Red Dwarf

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reddwwarf.jpg

1988-1999

Premise:
Red Dwarf is a huge mining ship with a large and eclectic crew. We only care about four of them.

After a freak accident by one of the spaceship's resident morons, Rimmer, everyone is killed by radiation poisoning. Everyone, that is, except for lowly technician Lister and his pregnant cat. Lister was placed in protective stasis after he was caught smuggling the unquarantined animal aboard while the cat was shielded by the cargo hold.

The ship's computer Holly revives Lister 3 million years later. Lister immediately sets a course to return to Earth. Along the way he predicably encounter many problems and adventures involving aliens, alternate realities, and brain-numbing video games. His only companions along the way are Holly, a distant descendant of his cat, and a hologram version of Rimmer that was activated to help Lister retain his sanity. Good idea.


Characters:

DAVE LISTER (CRAIG CHARLES): Lister is a grungy yet lovable scab who woke up one morning on the planet Mimas after a drunken search for Monopoly. He took a job with the Space Corps on Red Dwarf hoping to scam a ride back home. Three million years later he woke up from his penal stasis to find that he was the sole survivor and leader of Red Dwarf. Now he has the whole city-sized spaceship to play with all over the universe as he searches for Earth or whatever's left of it.

Lister's favorite pastimes are annoying the hell out of Rimmer, pining after Kochanski, eating curry (preferably vindaloo), and exploring the fun of his various bodily functions through lager. He's probably the third most intelligent being on the ship, and that says a lot about the rest of the crew.



ARNOLD RIMMER (CHRIS BARRIE): Rimmer was just your average complete moron until the day he became responsible for the deaths of almost all of the Red Dwarf crew. It was then that he elevated himself to the category of absolute idiot that only comes along every few millenia. Due to the destruction of all other personality matrixes in the ship's database, Rimmer was brought back as a hologram to keep Lister company so that he wouldn't lose his sanity from boredom.

Gumpy Rimmer spends most of his time whining about being dead, studying for the AstroNavigation exam that he will one day pass (even though he's failed maybe a dozen times), and making everyone crazy which is ironic considering his original purpose in being brought back. He is living proof of an inferiority complex.



CAT (DANNY JOHN-JULES): Cat is the descendant from Lister's original pregnant cat. During the 3 million years Lister was in stasis, his cat spawned a huge feline society which gradually evolved into intelligent (more or less) bipedal Felis sapiens. Before Lister awoke, almost all members of the species left the ship on a quest to find their home and their God (which is oddly enough Lister). The only ones left behind were the elderly, the disabled, and the idiots. The Cat is an offspring of a union between two such desirables.

He does no work on the ship and spends most of his time sleeping or primping. He changes clothes multiple times a day, and wouldn't be caught dead in a bad suit (although his definition of bad plainly contradicts my own!). He doesn't like Rimmer, tolerates Lister, and loves himself.

I'm gonna eat you little fishy...



HOLLY (NORMAL LOVETT/HATTIE HAYRIDGE): Holly is the ship's computer. Although he has an IQ of around 6000 (coincidentally equal to the IQ of 6000 phsical education teachers), he is considered to be a half-wit by navigational ship's computer standards. He still manages to get the crew out of numerous fumbles, and his halwit status helps him blend in. Holly was left alone for a very very long time, and isn't generally very cheery (or sane).

He decided after meeting Hilly, another computer program, that he would change his projection to mirror her female image so for a while he was Hilly. Now he's back to dry old Holly again.



KRYTEN (ROBERT LLEWELLYN): Kryten is a serving mechanoid picked up on a stray planet. He was the only "survivor" in a group of humans. Morbidly enough, he was still dressing adn talking to the corpses of his owners when Red Dwarf found them.

Kryten is a completely neurotic android who lives to serve. He feels incomplete without chores or other tasks. Thus, he is ideally suited for Lister's not-so-clean way of living. Think Mrs. Doubtfire with a carrot up her bum and you've got Kryten.



KRISTINE KOCHANSKI (CLARE GROGAN/CHLOE ANNETT): Kristine is one of the original members of the crew. She dated Lister briefly before dumping him for her ex. During the first year or so of Lister's new isolated life on Red Dwarf he pined after Kochanski whom he and everyone else assumed to be dead. But of course that was before they discovered the parallel realities.

Now she's back on Red Dwarf adding a slightly bitchy female touch. She spends her time navigating the ship, fending off Lister's really bad advances, and complaining about the stinky sneakers in the fridge.



ALTER EGOS appear in several episodes as Lister and his buddies discover the beauties of time travel and alternate realities. Unfortunately, their alter egos aren't quite what they expect. Cat, for example, has Duane, an idiotic mess, as an alternate persona. Rimmer's alter ego, Ace, is perhaps the most entertaining. Where the original Rimmer is a failure at everything, Ace seems to be a success at everything. Everyone loves him, and he is the perennial hero. Needless to say, this really pisses the original Rimmer off.


Why It's Good:

Red Dwarf is funny (and I'm usually not a fan of British comedy). That's the main thing it's got going for it. The premise is great; put the losers of the galaxy on a huge spaceship all alone and let the misadventures begin. Simple.

Lister and Rimmer bounce off each other like two little brothers forced to play together. Cat's vanity and laziness made me look at my own pet in a new appreciative light...hell, at least I don't have to buy it expensive suits.

Anyway, it's totally off the wall. It doesn't make sense. It's got completely random one-liners and scenes thrown in. There's only two real humans on the show.

Imagine if you and your buddies got a mediocre TV series budget and drank a lot of beer. Now imagine if you and your buddies thought of hilarious drunken plots and lines. That's Red Dwarf for ya. A cult phenomenon, and deserving of it.

Why It's Not So Good:
If you don't like the brand of humor it sports, you're pretty well screwed cause the show doesn't have much else going for it. The special effects are minimal; the plots aren't very profound; and let's fact it, the Cat's clothing really isn't that spectacular.

Point Blank:
Probaby not for everyone but definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of comedy-scifi.