As a technician third class on the starship Red Dwarf, Dave Lister (Charles) is easily the least competent, lowest-echelon member of the crew, fit only for pushing a cart behind the arrogant and no less incompetent but slightly higher-ranked technician second class Arnold Rimmer (Barrie) in his own repairs of only minimal importance. Both men are colossally stupid. Lister is so dumb his life's ambition is to start a farm on Fiji, an island which is now several feet under water. And Rimmer is so dumb that he fails officers' tests despite covering his entire body with answers in smearable ink.
Placed in stasis for the crime of refusing to give up the whereabouts of his forbidden pet cat, Lister discovers on waking that everybody but him has died from a radiation leak, and that the Red Dwarf has been drifting in space for 3 million years. He orders the computer personality Holly to set course for Earth, hoping that there's still an Earth to which to return. His only companions on the interminable journey will be Cat (John-Jules), the self-absorbed descendant of the people evolved from his contraband pet, and Rimmer, who has been preserved as a hologram with all of his priggishness and pretentiousness intact.
As their journey begins, this crew more motley than most encounters such phenomena as the time distortions caused by faster-than-light travel, a mutant disease that imbues Lister's Confidence and Paranoia with human form and the secret significance of gazpacho soup.
The odd couple explores outer space