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4.7 out of 5 stars44
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 29 October 2004
This boxset lacks the dazzling array of special features available on the individual DVD releases but makes up for it with probably the best value laughs you can possibly buy for £25.
The first 4 series of Red Dwarf sum up everything that was right about BBC 2 during the late 80s and early 90s - ground-breaking, original comedy that was experimental with drama, comedy, genre and featuring new, young, talented actors (Chris Barrie as the acerbic Rimmer and Danny John-Jules as Cat were revelations). With this boxset you can see the evolution from a cheap, studio space sitcom into a lavish sci-fi comedy-drama featuring such brilliant characterisation that you wish TV comedy could stumble across its own stasis leak and rediscover this kind of programme. The first four series are also characterised by a tongue-in-cheek irreverence that never really takes itself too seriously - a factor sadly lacking in the later incarnations of Red Dwarf. (A good example is the Star Wars-style intro to series 3 that explains away the ending of series 2 as they obviously rewrote it as a totally new series - George Lucas could learn a thing or two!)

Laden with the best one-liners in the last 20 years and gleefully celebrating its own ingenuity with episode after episode of classy comic timing, character acting and brilliant scripting, Red Dwarf 1-4 are some of the most brash and confident comedy series ever produced by the Beeb. This gets 5 stars from me and it is thoroughly deserved;
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on 9 November 2005
Make no mistake; Red Dwarf was one of the best ever British sitcoms. But whether this DVD set is for you rather depends…
If you are the sort of person that loves extras such as cast and crew interviews, loads of background detail on how things were made, stuff about character progression, that sort of thing, then please don’t buy these. You will do much better with the original release DVDs which feature all sorts of stuff like that.
If on the other hand you’re like me, and perhaps you’ll look at one or two extras just because they’re there, but the reason you want Red Dwarf is to see the episodes then don’t hesitate – buy this set now.
I was looking for series 4 when I found this set - sold my old 1 2 & 3 DVDs here on Amazon and bought this instead. Worked out cheaper for me; and some people who would appreciate the extras much more than I have the full discs. So that’s a result all round I reckon.
Anyway, a thoroughly-deserved five stars. The episodes are here in all their wondrous glory. Truly magnificent British comedy. Just don’t expect any extras!
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on 10 November 2004
there have been a few coments about this pack lacking bonus features, but at the end of the day, that's exactly what it says... Just the shows.
If you're after the original four seasons on a medium that doesn't deteriorate at the rate of video, then this is for you. I for one love this pack, as I might only watch a special feature once, but this wil be rewatched many, many times.
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on 26 September 2004
Basically this is hillarious.
Lister has been frozen in stasis for millions of years, all the crew are dead so the ships senile, daft as a brush computer, brings one member back to life as a hologram, to help keep him sane. The trouble is it brings back the one person Lister hates the Most, Rimmer. Also aboard is "Cat" who evolved to look human from a cat. Lister is a crude beer drinking curry eating slob. Rimmer an overzealous, wanna be, coward, and cat a retarded character with flashes of brilliance and in love with himself and his looks. Later in the series they are joined by cryton an adroid who does everything he's told to, but Lister is trying to teach him to refuse and insult rimmer.
Sounds terrible but this really works, the verbal dueling of Lister and Rimmer is without doubt the funniest ANYTHING I have ever seen. If this was a woman I'd ask it to marry me. It is the ultimate feel good just watching these shows. No matter how down you may be this will always get a laugh and will never grow old on you. Replace the samaritans with these DVDs and suicide would become a thing of the past. Hurry up with the film you lot
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The Jupiter Mining Corporation ship "The Red Dwarf" has been drifting in space for 3 million years. It's only inhabitants are Dave Lister, the last remaining human in the universe; Arnold Rimmer, a hologram of his dead bunkmate, a creature that evolved from Dave's pet cat; Kryten, a Series 4000 service mechanoid and Holly, the ship's semi-senile computer.

BBC2's sci-fi comedy first aired in 1988 and has produced some ten series, the most recent of which ran on Dave in 2012. The series is distinguished by it's laddish humour, its almost constant leading cast over it's (so-far) 24 year run and its cheap and cheerful production style. It started off as a somewhat disregarded denizen of BBC2, quickly gained a cult following then sold out to the man and went mainstream, went into suspended animation, returned, jumped the shark, got remastered, went back into stasis and was subsequently revived on a different channel (Dave). Bit of a rollercoaster ride, really.

The format of the show has remained more or less constant as a sitcom revolving around the four main characters (played by Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Danny John Jules and Robert Llewellyn, with Norman Lovett and Hattie Haydridge both playing Holly) as they bounce off the Red Dwarf's walls and each other, with frequent encounters with aliens, Genetically Engineered Lifeforms (GELFs), rogue simulants, androids of one sort or another and, not infrequently, alternative versions of themselves (the heroic "Ace" Rimmer and the Cat's appalingly uncool alter ego, Duane Dibley being two stand-out examples). The plots are often based around or make sly reference to) well-known movies such as Cassablanca, Alien, Pride and Prejudice, Blade Runner and Robocop. The "science" which drives many of the stories is intentionally laughable drivel and the sets and SFX are, as already mentoned, cheap and cheerful.

This is classic British humour (Men Behaving Badly owes the Dwarfers a fair debt of thanks) untaxing and unsophisticated on the surface but with an undercurrent of complexity, poking fun at lad culture and authority figures with equal abandon. Noel Coward would sneer, but I suspect he would be secretly taking notes.

Series I starts well. Despite being (at the time) a new production, there is nothing tentative about it, the cast seem comfortable in their roles and the storylines are fresh and fun (note, however, that Kryten doesn't join the cast on a permanent basis until SIII). As the cycle progresses through the first few series there is, of course, some "bedding down" and the humour, the format and the characters all develop and mature somewhat, but it is a question of degree. Despite a very few missfires, the SI to SIV will not disappoint. Best episodes are probably Better than Life, Backwards and Bodyswap. Later series (i.e. SVII to SVIII are not included in this release) are less well regarded by fans for various reasons: SV and SVII are pretty much as good as it gets, while SVIII is terrible (Red Dwarf: Series 5-8).

This DVD Box set presents, as advertised, "nothing but the shows" with no extras. It is ONLY the BBC series, i.e. s1-4, and in their un-remastered format at that. Worth noting is that you can buy all of the first eight series here and for less than this four series box set.

As far as the screen-quality is concerned, despite this being the original unremastered format, SI actually looks better than I had expected or remembered. The remastering process may have added some value, but a good deal less than you would have thought and I doubt that you're missing much if anything buying the series in this original format.

Series Listing
==============

Series I (1988)
1 - The End
2 - Future Echoes
3 - Balance of Power
4 - Waiting for God
5 - Confidence and Paranoia
6 - Me2

Series II (1988)
7 - Kryten
8 - Better Than Life
9 - Thanks for the Memory
10 - Stasis Leak
11 - Queeg
12 - Parallel Universe

Red Dwarf III (1989)
13 - Backwards
14 - Marooned
15 - Polymorph
16 - Bodyswap
17 - Timeslides
18 - The Last Day

Red Dwarf IV (1991)
19 - Camille
20 - DNA
21 - Justice
22 - White Hole
23 - Dimension Jump
24 - Meltdown

RIMMER: 'I don't know what it is you think you're doing, but boarding this vessel is an act of war, ergo, we surrender...and as prisoners of war, I'm invoking All-Nations Agreement Article 39436175880932/B.'
KRYTEN: '39436175880932/B. "All nations attending the conference are only allocated one parking space." Is that entirely relevant sir? I mean, here we are, in mortal danger and you're worried about the Chinese delegates bringing two cars.!'
RIMMER: 'Can't you let just one go? I was talking about the right of POWs to non-violent constraint.'
KRYTEN: 'But that's 39436175880932/C, sir.'
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on 28 January 2006
What a great DVD all the series from 1 to 4 without the other rubbish!! OK the smeg-ups were pretty funy but otherwise it's a great deal better than buying each individual DVD.
You save a lot of money and still get the best TV show ever created!
LOL :) If you've ever have seen Red Dwarf you'll know just how funny it is and if you haven't seen it yet buy this now!!!
What a Bargain!! BUY THIS NOW ! :)
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on 27 September 2004
Amazon seem to have ignored my previous review of this item, and as I can no longer find any guidelines about how long reviews take to be approved, etc, I figured I'd review it again. I'm sure this one shall mysteriously disappear into the ether too.A key point of my review is probably the reason it got deleted -- I simply stated the fact that the Amazon review for this item is factually inaccurate. Which, to be fair to myself, it is. And it's important to potential buyers, too. The review claims that this set contains 2 discs for each series of Red Dwarf, and includes all the extra features present in just the individual releases. It doesn't. As the title ("Just The Shows") clearly implies, this is just the shows. The box set contains disc one from each of the four individual releases.This is great for casual fans. If you don't want all those extras, this is probably the cheapest way to get hold of the first four seasons of Red Dwarf. If you want to know about the show's history, production, etc, you should definitely get the individual seasons, which contain a wealth of extra features. As such I only give this box set 4/5 -- it deserves that on the merit of the hilarious episodes alone.
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on 28 February 2007
How nice to see a DVD that gets the point! Rather than shelling out the price of a Saturday night blowout to buy the shows plus some extras that I'll watch once or twice, I end up spending the price of a chicken vindaloo, a few lagers and a good movie to get four series of some of the best British comedy ever to hit our screens.

I have already reviewed all of the four series herein so I will focus this purely on the DVD. It is just as it says on the tin - Just the Shows. And with the beginning of this wonderful saga, and the pinnacle of series three and brilliant sci-fi comedy of series four, what more could you want? Do you really want extras so much that you will pay THREE TIMES as much for some out takes and interviews?

Bravo, 10 out 10 for the content and 11 out 10 for value for money!
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VINE VOICEon 20 November 2007
Red Dwarf is rightly considered one of the finest sitcoms ever made and these early series show why. The early set up with the crew dead, and only Dave Lister surviving as the last human with an oddball crew pushes the sitcom into a different arena but it does still boil down to the inter-personal relationships. The star characters however are genius. Rimmer is among the finest comedy creations television has ever known, and the biting irony of Holly (pre-gender swap) is a constant source of laughter.

The first two series of Red Dwarf are different from the rest, less overtly gag-intensive but with a real story that had the potential to develop into something quite interesting. This is not followed up beyond the second series and the references to Zero-G football end at that point. However, what emerges is comedy platinum.

Watching the Shows again, I find the Queeg episode to be right up there with the best that sitcom has offered and while not every episode is perfect there are many gems to be found in the early series.
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on 13 July 2005
Ask yourself the question. If I only had 12 hours on my portable media player would I upload the bonus material? Of course not! Sure you watch that stuff once, maybe, but in the end what you keep coming back to is the shows. Bear in mind also that you pay an additional 35 quid to buy the separate series...'nuff said!
Speaking as someone who missed most of the early stuff the first time round but got into the later series I was delighted at the opportunity to go back to the beginning. What I found was a delight. OK the effects are naff probably left over from Jon Pertwee's tenure as Doctor Who, but the comedy is fresh and original and the characters are sublime. Put them in the Big Brother house and they would all be nominated in the first week by the housemates but would all survive the public vote because they are compelling viewing. Lister is as obnoxious as Rimmer is neurotic as Kryten is obsessive as Cat is vain as Holly is endearingly dimwitted - what a mix.
As the series progress the stories become better rounded but not at the expense of the gags or the personalities bouncing off one another. I can't wait for 5-8 just the shows!
If you've got 60 quid burning a hole in your sky rocket by all means get the individual series but my advice is to spend 25 on this and the rest on the complete Comic Strip.
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