Starring Chris Barrie, Craig Charles,
Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn
& Hattie Hayridge
Created by Rob Grant and Doug
Produced by BBC Video
12 episodes, approx. 30 minutes
Retail Price $69.98
Review by John C. Snider © 2004
With two brief seasons under
its belt in the
late 1980s, BBC's sci-fi comedy satire Red
Dwarf had already established a cultishly
faithful following. Fans couldn't get
enough of the series set three million years
in the future on a long-forgotten mining
vessel, crewed only by Dave Lister (Craig
Charles), the last human being; Rimmer (Chris
Barrie), an obnoxious holographic duplicate of
Lister's deceased bunkie; Cat (Danny
John-Jules), the highly-evolved
great-great-to-the-nth-degree grandson of
Lister's long-dead cat, and Holly (Norman
Lovett), the ship's AI who appears as a face
on their computer screens.
Series III kicks off
with some jolting - and unexplained - crew
changes. Lovett's Holly is replaced by
Hattie Hayridge (who appeared in the Series
II episode "Parallel Universe" as Holly's
feminine doppleganger Hilly). A new cast
regular is added with Robert Llewellyn as
Kryten, the insecure android rescued way back
in the Series II opener. Kryten
was originally played by David Ross in that
one episode and promptly forgotten - until
Confused? You should be -
but it's not as bad as it sounds.
Hayridge delivers Holly's lines in the same
deadpan monotone perfected by Lovett, and
Llewellyn's Kryten is a welcome addition to
the cast, humorously contrasted with the other
personalities and opening up new comedic
avenues. And let's face it; while Craig
Charles does an excellent job as the lovable
(yet chronically unambitious) Dave Lister, the
show's true comedic vortex is Chris Barrie.
If ever an actor was born for a role, Barrie
was born to play the ridiculously
overconfident and inescapably incompetent
Arnold Rimmer. Barrie's comic timing and
delivery are perfect, especially when
considering some of the convoluted dialog he's
Although the special effects
and sets are still appropriately cheesy, they
are much improved in Series III. There's
even a new shuttlepod (the Starbug 1).
Series III contains six
new episodes, the best of them being
"Backwards", in which the crew are sucked
through a "timehole" and end up on an
alternative Earth where everything runs in
reverse! Cars drive backwards, all the
writing reads from right to left, and effect
hilariously precedes cause in all sorts of
otherwise commonplace situations.
Admittedly, this episode is inconsistent in
its treatment of the backwards principles, but
even the inconsistencies are part of the fun!
Series IV continues with
no cast changes and more hilarious hijinks.
One of the best episodes is "Dimension Jump",
with Barrie doing double-duty as the usual
Rimmer and as "Ace" Rimmer, a
super-successful, super-competent test pilot
from another dimension. The series
nearly takes a serious turn in the finale -
"Meltdown" - as the crew encounter a planet
where "waxdroids" (android duplicates of
famous historical figures) are locked in the
classic battle of good versus evil.
The DVD extras (as was
generally the case with Series I and
II) are fairly lacking and disappointing.
The best extra is the confusingly titled
"Built to Last", which is a very good
documentary covering Series IV.
There are optional audio commentaries from all
the main cast members on several episodes;
some mildly funny but repetitive "Smeg Ups"
(bloopers); missing scenes; etc.
Even if all you got were the episodes, Red
Dwarf: Series III and IV are still
worth the retail price! This is a
classic series and one of the funniest sci-fi
shows ever produced.
Red Dwarf: Series
Red Dwarf: Series IV are available from Amazon.com.
They're even available as a
specially priced 2-pack!
Naylor - Interview with the co-creator of
Series I - Review
Series II - Review
- Official Site
Fiction TV discussion group
us your review!