[Almost Spoiler Free] Red Dwarf is coming back to our TV screens and the production have worked hard to rectify their past mistakes with previous revivals, have listened to fans and taken their advice.
Being broadcast on Dave, the first episode of Red Dwarf X will air on 4th October 9pm.
The cast have aged relatively well considering the first ever episode was broadcast in 1988. There’s a little greying of hair and the appearance of a couple of spare tires but the set design, costume and visuals are familiar and loyal to the series.
Entitled Trojan, the episode opens with hologram Arnold Rimmer attempting the astro-navigation exam again. The first five minutes is mostly made up of re-introducing us to the characters and their individual traits. The beginning also sets up the jokes used throughout the episode. Expect a bunch of call backs, mostly revolving around moose, and one very long strung out joke involving a shopping channel.
Most of the action takes place on board another (derelict) space craft, so there’s no sign of the ship’s computer, Holly, just yet.
Plot wise, the four inhabitants of mining ship Red Dwarf stumble upon the derelict space craft and while investigating, receive a distress call. Leading to hilarious consequences, of course.
With regards to the hotly debated laughter track, the new series was filmed in front of a live audience, mostly they were avid fans and the tickets were hugely in demand (on the free tv show audience ticket circuit). Although laughter tracks are a hugely personal thing when watching sitcoms, in this instance some of the guest members of the cast played their performances to the studio audience instead of being in the scene, giving it a fringe sketch show atmosphere. Maybe I wasn’t watching closely at the rest of the series to notice if this is the ongoing style or not but it feels out of place enough to make me feel uncomfortable.
Space battles, quantum entanglement, and love triangles with snack dispensers, are just some of problems facing the boys from the Dwarf as they return in a brand new series. Red Dwarf X, the 10th series of the legendary sci-fi sitcom, airs exclusively on Dave and Dave HD this October.
Red Dwarf X returns with 6 x 30 min stand alone episodes, recorded in front of a studio audience and reunites the much loved original cast of Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Craig Charles (Lister), Danny John-Jules (Cat) and Robert Llewellyn (Kryten).
The brand new series, written and directed by Doug Naylor, begins with the Dwarfer’s mining ship still creaking though the wastelands of unchartered deep space, but the posse soon stumble upon the mysteriously abandoned SS Trojan. As they inspect the ship Rimmer receives an SOS distress call from an old foe and is suddenly faced with the dilemma of his life.
All in all, the new series gets off to a great start. For die-hard fans of the series, nothing will live up to the fond memories of nostalgia, however, Red Dwarf X has listened to fans and stayed loyal to what they loved about the show. There are some chuckles and cleverly structured observational jokes that everyone will relate to, but the surrealist humour that was so fashionable in the early 90’s feels a little dated.
Having said that, it’s no reason not to watch it and I will definitely be watching the rest of the series.
RED DWARF X: Episode One Thursday 4th October, 9pm