Top positive review
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Wonderful and numerous extra features make this set worthwhile
on March 20, 2006
Red Dwarf VIII, the last Red Dwarf series produced for television, is so far off the original premise and comedic style of the first few series of the show that in many ways it seems like a completely different show. Having an entire ship full of people with whom Lister can interact really shatters the great comedic premise on which Red Dwarf was created, that being that Lister is the last human left in the universe. Personally, I've never enjoyed the premise of bringing back the entire crew and then putting the main characters in prison for nearly the full eight episodes. While amusing, I believe this series has a lot of unwelcome changes and writing difficulties compared to earlier series of the show. The humor is less dense and less clever, often relying on gags that do not even approach the level of razor-edged wit prevalent in earlier episodes of the show.
Nevertheless, there are a few bright spots in this series. Chris Barrie is back and the full cast of regulars is present for the entire series. And there is some occasionally inspired humor that still manages to make this better than most of the other shows on television. Cassandra particularly stands out as a good, "classic" Red Dwarf episode.
Finally, the extra features, as on the other Red Dwarf DVD sets, are terrific, with Smeg Ups, deleted scenes, extended versions of two episodes, a making of documentary, commentary tracks, and much more. The extra features alone are worth the price for any "serious" Red Dwarf fan. Based on that alone, I would recommend this set. Plus, what Red Dwarf fan can resist completing their collection? Sadly, as of this writing, Series VIII is the last Red Dwarf ever produced.
Here is a synopsis of the plot of each episode in this set:
Back In The Red Part I
Kryten's nanobots have recreated the ship Red Dwarf and the original crew as well, which is an especially good thing for Arnold Rimmer.
Back In The Red Part II
Rimmer uses a virus that enhances sexual magnetism to assist him with attracting female crewmembers, but this gets him into trouble when he dines at the captain's table.
Back In The Red Part III
Lister and his bunch face time in the brig for crimes against the Space Corps., so they escape to try and prove their innocence.
Lister joins a special military unit comprised of convicts, only to discover it's basically a suicide squad. Things get interesting when they face the all-knowing Cassandra. This episode is the one in Series VIII that is the most like a classic Red Dwarf episode from earlier series of the show; it is cleverly written and hilarious.
Kryten's private TV station is most amusing to his fellow prisoners, but the jokes are at the expense of others, which gets him into a bit of trouble.
Pete Part I
Rimmer and Lister are forced play against the guards in a basketball game. They sabotage the opposition's half-time juice with a virility enhancement drug.
Pete Part II
The crew becomes the prey when a sparrow devolves into one of its large dinosaur ancestors.
Only The Good
Rimmer passes into a parallel universe where his other self is the ship's captain.