The second series of Red Dwarf
is, as Danny John-Jules says in the accompanying DVD commentary, "the one where it really went good". First broadcast in the autumn of 1988, these six episodes showcase Rob Grant and Doug Naylor's sardonic, sarcastic humour to perfection. The writing has matured, no longer focussing solely on SF in-jokes and gags about bodily functions, instead allowing the humour to develop from the characters and their sometimes surprisingly poignant interactions: Lister's timeless love for Kochanksi, for example, or Rimmer's brief memory-implanted love for one of Lister's ex-girlfriends. The cast had gelled, too, and there's even more colour this year as the drab sets are spiced up, a little more money has been assigned to models and special effects, and the crew even go on location once in a while.
"Kryten" introduces us to the eponymous house robot (here played by David Ross), although after this first episode he was not to reappear until Series 3, when Robert Llewellyn made the role his own. Then in "Better Than Life" the show produced one of its all-time classic episodes, as the boys from the Dwarf take part in a virtual reality game that's ruined by Rimmer's tortured psyche. Other highlights include "Queeg", in which Holly is replaced by a domineering computer personality, the baffling time travel paradox of "Stasis Leak", the puzzling conundrum of "Thanks for the Memory", and the astonishingly feminine "Parallel Universe".
On the DVD: Red Dwarf, Series 2 has another chaotic and undisciplined group commentary from the cast, all clearly enjoying the opportunity to reminisce. The second disc has a host of fun extras, including an "A-Z of Red Dwarf", outtakes, deleted scenes, a Doug Naylor interview, model shots, and the full, unexpurgated "Tongue Tied" music video. As with the first set, the animated menus are great fun and the "Play All" facility is the most useful little flashing button ever created. --Mark Walker
All six episodes from the second series of the popular sci-fi comedy. In 'Kryten' the crew of Red Dwarf answer a distress call from three woman survivors of a crashed spaceship, only to discover their long-dead bodies being waited on by android butler Kryten. 'Better Than Life' finds the crew living out their fantasies with a virtual reality computer game. 'Thanks for the Memory' sees Lister, Cat and Rimmer lose all memory of the preceding four days. 'Stasis Leak' has the crew discover a doorway to the past, enabling Lister to romance Kochanski and Rimmer to warn himself about the future. 'Queeg' sees Holly replaced by a much stricter back-up computer. Finally, in 'Parallel Universe', a faster-than-light drive propels the crew into a universe where they meet their female counterparts.