Author Topic: Red Dwarf rewatch  (Read 137493 times)

Lemming

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2430 on: April 04, 2021, 11:20:19 PM »
List is getting very shaky now. Finishing up most of the last of DOUG DWARF, starting to move into the Grant era. Decided to post this as a block of 15 episodes rather than 10, for no reason.

This list has about as many Grant-era episodes as it does Dave-era episodes, so at the risk of exposing myself to a bollocking:

45. S12E06 - Skipper - great first half, weaker fanservice-laden second half.

44. S04E06 - Meltdown - this is actually a very funny episode and I fear I'm putting it too low, but the plot is a mess IMO. Putting aside things such as the magic transporter which we never see again, there's the issue of Kryten's theory re: light bee damage. I spent half the review whining about this, it really does piss me off enough to knock the episode far down the ranking list.

43. S04E01 - Camille - one of the first "we've just met someone else out here in deep space, we don't really care that much, and we're going to casually and inexplicably part ways after 25 minutes" type episodes that crop up a lot in the later series. Wouldn't be so much of a problem if the episode were better, but mostly weak jokes drag the episode into mediocrity.

42. S06E06 - Out of Time - not bad, plenty of nice moments (epsecially the "ohhhhh DEEAAAR" when Brain Lister arrives), but doesn't really gel together into a satisfying episode.

41. S11E02 - Samsara - one of the more interesting DOUG DWARF episodes. I sort of like what it's attempting to do more than the actual episode itself - the unravelling mystery of the crew's fate is a good idea, and trapping the characters together in pairs to see what kind of comedy arises is a great idea. The downside is that, in execution, it's a little bit light on laughs and the main plot regarding the Samsara doesn't really make sense.

40. S12E01 - Cured - nice idea for a plot with a funny, self-knowing twist towards the end. Final act is kind of trash but you can't have everything, right.

39. S06E05 - Emohawk: Polymorph 2 - this episode is a huge pile of fucking shit, which made me laugh quite a lot, especially in the first half before all the Ace/Dibley stuff started. It's crap, but I had fun watching it, so I really don't know where to place it on the list, so let's just stick it in here.

38. S10E05 - Dear Dave - a lot of people seem to hate this one, and it's easy to see why, given that it ends with Lister fucking a vending machine and Cat walking around with shit up his arse. It's an overwritten mess with too much going on, and yet the one thing I really love about it is that there's no sci-fi plot going on at all, just a mail pod arriving. Like with Samsara, I'm more excited by the idea behind this one than the actual episode.

37. S10E01 - Trojan - you really have to swallow a ton of bullshit to go along with the plot, but if you do, you're treated to an episode with some great energy and some of the better jokes DOUG DWARF has ever had, most of them character-driven too.

36. S03E06 - The Last Day - lots of good moments in isolation, especially the party, but as I said in the review, the whole "let's band together to save Kryten!!!" thing feels unearned and forced, not least because Series 3 didn't really do a great job of introducing Kryten IMO.

35. S11E04 - Officer Rimmer - the theme of this block of the list seems to be "great jokes, weak plot", so this fits right in - not least the ending, one of the laziest ever. I enjoyed this episode but the tone felt very cartoony to me, though I seemed to be in the minority.

34. S11E03 - Give & Take - yet another for the "fantastic idea that doesn't fully pay off in execution" pile - pretty much Doug's modus operandi. There's a brilliant plot in here and we get glimpses of it, but we also have to deal with a snack machine giving Rimmer therapy.

33. S12E04 - Mechocracy - pretty much the same camp as Officer Rimmer - it's funny, occasionally very funny, but felt to me like it took place in some kind of cartoon version of the show.

32. S03E01 - Backwards - one of the flagship "we're back on Earth, let's underreact, leave after 20 minutes, and never speak of it again" episodes. There's a lot of broad laughs to be had in Lister un-drinking beer and un-breaking his back, but the whole thing falls apart after about 3 seconds of thinking about it. Actually feels very much like a Doug episode in that sense.

31. S03E05 - Timeslides - Stasis Leak's slightly naffer counterpart. The plot doesn't even bear thinking about, so what we're left with is a series of very good individual scenes. Everything at Lister's mansion is ace, as is his meeting with his teenage self. Oh, and Craig Charles' legendary performance of CASH, of course.

Made some serious inroads into the Grant era there. For anyone wondering how many DOUG DWARF episodes are still left to rank, it's:
M-CORP
Lemons
Fathers & Suns

All of which are going to be taken out in the next block. So congrats to those three episodes for being my personal Best of Doug. I expect Lemons and M-CORP will be reasonably acceptable choices, so Fathers & Suns is the only one I'm going to have to fight to defend. And before that even happens, I want to disown the racist vending machine subplot...

Also, no episodes from Series 1, Series 2, or Series 5 have featured yet. So congrats to those series.

purlieu

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2431 on: April 05, 2021, 01:14:51 AM »
Amazed Out of Time is so low, that's a top 5 episode for me.

Give & Take is excellent, although it just needs a line from Lister having a go at Kryten when he works out the whole bootstrap paradox of his kidneys, because so many people got confused at that. I like Snacky.

I get what you enjoy about Dear Dave, and I actually liked the 'nothing much happens' series 1 feel of it at first, but every time I rewatch it I notice yet another problem. When you spot that half of the episode was shot on green screen because it was filmed after the main series had wrapped, it becomes obvious just how badly patched together it is. Loads of bunk room scenes where the room is very slightly dull looking and they're all standing awkwardly in a line.

Fathers and Suns is a good episode with one too many plot strands that just drags it down (and then goes racist). Lister being his own dad is a great scene, and I like Pree a lot. The whole 'b-plot that ties up the a-plot' element of X felt like Doug was constantly trying to do an episode of Seinfeld and failing, and I think this is the one that suffers the most.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2432 on: April 05, 2021, 09:35:47 AM »
The business with the fallen vending machine and Lister banging around on top of it is an inexcusably transparent attempt to recreate the magic of Kryten and Lister with the shrinking boxer shorts, but nobody at any point seems to have stopped and said “excuse me Doug, this makes absolutely no sense and needs fixing”.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2433 on: April 05, 2021, 09:38:53 AM »
Lister being his own dad is a shit, horrible idea which is not repaired by having a vaguely well-performed scene in series 10.  He should not be his own dad.

It means that if anyone wishes to skip series 7 and 8, and wants somewhere to jump back on to continue the narrative, they also have to skip series 10 because it references bollocks from series 7.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2434 on: April 05, 2021, 09:54:47 AM »
I don’t really see Backwards as an example of the theme “the crew have an opportunity to live back on earth but inexplicably reject it without any explanation” trope, as time is running backwards! 

It’s an effective use of the “but this isn’t really home” situation that the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon sometimes did.  It doesn’t compare with having a time and space travelling machine that they choose not to use.

purlieu

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2435 on: April 05, 2021, 09:59:17 AM »
Lister being his own dad is a shit, horrible idea which is not repaired by having a vaguely well-performed scene in series 10.  He should not be his own dad.
I do agree with this, and I generally dislike the way VII made the show's two main characters into epic sci-fi tropes. It doesn't stop Fathers and Suns mining it for some excellent humour, though. The fake guitar reveal is a superb gag.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2436 on: April 05, 2021, 10:52:58 AM »
I don’t really see Backwards as an example of the theme “the crew have an opportunity to live back on earth but inexplicably reject it without any explanation” trope, as time is running backwards! 

Also one of the rare instances where this is dealt with in the show, with Lister's dressing room speech. When something can't be used to get them home, they mention it, when something can be used to get them home, they don't mention it and have the characters just not choosing the option.

purlieu

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2437 on: April 05, 2021, 11:39:10 AM »
Yes, I love Twentica's "the EMP will kill both Kryten and Rimmer, so we'll have to fly back through to the future instead of just heading away from Earth for a hour and settling back on Earth", Timewave's "it's better to be slightly closer to Earth 3 million years into the future than to wash back with the timewave and end up further from Earth but in our proper time so we at least have a chance of finding people again", Tikka to Ride's "we can't use the time drive to go back in time ever again so we won't even use its ability to travel across space in a second to see what Earth is like now", the complete disappearance of the matter paddle / teleporter and so on.

Another of my late '90s Red Dwarf Much Better Alternate Plot Ideas:
Series VII, Episode I: they use the time drive to go back to the point they last saw Red Dwarf and carry on the voyage, meaning it turned out to be them who stole it from themselves in the first place. The bootstrap paradox would overload the time drive, meaning they could never use it again. This would: a) get rid of the necessity to have STARDISbug in VII, where episodes like Duct Soup would clearly make more sense inside Red Dwarf rather than Starbug, and stop the need for things like Ace's ship - the same size as Starbug in Dimension Jump - being able to land inside Starbug in Stoke; b) mean Doug never gets the idea to resurrect the crew, which would immediately make VIII better on one level; c) rid the show of the "but why don't they just use the device that can immediately take them to anywhere in time and space?" elephant in the room.

rue the polywhirl

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2438 on: April 05, 2021, 02:12:25 PM »
Further down the road in my list of top 30 worst episodes -

21. Duct Soup S7 - Full-on Konchaski as a team member the first time, and also jealous Kryten. Story is solid, more memorable than a lot of later ones in the series but a lot of it is quite tedious.
22. Ouroboros S7 - I can’t justify this episode other than it’s got a good plot and a decent, cinematic feel to it and that I preferred it to the more groan-worthy ‘we’re a sitcom again’ Duct Soup.
23. Skipper SXII - Feels like a reasonable closer to series XII only because the majority of it was so abject. The main story with the crew choosing not to do something in order to do something is treated with no logical consistency therefore making all of this episode stupid. Captain Hollister’s scene is dumb and Holly’s... yeeesh.
24. Lemons SX - I enjoy this episode less in retrospect because I don’t like the actor playing Jesus and the writing is really too Dawkinsy to tolerate.
25. Entangled SX - Another SX episode which is a bit of a mess. Has those dreaded GELFs appear before they’re written out halfway through the story.
26. Emohawk: Polymorph II S6 - Kinda fun although I’ve really grown to resent those hairy GELFs as reoccurring Red Dwarf characters and episodes is pretty much a lame series of callbacks.
27. Give & Take SXI - I enjoy selfish Cat being selfish but generally I found the theme of kidney transplants and also the robot surgeon to be a bit grim.
28. Waiting For God S1 - Cat History 101 and religious satire episode. Pretty boring. Something about the scene with the old cat priest which feels a bit downcast and ill-fitting..
29. Blue S7 - This episode is worth it for the great opening shot with Lister and Rimmer and also the Arnold Rimmer song at the end.
30. Samsara SXI - Episode does have an ok air of mystery even though it is about two random schmoes from another ship half the time and it does pick up a lot in the second half with lots of really good jokes.

Lemming

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2439 on: April 05, 2021, 03:19:10 PM »
SHIT, somehow I've left out Entangled.

I agree with your placement of it, and I'd put it in the same sort of area as Emohawk as well. First half of Entangled is a lot of fun, dragged down badly by the second half.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2440 on: April 05, 2021, 04:27:19 PM »
Why are Roman numerals being used for the Dave era but not the Grant Naylor era?  Is it to create a conscious distinction?

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2441 on: April 05, 2021, 04:29:23 PM »
They'll all be Roman numerals by the time I'm finished with them.

purlieu

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2442 on: April 05, 2021, 04:38:15 PM »
Yes, that's a bit strange, they've had Roman numerals on screen since VII, and on videos since III.

rue the polywhirl

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2443 on: April 05, 2021, 05:28:01 PM »
Just a subconscious thing. The first 8 seasons have always been series 1-8 for me. Whereas the Dave series I’ve only seen pictured with their Roman numerals .

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2444 on: April 05, 2021, 06:09:43 PM »
Just a subconscious thing. The first 8 seasons have always been series 1-8 for me. Whereas the Dave series I’ve only seen pictured with their Roman numerals .

Alright then please change it now so that series 1-6 are not distinguished by their numbers, series 7 is Roman numerals and series 8 is done as a tally.


Would have been good if they’d used the tally to count each episode number, to be honest.  Such a chore to plough through them.

Lemming

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2445 on: April 07, 2021, 12:22:18 AM »
The Top 30...

30. S04E05 - Dimension Jump - a very funny episode at times, and the Ace character is written and played fantastically here - he's cool enough that you get taken along with Lister's semi-idolisation of him, but he's just enough of a cunt that you feel Rimmer's frustration. Sadly the plot just sort of comes to a stop after a while, without really making use of the opportunity to show us more about Rimmer or his relationships with the others.

29. S05E03 - Demons & Angels - Series 5 is really hard to fit into this list, because most of it feels so tangibly different to standard Red Dwarf. Like, is The Inquisitor better or worse than, say, DNA? Fuck knows! Anyway, here's Demons & Angels, an episode with some great jokes and some genuine tension, but falls down a little in not really doing anything with the concept - the lows don't resemble the regular crew in any real recognisable way, nor do the highs, so we don't learn anything new about the characters.

28. S05E03 - Terrorform - same as the last two episodes - a nice (albeit very derivative) concept which holds your attention well for the duration of the episode, but could have been used to do much more. There was some debate in this thread about whether or not the ending to Terrorform is good or shit - I fall on the side of thinking it's shit, but it's only really the logical conclusion of the script not using the concept for anything more than a bit of action and a few laughs.

27. S12E05 - M-CORP - superb concept which generates plenty of comedy and, rarely for this era of the show, some pathos. Only complaint is that the final act is a bit under-written and Lister's escape from the VR room or whatever the fuck he was in is far too quick and easy, a problem that Dave episodes run into again and again.

26. S05E04 - Quarantine - here comes all of Series 5 at once! Quarantine is all-around decent, and very typical of Series 5 - some really good jokes, a strong concept, a bit of genuine horror and suspense, but all kind of inconsequential on a character level. Used to think this one was a laugh and just sort of scary as a kid, now it's the inverse - it's a really unnerving and almost unpleasant (in a good way) episode at its core, with the comedy poking through the drama.

25. S10E02 - Fathers & Suns - goes without saying, Lister should never have been his own father. It was a stupid plot point that didn't even add anything to Ouroboros. However, I really commend Doug (for once) for seeing an opportunity to take something shit and turn it into something good. Fathers & Suns undoes a lot of the damage wrought by Ouroboros, IMO - Lister being his father is portrayed as so unremarkable and inconsequential that it successfully undermines Series 7's "ooh all the crew have special destinies or whatever" shit. The rest of the episode is unusually funny for DOUG DWARF and offers some great character-driven comedy, the only real weak point being, of course, the vending machine shite, which is indefensibly balls. Only other complaint is that the antagonist is thwarted too easily and in a way that doesn't really offer a satisfying thematic arc, but that's a recurring problem with DOUG DWARF.

24. S05E01 - Holoship - about as much fun as you can have with a fairly dumb concept, and the weird stylistic homages to 40s films are an interesting choice. Above all else, this one wins just on being funny - "Binks to enlightenment", Rimmer taking both tests at once, all that.

23. S06E02 - Legion - has a tendency to devolve into slapstick which feels tonally wrong to me, but for the most part, a funny episode with a good concept that resolves reasonably satisfyingly. Plenty of memorable jokes keep it moving along - "not really. I need it to turn the lights on and off."

22. S10E03 - Lemons - favourite DOUG DWARF episode. Utterly stupid concept - they fuck up a flatpack shower so badly that it sends them into the past - but it's frequently really funny, and I love how the whole plot is treated: no dramatics, no major timeline-altering decisions, no big speeches. It's just a fairly mundane trip to the past, meeting people who aren't really that different from us, and I especially love that it was all for nothing because the whole premise was based on a fuckup caused by the crew being too brainless to ask some simple questions. Gets a bit too broad at times ("get your genuine JC bags" makes me cringe) but, with some relatively minor changes, would probably fit right into the series 3 - 6 era.

21. S02E04 - Stasis Leak surprise Series 2 entry! It's a very enjoyable episode, but it has a lot of the problems that would come to define later Red Dwarf - a way home that nobody gives a shit about and never mentions again (until Give & Take), character's personalities and motivations twisting themselves to fit the demands of the plot, so many logic breakdowns that it wouldn't even be worth listing them here, and an ending that's just abrupt batshit nonsense (though I still laugh at it). Places this high in the list because it's still really funny, despite being a bit of a narrative trainwreck. Also disappointed that the mythos the episode creates with the future timelines is never resolved at all, but that's not the fault of the episode itself.

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2446 on: April 07, 2021, 12:26:29 AM »
I watched the film Short Circuit the other day for the first time in about 30 years.  Y'know - the one where a robot called 'number 5' becomes alive.

Thing I noticed:  the company making the Wall-E Terminator things was called Nova.


Nova 5.  Definitely not a coincidence.

rue the polywhirl

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2447 on: April 07, 2021, 12:45:02 AM »
Timeslides SIII
The Last Day S3
Tikka To Ride S7
Stoke Me A Clipper S7
Trojan SX
The Beginning SX
Cured SXII
Demons & Angels S5
Officer Rimmer SXI

Basically a Scottish championship table of all the episodes that didn’t make my top 30. Officer Rimmer I quite liked at the time but on retrospect is really CITVish. Also the rushed ending. Demons and Angels is a bit like that as well, the squeaky-voiced Demon versions of the characters are really annoying. Out of all of the Dave era episodes, Trojan was the one I enjoyed the most and offered something of a false dawn for the era but The Beginning was also relatively impressive, good story arc for Rimmer and well done scenes with Young Rimmer. I do quite enjoy the first two episodes of Season VII which help give Rimmer a send-off and then it only goes and falls off a cliff. Season 3 also gets quite a bit shabbier by the end of its run. The logic lapses in Timeslides are pretty, pretty dumb and The Last Day is really, really meh.

rue the polywhirl

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2448 on: April 07, 2021, 01:28:47 AM »
Top 30 Best Episodes!

30. Confidence & Paranoia S1 - Always dreaded this one growing up because of the exploding Mr Confidence. A grim feeling throughout brings this episode down slightly.
29. Bodyswap S3 - Pretty average episode for the season with lots of ropey special effects and an ok story not fully capitalised.
28. Stasis Leak S2 - Loses a bit of steam towards the end and is a bit lacking compared to the rest of Season 2
27. Meltdown S4 - A load of grim outdoor shots but has that bit with Winnie The Pooh.
26. Quarantine S5 - Pretty good story, gets much better towards the end but not a bundle of laughs.
25. Out Of Time S6 - Appearance of Brain Lister. Decent, tense closer to Series 6.
24. Psirens S6 - Kinda panned but lots of fun with Lister snogging fly-shaped aliens and being slurped by Brain straws.
23. Legion S6 - Definitely a grower during rewatch. Iffy dialogue at start but then loads of memorable moments once story gets going.
22. Kryten S2 - Nearly a classic episode if wasn’t for the fact it features the non-classic version of Kryten.
21. The End S1 - Great scene setter, but not quite enough to make the top 20. There are probably about 40 episodes which are funnier.

Lemming

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2449 on: April 07, 2021, 01:54:26 AM »
The End is really tough to place, being the obvious outlier that it is. That said, it does a serious amount of heavy lifting plot-wise in a short amount of time and still manages to be consistently pretty funny.

Your list also makes me realise I've manages to leave out Psirens as well! On my spreadsheet[1] I've got it between Samsara and Cured, which sounds about right - the Series 6 one liner model is at its worst, generating equal parts solid jokes and total crap.
 1. yes, I made a spreadsheet and still managed two massive fuckups and counting

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2450 on: April 07, 2021, 12:19:35 PM »
The End is really tough to place, being the obvious outlier that it is. That said, it does a serious amount of heavy lifting plot-wise in a short amount of time and still manages to be consistently pretty funny.

At the same time, it isn't needed.  All the same information is conveyed later through a combination of the Holly summaries at the start of series 1-2 and the various callbacks within episodes to the accident and the pre-accident crew.

In many ways, I'd say the details of The End are better left to the imagination of the viewer.

purlieu

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2451 on: April 07, 2021, 04:52:11 PM »
21. S02E04 - Stasis Leak
and an ending that's just abrupt batshit nonsense (though I still laugh at it).
One of a tiny number of changes made in the Remastered versions that actually improved the episode was the extension of this scene by three or four seconds, making it seem even more chaotic. It's a marvellously farcical closing to the story.
It's one where the reason for not staying in the past is vaguely understandable: Future Lister literally tells them to go back to Red Dwarf because they find another way to come back in five years, and as that ends up with him marrying Kochanski and seemingly staying in that time-frame, it seems like a generally positive ending for them.

At the same time, it isn't needed.  All the same information is conveyed later through a combination of the Holly summaries at the start of series 1-2 and the various callbacks within episodes to the accident and the pre-accident crew.

In many ways, I'd say the details of The End are better left to the imagination of the viewer.
Nah, I think you need to see all that for the impact of the accident to really work. You need an idea of Rimmer and Lister and their normal lives, their plans and hopes, the way they interact with each other, to make the loss of it all, and the bleakness of them being trapped with each other, work so well.

Lemming

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2452 on: April 08, 2021, 10:32:02 PM »
Top 20!

20. S01E05 - Confidence & Paranoia - this is the episode of Series 1 that tends to slip my mind, but there's actually a lot going on - it's the culmination of the running plot in which Lister tries to persuade Rimmer to offline himself to reactive Kochanski, and it leads directly into Me2. The episodic plot is a decent enough one, though not a great deal is done with it. One big complaint I have is that the "oh, we can actually have 2 holograms, lol" solution is very poor. It benefits from the semi-serialised nature of Series 1 overall, since the Rimmer and Lister relationship continues to develop pleasingly.

19. S02E01 - Kryten - a relatively weak final act sets this one back, but everything up until that point is great fun. The more quickfire nature of the dialogue compared to Series 1 is apparent right from the off with a fantastic bunkroom scene.

18. S05E06 - Back to Reality - again, it's hard to slot Series 5 in among the rest, because the priorities are so different, with a lower joke frequency and different style of comedy to allow for more focus on darker science fiction ideas. Back to Reality has some really good jokes, and the middle stretch from them waking up to them leaving the VR building is full of excellent moments, and needless to say the reveal of the crew still sat in Starbug during the car chase is superb.

17. S04E03 - Justice - as is traditional for a lot of Red Dwarf, this is a great idea that comes very close to being so much more than it is. Luckily, the final version is still a well-paced episode with an interesting core concept, and while the character study of Rimmer doesn't go as deep as it easily could have done, what we get is still wonderful.

16. S06E03 - Gunmen of the Apocalypse - this is the one episode where Series 6 really scored a big win, IMO. Very derivative - both in general, and specifically of a TNG episode that aired shortly before it - but a well-told, genuinely quite tense story, that manages to get some great laughs out of the concept.

15. S05E02 - The Inquisitor - Series 5's best in my view. Very atypical of Red Dwarf, totally abandons comedy for several long scenes to dedicate everything to creating a chilling horror story, to great effect. And luckily, when the jokes do arrive, they're mostly gold. I'm glad there weren't more episodes like this, but as a one-off, it's a really strong standout moment in the show.

14. S04E02 - DNA - chalk this up as another for the "great idea that flirts with making a point/doing some character work and then backs out". Feel like I might be placing this one a little bit too high, since the ending is dreadful and Kryten becoming human doesn't really go anywhere. There's also the annoyance of introducing a way for Rimmer to be revived which is inexplicably never mentioned again. But it's consistently funny, the alien ship (and it is, apparently, an alien ship! not GELF or anything!) is cool, and overall very enjoyable to watch, even if it's one of many post Series 2 episodes that could have been so, so much more. Hey, also worth pointing out - in Waiting for God, Rimmer enthuses about the possibility of "aliens who can give me a new body". We're meant to laugh at him, and yet, here they are!

13. S04E04 - White Hole - mentioned it a few times in this thread, but all the way back on the first page, phes made this excellent post which I've thought about a lot, because I totally agree with it. Series 3 is very very ropey in parts, but White Hole feels like the decisive moment where Red Dwarf is fucked. No more will there be any real character work, the relationships between the characters no longer matter unless there's a low-hanging joke to be gotten from two characters talking, everyone's become so paper-thin that the actors have almost nothing to go off anymore... and it's still really fun. The white hole itself is a great idea, the episode is laugh-a-minute even when the jokes are stupid shit like Kryten's head being used as a battering ram, and the pool with planets solution is one of the better resolutions in any episode of Red Dwarf.

12. S01E01 - The End - tough to place in the list, but it does amazing work as an opening episode. By the end, you've met all the main characters, you're just barely familiar enough with the pre-disaster ship to understand the extent of the loss, and the show's laid out it's future direction pretty clearly. It's also hilarious in parts.

11. S03E03 - Polymorph - it's a really fucking stupid episode, with nothing to say, and all the characters are reduced to one-dimensional cutouts even before they get brain-sucked. It's the kind of thing people would (rightly) rip apart if it showed up in the Dave era. We'd be saying "Lister's knob gets stuck in Kryten's groinal attachment" and "Lister fucks Rimmer's mum" in the same breath as "everyone becomes Kryten" and "Lister fucks a vending machine". Regardless, it's one of the most laugh-out-loud episodes of any series of Red Dwarf, the whole thing has incredible energy to it, the sort of charming low-budget b-movie feel that the show often had is front and centre, all the actors clearly have tremendous fun, and it's just exhilaratingly fun to watch. I don't know if it's maybe because it comes so early and so abruptly in the course of the show as a whole, before the rot of this exact kind of thing had started to set in and become very tedious, maybe that's why it gets away with the kind of inane shit we'd give Doug hell for if it had come in the more recent series. But for whatever reason, Polymorph is joyous to watch. Also, of course, Polymorph is actually funny in its shallow nonsense, whereas many later episodes just aren't.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2453 on: April 08, 2021, 10:46:29 PM »
After reading about the Dave era series in this thread and trying to rewatch a few of them and bailing, I was actually put off rewatching earlier series, RD post series 6 left that bad of a taste in my mouth. But I started a rewatch last week and am up to series 3 so far, and by Christ series 1 & 2 really are head and shoulders above the other series. And I don't think it's just nostalgia talking either, those first 2 series are really fucking good.

St_Eddie

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2454 on: April 08, 2021, 11:04:42 PM »
14. S04E02 - DNA

It's a good episode but the ending with miniature Robo-Lister is like something out of the Dave era.  I think I only tend to give that scene a pass because I grew up watching it.  If I'm being objective and take my rose tinted specs off, it's a very silly and rather embarrassingly naff scene.  Definitely veering into the ChuckleVision daftness of series VIII and the likes.

the alien ship (and it is, apparently, an alien ship! not GELF or anything!)

Wait, are you sure about this?  I don't think it's an alien ship, is it?  Kryten says that the technology is not of Earth origin and far in advance of known technology.  The implication being that it's a ship constructed by people many centuries after the crew's experience with humanity.  I mean, the three headed corpse they find onboard is human.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2021, 11:14:48 PM by St_Eddie »

Lemming

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2455 on: April 08, 2021, 11:26:19 PM »
Looking back over the script, you're right - Kryten explicitly identifies the corpse as being human. I think I took the "not of Earth origin" line and the incomprehensible language initially spoken by the computer before it scans Lister (plus the unknown language on the control panel) to indicate that it was an alien vessel - I hadn't considered that it was just created by an unrecognisably advanced version of humanity.

And yeah, mini Robo-Lister using lager to kill the curry monster really is Dave-level stuff. Through this rewatch there's been a few parts in the first six series (mostly 3 - 6) which have stood out as being recognisably Dave-ish. I used to be really confused as to how all Doug's solo work felt so markedly different - and mostly worse - to everything before, but now I think I can see flashes of that tone and style as early as Stasis Leak. The difference between Series 6 and the Dave era, in particular, is a lot narrower IMO than most people believe. Emohawk and Legion would very easily fit into Series 10 - 12.

rue the polywhirl

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2456 on: April 08, 2021, 11:35:32 PM »
My top 20!

20. Dimension Jump S4
19. Camille S4
18. Terrorform S5
17. Me2 S1
16. Backwards S3
15. Holoship S5
14. White Hole S4
13. Justice S4
12. DNA S4
11. Gunmen Of The Apocalypse S6

Not too many comments at this stage. As you can see Series 4 fills up 50% of it. Lots of strong entries. A very consistent season and the next best after Series 2 perhaps. Dimension Jump and Camille are both solid, satisfying episodes, very well done but maybe not packing as many laughs as the others above it. White Hole, Justice and DNA are funnier and have more of a sense of adventure to them as well. I do like the Curry Monster and Kryten turning human for a short while. Not much to say about Terrorform and Holoship, the former is a little sillier and the last couple of minutes I remember looked a bit rubbish. Holoship is memorable purely because Rimmer has success with ladies for once.

The scenes in Me2 where Rimmer is living with a copy of himself are amazing, definite sense of the character stepping up to another level of screwed-upness but the other plot strands lack in comparison and are maybe even a bit tiresome on rewatch. Backwards is quite the messy S3 opener and so tonally adrift from the first two series but still loads of fun, a great concept and one of the most memorable episodes. The Wild West parts of Gunman Of The Apocalypse are so well done and one of the highlights of the entire show’s run but the first 10 minutes of the episode are pretty shaky, literally chin aliens is the moment where it starts to finally pick up some pace so for that it falls just shy of my top 10.

purlieu

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Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2457 on: April 08, 2021, 11:41:28 PM »
Polymorph and White Hole work, despite the lack of character stuff, because they're throwing bucketloads of new ideas at the show with such gusto that the writing and performances are utterly irresistible. Originality, energy and depth are the three important elements, but the show can run perfectly well on just two of them. The problem with VI onwards is that they often only really have one, meaning repeat viewings hold little of value.

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2458 on: April 09, 2021, 10:36:37 AM »

Wait, are you sure about this?  I don't think it's an alien ship, is it?  Kryten says that the technology is not of Earth origin and far in advance of known technology.  The implication being that it's a ship constructed by people many centuries after the crew's experience with humanity.  I mean, the three headed corpse they find onboard is human.

Indeed presumably the whole ship has been modified using the DNA technology it houses? As applies to Kryten himself, an object/person only requires a small amount of organic matter for the machine to be able to tinker with the DNA (bit spurious, but that's the internal logic)

Re: Red Dwarf rewatch
« Reply #2459 on: April 09, 2021, 10:34:15 PM »
Really top notch work in this thread, Lemming! Made me go and watch a few episodes. I think series 2 and 5 are a lot better than the rest, and Thank for the Memory is a great pick as the best episode.
A fun obscure guest star spot: see if you can recognise, without cheating, the policeman who stops the team and gets shot by Kryten in "Back to Reality". You'll know him as a really, really minor character from another TV series.

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