Episode Reviews (3)
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The Red Dwarf I grew up with
This show has done what should have been done years before: gone back to the core of what its about. Seasons 7 and 8 are what killed the show because of bad writting and an attempt to make the show bigger then it was.
This is a show about 4 idiots trying to make their way home and Season 10 has kicked it back into this theme. Thank you for bringing Red Dwarf back and in a way that means we'll be seeing more seasons to come!moreless
Fantastic Return For The Dwarf
I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to Red Dwarf my expectations have dropped a little, I went into this episode with the hope that they could in some way return it to their former glory and I really must say I was far from disappointed.
The show certainly went back to it's roots, relying on the awesome charisma between it's cast. It was great to see the boys back without the unnecessary kochanski/series 8 crew elements. The episode had quite a few laughs and in my opinion it's stand out moment was Rimmer's face when he confirms, whilst talking to Lister, that it was in fact a moose! Followed up almost instantly by excellent way they kicked Rimmer when he was down with Kryten and the cat both quick to point out they know the answer too, The cat's reaction was particularly funny.
They may have aged a bit and I've heard calls for the show to explain this. HOWEVER any true Red Dwarf fan should have come to except that that is an element we will just have to accept, the same way we did between series 2 and series 3 (yes series not season) and then same again for series 8 and Return to Earth. Red Dwarf doesn't need long winded explanations, they just pick up from where they are and get on with the comedy, and long may it continue.
Genuinely excellent work, and I cannot wait for what I hope is an equally funny episode next Thursday at 9:00!
The show is funny again! Hope lives on!
Okay so I didn't go into this series with particularly high expectations and maybe my judgement has suffered as a result, but I found this episode to be a solid continuation of the series.
Back to Earth was a letdown in many ways, but I found its biggest weakness was that the mini series just simply didn't feel like Red Dwarf. It was dark and and a little gloomy. The jokes fell flat and while it was fantastic stylistically, it didn't measure up to my expectations.
Even so, I still bought the DVD release. I'm a fan of the show and I'll support it no matter how bad it gets :/ Then I heard Dave was commissioning another new series and my heart sank a little. After Back to Earth I felt certain the show's quality could only deteriorate.
Worse still, was the fact that I would be forced to suffer through it. Like I said, I'm an obsessive fan of the show and I will continue to watch it no matter how poor it becomes. If Doug Naylor were to suddenly decide to set the entire series in a galactic laundrette I would still remain a diehard dwarf devotee.
Fortunately, all my worries and fears were for naught. The first episode of the revived series puts everything back on form.
Yes it was a little hit and miss in some places, but it's certainly recaptured the tone and feel of past seasons. The show has really benefited from returning to its roots and Doug Naylor made the right decision in making it a studio based comedy with a live audience once again.
Better still, Naylor has merged the same stylistic features he used in Back to Earth with this old format and the results are impressive! The sets, the props, the costumes and the special effects aren't what we're used to, but good God, they're gorgeous! I'm not sure these elements are really in keeping with those of former series, but they're still great to look at. Doug Naylor has really raised the bar this time around and made Red Dwarf a visual (stylistically consistent) treat. Will somebody please track down the Production Designer and give him a pat on the back?
Who would have thought Doug Naylor would make such a solid director? He more than adequately replaces Ed Bye (the King of TV studio productions) and delivers a solid shooting approach and some really fantastic comedic performances. Doug Naylor as Director? It shouldn't work, but it does. Wonders never cease.
The direction wasn't the only thing to write home about however. The story and the dialogue were spot on. The plot felt like something that could have been accomplished in past seasons if it weren't for budgetary and technological limitations.
I've always loved Rimmer centric episodes and so I may be a little biased on this, but I completely geeked out when it became apparent that Rimmer's brother would be paying a visit. Watching Rimmer try to maintain the charade that he was a successful Captain while Cat, Lister and Kryten each stumbled in their attempts to support him felt like coming home. This was a story that easily carried the tone and legacy of Red Dwarf.
Better still, the script may have shed a little light on the events that led to the extinction of the human race. The idea that Simulants have risen up and rebelled against their human masters is one that has been tossed around before, but it's awesome to catch a glimpse of it on screen. There were more than a few "geek out moments" during the episode's half hour duration and Rimmer and Howard's interactions were a definite highpoint.
Having played these characters for so many years, the cast appeared to have no trouble returning to their respective roles. Rimmer's mannerisms, expressions and general reactions formed a performance that really stood out. Cat and Kryten were fantastic as always, but weren't given an awful lot to do. Lister's impassioned monologue about answering the phone while a Simulant aimed a gun at him was priceless and hands down my favourite moment of the episode. Nobody likes being put on hold for hours on end.
That said, the episode wasn't without its flaws. Some jokes fell a little flat and I'm still debating whether or not the payoff for the "Swedish Moose" gag was really worth it. Even so, the fact remains. Any Red Dwarf is better than no Red Dwarf.
British television has kinda fallen into a state of decay recently and this episode has convinced me (beyond question) that Red Dwarf's return is a good thing. It wasn't the series' best episode, but it was far from being its worst and I'm genuinely looking forward to next week's broadcast.