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