Red Dwarf, the comic sci-fi brainchild of Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, was the first show ever reviewed on this blog. It is also among my all-time favorite TV shows. Red Dwarf manages to combine a wonderful ensemble with parodies of science fiction cliches, the occasional dramatic moment, and brilliant and hilarious psychoanalysis of the characters. While not perfect, it is a truly underrated gem.
Please note that my early reviews are short. Starting sometime during my reviews of Series V, my reviews begin expanding in length.
Previews and Wrap-Ups
Series I Wrap-Up
Series II Preview
Series II Wrap-Up
Series III Preview
Series III Wrap-Up
Series IV Preview
Series IV Wrap-Up
Series V Preview
Series V Wrap-Up
Series VI Preview
Series VI Wrap-Up
Series VII Preview
Series VII Wrap-Up
Series VIII Preview
Series VIII Wrap-Up
Series X Preview
Series X Wrap-Up
Series XI Preview
Series XI Wrap-Up
Series XII Preview
Series XII Wrap-Up
Back to Earth Preview
Red Dwarf USA
Series I: The series that had Lister wind up alone in space, the future echoes, Kochanski, the Cat priest, and Rimmer’s clone. It brought us the first signs of the tragedy of Arnie J, and the insanity of the Hologram situation. Lots of grey sets, and light on the action – as close to a straightforward sitcom as Red Dwarf gets, in fact.
Series II: The series that brought us even more tragedy from Rimmer, the debut of Kryten, the TIV that gave the crew hell, the Dream Recorder, a leak in stasis (hence why they call it a “stasis leak”), Queeg defenestrating Holly, parallel universes with flipped genders, and “Tongue Tied”.
Series III: The series that changed damn near everything. Holly became a woman, Kryten returned (77% more Canadian), the Polymorph attacked, the world went backward, and Rimmer gained and lost his life at least once. This series marked the show’s shift into a more science-fiction dominated tone.
Series IV: The series brought us Camille, Human Kryten and his Polaroids, Rimmer falling victim to the Justice Zone, Holly’s intelligence falling into the white hole, and the WaxWorld war. Of course, everybody remembers the introduction of Ace. What a guy.
Series V: This series brought Rimmer the Holoship, faced the posse off against The Inquisitor, caused Rimmer to terraform a planet, put Lister, Cat, and Kryten in Quarantine, caused the gang to analyze humanity’s faults and high points, and brought them back to reality. Hailed by fans as a favorite, and not to be missed.
Series VI: The series that took the crew off the Dwarf, got them seduced by Psirens, kidnapped by Legion, had Rimmer terraform a planet in his image, had Kryten fight a virus, and use the time drive. Plus, it’s back to Starbug for the Duke of Dork and the ace pilot in the Space Corps… sort of. As of today, the last series to involve Rob Grant. Probably the most divisive series.
Series VII: The first of the two eight-episode series, and the first one to be entirely filmized and not shot in front of a live audience. Rimmer took off, Kochanski came in (albeit with a less Scottish accent), and the “truth” about JFK was revealed. Arguably the start of the “wilderness years” for Red Dwarf.
Series VIII: (This series was reviewed by storyline, although all episodes were graded individually.) The series that put the crew back on the Dwarf… and straight into the brig. They have to endure a file scandal, a psychic supercomputer, the ship’s TV room, potential hazards that could destroy the ship… and a… dinosaur… yeah, you can tell what I think about this series already. (Many fans don’t like this series, either.)
Series IX/Back To Earth: (Same as Series VIII) Basically Red Dwarf meets Blade Runner.
Series X: They’re back, baby! The series that gave us Rimmer’s brother, a replacement computer, flat-pack furniture, Jesus, a love affair between Lister and vending machines, and news about Rimmer’s father.
Series XI: The second full series to debut on Dave. This series sent the crew to 1920s-era America, showcased a crashed ship where morals were rewarded with karma, put Lister on the operating table, sent Rimmer to the officer’s deck, sent Kryten into a midlife crisis, and had Cat meet somebody he can love… at least, he thinks that he does…
Series XII: The third full series to debut on Dave. This series had the crew meet Hitler (again), encounter a Mechanoid Liberation group and become mechs themselves, encounter a ship where critique is illegal, threw the small rouge one into the democratic process, had Red Dwarf sold to the highest bidder, and had Rimmer try and find a universe where he wasn’t quite as pathetic.