Red Dwarf Review: Series IV, Episode 2: "DNA"

Airdate: 21 February 1991

Yes, that is Robert Llewellyn without makeup.

Synopsis: The Boys from the Dwarf board a drifting spaceship. While on the spaceship, the Cat fiddles around with a DNA modifier. At first, it turns Lister into a chicken, followed by him being a hamster. However, Cat, trying to turn Lister back into a Human (he succeeds), also manages to turn Kryten into a human.

While at first Kryten is enthralled with humanity, humanity quickly loses it’s luster, with Kryten being unaware about various body functions, being insulted by his spare heads, and unable to pick up JazzFM. Therefore, the crew decides to go back to the DNA modifier, where Kryten will become a mechanoid again. They test the DNA modifier on a vindaloo… only to create a vindaloo monster. It’s not worth revealing what they do to defeat the vindaloo monster, but it involves Lister using the DNA modifier himself.

Review: Oh, this was hilarious. Not exactly the most memorable episode of the series, but hilarious.

Let’s start with the biggest problem with this episode: it’s more sitcom-y than the rest of the episodes, which are more character-driven. Granted, it’s not NEARLY as bad as what we would get in the torrid series VIII, but it was a small hint at things to come.

Still, it pulled it off. Character development is not too high, but it managed to give some insight into the functions Kryten does as a mechanoid, while still showing his naivete with humanity. Therefore, he’s not just an exposition spewer: he is as flawed as the rest of the crew.

The ending is something only Red Dwarf would pull. The humor in this episode hits all styles (lowbrow, highbrow). The “monster of the week” is pretty freaky, yet still hysterical. The delivery by Robert Llewellyn as a human is wonderful. Just a great episode to watch.

Favorite Scene: Kryten talking to his spare heads. That’s how you do “man vs. self” in sci-fi.

Least Favorite Scene: Not that I hated it, but the scene aboard the drifting ship before they reach the DNA machine was a bit disturbing.

Score: 7.9 (Rounded to 8).

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