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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 14 April 2006
Anyway. Red Dwarf 8... Not the best series by a long shot but still very enjoyable. The DVD seems to fix alot of the problems with the original broadcasts. For example, Back In The Red parts I-III can be viewed as one long episode. This cut makes alot more sense and helps the continuity run though alot better. The same also applies for Pete Parts I and II.
Upon re-watching the whole series back to back (i have nothing better to do,ok!) you do start to see alot of the jokes you missed first time round and realise that the scripting is actually very clever.
Although the series is only a three star (compared to series 4/5/6) the dvd bonus features bring it up to a 4 star.
The Tank original documentary is another spot on 90 minute run through of the episodes behind the scenes and the like, talking to all the major players involved and one or two minor ones.
The Comedy Connections program (a brilliant program on BBC1) has some brilliant (and cringeworthy) early footage of chris barry and danny john jules in his maid marion and her merry men days...
Other than these there is the usual fare such as smeg ups,deleted scenes, story boards etc.
What does let these other wise fantastic extras down are the menu's. Set in the bunk in the tank, they're slow to respond and actually finding what your looking for is a nightmare sometimes.

All in All, the series is good but not great though the extras make it a Four star package.

And the scutter is pretty cool too
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on 17 October 2012
Whereas the emphasis was more on drama in series VII, the focus here is much more on comedy. Sole writer Doug Naylor had been involved in the remastering of the first three series and it is evident in this series how the show was to an extent returned to its situation comedy roots though aspects of the heavy science fiction remained. The show returned to being filmed in front of a studio audience though some higher budgetary remained with the sophisticated sets and computer generated imagery (CGI). Although I prefer the charming models of the first six series, unlike other reviewers I feel that the CGI is okay. It's not amazing, but it is good and better than series VII's shoddy CGI. Other signs of the shift towards pure situation comedy is through the return of Rimmer, resurrected by the nanobots and bearing all his earlier pre-radiation leak pomposity, deviousness and cowardice. This leads to the return of the Rimmer-Lister relationship dynamic and the return of the bunk room scenes (not seen since series III or IV) is very welcome as they lead to all manner of entertaining dialogue and one-liners. Another thing that has improved greatly from VII (IMHO the weakest series, though good) is the dialogue is back to its best with the constant flow of hilarious gags.

The opening bunkroom scene is a sensational start to the series. Series VIII IMHO has four great episodes which are as funny and entertaining as the first six series. The opening two stories are an enjoyable comedy romp with aspects of the more prominent sci-fi of series III to VI (e.g. the use of the positive viruses from series V and the artificial reality suite). Highlights of the humour include Starbug's encounter with a rat, Holly's subsequent observation and Kryten's farcical psychiatric evaluation. Another source of humour is through the return of Norman Lovett as Holly. Although Hattie Hayridge was really good, the original Holly is the best and in this series his one-liners and dialogue are either as funny as series I and II or almost as excellent. In the second part the most entertaining parts of the story is Rimmer's use of the sexual magnetism virus and its effects on his ability to attract the female crew.

However, while the third part of "Back in the Red" is good it is not as great as the previous two parts. Again aspects of the stronger science fiction are utilised with the main characters all being linked up to artificial reality where their actions can be judged to see whether what they are saying about the nanobots resurrecting the crew and recreating the ship is true. However, with the two artificial realities and the two escape attempts it becomes somewhat repetitive. It is a fifth good episode just not as great as the best four - "Back in the Red Part One," "Back in the Red Part Two," "Cassandra" and "Krytie TV."

The middle two episodes are back to thirty minute length and two blinders. With the main cast in the ship's brig on floor thirteen Lister signs them all up for the Canaries suicide missions and this allows them to leave the ship for a series V style episode involving a Geraldine McEwan-played computer, called Cassandra, that can accurately predict the future. It is a strong story because the science fiction is so convincing and is melded very successfully with the comedy. A couple of the series I and II ideas are referenced with the Lister's mention of "Future Echoes" and Rimmer's hilarious "oh-Listy" remarks about signing up for the Canaries when he unwittingly thinks that they are merely a prison choir and not a convict army placed on suicide missions! The twists in plot and the shifts in the viewer's expectation also contribute to making it like a vintage series V episode.

Next episode, "Krytie TV" is the best of the series. Some Red Dwarf fans feel that bringing back the entire crew was a mistake as it defeated the great success of the show's initial premise - last human in space. But I feel it was a fairly wise idea as every show has to evolve in order to avoid repetition and it created new opportunities for comedy. This is one of the episodes where the comedy of the Dwarfers' prison life is exploited to the full as Kryten is reprogrammed to become a seedy television entrepreneur. The highlight of the comedy for me has to be the "Beadle's About" and "Crystal Maze" pastiche for the scene in which Lister sabotages prison warden Ackerman's room with all sorts of Rimmer's hideously uncool possessions. But it is all funny especially the dialogue between Rimmer, Lister and Kryten anticipating Kochanski's upcoming date with her ex-boyfriend Tim. But what makes it such a great episode is it is simply a good story. The end of episode five is the turning point where series VIII goes downhill and you can see why some of the fans think it is along with series VII another weak series by series I to VI's exceptional standards.

Apart from individual scenes the final three episodes are average. Whereas the previous episodes' stories worked as a cohesive whole, the final three episodes, especially the "Pete" two parter, feels more like a sketch show. There are funny individual scenes and the dialogue remains impeccable but the stories do not flow as a whole. The science fiction of the time wand cannot even save the actual plot which is too lightweight and simplistic.

I am pleased that this year's tenth series will have six episodes rather than eight because you can really see how over eight episodes the other co-creator Rob Grant is missed to provide the other three great scripts. It was nonsensical for the episode number to be increased to eight for the final two series with one of the two writers and co-creators departing. Final BBC episode "Only the Good," is half okay because the individual scenes and their dialogue are humorous but the overall story again is shown to be lacking. The Mirror universe sci-fi concept has been done plenty of times before and better such as in series II's "Parallel Universe" and series VII's "Ouroboros." Thank goodness it is not the final ever episode of Red Dwarf. Overall although the plot fails to inspire, you cannot help but laugh at the scenes in which Ackerman finds Lister and Rimmer drunk. Also you cannot fail to be moved by Rimmer's second death. Although the series is a comedy, it feels a suitably tragic and emotional way to bring the curtain down on the show for a decade. There are certainly some good ideas in this final BBC episode but the plot was underdeveloped and not innovative enough. If the series could have been six episodes then maybe the "Pete" episodes could have been dropped and more time spent on writing "Only the Good."

Series VIII of Red Dwarf is certainly a return to form to an extent but the weak plots of the final three episodes are crying out for Rob Grant's influence and ideas. But still it was an achievement for sole writer Doug Naylor (with the assistance of Paul Alexander) to get the dialogue back to the standards of the earlier series. If the final three episodes had more affecting stories then maybe this would be one of the essential series of Red Dwarf. However, it is a worthwhile purchase for Dwarf fans as it is the final BBC series, is an improvement on series VII and whets the appetite for this year's series X. Although I feel series VIII was a half-successful evolution of the show I hope that series X will return it to its series III to VI peak years and in some ways strip it back to basics.
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on 6 January 2006
This series promised a return to the pre series 7 glory days by being filmed in front of a live studio audience together with the heralded return of Chris Barrie to the ensemble. After the critical reception given to the cinematic style of series 7, perhaps it was inevitable it would revert back. On paper it was probably a good idea to increase the on board crew numbers and have larger upgraded sets. It would have worked as a novel but hasn't translated as well as expected to the small screen. The dynamics of a small eclectic group were diluted with Red Dwarf populated by so many anonymous bodies. The basketball game in Pete 1 and the audience in Krytie TV serve to illustrate this. Except for Captain McDonald and the pantomime performance of the Captain of the prison guards, the other characters are forgettable. When first broadcast Series 8 was a roller coaster ride. The first episode, Back in the Red, opens in a truly thrilling style with unforgettable moments including the genuinely hilarious rat sequence culminating in Starbug's spectacular crash. The whole episode is satisfying but Part 2 has to be the most disappointing episode of Red Dwarf ever only marginally beating part 3 to this claim. The story arc would benefit from being compressed into two episodes rather than protracted over three. Cassandra and Krytie TV are genuinely funny episodes and the highlights of this series. Pete 1 & 2 manages to combine amusing with lacklustre. The series conclusion, Only the Good, finally comes close to a story from the glory days. Overall the problem is that the science fiction has largely been shelved to concentrate on the situation comedy. But it is paramount that both elements are present in good proportion for Red Dwarf to succeed. Slap stick and farcical comedy are uncomfortably present with too much clowning around throughout this series. It does not live up to the expectations that it would emulate the high standards set by series 5 & 6 and consequently is considered a disappointment. Instead of looking like a BBC2 comedy it resembled a mainstream BBC1 show. In isolation Red Dwarf 8 is much funnier than other more lauded and overrated contemporary comedies but it will first and foremost be judged against its predecessors.
Externally Red Dwarf became elongated but the "red pencil" shape is an improvement for a ship that's 5 miles long. Internally and significantly it no longer looked like an industrial mining ship. The colours and the lighting were too bright and the sets were too clean resulting in a style resembling Whitbury Leisure Centre (The Brittas Empire). I see Red Dwarf as a claustrophobic industrial environment like a submarine or a battle ship not a luxury ocean liner as it was transformed into. There were some scenes that managed to convey more familiar interiors, notably in Cassandra when the crew were confined in a corridor set dodging a bullet. That was how series 8 should have looked. Nonetheless true fans and I'm one of them, are at least grateful to have a series 8 with a few great moments to savour rather than nothing at all.
Until series 8 I'd enjoyed every episode of Red Dwarf except Stoke Me A Clipper in series 7. However when seen again on the recent DVD after a long hiatus it's much better than I remember. So has time been good to series 8, enough to soften any initial prejudices? Yes with reservations is the succinct answer though it remains my least favourite series. It remains too bright and colourful with an excessive number of bodies contravening Space Corp Directive 1234567B. Nevertheless, and this is admittedly an unorthodox approach to viewing a DVD, if you listen to it rather than watch it you will develop a new found appreciation for the quality and strength of the comedy in the script. As a result thereafter your viewing pleasure is enhanced. I know it's a TV programme and this is a DVD and 50% or whatever percentage is visual but if you consider Red Dwarf's origins lie in a radio sketch show, Dave Hollins Space Cadet, and there are audio adaptations of the novels and a BBC world service radio series, it's a medium Dwarf has already proved itself successful in. After all this is sci-fi and duly requires imagination to appreciate it fully and what better way to imagine than to just listen and create your own visual interpretation. And don't just confine that experience to this series try it with the others in particular Meltdown from series 4. This episode has a low approval rating because of its visual appearance but as an audio episode it's brilliant.
It goes without saying Grant Naylor work extremely hard and with unbridled passion to ensure that the extras accompany each release are supreme and this will be no exception. In time this series will be more widely appreciated. I know I enjoy it more now than I ever did in 1999. However here and now it is the quality of the extras that will be the main attraction for this release. Overall 4 episodes provide a good standard of viewing pleasure with all 8 shining as an audio only experience. Buy it to complete your collection but also buy it because it's better than you may remember. I love Red Dwarf and it saddens me greatly after much soul searching I can only award this a three star rating. Having given series 7 a four star rating in a previous Amazon review, I would award series 1 the same and a full five stars to series 2 - 6 inclusive. Series 8 falls short of achieving their incredibly high standards so I can't honestly reward this release a higher status. Whatever comes next in the Red Dwarf saga be it the long awaited movie or six one off specials broadcast one a week over 6 weeks can only benefit from the hindsight afforded from this series.
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on 4 February 2006
This series of Red Dwarf takes the premise of the show established in Series I & II and takes it to a whole new level by turning it completely on its head!
Namely, the crew of Red Dwarf are back - recreated by the nanos. This means that Mac McDonald makes a very welcome return as Captain Hollister. Also, Holly (played by Norman Lovett) is back for the entire series after his brief return in Red Dwarf VII's 'Nanarchy.'
The bunk room setting returns for VIII, with many classic Lister/Rimmer conversations just like old times. However, more scope is now available for much more to happen with the entire crew back.
'Back In The Red' is a three-part episode that kicks off the series. However, this DVD release will allow you to watch the entire and xtended version of 'Back In The Red' (maybe the closest we will get to feature-length Dwarf if the film doesn't happen.) Not only this, but the two-parter 'Pete' is also viewable as an hour long episode here. Firm fan favourites Krytie TV and Cassandra also appear here.
Extras will include the usual high standard cast commentaries, documentary, featurette, easter eggs, deleted scenes, smeg ups and the like. In short, the usual superb quality and quantity that have come as part and parcel of the seven previous Dwarf DVD releases.
Being the eigth and (probably) final series of Red Dwarf, completists will already have this on their pre-order lists. If you are someone who does not, I urge you to do so. You may not quite get the adventurous voyages deep into space on Starbug that series 6 & 7 offered, but what I gaurantee you will get is a whole lot of laughs. After all, is that not what a comedy show should be for? Plus, where better to be than back on Red Dwarf itself!

A great series of a brilliant (and much missed) show.
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VINE VOICEon 9 January 2006
Red Dwarf has had many face lifts in terms of characters evolving and situations, fair enough it allways revolved around the central story of their long long long trip home, but each series has added another angle to the story. After series 6 came the dissapointing and over budgeted (if thats possble) series 7. So to pick up the show they released series 8 with a twist, it was back on red dwarf instead of starbug.
Series 8 is definately an attempt to rekindle the charm of the first 2 series, the low budget, situation comedy. But the attempt gives mixed results. Although some episodes again dont quite hit the spot, some do shine and push this series above series 7.
Chris Barrie definately takes over this series, he shines above the rest and steals the spotlight more than any others.
If you are new to the show DO NOT start here, go back to any of the first 6 series, each has its charm and will hook you. If you are a collector well you just have to own it to complete your collection.....
On the whole, nice to see RD returning to its roots, just a shame it isnt as funny...
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on 2 March 2006
I can't wait for the DVD to be released and add the Skutter to my Red Dwarf and Starbug but I can't help feeling that that will be the end. Talk of the movie happening has been around for years and unfortunately no-one wants to put up the money. I think a more likely outcome is that Doug Naylor will complete the cliff-hanger ending via another novel. Let's face it; the cast aren't getting any younger.
As for series 8 itself, it has come under fire though not as much as series 7 received. Personally there is no series or episode I hate of Red Dwarf although series 7 is the weakest but does include great episodes such as Tikka to Ride, Blue and Stoke me a Clipper. Series 8 brings the whole cast back together in a set that looks fantastic and brings back the much loved bunk scenes between Rimmer and Lister.
Fingers crossed this is not the end but I’ll be savouring every minute of the DVD extras just in case.
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on 22 March 2006
Complete your set with this... cliffhanger. A really strange position this series is in, completing the logo on the DVD spine but still lacking the catharsis of an actual Red Dwarf end. Or even a sense of point for this series or resolution for the final episode. This is for me an abysmal series, I can't watch it because the familiar characters remind me vaguely of a formerly great show and it just makes me sad. Red Dwarf is now puerile pantomime nonsense - it's like watching the final series of Rentaghost, to be honest. People scampering around with their knees kicking high as though mocking the very notion of running away from something, seemingly infinite instances of Lister and Rimmer being led sheepishly to the ship's captain to be told off, everything about this series is badly thought-out and written, overlong and ultimately poorly structured. Not only does nothing of worth happen (which in itself needn't be a bad thing), the episodes actually seem to be gratuitously wasting time before your eyes - it'll make you furious. And with the live audience back, the cast have a new aura of smug self-congratulation every time they do something that's supposed to be funny. Absolutely insufferable.
I've seen a preview of this DVD which not many people will have done. The menus are gorgeous (larger and more realistic than any of the preceding releases) but the fact that so much time and money have been slavishly spent recreating the inside of the ship when the series is so unpleasant makes me feel a strange melancholy. Imagine any other third-rate sitcom getting this kind of treatment and the detail and beauty of these menus is bizarre. It also only makes the let down of the episodes themselves all the greater.
I'd say buy to complete your collection but there's no conclusion here, which just makes this set all the more unsatisfying. Other extras are as per usual, but none hit the heights of Dwarfing USA (series V), or the documentaries of V, VI and VII which all picked apart interesting troubled aspects of the series history. Everyone involved seems to adore series VIII which makes the documentary frustratingly one-dimensional and back-slapping. The extended episodes remove the recaps but put more padding in, and lack the intrigue of the sans-laughter episodes from series VII. Very little here to watch more than once I'm afraid, and first viewing will leave you feeling very cold, and sad that there's probably no more to come and redeem this mess.
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on 22 March 2006
Red Dwarf VIII, the last Red Dwarf series produced for television, is so far off the original premise and comedic style of the first few series of the show that in many ways it seems like a completely different show. Having an entire ship full of people with whom Lister can interact really shatters the great comedic premise on which Red Dwarf was created, that being that Lister is the last human left in the universe. Personally, I've never enjoyed the premise of bringing back the entire crew and then putting the main characters in prison for nearly the full eight episodes. While amusing, I believe this series has a lot of unwelcome changes and writing difficulties compared to earlier series of the show. The humor is less dense and less clever, often relying on gags that do not even approach the level of razor-edged wit prevalent in earlier episodes of the show.
Nevertheless, there are a few bright spots in this series. Chris Barrie is back and the full cast of regulars is present for the entire series. And there is some occasionally inspired humor that still manages to make this better than most of the other shows on television. Cassandra particularly stands out as a good, "classic" Red Dwarf episode.
Finally, the extra features, as on the other Red Dwarf DVD sets, are terrific, with Smeg Ups, deleted scenes, extended versions of two episodes, a making of documentary, commentary tracks, and much more. The extra features alone are worth the price for any "serious" Red Dwarf fan. Based on that alone, I would recommend this set. Plus, what Red Dwarf fan can resist completing their collection? Sadly, as of this writing, Series VIII is the last Red Dwarf ever produced.
Here is a synopsis of the plot of each episode in this set:
Back In The Red Part I
Kryten's nanobots have recreated the ship Red Dwarf and the original crew as well, which is an especially good thing for Arnold Rimmer.
Back In The Red Part II
Rimmer uses a virus that enhances sexual magnetism to assist him with attracting female crewmembers, but this gets him into trouble when he dines at the captain's table.
Back In The Red Part III
Lister and his bunch face time in the brig for crimes against the Space Corps., so they escape to try and prove their innocence.
Cassandra
Lister joins a special military unit comprised of convicts, only to discover it's basically a suicide squad. Things get interesting when they face the all-knowing Cassandra. This episode is the one in Series VIII that is the most like a classic Red Dwarf episode from earlier series of the show; it is cleverly written and hilarious.
Krytie TV
Kryten's private TV station is most amusing to his fellow prisoners, but the jokes are at the expense of others, which gets him into a bit of trouble.
Pete Part I
Rimmer and Lister are forced play against the guards in a basketball game. They sabotage the opposition's half-time juice with a virility enhancement drug.
Pete Part II
The crew becomes the prey when a sparrow devolves into one of its large dinosaur ancestors.
Only The Good
Rimmer passes into a parallel universe where his other self is the ship's captain.
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on 14 December 2005
This series promised a return to the pre series 7 glory days by being filmed in front of a live studio audience together with the heralded return of Chris Barrie to the ensemble. After the critical reception given to the cinematic style of series 7, perhaps it was inevitable it would revert back. On paper it was probably a good idea to increase the on board crew numbers and have larger upgraded sets. It would have worked as a novel but hasn't translated as well as expected to the small screen. The dynamics of a small eclectic group were diluted with Red Dwarf populated by so many anonymous bodies. The basketball game in Pete 1 and the audience in Krytie TV serve to illustrate this. Except for Captain McDonald and the pantomime performance of the Captain of the prison guards, the other characters are forgettable. When first broadcast Series 8 was a roller coaster ride. The first episode, Back in the Red, opens in a truly thrilling style with unforgettable moments including the genuinely hilarious rat sequence culminating in Starbug's spectacular crash. The whole episode is satisfying but Part 2 has to be the most disappointing episode of Red Dwarf ever only marginally beating part 3 to this claim. The story arc would benefit from being compressed into two episodes rather than protracted over three. Cassandra and Krytie TV are genuinely funny episodes and the highlights of this series. Pete 1 & 2 manages to combine amusing with lacklustre. The series conclusion, Only the Good, finally comes close to a story from the glory days. Overall the problem is that the science fiction has largely been shelved to concentrate on the situation comedy. But it is paramount that both elements are present in good proportion for Red Dwarf to succeed. Slap stick and farcical comedy are uncomfortably present with too much clowning around throughout this series. It does not live up to the expectations that it would emulate the high standards set by series 5 & 6 and consequently is considered a disappointment. Instead of looking like a BBC2 comedy it resembled a mainstream BBC1 show. In isolation Red Dwarf 8 is much funnier than other more lauded and overrated contemporary comedies but it will first and foremost be judged against its predecessors.
Externally Red Dwarf became elongated but the "red pencil" shape is an improvement for a ship that's 5 miles long. Internally and significantly it no longer looked like an industrial mining ship. The colours and the lighting were too bright and the sets were too clean resulting in a style resembling Whitbury Leisure Centre (The Brittas Empire). I see Red Dwarf as a claustrophobic industrial environment like a submarine or a battle ship not a luxury ocean liner as it was transformed into. There were some scenes that managed to convey more familiar interiors, notably in Cassandra when the crew were confined in a corridor set dodging a bullet. That was how series 8 should have looked. Nonetheless true fans and I'm one of them, are at least grateful to have a series 8 with a few great moments to savour rather than nothing at all.
Until series 8 I'd enjoyed every episode of Red Dwarf except Stoke Me A Clipper in series 7. However when seen again on the recent DVD after a long hiatus it's much better than I remember. So has time been good to series 8, enough to soften any initial prejudices? Yes with reservations is the succinct answer though it remains my least favourite series. It remains too bright and colourful with an excessive number of bodies contravening Space Corp Directive 1234567B. Nevertheless, and this is admittedly an unorthodox approach to viewing a DVD, if you listen to it rather than watch it you will develop a new found appreciation for the quality and strength of the comedy in the script. As a result thereafter your viewing pleasure is enhanced. I know it's a TV programme and this is a DVD and 50% or whatever percentage is visual but if you consider Red Dwarf's origins lie in a radio sketch show, Dave Hollins Space Cadet, and there are audio adaptations of the novels and a BBC world service radio series, it's a medium Dwarf has already proved itself successful in. After all this is sci-fi and duly requires imagination to appreciate it fully and what better way to imagine than to just listen and create your own visual interpretation. And don't just confine that experience to this series try it with the others in particular Meltdown from series 4. This episode has a low approval rating because of its visual appearance but as an audio episode it's brilliant.
It goes without saying Grant Naylor work extremely hard and with unbridled passion to ensure that the extras accompany each release are supreme and this will be no exception. In time this series will be more widely appreciated. I know I enjoy it more now than I ever did in 1999. However here and now it is the quality of the extras that will be the main attraction for this release. Overall 4 episodes provide a good standard of viewing pleasure with all 8 shining as an audio only experience. Buy it to complete your collection but also buy it because it's better than you may remember. I love Red Dwarf and it saddens me greatly after much soul searching I can only award this a three star rating. Having given series 7 a four star rating in a previous Amazon review, I would award series 1 the same and a full five stars to series 2 - 6 inclusive. Series 8 falls short of achieving their incredibly high standards so I can't honestly reward this release a higher status. Whatever comes next in the Red Dwarf saga be it the long awaited movie or six one off specials broadcast one a week over 6 weeks can only benefit from the hindsight afforded from this series.
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on 29 September 2006
After series 6 ended in such a spectacular style with the much talked about ending - fans of the series had to wait 4 years for series 7, which underpromised and had somehow lost its sparkle.

When aired in 1999, series 8 had completely degenerated in an overlong affair of poor ridiculous slapstick and cheesey gags. The half decent episode is surrounded with a far overdrawn (painfully) long three-parter "Back in the Red". Why three parts? The first was enough and another two to re-tell the drug induced states of our heroes. Krytie TV was funny and very purile. Pete should never have been made at all - there was nothing remotely funny in the dinosaur bit or the time-gizmo. The episode ranks with the downright embarrassing. The best episode next to Cassandra is the very last Only the Good...shame the film in production since 2001 will probably never be made.

If you start with RD, start with series 1 and enjoy the best through to series 6.
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