Aboard the Jupiter Mining Corporation vessel Red Dwarf, Dave Lister, a lowly 3rd Technician, smuggles aboard a pregnant cat and when he is found out he is confined to suspended animation for refusing to surrender the animal to the captain. During his time in stasis his bunkmate Arnold Rimmer, a lowly 2nd Technician, is forced to perform the maintenence duties without Lister’s help and inefficiently repairs the drive plate, causing it to blow and subjecing the entire crew to deadly radiation. 3 million years pass until the background radiation level has dissipated to a safe level. At this point Holly, the ship’s computer, releases Lister from stasis and tells him of the accident and also ressurrects Rimmer as a hologram to be a companion for Lister. After the initial shock, Lister realizes that he has the run of the ship, allowing him to be, basically, himself: a layabout slob. Rimmer and Lister discover that the cat had been sealed in the ship’s hold during the accident and has bred there for the last 3 million years and evolved into man, one of whom is still on the ship. The rest of the cats mistook Lister’s laundry list as navigation instructions to a habitable planet and crashed and died in space. When he discovers his new friend, Lister decides to complete his dream of owning a farm on Fiji and orders Holly to set a course for Earth. Much of this first season involves Rimmer trying to still boss Lister around even though he is just a hologram, the cat coming to grips that he is the last of his kind alive, with Lister constantly trying to get Rimmer to “turn himself off” so Lister can keep company with Kochanski’s hologram instead. This is because the ship can only support one hologram at a time. Kochanski was the attractive officer Lister was in love with before he went into stasis.
The main dramatic thrust of the series from this point forward is Lister’s attempt to get back to Earth. Along the way, however, are frequent distractions that usually see the Dwarf crew encountering strange races and lifeforms that have developed in the intervening millions of years. However, a core tenet of the series is that there are no aliens anywhere in the universe — every element of the large and bizarre mix of intelligent life within the Red Dwarf universe is in one way or another derived from Earth, which is a result of developments in robotics and/or genetic engineering.
The crew roster changes as the years go by. During the second season, the Red Dwarf crew encounter the sanitation mechanoid Kryten, rescuing him from a long-since crashed vessel. Initially, Kryten only appears in one episode of Season 2, but by the beginning of Season 3 he has become a full time character in the series. At the end of Season 5, disaster strikes when Lister loses Red Dwarf, having forgotten which planet he parked it on. However, we later learn that Red Dwarf was actually stolen. This forces the crew to travel in the smaller Starbug craft for two seasons, with the added side-effect that they lose contact with Holly. In Season 7, Rimmer departs the crew to take up the role of his alter-ego from a parallel universe, Ace Rimmer, whose name has become a legend and a legacy passed down from dimension to dimension and is everything Rimmer ever wanted to be. Shortly afterwards, the crew find a replacement for Rimmer when they encounter another parallel version of themselves. In this universe, it was Kristine Kochanski — Lister’s long-time crush and ex-girlfriend due to merged realities — who went into stasis, while Lister died and was brought back as a hologram. A complicated series of events leaves Kochanski stranded, and she is forced to join the crew.
Finally, in the eighth season, Red Dwarf itself is reconstructed by Kryten’s nanobots that had stolen it and broken it down into its constituent atoms. In the process, the entire crew of the ship — including Rimmer — are resurrected, but the Starbug crew all find themselves sentenced to two years in the ship’s brig on a set of convoluted charges. The series ends, however, with Red Dwarf being eaten away by a virus and all on board evacuated, save for Rimmer who is left to face Death, in the form of The Grim Reaper, for the second time. Unhappy with his predicament, he knees Death in the groin and runs away — although the cliffhanger ending leaves this open to interpretation.
I really thought that the first five seasons of Red Dwarf were the best. I didn’t care for seasons six and seven that much when the crew was traveling in Starbug. The good part of season six is that the role of the Cat was significantly increased to great comedic effect, although the trade-off is that Holly’s antics are sorely missed. In season seven Rob Grant, half of the team that had created and written all Red Dwarf episodes, left the show and there was a clear downturn in quality and imagination. Kochanski’s addition could not offset the loss of Rimmer, and…
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Honestly, I wish I could give this series more stars; Red Dwarf is the Smegin’ Greatest Creation of Mankind.
I began watching this series in 1991, and I have always recommended Red Dwarf to everyone. I’ve been pimping Red Dwarf since the early ’90s, but I never had a chance to finish watching the series. Now that I own the entire collection of episodes of Red Dwarf, and I have finished watching the series, I thoroughly recommend purchasing the Boxed set of DVDs.
These DVDs have many extra features, edited and extended scenes, numerous extra bits, hidden features, and humorous additions which provide countless hours of entertainment.
No matter how messed-up the world is, or how much the daily news can ruin your day, this Boxed set of Red Dwarf episodes and Bonus materials will brighten your life! If you do not find the series humorous, you might want to check your pulse.
I personally feel a deep connection to the sets of the scenes, as well; Commodore geeks from back in the day will smirk often. In fact, the entire Red Dwarf series is likely to make you laugh and smirk, as well as adopt Red Dwarfisms. When your boss is a jerk, you can just say, “Smeeee….Smeeee.” Your coworker will get it, but your boss or Human Resource Manager hopefully will not. There are a wealth of inside jokes, catchphrases and memorable scenes within the world of the Red Dwarf crew.
This boxed edition is well-worth the investment! Back in the day, I watched episodes that friends had taped, so I greatly appreciate the convenience of these great quality, well-packaged, stylish, well-documented DVDs. I am very impressed with every aspect of this set; the collection was well thought out, and I look forward to inducting more people into the Red Dwarf Cult in the future. Speaking of which, the bonus DVDs also include interesting Convention footage.
I will definitely update this review at a later time, but I want to start pimping the series, so more folks can enjoy the fantastic world of red Dwarf.
Now, that I have your complete attention…
Do not get me wrong. I LOVE RED DWARF! It’s one of the most delightfully wierd and funny series the BBC ever made.
This review is to warn all Red Dwarf fans that Series 6 of this boxed set has a serious defect. The first 3 episodes work and look great. However, when you go to episodes 4, 5, and 6, all 3 episodes play back with severe pixalation, and in fact, aren’t EVEN RED DWARF EPISODES! They are of some unknown BBC DRAMA. How such a severe fault in a DVD disc from the BBC could escape pre release inspection, and into such a large print run is beyond my coprehension.
So, good Red Dwarf fans, DO NOT BUY THIS BOXED SET, AND IF YOU DO, IMMEDATELY CHECK THE SERIES 6 DISC FOR DEFECTS!
And an additional SHAME ON YOU to Amazon, Warner Brothers, and the BBC for not catching this serious defect in this set’s pre release stages.
If you love Red Dwarf as I do, buy the 8 seasons as individual DVD’s, and avoid this paticular nasty grief.