Red Dwarf X: Wrap Up

Well, that, my friends, is a series!

Red Dwarf X, the first “real” Red Dwarf series since 1999, is finally finished. So, after all this speculation, after all the waiting, how did this series turn out?

Admittedly, not too bad.

I think some of what worked for Red Dwarf X was the expectations… in that the fans really didn’t have too many expectations. Given the shaky quality of VII, VIII, and (to a lesser extent) BTE, it would appear that the only way this series could fail is if every single person onboard was incompetent.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case, given the limitations.

I think that, if this season was any indication, this was largely a case of “playing it safe” actually working.

  • Some revelations about Rimmer’s family aside, the series really used the current traits of the characters, rather than build on them. Sure, Lister took up a robotics course, but that was more for brief gags.
  • This season was very much like a hodgepodge of various series, with emphasis on I-III’s “ship-based” comedy. Few scenes were shot outside of Red Dwarf, and there were fewer scenes with location shooting.
  • The show tread on familiar concepts- the computer gone rogue, meeting a famous figure, Rimmer battling his inner demons involving his family, etc. While there was some mismanagement involving these (“Dear Dave”), sometimes, they worked out quite well (“The Beginning”)
I think Doug Naylor saw the complaints levied to Series VII and VIII, and decided to go “back to basics”. Which is fine, but…
…I wasn’t so livid at the changes during VII and VIII as much as I was the fact that they were implemented horribly. Kochanski could’ve been a fantastic character. Instead, she was reduced to a bland character, her one trait being that she was a female on a male’s ship. Putting the crew in prison, while a questionable idea, might have worked. Instead, the comedy was reduced to the lowest of levels, and the characters were obnoxious.
Here, the characters weren’t annoying, and the comedy worked. Safe to say that the execution was decent.
In hindsight, the main thing about this series is that it feels like the last hurrah. It ended on a satisfactory note. There’s really no need for an 11th series.
That, and it seems like they’ve told all the stories that can be told. I mean, the return was good, but it seems like any more would, again, be unnecessary.
Hopefully, Series XI lives up to the standards of Red Dwarf X.
Which leads me to the TL;DR: Red Dwarf X held its own against the classics. It wasn’t perfect – “Dear Dave” was weak – but it was still a nice return to form.
But we’re not really done.

This December, our Christmas Spectacular Thing will be lists related to Red Dwarf. The first list? The top 8 worst episodes of Red Dwarf.

So far.


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