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A Red Dwarf Community
Thursday 9:00 PM on BBC Two
Because it's the best sci-fi sitcom ever created, that's why. It may seem like a daunting task to catch up with a show that's been running since the late '80s, but this is a UK sitcom so 10 Seasons worth of entertainment amounts to 61 half hour episodes of unrivalled brilliance. I'm planning to, if I can whip up enough interest, run through a complete Red Dwarf re-watch with episode reviews, which could amount to two episodes per week for 12 weeks to cover Seasons 1-4, followed by Seasons 5-6 during the Christmas hiatus and finishing up with Seasons 7-10 during summer 2015, ending just in time for Season 11 to air (in the UK) in autumn.


So what is the show all about?
Well, the show is about the trials and tribulations of the last known human in the universe, Dave Lister. Lister is a slacker who is coasting his way through life as a third-technician (lowest rank) on the Jupiter Mining Corporation Ship Red Dwarf, squirrelling away his meagre pay until the day he can retire and run a farm on Fiji. Things don't go according to plan however, when the ships captain discovers that Lister his broken strict quarantine rules and brought an unregistered cat, called Frankenstein, on to the ship. To avoid having Frankenstein dissected by the ships doctor, he stores the cat in the ships hold and he is then placed in stasis as a punishment for breaking the rules. Whilst in stasis Lister's bunk-mate and supervisor, Arnold Judas Rimmer fails to correctly replace a damaged drive plate which results in the death of all 1,170 members of the crew, including himself. When Lister is finally released from stasis by the ships computer, Holly, he discovers he is alone on board a ship that has been drifting in to deep space for three million years whilst the radiation dropped to a safe level, alone that is except for the hologram of his now dead bunk mate, Rimmer, and a life form known only as 'Cat' that has evolved from Frankenstein and her (at the time unborn) litter of kittens. Chaos ensues as Lister and the small unconventional crew strive to get back to Earth to fulfil Listers dream and finally run a farm on Fiji.



Want to hear more about this unconventional crew?
Well, as mentioned above Lister is a life-long slacker, a piss-poor guitar player – despite what he thinks – and he actively avoids any form of responsibility. He is, however, kind, happy, selfless and loves a good curry. He's smarter than he seems and he strives to help those around him, as long as it isn't Rimmer in need of his aid! Lister is portrayed by self-styled poet Craig Charles and as the show progressed and Listers status as a well-loved 'every-man' grew he was even honoured by UK television network UKTV when they renamed a channel after him and it's now that same channel, Dave, that has commissioned Seasons X and XI of the iconic space-based sitcom.
The almost complete opposite of Lister is his bunk-mate Rimmer, played by impressionist Chris Barrie, brought back as a hologram after his ineptitude wiped out the remaining crew members he ensures the other crew members holodiscs are safely hidden away so that Lister can't swap him for someone else. He's a narcissistic, bureaucratic coward who strives for more responsibility whilst being completely unable to handle it. A lover of organ music and an avid lamppost spotter, Rimmer probably goes through the largest transition as the series progresses as he strives to become a better person.
Then there is the enigmatic yet simple Cat, introducing seasoned dancer Danny John-Jules to the world of television, a descendent of Frankenstein and the last know member of his race still residing on Red Dwarf. Cat is shallow, fashion obsessed and self-centred, spending most of his time trying to avoid the other crew members whilst grooming, sleeping and hunting for things to claim as his own. Cat also grows as a character during the run of the series finally becoming an integral part of the crew and an accomplished pilot.
Almost-finally there is Holly, the ships computer. Starting out with an initial IQ of around 6,000 the three million years of drifting in space with no one around to converse with 'he' develops “computer senility” resulting in some less-than appropriate decision making. Initially played by stand-up comedian Norman Lovett and later played by comedienne Hattie Hayridge, Holly is integral as the expositioner and explainer for the more unique episode plots as well being an important character in his own right.
Kind-of finally there is service mechanoid Kryten 2X4B-523P, played by Robert Llewellyn and introduced permanently from Season III, Kryten is “programmed to serve” and loves nothing more than spending an afternoon ironing the linens. Initially a strict rule-follower Lister slowly teaches Kryten to break his programming and become a less-than convincing liar.
Finally-finally there is Kristine Kochanski, played by Chloe Annett from the characters permanent introduction during Season VII, she is intelligent, naive and the object of Listers enduring affection. Initially introduced during the inaugural season as an unfortunately deceased love interest for Lister, she was finally brought back for Season VII as a replacement for the departing Chris Barrie.

During the shows first couple of Seasons there was a real-life animosity between Barrie and Charles, which gave the on-screen adversary between the two conflicting personalities a palpable edge. But before the two were even cast it was somewhat of a miracle the show was even commissioned. The creators Rob Grant and Doug Naylor had been pitching the idea for some time at the BBC in London, but the executives were more-than sceptical about a sitcom in space. In was only when, a few years later, that the idea was pitched to the newly formed BBC Manchester that the show finally got a chance. Once given the go ahead the creators set about casting a group of “actors” as equally rag-tag as the characters they were due to portray. A poet, an impressionist, a stand-up comic and a dancer were all brought together to fill the shoes of of our intrepid crew and thus, history was created. Now, 26 years and 10 Seasons constituting 61 episodes later the show is still going strong, still attracting new fans and, whilst I'll admit that I miss the original sets from the first few Seasons, is still adapting and evolving as both filming techniques and the shows budget improve.




So what does this rag-tag band of misfits get up to whilst on their journey back to Earth?
Oh so much more than I can concisely convey here in the annals of TV.com history. But to give you a run down of some of my favourite events, they jump dimensions, fight an emotion draining shape-shifter, become imprisoned on a simulant prison ship, marry a Gelf, lose Red Dwarf, contract a holo-virus, lock wits with “The Inquisitor”, visit a backwards Earth, encounter a despair squid, do battle with their future selves, get themselves downloaded into a video game, give Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorists something to think about, fight against a curry monster, discover that the “Quagaars” aren't all they are cracked-up to to be, fight a war against wax-work villains, encounter the distorting effects of white holes, give a dinosaur diarrhoea and knee The Reaper in his crown jewels. And believe me when I say that this is just the tip of the iceberg.


Need more convincing? Seriously?
The astonishing level of invention on display throughout the shows currently ten Season lifespan is unparalleled by a sitcoms standards. Filmed in front of a live studio audience, there is no overbearing laugh track to endure – this certainly isn't a CBS multi-cam sitcom – and the reactions are genuine and honest. The show finally received the recognition it deserved in 1994 when it won both the Best BBC Sitcom Award at the British Comedy Awards and a Popular Arts Emmy for the Season 6 episode 'Gunmen of the Apocalypse” (which is excellent by the way). The show already holds a place in the hearts of millions of people across the globe, holds a place on any respectable list of all time greats and has the power to make me laugh despite what shit happens to befall me as I live this concept we call life. Yes I am biased when I say that “Red Dwarf is the greatest sitcom ever made”, but I'm not ashamed of my bias I'm proud of it and I fully expect the vast majority of you to disagree with me, but I do hope that I have convinced some of you to join me as I re-watch the series and post some reviews and convert some of you to Dwarfers.


Thank you for reading and, as always, if you've enjoyed reading this, or any other post in the TV.com Communities please don't be too shy to click the heart.
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Red Dwarf really funny and it does not matter about the timeline not making sense as this is comedy first and scifi second, best joke is the norweb federations light fighter.
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I love this show. I'm very very slowly going through them when I have some spare time! Nice write up!
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Thanks Tim!
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Yay! I've been meaning to re-watch the older ones and catch up on the newer seasons.
Thank you!!!
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I'd be in for a two-episode per week re-watch! In fact, I'd probably have to force myself not to watch more, and I'd read and comment on every one whether you liked it or not haha

To be honest, I really can't describe what makes the series so enjoyable for me. It's one of those shows I was raised on, so it's quite sentimental (my father and I are currently arguing over just who knows our DVD boxset of the series), but for me to still hold such high regard for it as an adult, and the fact that I re-watch it fairly often (something I rarely do with series I've already seen), proves that it goes beyond this.

This probably won't be a very good comment to sell the series but I don't think it's the humour that attracts me to it. I haven't watched it for a while, so I may be very wrong, but the animosity between Lister and Rimmer was always a bit of a turn-off for me - their verbal sparring (and boy did Rimmer have some good ones) could have been presented as a lot more good-natured rather than hateful. But like I said, it has been some time since I watched the series in whole (three years maybe) so I'm sure there are many aspects of the shows humour that I do actually like, so a re-watch will be good in helping me discover this.

The only way I can really describe my fondness for the series is that it's revolutionary. It started off as a sitcom in space, that's already enough to be bold, different, and exciting television. But as it continued to grow and evolve I found the series to have a penchant for horror, and even later on became a bit of a space-opera before reverting to its simple roots. Simply put, it's genre defying, which makes for great television to watch because your just never quite sure what you are going to get. Just like another one of my favourite series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I envy those who have never watched it but plan to, because I know just how much of a surprising ride they're in for because of the common misconceptions about the series.

I imagine if any new viewers join us for the re-watch that they'll find the series is vastly different, and much better, than they would have ever expected.
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This is one of my all-time favorite shows forever! I used to have every episode taped (back in the days of VHS) from PBS. My best friend, essentially commandeered those cassettes, and took them with her when she moved. We even called in to our local PBS during pledge drive, promising we'd make a donation if they'd clear up that one line of the ending theme song for us. (It was "goldfish shoals, nibbling at my toes")

I'm always quoting this show. I can't see a fish without singing, "I'm going to eat you little fishie!" I talk about my investigating feet, I've called people smeg heads, and said, "Smoke me a kipper, baby. I'll be back for breakfast." Recently I referenced Mr. Flibble.

I'm surprised by, but instantly in love with anyone who gets my references. Recently just started introducing my five-year-old daughter to it's brilliance. Never too early to get the next generation hooked, right?
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Its cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere,
I'm all alone, more or less.
Let me fly, far away from here,
Fun, fun, fun, In the sun, sun, sun.

I want to lie, shipwrecked and comotoase,
Drinking fresh, mango juice,
Goldfish shoals, nibbling at my toes,
Fun, fun, fun, In the sun, sun, sun,
Fun, fun, fun, In the sun, sun, sun.

I'll pack my bags and head into hyperspace
Where I'll succeed at time-warp speed
Spend my days in ultraviolet rays
Fun, fun, fun, In the sun, sun, sun.

We'll lock on course straight through the universe
You and me and the galaxy
Reach the stage where hyper-drive's engaged
Fun, fun, fun, In the sun, sun, sun,
Fun, fun, fun, In the sun, sun, sun.

"smoke me a kipper Skipper, I'll be back for breakfast!"
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Fantastic. I call people Smeg Head all the time, though not usually to their face and I generally say Oh Smeg, instead of another 'S' word, when I'm in polite company!
As for "I'm gonna eat ya little fishie!", you're not the only one who says that when seeing fish - although I have been known to mutter it whilst raiding the kitchen for food too!
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"smeeeeeg Heeeaaaaddddd"
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POLYMORPH is the best half hour EVER!!!!!!
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YES!
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Great post and very well written!

I have probably seen most of the episodes, but not all. It started just after we got BBC on our cable and I already was a huge BBC and SF fan so a good combination for this Series. For some reason I've seen the pilot a few times already.

I will follow your re-watch (as long as I can keep up with the pace).
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Have they actually confirmed series 11! I really enjoyed 10 (especially after Back to Earth).
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According to whatculture.com cast members Barrie, John-Jules and Llewellyn announced at the Sci-fi Scarborough Convention that filming starts in October this year with a suspected air date being around autumn next year.

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Just googled it. I'm pumped! I'm a lifelong fan and really thought X was a return to form. Don't know if it was going back to the 'live studio audience' format or what but it just worked.
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OK. See...here's the thing:
I'm Texan, & have never visited England, so logically, anyone in their right mind would call bullshit on me when I say that I fell in love with Red Dwarf back in the early 90's & to this day, I still occasionally catch myself greeting people on occasion with "Oi, whasup Dudes." in my best deadpan Holly voice.

Where I live, we have the biggest PBS budget in the states & for literally my entire life, we've always enjoyed UK imports on the weekends. (Seriously...The reason why Monty Python is famous in the states is because Dallas aired it here first & it snowballed over the years from here...no bullshit. I swear! & I can prove it if needed or needled :P)

Anyway, I digress, the point is, Red Dwarf...along with a shitload of other imports I've been exposed to my entire life...but mostly Red Dwarf, helped fundamentally change the way I see my place in the world and the the people in it in a very deep sense & I'm a much better Man overall for it =D

Still...Smeg off. I'm from Texas (which is technically the center of the Universe to this day.) :P
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well said!
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Not only did this remind me just how much I love Red Dwarf, it actually informed me of things I did not know, like Craig Charles being a poet - that explains some of Listers younger self encounters. It also told me there will be a new season! Not until 2015? Boo!
Side Note: I once had a girlfriend who refused to watch past Series 6, because Rimmer left. Even when he came back, she refused. She missed out on the episode with the ride through Rimmer's diary, though (forget the name :( ), so her loss!
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Blue, Season 7 Episode 5, that was one of the highlights of the Season.
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I'd go up to season 8 with the reviews - the rest pales in comparison.

I have a soft spot for Holly - both of them
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loved this show when I was growing up but recent attempts have been almost unwatchable, why Doug Naylor insists on writing these without Rob Grant is beyond me. season 8 did have some good parts but really seasons 1 to 6 are where the laughs are.
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The first six Seasons (bite it Community, J/K, love Community too) were excellent, I don't think season 7 is anywhere near as bad as some people say it is and Season 8 certainly has some great moments. Season 9 was an atrocity, but I like how Season 10 tried to get the show back to it's roots, hopefully it was just a warm-up to an excellent Season 11.
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