I can say with complete conviction that this is my all time favourite series of Red Dwarf by a long way. All of the episodes in this series are worth watching from the hilariously funny holoship ("Lister to Red Dwarf, we have in our midst a complete smegpot), to the ever so slightly disturbing Terrorform ("I've been stripped, oiled, licked, chained, humiliated and almost had a knobbly thing the size of a Mexican Agave cactus jammed up where only customs men dare to probe"). Buy this, watch this, laugh, watch it again, and again, and again, get upset when the disc melts from you watching it 400 times.
Also, not only do you get the shows, you also get a selection of highly enjoyable extra features, and if that weren't enough, with this special collectors edition, you even get a little model starbug to play with. What more could you want?
Buy this and I promise you won't be disappointed, especially at this price. I've seen the DVD on it's own for sale in shops for more than this. This is a fantastic item for any Red Dwarf fan, and if you haven't seen Red Dwarf, then this is one of the best series to get you hooked on it - this series is the one that got me hooked.
on 29 July 2006
Here it is - the last point where absolutely EVERYONE agrees the series was still on top form. Some will tell you the rot set in with series 6 (they are of course wrong, it's great), and 7 and 8 especially both come in for a lot of flak. No such problems here. There's nary a rough edge or weak moment to be seen - and there's a good reason why series 5 is considered among the majority of fandom the best series. It's the absolute peak of Red Dwarf.
It gave us some of the most iconic villians and secondary characters the series ever had - Daune Dibbley, later to be vastly overused but hilarious here in his first appearance - Psycotic glove-puppet penguin Mr Flibble - the chilling Inquisitor - while also introducing a whole ship of holograms, (where Rimmer finaly gets laid!), giving us 'Rimmer in a red gingham dress with hex vision', and Red Dwarf's best ever epsiode, Back to Reality.
The episodes are much darker and more dramatic than ever before - it's becoming borderline sci-fi drama/horror here - and it's all much more story-centric, though it remains as funny as ever. No time for the sitting around chatting from series 2 and 3, there's characters to be developed, monsters to be fought and the series' most hilarious set-pieces to be set up. The ideas and themes on display here would give any 'serious' sci-fi show a run for their money, with the writers really pushing all the boundaries of what was possible with the format and budget of the show. It's also really Rimmer's series - at least three of the six episodes revolve entirely around him - and what with him being the best and most popular character, that's no bad thing. In short, it's simply phenomonal, containing moments never to be bettered in the four previous or three following series. The DVD package itself is as top-notch as ever too - which is nothing less than the greatest Dwarf series deserves. If you only buy one series, buy this one.
I could have given this series five stars on the merits of the brilliant 'Back To Reality' alone but that wouldn't do justice to another fabulous line-up of episodes and some of the best comedy writing Britain has ever produced.
Firstly, just to take up the point that 'Red Dwarf' began to lean more heavily on its sci-fi roots in the later series, there is a strong sense that Rob Grant and Doug Naylor have started exploring concept more than humour. Episodes such as 'The Inquisitor' and 'Quarantine' tend to explore sci-fi themes deeper than in previous years. However, I feel the balance is still right in 5 and 'Red Dwarf' always was something more than a straightforward sit-com. This is a very funny series, one of my favourites in fact, and you have to move forward to 7 and 8 to see where the story-lines became hopelessly tangled.
All the episodes except possibly 'Terrorform' are top notch and even that has one of the best Dwarf scenes featuring Lister's encounter with a meatball-eyed 'taranshula'. From Mr Flibble the killer penguin glove puppet in 'Quarantine', to Rimmer's fishnets in 'Demons and Angels' and just about everything in 'Back To Reality' (Duane Dibbley!) this series is a blast and will have you wearing out your DVD player in no time. The extras are good too!
on 1 February 2006
Red Dwarf is one of the finest sitcoms ever to hit the British screen, and even though this series loses its way from time to time it is still a gem. The lines are brilliant, we meet Dwayne Dibley (rivals Ace Rimmer for funniest bit part character ever) and many episodes simply shine. Unfortunately, some of the flaws that BEGAN to surface in IV and would eventually cripple the show in later series are all too clear.
Quarantine is one of the episodes that can lose its way, with the focus sometimes shifting towards special effects although it still has its momenets with the King of the Potato People. The Enquisitor is much the same, with perhaps too much sci fi but laughs a plenty with Rimmer's adventures with Fiona Barrington. The low point is definately Terraform, but even that is still very funny, as Kryten's SOS terrifies the Cat and Lister. The series picks up in the later half though, Demons and Angels is brilliant, with Lister forced to do things he would never do, eat things he would never eat and spill things onto things that no one should ever spill things onto! Holoship is another that suffers from too much glitz rather than plot, but yet again it's a good laugh as Rimmer finds love (and she does NOT want to throw up all over him). But then comes the real reason to buy this DVD - Back to Reality. Quite simply one of the funniest episodes ever for any sitcom, the episode is legendary. From Norman Bates' mum, to the Cybernautics division, to Dwayne Dibley and from William Doyle aka Good 'Ol Bill Doyle to Billy Doyle, a name from the wrong side of the tracks, this episode is perhaps the best Red Dwarf episode ever.
Overall, the series is too hampered by special effects and glitz, taking away from the brilliance of the plot and characters. While the Enquistior, Demons and Angels and especially Back to Reality rank up with the best, the other three all have their moments but fall short of the mark. Sometimes disjointed, never less than hilarious, always worth watching!
on 7 September 2004
Red Dwarf still makes me laugh even now. From it's humble beginnings to the slightly overdone series 7 and 8, it is still one of the best british comedies ever.
Series 5 is quite a step up from the previous series but no less funny. IMO Quarantine is one of the best episodes ever.
on 15 September 2010
The series in which Rimmer finally realises "Why he's such an insufferable prat!" I'm going to rate these individually, even though as a whole, it's 5 stars. Well, it had to be! It's Red smegging Dwarf!
Holoship - An episode focusing on Rimmer, it is probably the rudest installment of the series but nevertheless, still as funny as ever! The insults that the Cat uses on Rimmer are genius! And the final few lines are hilarious! This episode, for the insults and jokes, gets 5 stars.
The Inquisitor - This one has a fantastic set of sequences showing just how funny the characters can be! The inquisitor is a droid who travels time and space judging whether people have led a worthwhile life and... well, it's pretty obvious what will happen when he judges the dwarfers. The final line of this episode has to be one of the funniest lines in Red Dwarf history! It also gives an insight onto what things could have been... Definitely 5 stars because of the award-winning final line!
Terrorform - Probably the weakest of the series but still as funny as heck, it gives an insight to Rimmer's mind. The idea of the crew trying to make Rimmer seem like he is loved is quite funny and the tarantula typing scene at the beginning is fantastic! Probably 4 stars but still worthwhile dwarf.
Quarantine - Oh my gosh! This almost made me pee myself with laughter! The scene with Mr. Flibbles was brilliant! The other scene with rimmer in his dress is so funny! Definitely 5 stars!
Demons and Angels - This one is probaly one of my favorite Dwarf episodes of all time! The things about the Cat's distractions and the pot noodle scene is so funny! 5 stars all the way!
Back to Reality - Ah, now, this is my favorite! the scene with Timthy Spall and the scene with Duane Dibbley and the cybernautics is hilarious! I wish i could give it 6! 6 stars is there!
The best series so far!
For its fifth season, Red Dwarf underwent a change of focus. Whilst the set-up and premise is still the same as the previous two seasons, the writers chose to take the show more in the direction of being a drama-comedy rather than a straight-up sitcom. The fifth season still has plenty of laughs, but they are now less prominent than before, with the SF ideas and character relationships come more to the fore. Production values, particularly the more frequent use of CGI, again improve, and the fifth season is arguably the first which still really stands up well in contrast to modern shows.
Things get off to a familiar start with Holoship, which is another Valentine's Day show (for the second season running, the season debuted on 14 February, this time in 1992). The crew encounter the Holoship Enlightenment, a wholly holographic spacecraft which is exploring the Galaxy and is crewed by the cream of the Space Corps, all top guns in their field. In the words of the captain, this is 'a ship of superhumans'. Tempted by a life of intellectual and scientific fulfilment - not to mention the ship's regulation that all crewmembers must have sex twice daily - Rimmer sets out to join their ranks, but encounters a few obstacles (most notably being an intellectual ignoramus with all the social graces of a cockroach). This is a solid episode with a great guest turn by Jane Horrocks as one of the holographic crewmembers.
The Inquisitor is the first of two unusually 'dark' episodes in the season. The crew encounter the Inquisitor, a time-travelling robot from the end of time who has concluded that there is no God and the sole purpose of life is to lead a worthy and fulfilling existence. When he encounters those who have wasted their lives, he deletes them and alters the timeline to replace them with someone more worthy who was never even born in the original timeline. Obviously, the crew of the Red Dwarf are in big trouble when he meets them. After a Rimmer and Kryten-heavy fourth season, this episode is a welcome chance for Lister to take centre stage and shine as he defies the Inquisitor in a battle to the death. This episode takes a great idea and runs well with it.
Terrorform sees Kryten and Rimmer crash on a 'psi-moon' which terraforms itself based on the psychology of the people inhabiting it. By the time Lister and the Cat arrive to rescue Kryten (alerted to their plight in one of the funniest sequences in the entire series) the moon has unfortunately adapted itself into the shape of Rimmer's mind! This is an unusually epic episode, with a ruined temple set, a swamp and a spacecraft crash site amongst its locations, and the 'making of' documentary and the cast commentary reveal just how they achieved the look of the piece on a relatively small budget.
Quarantine sees the crew exposed to a lethal holographic virus whilst on a mission to an abandoned scientific outpost. Ignoring the fact that they couldn't carry the virus anyway, Rimmer has the other three locked in quarantine upon their return to Red Dwarf. Lister's initially cheery view that it's not a problem as they spend all their time together anyway is soon put to the test as he has to spend several days and nights with Kryten and the Cat non-stop. However, even that isn't too much of a problem as the crew are soon confronted by their most demonic and evil foe to date...a psychotic penguin named Mr. Flibble!
Angels and Demons is probably the single most disturbing episode of Red Dwarf ever made. A freak accident with a 'triplicator' blows up the entire ship but creates two identical copies, one consisting of the crew's 'higher selves' (a bunch of super-intelligent peacenik hippies) and the other of their 'lower selves' (a bunch of psychopathic nutcases). As they attempt to unify the two ships together to recreate the original, they have to contend with the machinations of their lower selves who are a thoroughly unpleasant lot indeed. This episode is interesting for the fact that the audience are quite clearly rather uneasy about where to laugh and when not to. Although there are several genuinely funny sequences, there are also some seriously twisted moments, such as when Lister is kidnapped by the lows and put through a highly original method of torture involving a tarantula and a boiling kettle. It's an inventive and intriguing piece that pushes the boundaries of what you can do in a supposed sitcom.
Back to Reality is a classic episode with a brilliant, killer premise, although it loses a little of its power on DVD when you know there's another three seasons after this one. When it first aired the cast and crew were apparently despondent about there being a sixth and said at the time the show was going out on a creative high, although of course this was just to sell the idea that the series might end on as shocking a note as this one. Essentially, the crew are killed when Starbug crashes underwater and discover they've been playing a VR computer game for the last four years. Returning to reality, they discover that Lister is a senior figure in the law enforcement services for the totalitarian government ("Vote Fascist for another decade of total law enforcement!"), Rimmer is his drop-out, deadbeat half-brother, Kryten is a cyborg cop with the name 'Jake Bullet', and the Cat is a hapless, style-free dork named Duane Dibley. The episode continues the series' direction towards becoming more of a drama with some excellent writing and great ideas, although the comedy is kept alive and well through such sequences as how the show portrays our heroes in an epic car chase with the fascist cops on motorcycles carrying rocket-launchers with helicopter gunships in support, despite having no money to do it.
Red Dwarf's fifth season is still quite funny, but the move towards stronger drama and harder SF elements does make it somewhat less well-paced than the third and fourth seasons. The episodes still look great and pack a vast amount of content into their 30 minutes, and there are some nice nods towards continuity: the Inquisitor is referenced as a simulant, a similar type of robot to the one that appeared in Justice, whilst the triplicator was adapted from Meltdown's matter paddle. The characterisation is richer than ever, with Holoship and Terrorform both delving into Rimmer's character again and still finding interesting material, whilst Inquisitor gives Lister a chance to shine. The biggest loss of the season is Hattie Hayridge as Holly, who has very few lines and doesn't have much of a role (despite saving the day in one episode), leading the producers to reluctantly drop the character the following season.
on 11 October 2007
Red Dwarf V is often called by fans the strongest series of Red Dwarf and I am no exception. All of the characters are at their peaks with Rimmer having at least some physical presence in three episodes and Lister is at his most active.
A worthy follow up to 'Camille' from Series Four and Rimmer is in stark contrast to the callous, genocidal general from the previous episode 'Meltdown.' 4/5
I find similarities with this episode and 'Justice' from the previous series which is no bad thing. It is ironic that Lister and Kryten are to be erased and Rimmer and Cat are to be spared. 3.5/5
Another philopshical episode with fantastic scenery. The 'Taranshula' scene is hilarious and the Cat's face throughout make it worth while watching. 3.5/5
My favourite episode of Red Dwarf. It is tightly scripted and hilarious. The penguin puppet known as Flibble could have had his on spin off series. 5/5
Demons and Angels:
My second favourite episode. This is just extraordinary because of its premise and te contrast of characters. The 'Highs' are positive and stupid whereas the 'Lows' are despicable and stupid which make our Dwarfers like saints. 5/5
Back to Reality:
A somewhat overrated episode. Named as the best episode of Red Dwarf. Try looking at the previous two episodes for better quality and humour as this episode seems too surreal. I think this episode is okay but not the nugget people call it. 4/5
Overrall, I believe this to be the strongest series of Red Dwarf as there is a great diversity of episodes and the characters are at their funniest. It is worth five stars for Flibble alone.
on 19 September 2006
Red Dwarf has always been a balancing act between comedy and sci-fi, pulling in audiences from both.
And when the show is at its best, it becomes something like Legion - greater than the sum of its parts.
For my taste, Series V strikes that wonderful balance and mixes the ingredients perfectly. This season is rich in both high-powered concepts and laughs.
Throughout the show's history, the pendulum has sometimes swung towards strong comedy, and sometimes towards strong sci-fi. I would say that in in earleir seasons, like Sereis IV, we saw more of the former. Though visually very similar to Series V, it's storylines were more humour driven. However, for Red Dwarf to 'err' on the side of comedy in between interesting ideas is hardly going to be fatal for a sitcom in space!
Most seem to agree that Series VII lost the balance in the other direction. All the high-powered concepts were there, but somehow the delivery of the humour wasn't able to make them breath properly.
"Tikka to Ride", for example, had a great concept and could have been a classic. If it had been written and conceived with the gestalt power of Grant Naylor during Series V, it would have been.
on 24 November 2004
Since the excellent instalment of series IV, and after watching each episode dozens of times plus all the special features, I have eagaly been awaiting series V. When it finally arrived (complete with briliantly detailed Starbug), I locked it into my DVD player and watched it throughout. Sheer brilliance!
Now I only have to wait a few months for series VI which completes the best series. I shall still purchase series VII and VIII, mainly for the special features and to complete the spinal logo "Red Dwarf" on my shelf. I think the producers should have stopped at series VI and kept all episodes as classics, rather than ruining the series with the over-done VII and VIII.
Series V however is full of classics. not as much as Series II or III, but my favourites "Quarantine" and "Back to Reality", but "Holoship" is excellent and "Terrorform" is full of witty one-liners and clever critiscisms as well as "The Inquisitor". "Demons and Angels" is another classic, especially with the alternate crews!