bit of a hissy fit the last time a new episode of Red Dwarf hit our screens. Back to Earth was nothing less than self-indulgent meta-humour, although its greatest crime was that it really wasn’t that funny.
Thankfully, the newly revived series Red Dwarf X has been a relative breath of fresh air. The boys from the Dwarf are back and, despite the odd wrinkle, it’s as if they’ve never been away.
Much of the first episode Trojan felt right and on form. Rimmer is as dorky (his new life slogan is "Hey ho pip and dandy!"), weasley and resentful as ever, to the point that he even crashes his holographic hard drive due to a huge bitterness data jam. Lister is still meandering pointlessly through life, filling it with whatever distractions he can – in this case spending a majority of the episode impatiently on hold to a phone-in shopping channel. Kryten still appears to be on 24 hour wipe alert and The Cat is still screeching around the ship and getting into inane conversations. It really was like a reunion with a group of old friends that you had forgotten how much you had missed.
Gone however were the horrendous late 90s CGI scenes of Red Dwarf VII and VIII and back were the spaceship models. It’s been commented elsewhere and I have to agree that the show probably suffered from trying to be too big budget and the back to basics approach has really made the series come alive again.
Fans should not be disappointed with the attention to detail that the writers and producers have put into the new series, such as photos from the early series appearing in the background of the bunkroom scenes.
The key thing that the series seems to have rediscovered though is the comedy. Despite a slightly weak opening couple of minutes there were consistent chuckles throughout Trojan and two or three real belly laughs in the mix. There were also several well timed recurring jokes throughout the 20 minute run and all with a decent pay off. In short the humour was sharp and it is an encouraging beginning to the new series.
What can I say except for I can’t smegging wait until the next episode!