Red Dwarf X DVD Review - -
Red Dwarf X
Reviewed by
Sean Warhurst
Red Dwarf X DVD Review Strap yourself in, grab a lager and a nice vindaloo and get ready to return to a world where a mechanoid drying cutlery with the hot air from his anal vent is considered normal. Highly recommended.

Feature 9.5
Video 9.0
Audio 9.0
Special features 9.0
Total 9.5
Distributor: ABC
Running Time: 178 Minutes
Reviewer: Sean Warhurst
: PG


Red Dwarf X

When it was announced that the boys from the Dwarf were returning for a tenth full length series after a thirteen year hiatus, many long time smegheads like myself were understandably wary. After the tepid response to the three part Back to Earth special (Which is considered the ninth series) and the lacklustre series 7 and 8, could Doug Naylor return the show to its former glory, especially considering the reduced budget this time around?

Put simply, Red Dwarf Series X is a shining return to form. Although it doesn’t quite reach the stratospheric heights of series 4 to 6, by eschewing the ill conceived attempts at a serious Sci-Fi/ Comedy hybrid that hampered the latter part of the show’s run and returning to the fundamentals of the series, it appears that Red Dwarf has finally regained its footing once again.

Many fans feel that Rob Grant absconding from the series started a downward spiral that the show could never recover from. Doug Naylor experimented with the format, retconning certain aspects and bringing back the long deceased crew of the titular mining vessel, rendering the central conceit of David Lister being the last surviving human in the universe moot. The addition of Kristine Kochanski, Lister’s unrequited love, also raised the ire of fans.

By removing these elements and returning focus to the four main characters, it appears that Doug Naylor has taken the complaints of fans on board and has finally delivered the series that we all desired. Lister is once again the last human (Kind of, anyway – Mention is made of Kochanski still flitting about somewhere out there in the big black), Cat is as vain and egotistical as ever, novelty condom headed Kryten is still the ship’s long serving voice of reason and Rimmer... Well, Rimmer is a complete and utter smeghead.

This series sees the boys embarking on a series of adventures that take them from the far reaches of deep space to ancient Cairo, encountering all manner of G.E.L.Fs (Genetically engineered life forms), Holograms, rogue simulants and even Jesus. We get to meet Rimmer’s brother, watch the boys contend with a computer that can predict the possible outcome of every situation, find out that Lister may be a father and watch the inevitable fallout of being caught in a love triangle with two vending machines. There is also a major revelation for one of the main characters, the ramifications of which will be felt throughout (Hopefully) the next series.

The writing for this series is top notch, with the witty repartee and hilariously bizarre scenarios hitting the mark time and time again. One of the best moments involves an ultimatum being issued to Lister by his father, who is unsatisfied with his son’s lack of success and ambition and isn’t afraid to let him know so. As long time fans would know, Lister’s father also happens to be Lister himself; it’s inventive plot points like this that shows that the old Dwarf magic is still there, leading to episodes that can comfortably stand shoulder to shoulder with past favourites.

With a reduced production budget, the extravagant adventures of the previous seasons have been pared back somewhat to focus more on the interaction between the characters; there is still some of that ambitious flair in the earlier episodes, particularly ‘Lemons’, but more and more you’ll notice that the show really only has two or three main sets. This isn’t detrimental in any way, but it is noticeable.

Episode Listing:


Father and Suns



Dear Dave

The Beginning

Video & Audio Quality

Watching Red Dwarf is like slipping into a familiar pair of comfortable slippers after a long absence; visually, the show looks almost as it did thirteen years ago. The sets can appear a little cheap in places but that’s too be expected considering the series was predominately shot on a soundstage in front of an audience. If anything this slightly dodgy quality to certain effects only serves to add to the show’s charm.

The DVD transfer shows no signs of compression and colour levels are great. Being shot digitally gives the image a sharp and clean quality with no sign of bleeding or aliasing, even on the multiple vents present on the ship.

The audio is crystal clear and there are no issues at all with the sound levels; presented in spectacular Dolby Digital 5.1, dialogue and incidental effects work in tandem to provide an immersive experience, with no overlap even during frenetic moments such as space battles. Overall an extremely competent transfer.

Special Features

The supplemental features are all included on the second disc and, as with previous releases, the jewel in the crown is the behind the scenes look at the episodes. Running nearly two hours, the documentary “We’re Smegged” is a fascinating insight into all aspects of the production of each individual episode.

There’s so much information crammed into this feature detailing the rather turbulent production of the show and it is a must watch for any true smeghead. Learning that they commenced production with only four finished scripts (Some of which had to be hastily rewritten on the fly to accommodate budgetary concerns), the issues faced by the visual effects department upon learning that most of the original models had been lost and the pre-show jitters faced by the cast only serve to heighten your appreciation for the show. Also included are some deleted scenes and the prerequisite Smeg Ups.

List of features:

-      We’re Smegged (157:19)
-      Deleted Scenes with optional audio commentary (27:52)
-      Smeg Ups (12:34

Final Thoughts

A brilliant return to form for the boys, if you’re a fan of the series picking this up is really a no-brainer. As side-splittingly hilarious as some of the finest episodes, any fear that the show may have just been cynical cash grab capitalising on nostalgia is quickly dashed as soon as you hear that iconic opening music. If this is your first foray into Red Dwarf, do yourself a favour and pick up the preceding seasons as well; they’re not necessary to enjoy Series X but they will fill in a few plot points that will further your enjoyment of this latest series.

Having been a massive fan since I was still in short pants, I may have a slight bias, but this really does rank up there with some of the best comedy television has to offer. Strap yourself in, grab a lager and a nice vindaloo and get ready to return to a world where a mechanoid drying cutlery with the hot air from his anal vent is considered normal. Highly recommended.


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