The first and most brilliant comedy science-fiction sitcom in the known universe.
Rob Grant and Doug Naylor (under the collective name Grant Naylor) created Red Dwarf, wrote and produced Series 1 to 6, and wrote two of the Red Dwarf novels.
After Rob Grant resigned from Red Dwarf, Doug Naylor wrote and produced Series 7 and 8.
After the separation, Rob Grant and Doug Naylor wrote (one each) two more the Red Dwarf novels.
|Chloe Annett (Series 7-8)||Kristine Kochanski|
|Chris Barrie||Arnold Rimmer|
|Craig Charles||Dave Lister|
|Danny John-Jules||The Cat|
|Hattie Hayridge (Series 3-5)||Holly|
|Norman Lovett (Series 1, 2, [7 very briefly], 8)||Holly|
|Robert Llewellyn (Series 2-8)||Kryten|
|Series number and first broadcast on BBC||Episode||Comments|
|Series 1: Feb-March 1988||Series 1 gems on DVD set.||Excellent series.
Introduction to the slobby Dave Lister, the ambitious failure Arnold Rimmer, the natty Cat, and the japing Holly.
|1. The End||Brilliant introduction to the main characters and the story's premise: the crew of the mining ship (The Dwarf) was killed by a radiation leak; Dave was preserved in stasis for 3 million years, and now Holly's mission is to wake up Dave and keep him alive ... hence Rimmer.|
|2. Future Echoes||Holly judders the Red Dwarf into faster-than-light speed,
and while he cannot sustain it, the future reaches Dave in unexpected ways.
The Toaster begins a lively performance, showing that he is either the
second or perhaps the most intelligent of the remaining consciousnesses on Red Dwarf.
In what eventually appears in difference guise in series 8:
Rimmer: You can't whack Death on the head.
Lister: If he comes near me, I'm gonna rip his nipples off.
|3. Balance of Power||Lister's obsession with Kochanski develops.
Holly explains why Rimmer is the single sustained hologram: "I brought Rimmer back because he was the best person to keep you alive."
Favorite Rimmer quote: "Holly, this is not my breast."
|4. Waiting For God||Cat's spiffiness turns out to be a religious rebellion to the cult of Slobbiness.
Favorite Lister quote: "I am not God. I've just been misquoted."
|5. Confidence and Paranoia||To our astonishment, Rimmer does his best to save Lister.|
|6. Me2||Rimmer annoys the smeg out of Rimmer.|
|Series 2: Sept-Oct 1988||Series 2 gems on DVD set.||
Even funnier situations and behaviors than
Kryten becomes a crew member in this series. Also science fiction FX quotient increases.
|7. Kryten||Full belly laughs for Kryten.|
|8. Better Than Life||Naturally it's the hologram (Rimmer) instead of the last living man (Lister) that has success with a woman. Until Rimmer sabotages the game.|
|9. Thanks for the Memory||Terrific celebration of Arnold Rimmer's death, and a could-have-been-terrific memorable deathday present.|
|10. Stasis Leak||Hilarious. One of the funniest episodes of all. The science is clever. Hollister (in a chicken suit) and some of other original crew are LOL hilarious. Also, Holly explains Stasis Leak: "It's a leak, right? In stasis."|
|11. Queeg||Includes one to the most spectacular stunts from Craig we-do-our-own-stunts Charles. Holly explains: "We are talking jape of the decade."|
|12. Parallel Universe||Brilliant exploration of sexual role reversal.
Suzanne Bertish plays Ms. Rimmer and Angela Bruce plays Ms. Lister to perfection. Hattie Hayridge plays Hilly, the counterpart to Holly. Cat's counterpart is the most bizarre of all.
And a great special opening of a dream sequence with Danny John-Jules showing his grace, energy, and flexible body (including tongue) in "Tongue Tied" (shown as a complete dance number in Series 2 gems on DVD set) with ample support from Chris and Craig.
|Series 3: Nov-Dec 1989||Series 3 gems on DVD set.||
Flashier, but less exciting SF than
The extra Series 3 gems on DVD set are terrific, though.
Change of cast for Holly, with Kryten taking on part of Holly's role of explaining the science.
|13. Backwards||Clever idea, including the "bar-room tidy" and the reverse eating of an éclair.|
|14. Marooned||A Rimmer-Lister two-hander;
the all-time second favorite episode of Chris Barrie (Rimmer)
and a favorite of Craig Charles (Lister),
in large part because they were the whole show,
But the show has little science fiction.
Highlight: Rimmer does Shakespeare: the Richard III "Now" speech.
Minor smeg-up: If Rimmer can't touch or be touched, how come he can smell burning camphor wood. But to smeg with consistency.
|15. Polymorph||Kryten's removal of Lister's shrunken underpants get the most hysterical audience laughter todate.
Another show in which psychological defenses play a part.
The polymorph is tracked by Holly to where it is: "Sleeping off a four-course meal of fear, vanity, guilt, and anger".
|16. Bodyswap||Rimmer persuades Lister to exchange bodies and pigs out.|
|17. Timeslides||Lister tries to alter the timeline so that he is not marooned on Red Dwarf. At the end he is alive as a non-hologram ... but only for an instant.|
|18. The Last Day||Kryten gets recalled, but is saved by a paradox.|
|Series 4: Feb-Mar 1991||Series 4 gems on DVD set.||Almost as good as series 2.|
|19. Camille||Lister explains to Kryten how it can be noble to lie
and how it is an important part of psychological defense.
This sets us up for a GELF, who lies to everyone.
Particular audience enthusiasm when we see who is Cat's true love. Excellent Casablanca-style ending.
|20. D.N.A.||Kryten becomes human and decides that he'd rather not.|
|21. Justice||Fascinating idea of a Justice Field where it's impossible to commit any act of injustice. Lister, who has delighted in performing such acts, complains that removes free will. When Rimmer's "accident" catches up with him, Kryten is remarkable effective as Rimmer's lawyer.|
|22. White Hole||Return of Talkie, the Toaster, with the highest I.Q. on board Red Dwarf. Excellent snooker shot by a jubilant Lister, "the Prince of the Plannet Potters".|
|23. Dimension Jump||Ace Rimmer's first appearance, with alternate-reality roles for the other 4 core characters also.
Not only does Ace crash across realities and into the gang, he (with a broken arm) and Lister perform brutal external repairs,
he stitches up his own arm, and he leaves out of disgust for Rimsey.
Excellent Hammond organ version of the Red Dwarf theme for the closing credits.
|24. Meltdown||Wax wars, in which
Rimmer assumes field control of the Good Guys and devises a cunning plan for victory.
Highlight is an excellent Elvis Presley impersonator plus a brilliant Presley version of the Red Dwarf theme for the closing credits.
|Series 5: Feb-March 1992||Series 5 gems on DVD set.||Visually and dramatically impressive;
but humor quotient falls back to
But check out the SFX documentary in the Series 5 gems.
|25. Holoship||A dramatic episode rather than a funny one. Centers on Rimmer and the conflict of ambition and love. Beautiful visually, but talky and not enough jokes.|
|26. The Inquisitor||Anyone that the Inquisitor thinks has led a worthless life must be replaced. Hence his visit to Red Dwarf.|
|27. Terrorform||Highlights include Kryten's whistling while he salvages part of his hand and an eye to make a messenger; Lister and Cat keyboarding about the Taranshula nesting in Lister's joy department, the Handmaidens oiling Rimmer (source of vast fan mail for Chris Barrie), the group hug of Dwarf affection for Rimmer, and Rimmer's sword fighting.|
|28. Quarantine||[First episode that Grant Naylor directed, taking over from Juliet May.] Many highlights, including Dr. Fuitloop, the Good Luck Serum, quarantine of three of the crew (who quarrel immediately), Rimmer's appearance in fetching red gingham and blond braids (plaits) accompanied by Mr. Fibble, and the consequent table-turning on Rimmer.|
|29. Demons and Angels||Though this is Chris Barrie's least favorite episode (according to him on the cast commentary) it is remarkable: a erroneous Reverse button on a mal-repaired Triplicator provides not two of each but three of each character (themselves, their higher angel, and their lower demon).|
|30. Back To Reality||One of Robert Llewellyn favorite episode (according to him on the cast commentary), with layers and layers of popping out of group hallucinations. The New Generation of Dwarfers arrives (probably inspired by the concurrent possibility of an American Dwarf program).|
|Series 6: Oct-Nov 1993||Series 6 gems on DVD set.||Like series 5, visually dramatic, but humor quotient falls back to series 3.|
|31. Psirens||The usual suspect forgets where he parked Red Dwarf; so Hilly is out of contact (as well as Holly). Their mission is now to find Red Dwarf and THEN get back to earth. As usual, trouble happens, particular when it seems that, just for a moment, Lister actually can play guitar.|
|32. Legion||Their 32th meeting with someone terrible. At least he converts Rimmer's light drive to have a Hard Light option so Rimmer can touch, eat, and make plans for Rachel. Once again, Kryten saves the boys, mainly by knocking them out, sometimes with success.|
|33. Gunmen of the Apocalypse
[ Emmy Award Winner ]
|Brilliant concept and implementation. Includes immersion computer gaming in an Artificial Reality Unit and a battle with the ultimate computer virus. The Bug crash on a molten planet is the most dramatic of any episode. Yeeeee-aaaaaah!|
|34. Emohawk: Polymorph II||Ace is back! As is the beloved Dwayne Dibbley. Good Bug crash too.|
|35. Rimmerworld||Gorgeous explosion and Rimmer saves himself in a plundered pod from a terraforming ship. The Boyz from the Dwarf catch up to him after 600 ball-grinding years have elapsed for Rimmer but only hours for them. And what a shock to see what Rimmer had created.|
|Weakest episode ever.||36. Out of Time||A glimpse of their future selves.|
|Series 7: Jan-Mar 1997||Series 7 gems on DVD set.||Kochanski joins the crew and Rimmer gets promoted, snogged, and his very own personal theme song.
Craig has said that this series is more of a: "comedy drama" than a "sit com", that it contains "some of our best work", and that (particularly in "Tikka to Ride") the "cross-over between the story telling and the comedy worked really well".
|37. Tikka to Ride||The shooter of the Grassy Noll is explained, Lister retrieve a lifetime of vindaloos, and Rimmer enjoys a long-planned jape.|
|38. Stoke Me A Clipper||Lister plans to seduce the Queen of Camelot. Ace returns! And Rimmer finds a new career.|
|39. OUROBOROS||The origin of Lister is explained. And Kochanski is now on board.|
|40. Duct Soup||Oddly, this is Chloe Annett (Kristine Kochanski)'s favorite episode.|
|41. Blue||The best episode ever: Lister truly misses Rimmer. Lister gets the kiss of his life. And Rimmer gives song to his essence.|
|42. Beyond a Joke||Kryten gets pissed off and blows up Jane Austen world: about time too!|
|43. Epideme||Chris Barrie (Rimmer) is gone. SIGH! Good science fiction but low on jokes.|
|44. Nanarchy||Frozen corpse comes to life and infects Lister (continuation of previous episode).|
|Series 8: Feb-April 1999||Series 8 gems on DVD set.||The nanos have re-created the Red Dwarf in an even better form than before, complete with original crew. Rimmer and Lister are in their rightful place: Red Dwarfprison.|
|45. Back in the Red, Part 1||Rimmer is again alive (rather than a hologram) and finds and makes valiant use of the Sex Appeal Virus.|
|46. Back in the Red, Part 2||One of the most outrageous Rimmer salutes. Kryten diagnosed as a woman. Rimmer promotes GROPE: Get Rimmer Officerhood, Power, and Eminence.|
|47. Back in the Red, Part 3||We find out why Rimmer was do angry with Lister back at the start of Part 1.|
|48. Cassandra||Geraldine McEwan is gloriously predeterministic and regal as 'Cassandra'. Good episode both from character revelations and from exploration of free-will versus determinism.|
|49. Krytie TV||Basically tacky with Kryten classified as a woman and then high-jacked (though he appears as a tycoon not a slave) to provide views of the women's prison shower room, etc.|
|50. Pete I||Interesting basket-ball match aided by spiked refreshments. Spud duty with programmable viruses lead to a naked Lister and Rimmer (which was okay but might have been cuter when they were younger).|
|51. Pete II: Captain's Office||Kryten becomes a real man at last.|
|52. Only the Good|
You deserve it: treat yourself to the whole series!
Particular Gems: Wonderful additions of smeg-ups, unbroadcast scenes, cast commentaries, etc. for each series, plus these:
Series 1 gems:
Series 2 gems:
Series 3 gems:
Series 4 gems:
The Red Dwarf novels are based on and expand on some background of the TV shows:
|Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers||by Grant Naylor|
|Red Dwarf: Better Than Life||by Grant Naylor|
|Red Dwarf: Last Human||by Doug Naylor|
|Red Dwarf: Backwards||by Robert Grant|
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