Red Dwarf: X (Blu-ray)
The most inept band of space travelers ever to roam the interstellar highway; return with an all-new season of misadventures! The brand new series, written and directed by Doug Naylor, begins with the Dwarfers mining ship still creaking though the wastelands of unchartered deep space, but the posse soon stumbles upon the mysteriously abandoned SS Trojan. As they inspect the ship Rimmer receives an SOS distress call from an old foe and is suddenly faced with the dilemma of his life. Red Dwarf X reunites the much loved original cast of Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Craig Charles (Lister), Danny John-Jules (Cat) and Robert Llewellyn (Kryten) and promises to be a huge hit amongst the Sci Fi sitcom's cult following of devoted fans.
In the annals of obsessed British TV followers, the cult of Red Dwarf aficionados is truly in a class by itself. The on-again off-again comedy/sci-fi series began on BBC in 1988 with an affably cheesy look (are you listening, Dr. Who?), a core quartet of lovable/hate-able main characters, a penchant for geeky storylines and juvenile joking, and a studio audience that provided an enthusiastic laugh track. Largely due to fan demand, the show's hiatuses have been temporary lulls. Just in time for the 25th anniversary, series 10 provides plenty of cause for celebration among its international devotees. For those unfamiliar with the Red Dwarf universe, it's probably cause for slack-jawed bewilderment. The original premise has remained the backbone of the show throughout its many runs: a schlubby Liverpudlian named Dave Lister (Craig Charles) is the last earthling in existence, having spent three million years in suspended animation when he awakes on the deep space mining vessel Red Dwarf. His crewmates are an unctuous robot named Kryten (Robert Llewellyn), an annoying hologram named Rimmer (Chris Barrie), and a descendant of Dave's beloved cat who has evolved into a preening, vain humanoid unironically named Cat (Danny John-Jules). Creator Doug Naylor still has this motley gang roaming infinite space and time in the six new episodes of Red Dwarf X. They will easily delight Red Dwarfers everywhere with absurdist stories that find the crew accidentally involving itself in the life of a man named Jesus in the year 23, the paradox of Dave spending Father's Day with a son who is also Dave, dealing with the fallout of a distress signal from a ship helmed by Rimmer's smug brother, a poker game gone wrong and a space-time blip that swallows Kryten and Cat, and a complicated mechanical love affair linked to a letter from Dave's million-plus-year-old girlfriend. All of this is top-loaded with the signature Red Dwarf toilet-anchored and often extremely juvenile humor, which translates easily across the millenniums for those who go in for that sort of thing. The lexicon, language, and rhythm of the show is intact, including the odd stretches of semi-drama interspersed with the one-liners. "Smeg" remains the universal catch phrase for the show as a one-size-fits-all code for all things crude. Notably, it's the fakey cardboard sets, the slapdash makeup, and the ever-present guffaws of the studio audience that remain the most comforting elements as they hark back to the show's roots. This may be the future, but it's nice to know that the Red Dwarf past lives on. Disc two of the package will be just as exciting as the six episodes on disc one. It's packed with extras, including a half hour of deleted scenes and a hilarious blooper reel of "Smeg Ups" that are all the more engaging because of the added interaction between cast and audience when set mistakes happen. The featured event is a two-hour documentary, "We're Smegged: The Making Of," an in-depth look at the entire production of series 10. This is a treasure trove of Red Dwarf marginalia, with lots of insight about the tiniest details of what Doug Naylor and his cast and crew went through to bring delight to their devotees. Appropriately, the series' final episode is titled "The Beginning," thereby giving hope that Red Dwarf will never really fly off into the space sunset. --Ted Fry