Red Dwarf: IV (DVD)
Boldly going where no one in their right mind would ever go, this hilarious, cult Sci Fi spoof takes you on a joyride three million years into the future. Those ubiquitous anti-heroes of space travel - Lister, Rimmer, Cat and Kryten - are following up their spectacularly successful series I & II DVD's. In series IV, Ace Rimmer arrives from an alternate dimension, Kryten falls in love and Lister's curry tries to kill him in six more slices of classic Red Dwarf chaos.
By the end of this fourth year, Red Dwarf had completed its metamorphosis from a modest studio-bound sitcom with a futuristic premise to a full-blown science-fiction series, complete with a relatively lavish (by BBC standards) special-effects budget, more impressive sets, and more location shooting. Despite the heavier emphasis on sci-fi, the character-based comedy remained as sharp as ever. Witness the Cat's reaction to Lister's pus-filled exploding head; Kryten's devastatingly sarcastic defense of Rimmer; or the classic scene that opens the series, Lister teaching Kryten to lie.
In "Camille," Robert Llewellyn's real-life wife plays a female mechanoid who transforms into something else entirely, as does the episode, which by the end becomes a delightful skit on Casablanca. "DNA" is heavily sci-fi, with lots of techno-speak about a matter transmogrifier and a RoboCop homage--but in typical Dwarf fashion, turns out to be all about curry. "Justice" sees Rimmer on trial for the murder of the entire crew, while Lister attempts to evade a psychotic cyborg. Holly gets her IQ back in "White Hole," but wastes time debating bread products with the toaster. "Dimension Jump" introduces dashing doppelganger Ace Rimmer--he was to return in later series, with diminishingly funny results. Here his appearance is all the better for its apparent improbability. Finally, "Meltdown" goes on location (to a park in North London) where waxdroids of historical characters (played by a miscellaneous selection of cheesy look-alikes) are at war. Only intermittently successful, this episode is really memorable for Chris Barrie's tour-de-force performance as Rimmer becomes a crazed, Patton-esque general. --Mark Walker