The slipcase enclosing this box set of the first three Red Dwarf
series proclaims: "New model sequences, new footage, new effects. Digitally remastered sound, digitally enhanced pictures and brand new wooshy [sic] noises!!". It's all a far cry from when the Beeb simply re-used their old Doctor Who
tapes, to the fans' subsequent consternation. As it happens, the tarting-up of these earliest episodes from the only successful sci-fi comedy show ever is seamlessly unobtrusive. The premise of the show--a vast spaceship blundering through the cosmos, inhabited by the last human being in the universe, a hologram of his dead bunkmate and a Little Richard lookalike evolved from a cat--was, from the earliest stages, redeemed by its detailed and careful deployment of classic sci-fi plot devices--time travel, virtual worlds, genetic engineering, you name it--with all the care and attention of "serious" sci-fi. However, in Red Dwarf
, these concepts are shot through with obfuscation, trivia and the unerring sense that everything is about to go terribly, terribly wrong. So it is, then, that in a parallel universe the crew have feminine counterparts, a new form of spaceship drive looks suspiciously like a large box with stop and start buttons and jigsaws are completed by mysterious forces, to cite but three of the endless highlights contained herein. --Roger Thomas
A box set containing the first three series of the popular sci-fi sitcom, released to commemorate the show's tenth anniversary. In 'The End', a radiation leak kills all but one of the crew of the mining ship Red Dwarf. After three million years, Dave Lister awakes from suspended animation to find he is the last human being - but he may not be entirely alone. In 'Future Echoes', Red Dwarf breaks the speed of light and the crew start getting glimpses of the future - and Lister realises that he may be reduced to a swirling maelstrom of atoms. In 'Balance of Power', Rimmer is panicking at the thought that Lister may attain a higher rank than him - and will try anything to stop it happening. In 'Waiting for God', Lister discovers that not only is he a God, but he is also responsible for a huge war. Meanwhile, Rimmer tries to discover the secrets hidden in a space-pod. In 'Confidence and Paranoia', Lister's pneumonia mutates so that his hallucinations become solid. These include the two sides of his personality that try to take each other on. Finally, in 'Me 2', Rimmer creates a duplicate of himself - and although the honeymoon period is blissful, the relationship takes a rather bitter turn. In 'Better Than Life', Lister and company immerse themselves in an addictive video game where everybody's dreams can come true. Finally, in 'Thanks for the Memory', Rimmer is convinced that the ship has been visited by aliens as the last four days have mysteriously vanished and Lister and the Cat both have broken legs. The truth, however, is even more bizarre. In 'Stasis Leak', the crew discover a way back into the past, so Lister tries to 'get it on' with Kochanski and Rimmer endeavours to avoid his death. In 'Queeg', Holly is replaced by a superior, but malicious, backup computer after the eccentric original makes one too many mistakes. In 'Parallel Universe', Holly's faster-than-light drive goes wrong (somewhat unsurprisingly) and the Dwarf is thrown into a parallel universe where the crew's counterparts are of the opposite sex (except the cat, who comes face to face with a dog). In 'Backwards', the crew return to what they think is Earth, but find time is behaving oddly, and loads of thing begin to un-happen. In 'Marooned', Lister and Rimmer find themselves stranded on an arctic moon with no food (except a pot noodle and a can of dogfood), no heating and little hope of survival. The boys decide to open their hearts to each other. In 'Polymorph', a chameleonic genetic mutant gets aboard the ship and terrorises the crew with non-stop slobbering horrors. In 'Timeslides', the crew of the Dwarf travel back in time thanks to some mutated developing fluid that allows people to walk into photographs. In 'Bodyswap', Rimmer and Lister swap bodies to help Dave lose weight, but Rimmer won't swap back after the experiment. In 'The Last Day', Kryten discovers that he only has 24 hours of operating time left, so the boys decide to give him a great, last day.