuity problems, there was a classic blend of good story lines, mixed with classic British-style humour.............it was unlike anything else before or since. Pure quality. Every episode was a classic, and I can watch them all again and again and laugh until I get a stitch.

    Then after series 6 (one of the best series') Rob Grant left the show, the production budget increased, and series 7 was given that stupid 'film look'. Also Rimmer was replaced halfway through the series with Kochanski (Listers long lost love). Basically it seemed like someone had pressed the show's self destruct button, and its never been the same since. All the humour seemed forced, and the story lines got so deep, you actually forgot you were supposed to be watching a Sci-Fi comedy.

    .......Then things got worse. Series 8 came out. The less said the better. I know there are hard core fans out there who say that series 8 isn't that bad. But try watching episodes from series 3, then watch series 8 and you'll realise how much the show went into freefall.

    Its such a shame because in the early days of Dwarf, there simply wasn't anything better on TV.
  • "A sci-fi comedy? nah...that'll never work." That's what many people originally thought about the comedy classic Red Dwarf when the idea was first brought up in the mid 80's. But little did they know it would be so unexpectedly successful that it would actually have a cult following from all over the world.

    The brain child of Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, Red Dwarf is unlike any other comedy. It has a unique British humour, and its sprinkled with dry wit and hilarious one-liners, but any fans of this show will know that there's something more to Red Dwarf than any other comedy ever made.

    The characters are the most mis-matched bunch of low lifes in the cosmos, but put them together and they work perfectly! Rimmer: the most misunderstood man in the universe? perhaps, but its more likely he's just a great big jerk. He has no redeeming qualities what so ever, and yet it's impossible not to love him.

    Lister: 50% Space scum. 50% Barely human slob. 100% Absolutely hilarious. The last man alive and he can't even microwave his own socks? Cat: whose 3 main traits are vanity, stupidity and, well, vanity, cat cares only for himself and finds his crew mates disgusting.

    Kryten: where would the crew be without the humanoid Kryten? I absolutely love this show and have seen all 8 seasons several times, and I plan to watch them many times more. Watching Red Dwarf not only makes the viewer laugh, but the characters are so likable that watching it gives a deeper form of entertainment because the characters almost become like friends. The characters and actors do make this show, who could imagine anyone as Rimmer other than Chris Barrie? Or a better Lister than Craig Charles? The writing is truly very clever and incredibly unique, with subtle jokes as well as obvious rip offs and hundreds of hilarious one-liners.

    This is one amazing, fantastically unique show that will never be equalled.
  • thomasgale30 October 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    Some people do not 'get' this show and I'm not sure why. I always think that they haven't watched enough to get to know the characters or they can't quite relate to the abstract brilliance of it all. Well I'm not one of them for sure, as this show has provided me with more laughs than any other. From the disgusting habits of Lister to the delightful cheekiness of The Cat to the smug remarks from Rimmer the comic moments just go on and on. And yes, the Grant-Naylor partnership was possibly key in maintaining the subtlety of the gags. Yet, I do not necessarily agree that Series 7 and 8 were a pointless waste of time. For me, these two series were worth it just for Kryten alone. His eccentricity and corruption sort of 'blossomed' in a way and I felt Robert Llewlelyn took his character in the right direction. This is a point that will probably be hounded but you only need to see the psychiatrist scenes from the final series to see what I mean.

    Sadly, the other characters in the latter series seem to lose some of the magic they so brilliantly weaved in front of a live audience. However, the stories were still good enough to entice my viewing throughout all 8. My personal favourite series is series two. Even though this was when they were still (pretty much) confined to the Red Dwarf ship, the scripts and dialogues were absolutely fantastic. 'Thanks for the Memory' is so brilliantly constructed I think of it as the best half hour of comedy ever written. The way it begins with the drunken starbug flight back and ends with the discovery of what Lister has done with Rimmer's memory is pure genius. Then you have that brilliant moment where Danny John-Jules nails a one-liner so sublimely that you just have to cackle. Rimmer (played by the ace Chris Barrie) attempts a ridiculous explanation to how they've ended up with unusual predicaments after a late night party (for example broken legs) and tries to ease everyone's worries by suggesting it was alien communication. Then Cat (Danny John Jules) simply says "I wouldn't want to be around when one of these suckers is making a speech".

    Anyway, I could go on and on with the praise, so I'd just like to say to everyone involved in the show.............. thanks for the memories!!
  • The first series, made in 1988, always left a bit to be desired. The first season was characterized by Gilligan's Island level humor and pacing that dragged a bit by sit-com standards. The budgets were low and the look was a bit crummy as a result. There were a few decent science fiction and comedy ideas on display here, although the really wacky story ideas came in later years, as did better budgets and smoother pacing. The characters had a few rough edges and the cast chemistry had not yet quite come together. Still, the individual shows had enough entertainment value to be worth a look, and the series got better as time went ahead.

    After stumbling about a little in season one to find their way, the creators took some time to re-tool the formula, tightened up the pace and started throwing the jokes out at breakneck speed in season two, and the improvement is obvious early on. Basically it's hard science fiction meets humans behaving badly and this is the fountainhead of the comedy as the Dwarfers make their way through human space, encountering the detritus of mad science gone wrong and exploiting weird phenomena for cheap laughs. The look of the show is improved thanks to better budgets and the cast seem more comfortable in their characters' skins and with each other.

    The show went on a short hiatus of about a year and half, during which time the creators (Grant and Naylor) brainstormed science fiction ideas and picked the ones with real comedy potential... and then made TV history. The first episode of the third season, Backwards, may be the funniest show EVER seen on TV, and the rest of season three are almost as good. Smart story ideas - a backwards Earth, polymorphing personality-sucking creatures, mutant slides capable of supporting travel through time and space etc. - are squeezed within an inch of crushing to get every last bit of comedy out of them. The characters by this point have fleshed out fully and are no longer simply sitcom archetypes, and the performers have great fun with them while showing off a fantastic collective range of comedic abilities. The dialogue is very sharp, the episodes are fast-paced and filled with a flawless mix of brilliant gags and great physical comedy.

    Like season three, season four absolutely bristled with wonderful science fiction ideas - squeezed for every drop of their comedy potential, and played with gusto by a group of performers who now worked together like a comedy all-star team. The resulting half dozen episodes represent some of TV's best and funniest comedy moments thanks to an almost flawless mix of physical comedy, sight gags, cross talk insults and good character dialogue. The laughs come at high speed and you can watch the shows over and over again and still enjoy them thanks to quality and sheer volume of jokes. The cheap production values of the first two seasons are in the past, and everything now has a more convincing science fiction look and feel to it. Plus, ongoing attempts by director Ed Nye to vary the physical look of the show a bit from time to time helps to keep things fresh. And the cast are brilliant, now perfectly comfortable in character and with each other. You get the feeling that anything might happen and it does.

    The subsequent seasons had many high points as well, but also brought the characters back to earlier situations and re-used many by now well established gags. The eighth season is notable for having a much expanded budget and more impressive look than anything that had come before. The ninth season was something of a disappointment, bringing the characters back together after a long lay-off and trying to get some mileage out of the old chemistry, while spinning out a not very original mix of Blade Runner-esque plotting and the re-introduction of an earlier brilliant story device, the 'despair squid'.

    A tenth season is currently rumored to be in the works for broadcast in the UK during 2012.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    'Red Dwarf' took a little time to get into focus. But once it did there were few shows that matched it for hilarious sketches. The dynamic foursome of Lister, Cat, Rimmer and Kryten were too good to miss. Each represented one particular vice - sloth, vanity, pride and stupidity.

    Every week the Grant/Naylor writing team concocted some of the most bizarre situations that nevertheless still had some foundation in science. Some of the lines were priceless, but the timing was also important and the team must take full credit for their part.

    The blokes-in-space format worked wonderfully. Unfortunately; somebody somewhere decided that it was no longer politically-correct for men to have fun by themselves any more, and a former girlfriend of Lister's found her way into the script. A comedienne might have fitted the bill, but instead we had a straight actress trying to do 'blokish' humour, and it fell absolutely flat. The show devolved into a 'four naughty boys constantly chastened by bossy matriarch' format, which seems to be the modern standard-bearer of new anti-male presentation. Each programme seemed to be an issue of sexual politics.

    The fun was over; feminism had arrived. As Wilfred Thessiger once remarked 'Women spoil everything'. Well, they certainly spoilt this.

    Attempts to re-make the series will almost certainly fail. It was great while it lasted, but the idea ran its course. If you really want more - watch the DVD's.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I admit I'm not a fan of the last two series, but to produce 36 episodes of consistently good quality has to be recognised as an achievement, anyway. My current favourite episode is "Legion", although today is a Monday, so this choice is subject to change within the next 24 hours... ! Each member of the crew has their own instantly definable personality, and I just love it that even when greeting members of other civilisations, the toadying Rimmer cannot help but bluff about his high level of sophistication:

    (Paraphrasing)

    Rimmer: "Ah, an excellent example of modern art, no doubt. Note the precise cubic structure and its bold, sweeping lines... What is it?"

    Legion: "My light switch".

    R: "Can I buy it?"

    L: "Not really. I need it to turn my lights on and off... "

    I'm torn between whether I prefer on the whole the stark, bleak and basic environment of the first two series, or the polished, more modern look of series 5 and 6. In the beginning, the drab and ordinary nature of the sets allowed the focus to be more on character comedy, but in later years the more colourful design went hand-in-hand with ever more bizarre and interesting stories. Although the writing style changed as we became more comfortable with the characters, in half a dozen runs the quotient of laughs was kept remarkably high. This is the most important thing for a comedy, and above all, the clever and rapid-fire jokes are what helped "Red Dwarf" to achieve its own unique and seismic impact.
  • For me Red Dwarf was an enigma. I saw some of the episodes aired on a public TV station and then nothing for years. NETFLIX membership allowed me to watch _all_ of them, from the start, and at my leisure. Wonderful ... until series 7 - it hit the fan and stayed there all gooey and smelly.

    I had to do some research b/c I knew something went wrong on the creative side of the show. Rob Grant and Doug Naylor (thus the nom de plume: Grant Naylor) wrote the first 6 series and then split up. The show took an obvious turn which was not to my liking at all.

    First of all we had 4 buds who, despite their incessant irritating and obvious issues, got along with each other. No matter what trouble they got in they were always there for each other - through thick and thin. It was a wonderful ride following these guys get in and out of trouble. The first 6 series are just such a wonderful pleasure that I felt I knew them. It was clearly a 10/10 performance.

    After that the show was quirky in a bad way and annoying to watch. The thrill, adventure and pure fun was gone. Beyond that these series aren't worth mentioning.

    So for me the Red Dwarf is stuck in Series 6, floating in space 3,000,000 years in the future and maybe, just maybe, one day, I might run into them.

    A bientôt mon amis.

    -LD

    ______________________________________________

    my faith: http://www.angelfire.com/ny5/jbc33/
  • tonyinblack17 March 2016
    I'm a huge fan of Red Dwarf, but have always been oddly suspicious of other people who are. I can't say why with any certainty. If I meet a fellow X Files fan, I'll happily declare myself and chat an afternoon away. If I meet another Red Dwarf fan, I won't say a word. Red Dwarf, just by existing, makes a lifetime of underachievement much easier to deal with and has always made me feel a lot less alone. Only the most blinkered would claim that it has never lost it's way, but only the most unreasonable wouldn't accept that these instances are brief. But it's the frequent flashes of dazzling brilliance that allows the occasional heavy handedness to be forgiven. It is with some reluctance that I admit to identifying with Rimmer, when everything suggests it should be Lister. But the best comedy teaches, without you being aware it does.
  • Red Dwarf is a rarity: science fiction that is funny. Although it never takes itself too seriously, the episodes stand up well enough on sci-fi virtues alone. Yet at the same time, you don't have to be into science fiction to enjoy them. The jokes are good, the characters are well-plotted. Although it was low-tech and low budget, this became a virtue- the writers couldn't rely on special effects to carry the episodes (although the special effects that they did put in were excellent).

    This was a constantly changing show, so I'll analyse it season by season.

    I & II- These were definitely the bleakest series. Lister is the last human being alive, marooned three million years into deep space with Rimmer (a hologram of the most hated man on the ship), a creature who has evolved from his pet cat and Holly, the now-senile computer. The episodes were primarily based on character rather than adventure, giving them a credible dramatic base.

    III, IV & V- Fans tend to think of this as the golden age of Red Dwarf. Everything was beefed up. The crew gained the admirable Kryten, a useful mechanoid. The characters now got to go out, have adventures, fight monsters and crash on distant planets. Yet at the same time, they managed to maintain the balance of character and humour.

    VI- The writers bravely chose to get rid of Red Dwarf itself and Holly, trapping the crew in the shuttlecraft Starbug. This gave a dangerous edge to the series, and some of the best episodes are in this series, notably the Emmy-award winning 'Gunmen of the Apocalypse'.

    VII- Things started to slip here, it has to be said. Rimmer left and Kochanski, whom Lister had a major crush on, arrives. This series is often slated by fans, but it was not without its moments. The insane adventure sequence at the beginning of 'Stoke Me A Clipper' was hilarious, and the Rimmer Munchkin Song is so silly it's superb.

    VIII- Oh dear. Too much special effects, no jokes, poor storylines- this is not a good series to start with. I reviewed this in more detail elsewhere on this site.

    If you ignore the later seasons, this is a series that could stand alongside even serious science fiction without flinching. Superb.
  • I am NOT a Sci-Fi fan, I am a BritCom fan. (Sci-Fi = snooze x2 to me ... sorry guys). I started watching this show when my local PBS station started airing it on BritCom night, and I LOVE IT! It's not like normal Sci-Fi because it's hilarious and it doesn't try to be accurate.

    I have to agree with many people here in saying that Season 1 and 2 were my favorites. I loved the bare bones effects and sets -- it made the show rely more on good acting/scripts/directing to make it good, and they succeeded! (and yes, the remastering has ruined the shows -- the lack of FX added to the show's charm.)

    The show has deteriorated a bit with each new season. Season 8 was nearly unbearable -- I didn't like how the shows were one continual story. The addition of Kochanski in Season 7 and 8 as a main character was a mistake. It would have been amusing for one or two episodes, but I was inclined to agree with Kryten in wanting her to leave. Another reason the show has deteriorated is that the Cat is less Cat-like. He has lost all of his cat attributes that made him such a great character in the beginning.

    Still there are 6 fabulous seasons of this wonderful show to cherish! It's a must-see for any Britcom fan!
  • Red Dwarf is and will forever be the funniest show ever ever!!!!! Believe me, Believe! Just watch and you too will see. Witty banter, Check. Slap stick, Uh Check. A Stellar Cast so big that the writers of the show had to empty an entire galaxy for these Phenomenal Stars!

    Red Dwarf is a monolithic beast. It is the longest running show I have personally watched. At the time of my review, this fall the red dwarf crew is setting high sail for yet more comedic adventures! The 12th season is just around the corner.

    Red dwarf forever ever.
  • Over the last few weeks my daughter and I have watched and wallowed through the heyday of Red Dwarf, in other words series 1 to 6 – a total of 36 episodes made between 1987 - 1993. It's still difficult to believe: the BBC made a scifi sitcom on a shoestring budget with minimal special effects and no cgi cartoonery, but with tremendously witty and inventive scripts starring 4 eccentric and diverse characters up against various gimps, gimboids and smegheads which can still effortlessly hit the spot all these years later.

    In S01E01 vending machine attendant Dave Lister survives the death of everybody on board the salvage spaceship Red Dwarf - and I mean everybody - to be woken 3 million years later from stasis by Holly the ship's original laconic computer to begin his adventures with asshole hologram Arnold Rimmer, snazzy mutant Cat and eventually the eccentric robot Kryten. It's their relentless sparkling interplay that made it all work, they made any period of history or situation funny. So many memorable bits! For instance who could forget Kryten's warning the buzzards and the lizards would be fighting over their gizzards in Gunmen Of The Apocalypse? Or Cat's shock after his call of nature in Backwards? Or What A Guy Ace Rimmer's continuous reluctant disappointment over his other-dimensional self? Or Lister's disgust at his corrupt bodiless future self in Out Of Time? And hundreds more up to episode 36, after that the opposite was true: who can remember anything on the same level from series 7 on? S07E01 was OK, borderline humourless bad taste but had a good idea and of course was the solution to the previous cliffhanger, then the serious nosedive into mediocrity began and it became only fit for the Smegging Garbage Pod. The major disasters were that writers Grant and Naylor had split up, the BBC decided it was worth throwing a lot more money at, Rimmer was replaced with Kochansky and Craig Charles had a few real life problems of his own.

    A modern era British great: one of the few memorable things created in the '80's but destroyed by ego and myopia in the '90's. At least we have the first 36 beautiful episodes to replay, but as for the rest – Spin On!
  • Red Dwarf is undoubtedly a classic, with its perfect blend of extraordinary sci-fi plot lines and down to earth British humour proves a great combination for sci-fi fans and general TV lovers alike. The show is set in the future and is based around the scruffy Dave Lister (Craig Charles), the pessimistic coward Arnold Rimmer (Chris Barrie), the mutant cat (Danny John-Jules) and the clumsy android Kryten (David Ross and Robert Llewellyn) and their adventures in space when they are trying to find there way home. Countless are the times when you will be watching red dwarf and you will literally have to pause the DVD because you are laughing so much. I personally recently purchased the entire Red Dwarf collection and I am very content with my purchase. The only thing left to say about it is that young or old you will easily fall in love with "The Boys From The Dwarf"
  • It's the best Si-Fi you'll ever see. The writers (Grant and Naylor) are little shy of genius. Good writing is accompanied by good acting and more importantly, good chemistry and comedy timing. Craig Charles, when you think about it, was brilliant in the first six series. It was incredible how he took his hand to acting as well as he did. All the cast complement each other perfectly, and the only main cast member not to tick this box is Chloe Annett. She's OK, but she doesn't fit in. She's like her character - upper middle class mixing with working class muppets.

    It is important to note, too, that really, red dwarf ended at series six (last episode Out Of Time). After Rob Grant left the writing lost a vital dimension. I personally cannot pin point any one thing that isn't as good, but the feel of it, the jokes, the stories... It's just not cricket anymore. It's still good. By BBC comedy standards, it still up there with the best, but it's more mainstream.

    To summarise - Red Dwarf is one of the best programmes I've ever seen come from the BBC. Inventive, intelligent, articulate - all good things. There is very little to criticise about series 1-6.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It is hard to believe it is just over twenty years since 'Red Dwarf' blasted onto our television screens. I watched the first episode for two reasons; firstly, it was the work of Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, writers I knew from their work on 'Carrott's Lib' and 'Spitting Image', and secondly, it combined two life-long interests of mine - comedy and science fiction.

    The premise is this - mining ship 'Red Dwarf' has suffered a disaster in space, meaning most of its crew are dead. The only survivor is Dave Lister ( Craig Charles ), a slob who loves getting drunk and eating curry. Also around are a life form descended from a cat he smuggled on board, called 'Cat' ( Danny John-Jules ), who acts like James Brown, and Arnold Rimmer ( Chris Barrie ), a hologram of an unpopular technician. There's also a conceited computer called 'Holly' ( Norman Lovett, then Hattie Hayridge ).

    I was disappointed by the opening episode, so like the Smeghead that I am did not bother with the show again until it reached its third season. 'Backwards' opened with a hilarious conversation between Lister and Cat in which the former expressed a secret desire for Wilma Flintstone. It convinced me that the show had changed for the better ( I later caught up with the ones I had missed, and found they were not bad either ). The same episode brought in as a regular 'Kryten' ( David Ross, then Robert Llewelyn ), a robot who speaks in a Canadian accent and who by his own admission looks like Herman Munster's stunt double.

    The show could have been called 'Lads In Space'. The cast were superb, particularly Barrie as the conceited 'Rimmer', the scripts cleverly exploited the fine line between comedy and sci-fi, and for my money it was one of the best sitcoms of the '90's, alongside 'I'm Alan Partridge' and 'Father Ted'. Among the many first-rate episodes were 'Demons & Angels' ( the boys meet evil versions of themselves ), 'Gunmen Of The Apocalypse' ( the boys in a space western ), 'Timeslides' ( Rimmer tries to change the course of his own history ), 'D.N.A.' ( Kryten learns what it is like to be human ), 'Dimension Jump' ( Rimmer meets a heroic version of himself - 'Ace' Rimmer ). Best of all was 'Back To Reality' in which the boys think that their 'Dwarf' experiences have all been part of a Virtual Reality game. Cat's cries of 'Dwayne Dibbley!' were hilarious! With such a strong cast and production crew, the show attained a peak of perfection unseen in British comedy for years previously - and some would say, not since. It was also a hit in America, and they attempted their own version, from all accounts it was not very good.

    Naylor and Grant eventually parted company, and the seventh season was written by Naylor and others such as Kim Fuller. Robert Llewelyn himself co-wrote one. The absence of Grant, plus a move onto film, and Chris Barrie only appearing in a handful of episodes, resulted in Season Seven looking a bit patchy. The inclusion of a new female character - 'Kochanski' ( Chloe Annett ) only made things worse. She was to the boys from the Dwarf what Zeppo had been to the Marx Bros.

    Things perked up a bit in Season Eight. Rimmer came back full-time, Norman Lovett returned as 'Holly', and Naylor wrote every episode alone, ensuring the comedy was more consistent. Bringing back the entire crew, including the Captain, was a mistake though ( as was the retaining of Kochanski ). The show simply did not need them.

    And that sadly is where the 'Red Dwarf' story ends. It is now ten years since Season Eight. Naylor tried to get a feature film made but without success. I wish he had devoted the time to writing more episodes.

    In 2009, Sky Television announced 'Red Dwarf' specials for transmission on the 'Dave' comedy channel. 'Back To Earth' featured the original cast. Having plunged through a portal, they discovered they were characters in a television show, and that their creator ( Richard O'Callaghan ) was going to kill them off in the final episode. It had its moments, but not nearly enough to make it anything more than a half-hearted revival. Still, it was nice having the boys back even just for a short time.
  • Drat! I hate going last! I've glanced through all the comments that came before mine, and it looks like everything I wanted to say about his show has been said already! Well, being the gabby type, I'll try not to let that stop me...

    This show is one of the funniest I've ever seen anywhere. Well acted, well written, clever story lines, the whole works. I have only seen series 1-6, so I can't give my firsthand views about series 7 or 8 - though people I know who have seen series 7 say it's not quite up to standard. That aside, this is still one my favorite shows ever. As someone else said before me, good comedy and good sci-fi...
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