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.

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


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