Merry Christmas, and welcome to the climax of our Christmas Spectacular Thing! And it is a climax this year, as we get ready to delve into one of the most critiqued Red Dwarf episodes of the Dave era, “Timewave!”
“Suggest you engage “skedaddle” mode!” – Kryten. Hey, we were warned!
Airdate: 26 October, 2017
Written By: Doug Naylor
Plot: The crew try and come to the rescue of the SS Enconium, a ship that is floating towards the titular timewave. Simple enough, right? Well, on the Enconium, criticism is illegal, punishable by a lengthy jail sentence. Thus, the crew are incompetent, dress like performance artists, and are smug morons.
I am of the opinion that Red Dwarf’s Dave era has been quite a success so far. Sure, the episodes haven’t really reached the quality peaks of Series III-V (although they have come somewhat close on occasion), but honestly, I don’t expect another “Back to Reality” or “Dimension Jump”. And I’m weirdly cool with that.
Besides, for the most part, the episodes have been funny, our characters have been relatable (in contrast to VIII), the drama and comedy are mixed appropriately (contrast to VII), and the story construction has largely remained good. Nothing mind-blowing, like the aforementioned “Back to Reality” or “The Inquisitor”, but for the most part, the show has produced a consistently enjoyable output since returning from the decade-long hiatus.
Unfortunately, the further you go, the higher your chance of slipping up and misfiring. Which is what brings us to Series XII’s third episode, “Timewave”. In the interest of not burying the lede… it’s a bad episode.
How bad is it? The more I think about it, the less I have to wonder “is it watchable” and the more I have to question “is it a contender for the worst Red Dwarf episode ever?” Oh, yes. As far as I’m concerned, this episode could give “Duct Soup”, “Beyond A Joke”, “Back in the Red”, “Pete”, and even freaking “Krytie TV” a run for their money in the disaster department.
The beautiful irony here, in an episode that I consider a disaster on as many levels as possible? This episode’s big topic is “criticism”. Continue reading