Jan 19, 2015

Retro Flashback.. The Sci-Fi Comedy Red Dwarf

Red Dwarf is a British sci-fi comedy series that ran from 1988 to 1999.  It was such a big hit, that the series was brought back in miniseries form in 2009, and again recently for a tenth season in 2012.  Can you imagine?  A series coming back and picking up in the thick of the storyline some 24 years later!

Back in the day, Americans could watch the series on PBS if they were lucky, but videos were also abundantly available at movie and book stores (back when those still existed).  For those who haven't had the pleasure of watching this great show, here's a quick rundown..

The series takes place on a mining spaceship called 'Red Dwarf' which is 6 miles long, 5 miles tall, and 4 miles wide.  The series focuses on the lowest ranking crew member and last human being alive named Dave Lister, his bunk mate Arnold "Judas" Rimmer, a humanoid feline named Cat, an android named Kryten and the ships computer whose name is Holly.

 From left to right:  Arnold Rimmer the hologram, Kryten the mechanoid,
Dave Lister (The last human being alive) and Cat.

Some shoddy work on the ships drive plate by Arnold Rimmer, resulted in the whole ship being flooded with lethal radiation. The accident ended up killing everyone on board except Lister and his pet cat.  The only reason Lister survived, was because of being put in suspended animation as punishment for smuggling his cat "Frankenstein" on board.

Frankenstein who ended up being pregnant, was locked safely in a cargo hold and gave birth.  Her offspring evolved over the course
of three million years into a humanoid race, which eventually leads to the emergence of "Cat" who is the last of their kind.  The ships computer kept Lister in stasis until the radiation reached a safe background level, which unfortunately ended up being three million years.  Upon Lister's awakening, Red Dwarf is turned around and starts heading back towards earth. 

Arnold Rimmer is brought back to life by the ships computer in hologram form (hence the letter "H" on his forehead.  Towards the end of series one, the crew comes across a mechanoid named Kryten who later becomes a permanent fixture from season two on.  During the crews voyage back home, they start encountering different species and space anomalies of every manner.

The series was side splittingly funny, and I never missed an episode.  When it got pulled from my local PBS stations programming, I turned to the movie and book stores to start building my collection of VHS tapes.  I've always meant to get them on DVD, but haven't done so yet since I can stream them from Amazon.com.

Below is a clip from the show to give you a taste.  In this clip from the episode "Camille", Lister is trying to help Kryten break his programming..

And another..
In this clip, the crew learns there's a shape shifting alien on board.

I was a huge fan of Red Dwarf right from the get go, but the show definitely got better with time due to bigger budgets and the evolution of special effects.  If you're a fan of comedy or Sci-Fi, do yourself a favor and check out Red Dwarf.

Visit Red Dwarf online

The Red Dwarf YouTube channel

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