Thursday, 24 January 2013

TV: Red Dwarf X

Red Dwarf X: Recaptures the sci-fi comedy vibe of earlier series.

Red Dwarf X ... it feels like it's never been away.
Red Dwarf has returned and it feels like it’s never been away, as very little has changed.  Rimmer is still sitting, and failing, his astronavigation exams, Lister is just as slobby as he ever was, Cat is just as vain and image-obsessed, and Kryten’s mannerisms are all still  firmly intact.  And of course, most importantly the jokes are just as funny and as silly as ever.

In fact right from the opening few notes of the theme tune to the first episode, I immediately started to feel a sense of nostalgia as memories of watching the early Red Dwarf shows as a child started to return.  The whole show has a reassuring air of familiarity to it, with the sense of humour pretty much identical to those early days.  The same sense of manic daftness to things is in attendance, while at the same time as you’d expect Red Dwarf X also features some creatively clever ideas.

One of the things I’ve always liked about Red Dwarf is the pseudo-science behind some of the more ingenious plots, and similarly right from the opening episode Doug Naylor has come up with some equally imaginative scientific based story-lines, starting off with a quantum rod (or a greeny glowy thing as Rimmer describes it) which acts as a universal magnet and can allow a spaceship to star jump.


Episode two, Father And Suns, (a pun on words which will make sense once you watch the episode) features a very clever storyline involving the ship’s new predictive computer, Pree, who functions in a similar manner to predictive text on a phone.  Pree, however, is rather more advanced and is able to predict how the crew will react to certain situations.  Ultimately, her ability leads the crew into a potentially disastrous situation, but I think I can safely say that I won’t be spoiling things by mentioning that as usual they somehow manage to scrape their way out of trouble.

Red Dwarf X features the usual dose of sci-fi creativity.
Other sci-fi ideas covered during the season include a rejuvenation shower capable of restoring a user to his or her physical prime (which leads to time travelling adventures for the crew), the Erroneous Reasoning Research Academy where two wrong ideas are combined to produce a right idea (at least in theory), and a holo-lamp given to Rimmer by his father, which plays holo-messages and contains a life-changing discovery for Rimmer.  As you’d expect, each of these sci-fi gadgets and concepts provide the inspiration for a collection of typically Red Dwarf-esque jokes and situations.

But as well as featuring the usual heavy dose of science fiction, Red Dwarf X also covers such topics as Shakespeare, fatherhood and even love, when one of Red Dwarf’s vending machines develops a crush on Lister.  All in all, each of the characters in the cast is on top form throughout and the series as a whole does an excellent job of recapturing the sci-fi comedy vibe of earlier series.

Great Savings on Red DwarfPretty much anyone who enjoys sci-fi comedy will be a fan of Red Dwarf by now, but if by any chance any Red Dwarf or sci-fi comedy fans haven’t caught the latest series just yet, then I’m sorry to report that unfortunately Red Dwarf X has come to the end of its run now on Dave.  However, you can still catch the action on the Red Dwarf X collector’s edition DVD featuring loads of DVD extras.
Red Dwarf X (DVD)

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