Series VI was and is, by far, the most controversial series. For those that watched Series VI first, it is considered a favorite. For those that watched since the beginning, it is considered the beginning of the end of the show.
Where do I stand on this? I pick the latter… BUT WITH CAVEATS!
The thing is, the writers took a risk here, changing their setting and shifting the humor a bit. I give them credit. They thought the show would not grow stale. Again, credit.
It was just a weaker series, though. Why? Well, let’s list the reasons.
- A solid plurality (if not majority) of the humor of the first five series was based on character comedy. The sixth series shifted the humor to gags and sitcom-flavour jokes. While not really bad, it just takes quite a bit of getting used to.
- The primary obstacles in the previous series were the character flaws that brought the crew down. Here, the primary obstacles are flavour-of-the-week villains. It’s not really as deep.
- Some already established characters don’t really shine. For example, Rimmer really gets one episode that shows a deeper side to him. In fact, “Rimmerworld” nearly resets his character, although I chalk that up to a rushed production schedule.
- Likewise, Lister wasn’t really developed further. I chalk that up to the character being developed far enough.
- Kryten himself was turned into a Data-type character, mainly being there to provide exposition.
- Plots jump around quite a bit… and yet there was still filler.
- And must we mention the over-reliance of rehashing older scripts?
However, it was not a total write-off of a series. In fact, its strengths weigh heavier than it’s weaknesses.
- “Legion”, “Gunmen of the Apocalypse”, and “Out of Time” showed what this series could’ve and should’ve been. The former two come close to striking the old balance between character comedy and sitcom-style humor, while the latter gives our main four characters striking emotional depth.
- Following on from that, while Kryten was mainly there to provide exposition, this series did see him take the mold of a parental figure on the Dwarf.
- Likewise, the Cat’s feline senses came back into focus, being that he was the primary pilot of Starbug.
- I admittedly love the idea of a story arc. I think, despite the rest of the series’s faults, it was implemented in a decent, if somewhat underwhelming, manner.