Not Another Top (X) List – Top 10 Worst Episodes of The Simpsons Season 10


Hello, and welcome to another edition of…


And Season 10 of The Simpsons was subpar.

But it also didn’t suck too much.

Excellent, now that I have both sides of The Simpsons fandom declaring war against this stupid little blog, let me explain.

Yes, Season 10 of The Simpsons was a noticeable step down from Season 9 – which was itself a step down from Season 8. Many of the complaints I had in Season 9 – sketchy characterization, weaker plots, sillier endings, a thinner reliance on effective social analysis, etc. – not only remained in Season 10, but also became more egregious, neutralizing any sort of positives found in those episodes such as the jokes that I laughed at, any decent social insight, etc.

Most fans will remember this season for an overreliance on two cliches – the guest stars and the plot thread of “Homer Getting A Job”. Alone, they resulted in some dodgy moments – Homer helping Mr. Burns become loved, Dolly Parton breaking Homer and his acquaintances out of Super Bowl jail with her lipstick, etc. Together? …oh, boy.

But if it seems like I’m being too negative, there were a fair number of episodes that ranged from “fair” to “good”. The good ones really would hold their own in the golden era, while the “fair” ones still contained some level of societal insight, quirky comedy, or a combination of both – as well as flaws that were less egregious or more forgivable overall. (And before I continue, I’ve decided in the act of fairness to honor the three best episodes of the season, in ascending order. Stand up, “Lisa Gets an A”, “Wild Barts Can’t Be Broken”, and “They Saved Lisa’s Brain”. Kinda interesting that my favorites were Lisa-centered episodes, for various reasons.)

So let’s dive into the worst of the worst. X=10, and we are looking at…


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Not Another Top X List – Top 40 Gravity Falls Episodes (AKA – My Personal Ranking)

(I’ll explain that title in a second.)
Hello, and welcome to another edition of…

Gravity Falls, over the past three-and-a-half years, made its mark as one of the most beloved cartoons on TV. It’s mystical plot, it’s combination of highbrow and lowbrow comedy, it’s mixture of scathing comedy with deep drama, all of it combined to make one of the biggest cult hits on TV.

Now, it’s over, and it will be missed.

(Yes, I am aware that it’s been over for a flipping month. Schoolwork happened. Sorry about that.)

I do intend to write one final requiem for the show before leaving it for (at least) a while, one where I lay out why I loved Gravity Falls so much. Before I do so, I have decided to do a personal ranking of every… single… episode. I did it for Season 1, and I did it for the first half of Season 2.

Now, begins my largest-ever list. Note that this ranking represents my current thoughts on the episode – my reviews from before might be outdated. (Also, the name is to keep it within the “Top X” title.)

(Some of these images were from other posts, others, from the Gravity Falls Wiki.)Ladies and Gentlemen:

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Not Another Top (X) List: The Nine Worst Episodes of The Simpsons Season 9

(Author’s note: Meant to post this for a long time. Was too lazy to include the pictures until now.)

Well, after an update schedule that makes that of The Venture Brothers look stable in comparison, I have finally completed season 9 of The Simpsons– the first in a four-part series looking at the Mike Scully Era.

Truth be told, it was sorta what I expected. Character was indeed a bit haphazard, but that was mainly limited to Homer. Amazingly, this wasn’t too zany a season- there were a few wacky moments, but nothing too extreme.

On one hand, I did expect the show to still be relatively decent, even in it’s weaker episodes. That proved true- the show was still largely funny, still seemed like it had something to say, etc. On the other hand, I expected a few duds.

Indeed, there were quite a few duds- no major trainwrecks, but more than a few mediocre episodes. That’s what we’re covering here.

Unlike other lists of this nature, for the most part, these will be listed in order of airdate. The exception is the standout bad episode of the season- it goes at the end.

Oh, and please don’t refer to my reviews posted before February 2014. They’re boring and relatively poorly-written.

Here we are…

The Principal and the Pauper

Even without Mike Scully touching it, this was not the best sign for the season to come. It permanently altered the backstory of one of the characters in such a dramatic fashion. As well as the plot was handled, the plot itself was bad from the word go. I give it credit, though- it was pretty funny when the initial shock of “Armin Tamzarian” wore off. “Keep looking shocked, and move slowly towards the cake.”

The Two Mrs. Nahassapettapetalons

One of many episodes this season that wasn’t memorable. As interesting as the plot could’ve been, it was a relatively boring episode in terms of execution. Having Apu married off seemed like a big change, yet I doubt it had a long-term impact on character development. I’d certainly watch this again, though- Andrea Martin and the late Jan Hooks did put on good performances.

Realty Bites

As funny as Phil Hartman is, something about Homer getting in a car chase with Snake bugged me a bit too much. I give it credit for it’s snarky take on the realty industry, but I remember comparatively little from this episode.

Miracle on Evergreen Terrace

There was nothing horrendously bad in this episode- some Jerkass Homer and some schlockness, but nothing wretched. Except for the humor – with the exception of the ending, it is a dull, color by numbers episode. “Liar Revealed”, other characters out of character for the sake of a cliche plot, and a dearth of humor all hurt this episode. The second of three episodes I would likely skip in a marathon.

Bart Carny

Basically, the episode can be summed up as “Carnies are jerks”. No substance. Oh, and Homer gets a job for a few minutes because. Boy, that’s a good sign. One of three episodes which, during a marathon, I would likely skip. What a waste of Jim Varney.

The Trouble with Trillions

What could’ve been a funny satire on bureaucracy in the government (especially the IRS) instead turned into a “Captain Wacky goes on a zany adventure” plot- one that also feebelized Burns into a complete idiot. Oh, and to quote Mike Nelson: “Did they even need to go to Cuba?”

Trash of the Titans

As funny as the satire of extreme populism is, this is the quintessential Jerkass Homer episode- one where he gets a job and goes bonkers. Oh, and acts vindictive and whiny throughout. Thank you, Steve Martin, for making this more watchable.

Lost Our Lisa

Homer survives horrendous drawbridge injuries, and makes a speech that seems to cement him as Mike Scully’s own Mary Sue- an invincible mouthpiece for the writers and their fantasies. It came at the expense of a plot with a lot of potential.

Now, these were all pretty subpar. But, what was the most subpar? To clarify- what is the episode I am least likely to rewatch?

All Singing, All Dancing

Wow, was this pretty weak. The singing made little sense (or at least wasn’t funny), the clips reminded me of better episodes, there was virtually no comedy, very little character development… it was not memorable. Definitely one of the three episodes I wouldn’t rewatch- at least “Trillions” had some funny lines.

Oh, and for clarification purposes, my three favorites (read, the ones I would be most likely to watch again) are, in order, Lisa’s Sax, Girly Edition, and The Joy of Sect.

So, that wasn’t too bad. Not too good, but eh- you could chalk it up to first-season jitters… something which prior showrunners didn’t have, however.

Here we are – Season 10. Starting whenever.

Not Another Top (X) List: Ranking the 1st Part of Gravity Falls Season 2

Boy, fate is really testing my fandom patience these past couple of years. The Orlando Magic are wretched. The New York Giants made me bang my head against the wall god knows how many times. (Jacksonville? Really?) And my favorite show goes on hiatuses that are so long, even Ayn Rand novels take up less time. Atlas Shrugged? That’s weaksauce compared to the length of Gravity Falls hiatuses!

Since we are effectively midway through season 2 of Gravity Falls, I figured may as well see how the season’s ranking up so far. So far, I must say this season is better- characters have been fleshed out, the animation has become better and better, the plots are sublime…

Is it awesome? Yes. Is it perfect? No.

For a more definitive look at how the season has played out, I bring you a ranking of the first half of Gravity Falls season 2.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: didn’t you rank Season 1 of Gravity Falls just a few months ago? The answer is yes. But, again, we’re in another hiatus. I think another quick ranking might not be such a bad idea.

(Oh, most images are taken from the Gravity Falls Wiki or my prior blog posts. Please don’t sue me.) Continue reading

Not Another Top (X) List: Ranking Gravity Falls Season 1

Told ya I had a New Years trick up my sleeve, didn’t I?

Greetings, everyone! You’re on the Geek Centre, where we’re celebrating the new year by doing a bit of a countdown of every episode of one of the greatest TV shows of all time, Gravity Falls! I’m counting down all 20 episodes of Season One. Essentially, this is similar to what I did back in April, with the worst and best episodes of the season. However, this encompasses all of the episodes from Season 1. They go from my least favourite to my, well, favourite. As well, I’ll be giving a one-or-two sentence review on these episodes.

I must stress that there are no “bad” Gravity Falls episodes- just weak Gravity Falls episodes.

Alright, Fallers! Let’s not waste any time!

20. The Time Travellers Pig

Fandom actually ranks this in the higher rings when ranking episodes. I can’t say I agree, sadly. This was never my favourite episode- it’s last-place ranking is largely due to it’s questionable ending, plus the heaps of abuse placed on Blendin Blandin, and the simplification of it’s characters into mere shadows of themselves. Tragic, really- it had all the hallmarks of a top 10 episode.

19. Dipper Vs Manliness

The message here, that men don’t necessarily have to encompass masculine stereotypes to be “men”, was pretty damn good. There was just far too little comedy and B-plot character development here to save it from the second-worst spot on the list. At least there was nothing overtly annoying here.

18. Summerween

The “Liar Revealed” cliche is on full effect here- thus damaging the first “holiday” episode in the short history of Gravity Falls. Antagonist was creative, though, and we got some development for Candy and Grenda. That’s enough to put it up two spots from the bottom of the list.

17. Boss Mabel

Another “comic relief” episode that sinks to the lower third, although this time, it’s due to the comedy in the A-plot not hitting as well, rather than anything awkward. Thank you, “Cash Wheel”, “Singing Salmon”, and “Questiony the Question Mark:”- you kept this from being closer to the “worst episode” spot.

16. Fight Fighters

Good news: the plot is creative and funny, and the animation is awesome. Bad news: Mabel is shunted to a weak plot, and Wendy is shunted to almost a mere object in the love triangle. More good news: I don’t complain too much from here on out. In fact, this is the last “weak” episode.

15. The Deep End

A lighter affair here, this episode still notes the tragicomedy of romance. Otherwise, it’s a pretty light affair- little mention of the supernatural aspects nor deep character development abound here. That, and it’s as close to a self-contained episode as Gravity Falls ever gets.

14. Little Dipper

This episode cements the realistic sibling relationship between Dipper and Mabel- it isn’t The Young Ones, but it isn’t Leave it to Beaver, either. Gideon’s madness is also exposed even further. It gets even better if you watch the season finale.

13. Double Dipper

Twisting around the “Evil Clone” cliche, this episode also establishes several relationships, platonic or otherwise, in an attempt to further construct the town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. It does a good job there, I might say.

12. Tourist Trapped

Yeah, I can’t really fault this particular pilot too much. It’s actually pretty damn good, in fact. The side characters get enough development to be likeable right off the bat, to say nothing of our dynamic duo.

11. Legend of the Gobblewonker

“Gobblewonker” is the first episode to build onto the world of Gravity Falls, Oregon- confirming that this would not be a show confined to the actions of the centre five, but the actions of this strange town.

10. The Land Before Swine

Go ahead- try and argue that Stan isn’t a likeable character after watching this episode. I dare you. The power of him fighting a Pterodactyl just to save a pig he hates, just to make Mabel happy? Simply put, great.

9. Irrational Treasure

Quentin Trembly? Federal involvement in the town of Gravity Falls? Making Durland and Blubs loveable antagonists? There’s a reason why Gravity Falls is leaps beyond almost every other animated show in existence.

8. The Inconveniencing

The episode that got me into the series. Another “self-contained” episode, this episode focuses on the teens on Gravity Falls, by far the most normal inhabitants of the town. This episode showed Wendy as a relatable, loveable character… and the show proceeded to under-write or under-use her for the next 13 episodes.

7. Headhunters

Another self-contained episode, what makes this episode stand out from the rest is it’s wicked comedy, it’s awesome twist, the fact they landed John Oliver AND Larry King. This is only the third episode. Obviously, the mouse had faith in this show.

6. Bottomless Pit

A “trilogy-type” episode, this outclasses the modern “Treehouse of Horror” episodes from The Simpsons by containing excellent character development, brilliant segments, and some hysterical wrap-around scenes.

5. The Hand That Rocks The Mabel

Gideon Gleeful is the show’s second-best antagonist (see below for the best)- exhibiting the dangers of power, the id, and unchecked relationships. Add in excellent Mabel character development? You got an awesome episode.

4. Carpet Diem

The last “pure comedy” episode of Season 1, this episode still explores the relationship between Dipper and Mabel, the tensions that can (and do) exist between the two, and the horrors within the “bodyswap” cliche in science fiction.

3. Gideon Rises

A predictable ending is more than made up for thanks to fantastic conflict, awesome plot development, epic character development, and some of the darkest scenes in the history of the young show. “Here we go”, indeed.

2. Dreamscaperers

Bill Cipher is widely considered the best character in the show, let alone the best antagonist, and for good reason- his interactions are unambiguously insane, morally ambiguous, and hysterically frightening. That, plus a great character analysis for Stan, plus one of the most epic endings in the history of the show, plus awesome animation? What episode could possibly beat that?

1. Boyz Crazy

This could. Again, I go against the tide of fandom, which tends to rank this as a weaker episode. This episode shows the consequences of the characters behaviours- Mabel’s descent into borderline insanity is freaky, Dipper is finally called out on his own callous behaviour toward Wendy, and Robbie’s actions drive him to ruin. That, plus the best friends of Dipper and Mabel (Wendy, Candy, and Grenda respectively) finally confronting our favourite characters? This episode is a brilliant piece of tragicomedy… and one of my favourites. I just can’t find anything really wrong with it.

Well, that’s how we close out 2014. I hope you have a safe, sane, fun New Years celebration, and I wish to see you in the New Year.

Not Another Top (X) List: Top 11 Best Episodes of Red Dwarf (So Far)

Merry Christmas, and welcome back (again) to…


At the beginning of our Christmas Spectacular Thing, we took a look at the top 8-ish worst episodes of Red Dwarf. By the end, the questions you were asking were probably… 
  1. “Why the hell did you not go completely mad?”
  2. “Why look at the bad of this show?”
  3. “Why was Red Dwarf still your favourite show, even after you reviewed this tripe?”
To all three of those questions, I present this list. You see, when Red Dwarf was at it’s lowest, during the doldrums of Series VII and VIII, I thought back and actually asked myself these questions.

The thing is that, even with those 16 maligned episodes in Series VII and VIII, and with the more lukewarm material that came afterward, 35 of the first 36 episodes of Red Dwarf were some fantastic television. At worst, those episodes were a bit off, but not too bad. On average, those episode were some funny, somewhat deep television. At it’s best? Simply put, at it’s best, Red Dwarf is some of the best television I’ve ever seen.

Where else could you see an odious failure of a man revealed to be a man with neuroses, a man held back by the worst that life had to offer? Where else did a seemingly one-dimensional fashionista have some of the best dexterity in the history of TV? Where else could one see a loopy computer pull the occasional trick up his sleeve? Where else could a subservient robot use his order to manipulate the system, and almost crack his programming due to the surroundings he faced every day. And where else could a man who seem to be satisfied with the simpler things in life, an utterly unmotivated slob, actually hold deep-seated values, and coincide the negative side of his id with actions that make him one of the kindest people in fiction?

And what other show would pack it all in with comedy that hits both ends of the scale? Jokes about modern pop culture and sex flow into jokes about historical figures that few may have even known about.

That’s why Red Dwarf is so brilliant. Through the doldrums, I never forgot about the brilliance of the best episodes.

I picked out 11 episodes that I feel are required viewing for any fan of Red Dwarf. OK, these are mainly my favourites, but you get the idea. I was originally going to do 10, but I realised that would exclude an episode that I feel needs to be on the list. These episodes are the best that Grant/Naylor have to offer. The highest parts of the list are some of the best TV I’ve ever seen.

Now, as with my “Worst Episodes” list, my opinions may have changed since I reviewed them, albeit not by too much.

So, here we are…


11. “Me2”

In my opinion, “Me2” is the first awesome episode of Red Dwarf. The previous few were pretty good, but this one set the tone for the rest of the golden era. It was a warning that this wasn’t your everyday comedy- it was one that would really explore character with every chance it would get. “Me2” is one of the first episodes to analyse Rimmer’s past- how he seemed like a black sheep, yet how his behaviour manages to annoy everybody… even himself. A deep look into his ego, plus some cool Lister lines? Yeah, that’s why I did a top 11- this is a necessity on any list.

10. “Polymorph”

Much like “Back To Reality” two series later, this episode goes beyond it’s initial premise- a send-up to Aliens- to give us fantastic character analysis. This is the first episode to actually show us just how tragic Rimmer’s childhood was. What, you thought Rimmer was lying about his horrid life to gain sympathy? P’shaw!

The humour is very well-balanced- taking the lowbrow with the highbrow, almost all of it hitting (one scene in particular kept the audience laughing for minutes). Of note are the “fixed” versions of all the characters, which are all perfectly done, from the acting to the comedy.

9. “The Last Day”

Much like “Me2” did to Rimmer, “The Last Day” did to Kryten- transforming a likeable character into a loveable one. Once the ship’s servant, “The Last Day” gives us a look inside Kryten’s set of values and beliefs. The idea of Silicon Heaven, while joked about, is never truly ridiculed. In fact, Kryten gets to see what his belief in Silicon Heaven really does- and it provides one hell of a conclusion. That, and the party scene is pure tragicomedy- giving deep insights into the families of Lister and Rimmer, and by extension, Lister and Rimmer themselves. There’s a reason why Series III is my favourite series- it provides awesome character examination.

8. “Dimension Jump”

If ever a character provided so much anthithesis to a character as Ace Rimmer has to Rimsie, I have yet to see. Ace Rimmer is quite possibly the perfect send-up to Arnold Rimmer: much like his environment threw Arnie J down the toilet, it propelled Ace to new heights. As Rimmer is the most despised person in the Red Dwarf universe, Ace is the most beloved. Seeing Ace and Arnie together is really just nonstop contrast after contrast, all to provide a great sense of tragicomedy for Rimmer. There’s a reason why Ace has stood out as a fan favourite.

What a guy.

7. “Gunmen of the Apocalypse”

The only episode on this list to win an Emmy, “Gunmen of the Apocalypse” is a star amongst the mixed bag that was Series 6. Breaking from the “Mad Libs” scripting that seemed to dominate the first two episodes of the series, “Gunmen” features a plot that both sends up the holodeck episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Westerns, yet provides plenty of originality and comedy to the subject. It’s fun, funny, adds a real sense of danger, and contains some of the most awesome scenes in the history of the show. In short- it deserved it’s Emmy.

6. “The Inquisitor”

Red Dwarf, at first glance, seems to be the most nihilistic show alive. I mean, the last humanoids alive are a slob, a failure, and a narcissist, aided by a loopy computer and a neurotic robot. Yet, when you think about it, this is a spot of optimism in the darkness of the show.

This episode confirms what we all know- sometimes, the loopiest people have the brightest plans. What else do you call Lister in this episode? The man who has “brains he never used” kicks himself for his relative lack of action, yet this encourages him to take considerable strides in order to take down the titular antagonist. That, plus more of a look inside Rimmer’s mentality, plus one of the most complex antagonists in the history of the show, puts this episode just outside the top 5.

5. “Holoship”

Ah, Rimmer. Human tragedy in a character if I ever saw one. He says one line that seals the deal:

“You expect something to go right for me? Arnold “Schmucko” Rimmer? Tosspot by royal appointment?”

“Holoship” shows Rimmer at his most complex, really delving into his neuroses, while also giving him an ending that reminds us why the character is one of the most beloved characters in TV history. Well aware of the fact that life has dealt him a raw hand (to say the very least), it gives him, for once, a look at pure sympathy. You understand why he makes the manoeuvres he makes in order to try and get a position of power on the ship. If only Commander Crane got just a tad bit more development (cut out the interview scene), this would’ve been in the top 3, hands down. Still, 5th out of 61? Not too shabby, I might say.

4. “Thanks For The Memory”

While Rimmer may have gotten the lion’s share of character development during the course of the show, Lister in no way was left high and dry. This episode might be the first one to really look at the drawbacks of Lister’s character- one where his laddish behaviour cost him a chance at everlasting love. However, this episode has him share a part of his memory with Rimmer, who he almost never gets along with. That is a virtue that more than makes up for his vices. The mystery is cool, and the resolution is emotional. 4th best, my friends!

3. “Marooned”

Doing a Bottle Episode is a risky manoeuvre- you’re either going to fail hard, or you’re going to reach the stars. This episode hit the latter and then some, forcing two adversaries into a situation where they have to open up to each other.

The theme for the first two series was “Lister and Rimmer argue IN SPACE!!!!!” This episode is really the one that delves into their relationship- how, despite loathing each other, they have striking similarities. Both of them flesh out beyond their standard “good v. not good” tendencies in the first two series- Lister does something questionable, yet feels remorse about what he does. At the same time, Rimmer opens up to Lister, and performs probably the greatest act of selflessness in the series (at least, until Series VI). Add to that some wickedly funny comedy, and what we have is one for the ages.

2. “Back to Reality”

When I first reviewed “Back to Reality” in April, I gave it the “coveted” 10 score, calling it “The Best Ever Red Dwarf“. While placing in 2nd might not indicate it holding up in that regard, I still retain that it barely missed the #1 spot. It’s only held down by the fact that it’s not as effective as a “last episode of series” compared to “last episode ever”.

Otherwise, what else is there to say? This episode almost has it all- you have brilliant character development through the mirror image, callbacks to small jokes so they can be used as character developers, a deep analysis of the psyches of all four characters. Yes, even Cat gets fleshed out- beyond the flamboyant dandy is a character with no knowledge of what he really is, a character of insecurities and vanity. It made #1 in the two polls Ganymede and Titan did, and has placed in the top 3 in series polls constantly. It’s that memorable. In terms of objectivity, it really is the best Red Dwarf ever.

But why isn’t it #1? What episode could have possibly topped “Back to Reality”? Well, the “Gold” episode’s title is somewhat indicative of it’s placement, if only via slight hyperbole.

1. “Better Than Life”

This episode holds a special place in my heart- it was the episode that convinced me that Red Dwarf would be one of my favourite TV shows of all time. (Seeing it mere months after first watching Gravity Falls wasn’t too shabby of a coincidence, either.) Did that piece of pseudo-nostalgia colour my opinion? Maybe. (Read: hell yes.)

Still, even without that, it can’t be denied- this is one hell of an episode. “Better Than Life” is one of the first episodes that really dove into Rimmer’s pathos- his tragic, abusive childhood that implanted the neurosis that plague him today is really examined here. His relationship with his father is also revealed, setting the stage for his ambition and his talent (or lack thereof). The scenes that follow drive Rimmer deeper and deeper into tragicomedy, ending in him ruining a game that’s supposed to be a source of pure joy, and bringing down the others with him. How else do you explain this episode? Nobody hates Rimmer just because- they hate him because his neurosis manages to drive down everybody, and he tries to evade progression.

On a far lighter note, what else can you say about this episode? The comedy ranges from high to low, hits on pretty much all counts, character comedy is fantastic, the plot is brilliant, and the acting is phenomenal. Example of the latter: only Norman Lovett could make the screwed up situation he’s in deadpan.

“Oh, dear. You can’t take him anywhere, can ya?”

However, what seals this as my favourite episode of Red Dwarf? You know those two paragraphs above- the one where I said “Where else can blah blah blah”? This episode is a microcosm of those paragraphs. It’s brilliant, it’s hysterical, it’s tragic, it made me fall in love with the show… it’s Red Dwarf incarnate.

Honourable Mentions: “Justice”, “Queeg” (this one barely missed the list), “Quarantine”, “Lemons”, “The Beginning”.

Well, that’s it for Red Dwarf for quite a while. I’ll come back to this fantastic show, possibly in the spring, to re-review the episodes. I’ll review Series XI. I’ll do more “Show Wars” and “Top X Lists” with Red Dwarf.

But again, that won’t be until the spring… maybe the summer.

So, how are we going to go out the year? In silence?

Who knows? Keep clicking on this blog. Maybe I have one last trick up my sleeve.

Not Another Top (X) List: Ranking the Series of Red Dwarf (So Far)

Hello, and welcome to…

Last time, we took a look at the 8 worst episodes in the history of Red Dwarf, plus one that surpassed the 8 so far in badness that it ranked under the eight (know what I’m saying?) Since I expect the last list to debut on Christmas, I have decided to bridge the “bad” with the “good” by ranking every series of Red Dwarf so far, from worst to best. I think the start of the list is pretty predictable- it’s the rest of the series that might throw a curveball or two.
In addition, I have decided to add the “worst episode” and “best episode” from the season. Here’s the deal- the best episode from the best season might not (not necessarily “won’t”) make it to #1 on the “top episodes” list. Likewise, a “best episode” from a lower-ranked series might make it to #1 on the “top episodes list”.

Oh, and none of the DVD covers featured here belong to me.

Enough stalling… let’s begin!
10. Series VIII

  • The Verdict: Was it going to be any other series? With only two episodes to get over a 5-score, and one of those being part of a wretched story, this series statistically is the worst of Red Dwarf. Even if you disregard my scores, this series has everything at it’s worst- the humour is awful, characterisation is scattershot at best, the plots are stupid, the special effects are trash, etc. etc. The only redeeming quality from this series is that it put the series over the top for syndication deals. If only the BBC knew that home release of TV shows would become commonplace in the 2000s… we might not have had this trash.
  • Worst Episode: “Krytie TV”, the worst episode in Red Dwarf history. The fact that the master copy of this exists, and yet there are 100 episodes of Doctor Who missing and feared lost for eternity, is close to unforgivable. (Stupid price of tape in the 60s.)
  • Best Episode: “Cassandra”, the only watchable stand-alone story from VIII. Don’t buy the VIII DVD- just buy this one episode on iTunes. Your sanity (and wallet) will thank you.

9. Series VII

  • The Verdict: Series VIII’s slightly more respectable sibling. Slightly. This was the first one done by Naylor alone. I admire VII’s attempts at focusing on the dramatic aspect of the show, which was a decent risk. Sadly, what made the drama in the previous six series work was a) it didn’t replace the comedy (the good comedy, at least), and b) there were characters to care about. Rimmer was sent away, replaced with the tragically mis-written Kochanski, and Lister and Kryten were reduced to lows in their characters. The good news is that, from the next-highest ranked series on, we are dealing with “good” series.
  • Worst Episode: “Barely A Joke” – uh, I mean, “Beyond A Joke”… no, “Barely a Joke” worked well enough. Actually, “Barely an Editing Budget” could work as well.
  • Best Episode: “Epideme”, the episode with the lowest amount of the problems that plagued Series VII. Not perfect by a longshot, but still manages to come the closest to Naylor’s goal for the series.
8. Series XI/”Back to Earth”

  • The Verdict: Yeah, it’s just a 3-part movie. I’ll just link the review of the movie, say “it was alright”, and move on.
  • Worst Episode: “Back to Earth: Part II”
  • Best Episode: “Back to Earth: Part III”
7. Series X

  • The Verdict: You have to admire that, even without those circumstances, there was very little to hate about this series- nitpick at worst. It really felt like they took the standout elements from all of the series, for good and for bad, and put them together into this series that actually seemed to satisfy almost everybody. It also contained the first “awesome” Red Dwarf episodes in 19 years. If there’s any problem, it’s that this series hasn’t really settled into the mindset of what I think of when I hear the words “Red Dwarf episode”. That’s why it’s ranked lower than VI… albeit just lower.
  • The Worst: “Dear Dave”. This is what you get when you produce an episode of TV within a week.
  • The Best: “The Beginning”. Even if this isn’t the last series, I think this episode could serve as a decent end to the show. It’ll be in my own canon if XI is awful.
6. Series VI

  • The Verdict: In hindsight, I think I might have been a bit harsh on Series VI. After all, the plot twist introduced was pretty damn cool, it really shook up the Status Quo of Red Dwarf, and we got to see a bit more of characters that were once reduced to joke fodder (read, Cat). Still, Series VI gets a relatively low position, mainly because it relied a bit too much on Mad-Libs style plotting, it had a botched “three-in-one” sequel, and it contained the one episode of the first 36 to fail. Alright, from here on, I stop complaining. This series is definitely a loveable one, if you don’t mind the difference in plot and (to a small extent) tone.
  • Worst Episode: “Rimmerworld”, e.g. the one episode of the first 36 to get a failing score.
  • Best Episode“Gunmen of the Apocalypse”, the only Red Dwarf episode to win an Emmy Award. Yes. An Emmy.
5. Series I

  • The Verdict: If you are writing a TV show, you better hope to whatever you believe in that your first season/series it’s weaker than at least a few other seasons/series- otherwise, you have a problem. Thankfully, Grant/Naylor hit the happy medium- producing a show that, while outclassed by at least four other series, was still pretty damn good. Sure, the show seems a bit “dry”, taking on a more “Odd Couple” feel compared to the rest of the show, and the acting/characters do seem a tiny bit off compared to the other series. It’s also aged. A lot. Yet, this series also brought us plenty of hints as to what was to come- the tragicomedy of Rimmer slowly being peeled away, Lister’s character slowly being refined beyond the “lad” he was in the first minutes, and the exploration of the world, albeit just a little bit.
  • The Worst: “Balance of Power”. Granted, my opinion on this episode has warmed compared to when I first reviewed it almost two years ago. Still, I never got why fandom gave it such high marks.
  • The Best: “Me2”. In my opinion, the first classic Red Dwarf episode. Rimmer development, ahoy!
4. Series IV

  • The Verdict: This series had a little bit for everybody: an episode about Holly, an episode that focused on Kryten (two, in fact), an episode focused on Red Dwarf, an episode that deviated from the format of the series, Rimmer development, Lister development, awesome Cat lines, excellent visuals and acting, and some of the better plots in the history of the show. Of special note goes to “Dimension Jump”, considered part of the “Red Dwarf trinity”, an episode that focused on Arnold facing his antithesis… Ace Rimmer, test pilot in the Space Corps. What a guy.
  • Worst Episode: “Camille”. It’s good, but it’s a bit less good than the rest. I’ll just say “cute” and move on.
  • Best Episode: “Dimension Jump”- the one with Ace. What a guy. Would’ve been tied with “White Hole”, if they focused more on Holly.
3. Series II

  • The Verdict: This was the first series of Red Dwarf I watched, and loved it. It’s similarities to Series I means that it has a bit of the “awkwardness” that I had- the dated effects and somewhat slow pacing. Those are easily balanced out by the exemplary character development- the demons that battle Rimmer are finally exposed, Lister’s heart of gold is polished even further, Holly gets an episode to really show the man behind the goofball computer, etc. Plots also expand beyond the ship itself for the first time, exploring more sci-fi elements more often such as time travel and parallel universes. Truly the first great Red Dwarf series.
  • Worst Episode: “Parallel Universe”. Still funny, but the sexual politics have just aged a bit too awkwardly. Not even “Tongue Tied” can save it this time around.
  • Best Episode: “Better Than Life”. This episode made me fall in love with Red Dwarf, being the epitome of tragicomedy, as well as sending up concepts that other TV shows took dead seriously.
2. Series V

  • The Verdict: On one hand, Series V did contain two awkward steps in “Terrorform” and “Demons and Angels”, neither of which did much for me, and may have foreshadowed later weaknesses in the show. However, the other episodes more than make up for those two episodes, the rest of these episodes being some of the greatest TV I ever saw. Rimmer is as fleshed out as he ever was or will be, given episodes that both portray him as lonely and bonkers. The madness of the adventures reaches new heights, with each one putting the crew in genuine danger. The last episode of this series is a massive shocker, with almost every fan declaring it one of the best episodes in the history of the show.
  • Worst Episode: “Terrorform”. Talk about beating the obvious in our heads!
  • Best Episode: “Back to Reality”. I make no bones about it- this episode should be in a sci-fi hall of fame… if one exists.
1. Series III

  • The Verdict: Surprised? I’ll explain. There are so many reasons why I picked III as my favourite series. The comedy? Fantastic. The plots? Beautiful. The tragedy? Tragically awesome. The visuals? Pretty damn good. Kryten is finally fleshed out, the Cat starts to get some development, Lister and Rimmer’s relationship is awesomely constructed, Hattie Hayridge’s spin on Holly is just as awesome as Norman Lovett’s take, etc. But still, why this series? Simply put, it’s the series that finally made Red Dwarf a giant in British TV history, and in sci-fi history. It changed the game- the show evolved from it’s “bottle” elements to a more “epic”, comic mood, while managing to make episodes that could work in either series. Without this series, we probably wouldn’t have gotten the epics that came later on, such as “Back to Reality” or “Dimension Jump”, and the characters that came with them. The end result is a series that, at damn near every moment, is just fun to watch. This might just be my favourite series/season of TV- it’s up there with Gravity Falls season 1, or The Simpsons Season 5. Simply put? Best. Red Dwarf Series. Ever.
  • Worst Episode: “Backwards”, but only because the backwards world logic is a bit off. Still, the comedy more than makes up for the slips in logic in this episode. If this is the worst episode from this series… there is little to complain about
  • Best Episode: “Marooned”. This is the original focus of the show- Lister and Rimmer’s bunk-mate troubles- at it’s finest, delving into the psyches of both characters so fantastically, and in a way that’s both tragic and hilarious.
I’m taking next Thursday as a “buffer period”, mainly because I have finals. So, on Christmas Day, we have our list of the greats- the ones that put Red Dwarf into the lists of greatest comedies of all time, and the greatest sci-fi shows of all time.
It’s the Best Episodes of Red Dwarf… so far.