The adventures of the last human alive and his friends, stranded three million years into deep space on the mining ship Red Dwarf.The adventures of the last human alive and his friends, stranded three million years into deep space on the mining ship Red Dwarf.The adventures of the last human alive and his friends, stranded three million years into deep space on the mining ship Red Dwarf.
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!
- Jan 21, 2004