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?
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.
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
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
Father and Suns
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.
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
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
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.