Friday, February 06, 2009

Red Dwarf is back! And they're older than ever!

Well I'm quite excited - Red Dwarf is back at Easter (a higher res version of the above photo is available HERE). Even after the lack lustre final eighth season. Despite the Dwarf decline, I've always found any show that resolves on a cliffhanger vaguely annoying. I'd far rather see a show on the roll down slope hit bottom than just disappear over the hill.

That said, the eighth season was terrible. The final episode was the best in fact. I think the show lost a great deal when the Grant Naylor writing team split. Always good to have a spare head to keep you in check (as I'm sure a certain robot would agree).

Best season for me? Well I love one to three still. I think one is a very clever series - and it surprises me how the cast and crew deride it (a bit like how the Blackadder team dislike the original - which to me is a fantastic series). There was an inanity to the character's banile existence which was lost to some extent in season two then utterly from thereon. Rimmer and the garbage pod was a brilliant jape. Me Squared was a simple character study. Nothing happened on Red Dwarf and that made it so enjoyable - bizarrely.

Nevertheless, the following two seasons had their own charm. Season two had some great tales (Queeg being one of the best, a real hyrbid of what Red Dwarf had been and what was to come) and Season three began what Red Dwarf became famous for: tongue in cheek monster/dilemma-of-the-week science fiction.

For me, the show wouldn't find anything near the quality of 1-3 until season six where the show took a risk and propelled the crew from the meander around space of Red Dwarf to the arc drive chase for the same ship in Starbug. A great blend of gags, smart stories and wonderful character moments brought the series to a different level.

So where will this new Red Dwarf take us? Earth apparently, but in what form the drama and comedy will unfold is yet to be seen. Here's hoping the show discovers a new angle to revitalise this classic show.