I am proud to say that I am a fan of the science-fiction series “Red Dwarf”. Why? Well, why not! I find the show very underrated, at least stateside. The show, made by the BBC, is hilarious, smart, dumb (in a good way), and overall, well constructed. It has 61 episodes under its belt, which, by British Standards, is long runner. In fact, after a long hiatus, the tenth season was released just last year. (For those of you unaware, the average season for a comedy in the UK is 6-8 episodes).
In fact, let’s just take a quick look at the basic plot and the two main characters.
The show revolves around two bunkmates: Arnold Rimmer and Dave Lister. The two lowest-ranked technicians aboard the mining ship Red Dwarf, that is as similar as they ever get. Rimmer and Lister represent the two types of Anti-Heroes in literature.
Rimmer represents the more negative side of the anti-hero: he is egotistical, anal-retentive, obsessively nerdy, and not well liked aboard the ship. He will refer back to his past to try and excuse his behavior. However, it does not work, and he is still not well liked upon the ship. One of the running gags on the show is him trying to pass his exams to advance further and become an officer, which, because of his anal-retentiveness, is hard for him to come by.
If Rimmer represents the yang, then Third Technician Dave Lister is the Yin. A young Liverpuldian, Lister is very relaxed. He is critical of everything that Rimmer is and represents. He is very likeable and friendly, and is loved aboard the ship. He intends to just save up his funds aboard the ship just to try and get a plot of land on Fiji alongside his unrequited love, Kristine Kochanski. Where are the flaws? Well, for one thing, he has no motivation. He just wants to stay at the bottom of the ring and put little effort in his job. He is lazy. And, possibly his most damning flaws, he is a slob and critical of his superiors.
In fact, his slobishness helps sends the plot into motion. He brings a cat on board, which is against the rules. He is given two options: have the cat cut up and analyzed (to which he asks if it would be put back together), or be placed in stasis for 18 months and surrender his pay. He chooses the latter. Shortly after he gets into stasis, a drive plate fails (not helped because Rimmer did not seal it properly), giving the crew a dose of radiation, which is not really healthy for anybody on the ship. Lister comes out of stasis to see that nobody is doing a terribly good job living. And that the radiation was so large, that it took the ship’s computer, Holly, a bit more then 18 months for him to let Lister out of stasis.
Holly: Three Million Years.
Lister: THREE MILLION YEARS? I’ve still got that overdue library book!
He is the only living human on the ship, and possibly, the universe. Rimmer is brought back as a hologram simulation to keep Lister sane (although, as we find out, he would have been better off with his rowdy drinking buddies). He is also aided by a creature who evolved from his Cat.
You see, Lister’s pregnant cat was safely sealed in the hold, and gave birth to many kittens. Three million years later, only the Cat (as far as we can see) exists. The Cat is pretty much a human with the emotional traits of a stereotypical cat: he is self-serving, proud of his appearance, lazy, and constantly napping. He also wants to get the ladies, or barring that, wants to date himself. Not joking there. He is basically a flamboyant, humanoid, fashion-sensible version of Garfield.
The three are also assisted by the ship’s computer, Holly. He is programmed to have an IQ of 6000. However, being alone for 3000000 years sent him a bit senile. He slowly gets less and less comprehensible until, by the end of the character’s time on the show, he is basically Patrick Star.
The three then go on making a three million year trip back to earth. Along the way, they will pick up some new arrivals, encounter some GELFs, and generally make fools of themselves. Will they die along the way? Will Lister and Rimmer finally stop hating each other? Will I stop making cliche sentences?
Now, I don’t set schedules, but hopefully, at least by next weekend, I will take a look at episode one of series one, “The End”. I will also start a review series on “Gravity Falls”, another series that I have grown to love, as well as a few episodes of “Doctor Who” in the distant future.