Red Dwarf Review: Series 1, Episode 2: "Future Echoes"

Airdate: February 22nd, 1988

Plot: Lister wants to crash in Stasis with the Cat (who wants to take all of his suits) for the next three million years. While Lister is shaving in preparation, the light barrier is broken. Soon, scenes from the future start showing up. Lister becomes paranoid about his own health, seeing himself die. Lister takes every opportunity possible to not die. Rimmer tries to convince him that his attempts to avert death are not possible, but Lister rebuffs him. Naturally, Lister’s fears are alleviated by information from Holly. In fact, the ending of this episode actually connects to another episode later in the show.

Review: It introduces the sci-fi aspects of the show, showcasing that, unlike Star Trek, most of the SciFi will be played for pure comedy. The acting and the use of editing techniques also help. Also, the episode uses some foreshadowing that will be used at the end of series II, establishing Red Dwarf‘s use of continuity (although future episodes will show a weaker sense of continuity).

What brings this episode down is simple: the Humour seems to be pretty weak, compared to the previous episode, which had stronger humor. Also, there seems to be little character development, outside of the end of the episode.

Favorite Quote: Clock stop, six forty-seven. Not a bad little time for the mile. Pity I was only doing the three hundred meters.
                    –Rimmer, upon completing his exercise routine. 

Score: 7

Red Dwarf Review: Series 1, Episode 1, "The End"

Airdate: 15 February, 1988

 

Lister: (Singing) To Ganymede and Titan, yessir, I’ve been around.
Rimmer: Lister, have you ever been hit over the head with a welding mallet?

And thus, one of the greatest television series ever made kicked off it’s first series!

Synopsis: It’s an average day upon the mining ship Red Dwarf. Dave Lister is hanging around just doing his job at 12% capacity. Arnold Rimmer is making sure that he passes his astro-navigation exams and accelerate in his dream to become a space officer. A member of the ship dies, and is brought back as a hologram.  Lister wants to go out with officer Kristine Kochanski. And Lister has a pregnant cat that he smuggled aboard. Lister has a plan: get Kochanski, have tons of kittens, and buy a plot of land on Fiji.

There is a problem, however. According to Jupiter Mining Crew rules, animals can not be brought on board the ship, due to fear of disease. Lister is given two options: he can surrender the cat and have it cut up and analyzed (which is rejected by Lister when he realizes that the cat had nothing to gain from that), or be placed inside Stasis and sink 18 months pay down the toilet. He saves the cat and gets frozen, passing Rimmer (who fainted during his test) along the way.

He gets out of stasis after what to him feels like seconds, but in reality, was 3 million years. Bit longer than Lister thought it was going to be, huh? Well, as it turns out, Rimmer failed to repair the drive plate properly, causing the crew to get a huge dose of radiation poisoning and, well, die. Holly, the erratic ship computer, had to keep him in stasis until the radiation reached a safe background level.

He winds up aided by two people. First off is Rimmer, revived as a hologram, who immediately begins acting like a total jerk to Lister. The second is the Cat, who is basically the evolved version of Lister’s kittens. They begin their three million year journey home.

Review: What a way to kick off the series. It introduces the power trio of the show, the style of comedy that will be used in the first two series of the series, and the colour scheme. The characters develop from the first minute in, from their tragic flaws (Dave’s slobbishness and Rimmer’s neuroticism). And do we have to mention: “everybody’s dead, Dave!”

It’s definitely aged over the years. The sets have definitely aged (you can feel the 1980s), and some of the humour just is a bit weak. Then again, it takes a few episodes to get a show into a groove, so I’ll give that up to “first-episode jitters”.

Favorite Moment: “With respect, sir, what’s in it for the cat?”
-Lister, upon realizing that his cat is going to be dissected if he hands it over.

Now, as for scoring, I will do a system of 1-10. Yes, I know, it’s been done before. But sometimes, cliches are good. Here are what the scores represent.

10- Only given to the best episode of the series. Virtually flawless, or at the very least, any flaws are overshadowed by the pure awesome of the episode.
9- VERY minor flaws. Otherwise, practically perfect in every way. Expect to laugh constantly, or be amazed
8- Great, but does have a few flaws which could be addressed. Laugh riot all of the way, or actually gets your attention and feelings all of the way.
7- Good, but improvement can be used. Keeps you entertained for 30-odd minutes.
6- It’s definitely alright. Not a laugh riot, but you can laugh with and appreciate several scenes.
5: Watchable, but not truly enjoyable. Definitely mediocre. This is the lowest possible passing grade for this blog.
4: Not good. A few chuckles and thumbs-up here or there, but otherwise just meh. At this point, the episode fails.
3: Bad. A few redeeming qualities, but overall bad. Might be able to get a chuckle out there, or appreciate it’s badness, but it’s still bad.
2: Quite Bad. At best, you may smile at a scene, but you will just be sitting back and bored to death.
1: Very bad. This is just boring. Nothing smile-worthy. Just time that is completely wasted.
z: This is given to an episode that is so bad, it’s good.You might laugh your head off at how comically terrible it is.
0: This is only given to the worst episode of the series. This is not “so bad it’s good”. This is so bad, it goes back around to being bad, and revels in it. You actually feel this while watching. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjCjgjk9n0o

Score: 7. Overall, good opener to a great series.

Review: "Red Dwarf": The Basics.

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.

Welcome, Everybody!

Hello, all. For my BPCA Class, I was asked to launch a blog to try and analyze, well, pretty much whatever. I will be placing my classroom assigments on here.

Alongside that, I will also do a critical analysis of various Sci-Fi Television episodes. I will take a look at various episodes of shows like Star Trek, Gravity Falls, Red Dwarf, and others.

Or, I will just talk about how my week is going.

Take a look around. Comment and criticize, but do so respectively!