(Intro same as Red Dwarf - Series One)
For most people, it's very difficult to pick just one movie that
they consider to be their favorite movie of all time. This is why
most just compile a list of their favorites, so as to avoid
having to commit to just one title. I too fall into this category
and cannot name just one movie I like best, so I've created a
top-ten list of my favorite movies. I've then continued on to
make another list of ten, to round out a top-twenty list.
However, when it comes to TV shows, this is not the case. There
has always been just one show that infinitely stands out as my
absolute favorite TV show of all time. This show is the British
sit-com Red Dwarf.
Red Dwarf is a show that almost never got made. The
script had been proposed and rejected several times by the BBC
network. But eventually persistence and shear luck allowed
writers Rob Grant and Doug Naylor to see their quirky creation
become a reality.
The first episode aired in 1987. Red Dwarf was
considered a gamble at the time because network executives
believed a sci-fi comedy just wouldn't work. And they probably
would have been right if the show severely lacked that special
something to make it truly unique. Fortunately, Red Dwarf was
anything but ordinary. The show stood out because it was a comedy
first and foremost, and used science fiction to drive the story
forward. If the show would have got caught up in all the sci-fi
theory and science, it would most definitely have bombed, but
because it was very funny, and unique, it quickly became a cult
If you've never seen the show, and I'm sure many of you haven't,
then you're in for a real treat, because this show is the
funniest sit-com you're ever likely to see. I am a sci-fi
fanatic, so I took to this show right from the start, though many
of you who aren't into sci-fi as much may have to watch the first
three seasons before you get totally hooked. Now the first season
is a classic, and is essential to knowing the backgrounds of the
main characters, but the show really takes off in the 2nd and 3rd
So, I'm sure you're dying to know, "what makes this show so
damn good?" Well I'm glad you asked. Red Dwarf
works so brilliantly because it is the perfect marriage of
excellent writing, hilarious characters, and unyielding
imagination. Take for instance the plot: Dave Lister (played by
Craig Charles), is a lowly chicken soup machine repairman who
gets in trouble for bringing a non quarantined cat onto the
enormous deep space mining ship, Red Dwarf. As punishment, the
slobby, curry eating, low life is forced to remain in suspended
animation, forgoing all wages until the end of their mission.
When Lister is woken from suspended animation, he finds that he
is the only remaining member of the crew still alive. A
devastating radiation leak had caused all the crew to die, and as
a consequence, Lister remained in stasis for three million years
until radiation levels reached a safe level. Now the only people
left to keep Lister company are Holly (Norman Lovett) a daffy
supercomputer with the collective IQ of 6,000 P.E. teachers,
Arnold Rimmer, (Chris Barrie) a holographic image of Lister's
annoying, self indulgent roommate, and Cat, (Danny John-Jules) a
humanoid life form that evolved from Lister's now ancient
pregnant cat. If this group of madcap characters can't make you
laugh, then there truly is no hope for you.
Now the show could have done just as well with these characters
alone, but thankfully the superbly written episodes make Red
Dwarf even funnier. Grant and Naylor really take advantage
of the creative liberty this type of show can give them, and as a
result, we see this dysfunctional crew undergo situations that
are exotic, intelligent, and always side splittingly comical.
If you like science fiction, and you like comedy, then you'll
fall completely in love with Red Dwarf. This is the
funniest and most entertaining TV show I've ever seen, and will
always remain as my absolute favorite. Owning the episodes by
themselves is worth double the price alone. So I'm thankful BBC
Video has given us this excellent two-disc set that all hardcore
Dwarf fans have been begging for. Red Dwarf has finally
arrived on DVD, and it's about smegin' time!
It's hard to imagine that Red Dwarf could get any better
after Series One, but it does. In this season our beloved
characters really start to come into their own. The situations
are funnier, the characters are crazier, and the writing gets
more brilliant. After watching this season, you'll think,
"wow, it can't possibly get any better." But you'd be
wrong, because believe it or not, from here on out, it DOES get
better - much better.
It's no secret that Red Dwarf writers Rob Grant and Doug
Naylor weren't very happy with Series One. In fact, when Series
Two was off and running, they didn't want BBC to rerun the Series
One episodes because it wasn't up to their liking on account of
they had been restricted as to what content was allowed to end up
on the show. However in Series Two, the writing duo managed to
gain back a little more input. So it's really here in the second
season where we get to see the softer, more humanistic side of
Craig and Lister.
On this DVD you'll find some great episodes, like "Better
Than Life," which is one of my all time favorites. In this
episode Lister, Rimmer and the Cat take part in an advanced
virtual reality video game that makes all of your wildest dreams
come true. Naturally, Rimmer's corrupted mind spoils everyone's
The Episode, "Kryton" is also a good one, but will
severely bother those who are familiar with later seasons because
the Kryten in this episode is not the same Kryten we've known to
love so much in the later series.
The special effects get better in this series as well, and we
start to see our madcap crew in other worldly locations other
than the dreary Red Dwarf. I loved this season, and
loved the direction the show started to take, but now I can't
stop thinking about Season Three. BBC Video needs to hurry up and
release the next two seasons because I'm already going through
Here are the episodes for Series Two.
Episode 1: Kryten
Episode 2: Better Than Life
Episode 3: Thanks For The Memory
Episode 4: Stasis Leak
Episode 5: Queeg
Episode 6: Parallel Universe
Besides the episodes getting more creative, the features offered
on this set get more entertaining. Here we get a great package of
supplements highlighted by two featurettes, "Red Dwarf
A-Z" and "Alternative Personalities." These two
featurettes are extremely entertaining, and take you on a visual
roller coaster ride with various scenes throughout all eight of
the Red Dwarf seasons. This is awesome stuff.
This is a tremendous DVD, and I get totally excited just thinking
about the rest to follow. If you're a fan of Red Dwarf,
then you know what you have to do. If you've never seen the show,
go buy Season's One and Two right now. You can send me hate mail
later. But if you love good comedies, I'm sure you won't be
Video: (Same as Red Dwarf - Series One)
Red Dwarf is presented in 1.33:1 full screen. Considering the age
and budget of this show, Red Dwarf looks fantastic on
DVD. It is by no means a reference disc, as tons of pixelation
can be seen in the background, but it still looks substantially
better than I remember seeing it years ago on TV. The picture is
very sharp, and the print is cleaner than I would ever have
thought possible. I expected to see tons of spots and blemishes
on this transfer, but there was none. For Series One, colors are
something you won't find in abundance here. The entire series is
grayish, and has a dingy, industrial look to it. Because of this,
flesh tones looks awful and the rare appearance of color looks
anything but bright. But this is the way the show originally
looked, so the DVD is merely reproducing the episodes as
accurately as possible. I was very impressed with this video
transfer, and aside from the pixelation, the end result is more
Edit: I noticed the color on these episodes looked
slightly better than that of Series One. From here on out, each
season will look better than it's predecessor, as the budget
increased and the filming equipment got more sophisticated. Also,
there is much more color present on the sets of the show, so this
also contributes to the more color presentation.
Audio: (Same as Red Dwarf - Series One)
Here we have a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track, and just like the
video transfer, the audio is excellent as well. Again we're not
talking reference grade excellent, but excellent considering the
condition and budget of the original show. Dialogue is clearly
heard most of the time, but can be occasionally hard to
understand. The music on this disc sounds great, and is very
clean and free of any distortion.
Extras: Red Dwarf - Series Two
continues the extra features extravaganza with many of the same
features as Series One, but adds a couple of highly entertaining
Cast Commentary: You'll find all of the audio
commentaries Disc 1. Just like the Series One DVD, here the
original cast of Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules,
and Norman Lovett give a lively and humorous inside look to the
making of the entire second series of Red Dwarf. All six
episodes have a commentary on them, and all six of them are worth
listening too. The group likes to talk over each other so it is
often hard to hear what's going on, but overall this is a great
resource for Red Dwarf fanatics.
Deleted Scenes: Here we find an assortment of
scenes cut from Series Two. Many of these scenes include
additional dialogue that had to be cut from existing scenes for
length. It was great to see many of these scenes.
Smeg Ups: Like the Series One DVD, we get an
absolutely wonderful assortment of actor bloopers. As usual, the
funnies of which always involve either Holly (Norman Lovett) or
Rimmer (Chris Barrie).
Original Trailer: This is the original Series Two
trailer as shown on BBC Two. Once again, I don't have any clue
what these trailers are supposed to convey, as they seem random,
and utterly meaningless. But it's still nice to have them here.
"Red Dwarf A-Z" Documentary: This is a
stupendous 25-minute documentary on some very memorable moments
of Red Dwarf. What is done here, is a scene is picked
out that corresponds with each letter of the alphabet. So for
"A" we see a brief clip of Arnold J. Rimmer being,
well, himself. This is very entertaining to watch, and is a great
way to recap some wonderful moments on the show, as well as learn
some things even the most hardcore fans might not have known.
Doug Naylor Interview: Here's another interesting
interview with Doug Naylor. Here he gives some great information
about the problems they had filming Series One and Two.
"Alternative Personalities" Featurette:
This was a great little featurette set to a fabulous song. (If
anyone knows exactly what song this is, please email me!) This
(3:20) feature shows us the glimpses of the huge array of alter
egos our wacky heroes have undertaken over all eight seasons.
This is a very nice addition and definitely made me laugh.
Tongue Tied - Uncut: This is the original uncut
version of Cat's song-and-dance dream, Tongue Tied. This is kind
of a hokey number, but very memorable. I was glad to see this on
Special Effects Raw Footage: Here we see many
model shots of the "Blue Midget," the small surveyor
ship used during Series Two.
Isolated Music Cues: Here we have music cues
given in the same fashion as the Series One DVD. In addition to
more character appointed songs, we also get the entire version of
"Tongue Tied" and "High Noon."
Audio Book Chapters: Here are two more chapters of the
Red Dwarf novels read by Chris Barrie.
Photo Gallery: This is just like the photo
gallery on the Series One DVD, except we get photos taken during
God I love this show. Each season is amazing and has something
unique to offer. Series Two is where Red Dwarf starts to
transform into the wonderfully hilarious comedy we know and love
today. And watching the fantastic featurettes on this DVD
instantly refreshes my memory to all the insane laughs this show
has to offer in later seasons. If you've never seen the show
before, you have to go out and at least rent these discs. I'm
confident when you see them, you'll be completely sold just as
much as I am. Red Dwarf is sci-fi comedy at its best.