Red Dwarf is back




Well, it’s been back for a while, but I had to wait until someone posted episodes on YouTube. If you don’t know the news, series ten of Red Dwarf was released on cable channel Dave TV in the U.K., and as usual, it’s difficult to officially see these shows in the U.S.

If you’re unfamiliar with the premise of the show, it follows the adventures of Dave Lister, the last surviving human being, who was kept in stasis in the Jupiter Mining Corporation ship Red Dwarf for three millions years. After he’s resuscitated, his only companions are the hologram of his dead roommate Arnold Judas Rimmer, Cat (the last surviving member of the race of intelligent cats who had evolved on the ship in those three million years) and Kryten, a service mechanoid. These four have had bizarre adventures over eight regular series on the BBC, with six to eight episodes each. A ninth series on Dave TV was just three 25-minute episodes, but it lead to the six episodes of series ten.

The first episode of series ten—Trojan—I thought a little uneven, so I didn’t publicize it here, but the second—Fathers and Suns—is vintage Red Dwarf. There are two plot lines that mesh perfectly at the end. For reasons too confusing to explain here, Lister is his own father and every Father’s Day sends himself a card that will be delivered to him in a year by Kryten. To keep the surprise, he drinks himself stupid so he won’t know what the card says. This sets up a chain of events that will send Red Dwarf crashing into a sun.

In the previous episode, the crew has found a derelict space fleet cruiser and Kryten has decided it would make sense to transfer the more advanced cruiser’s main computer to Red Dwarf. The new operating system is so advanced, in fact, that it can use predictive algorithms to  guess what command the senior officer might offer, saving a great deal of time. Unfortunately, the senior officer on board is Rimmer, a total smeghead who in his lifetime only achieved the rank of second technician in charge of the vending machines.

It’s brilliant how all the plot elements of the show combine in the conclusion, reference a previous episode and how everything centers around the fact that Lister is the last surviving human. In many ways, this little 30-minute episode reminds me of one of Wodehouse’s intricately plotted episodes.

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