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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lighten up and appreciate this for it is............
First of all, I think a lot of the criticism of this program here and elsewhere stems from the fact that it doesn't capture the magic earlier Red Dwarf seasons. Series one and the wooden sets and hilarious Lister-Rimmer banter, series two's injection of colour (well, a large inflatable banana and cup) and occasional trip off of the large rouge one, Krytie's arrival in...
Published on 15 Feb 2010 by SmellyJellyBelly

versus
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Watch it as a feature length episode, not in 3 parts!
This mini series is a victim of its own publicity. Expectations were raised so high that it was bound to disappoint many fans. I had my first reservations when they announced they were making a three part special, as opposed to a full series. What is clear from series 8 is that 2 or 3 parters don't work as far as Red Dwarf is concerned. It slows the plot down and for me...
Published on 8 May 2009 by D. Levy


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Watch it as a feature length episode, not in 3 parts!, 8 May 2009
By 
D. Levy - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Dwarf - Back To Earth - Director's Cut [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This mini series is a victim of its own publicity. Expectations were raised so high that it was bound to disappoint many fans. I had my first reservations when they announced they were making a three part special, as opposed to a full series. What is clear from series 8 is that 2 or 3 parters don't work as far as Red Dwarf is concerned. It slows the plot down and for me there is a sense of trying to pad out the episodes with weak gags. If viewed as a one off feature, which this DVD has an option for, it works so much better. By ending episode 1 just as the plot starts to get going kills the momentum and by the time its picked up again in the second episode its killed once more.

As a story i think its very imaginative and entertaining. Yes it harks back to earlier series and isn't totally original but i thought the twist was constructed very well and sets it up perfectly for a future series. I also thought the serious scenes between Lister and Kochanski were beautifully played. In order to get the most out of this though it must be watched in one go.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Returning to form..., 14 Feb 2013
By 
Crookedmouth ":-/" (As seen on iPlayer) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Dwarf - Back To Earth - Director's Cut [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
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 and Kryten, a Series 4000 service mechanoid.

BBC2's sci-fi comedy first aired in 1988 and has produced ten series; it 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, as Holly would have said.

Back to Earth represented a return to the telly after a 9 year hiatus, airing on Dave in 2009 on Dave as a three part mini series. The crew of the Dwarf find themselves transported back to 21st century Earth only to discover that they are characters in a hugely popular sci-fi comedy series, and are about to be killed off by the writers. Clearly they have to do something about this, so set off on a journey to track down The Creator and plead for a new series.

Now. There's good and bad to all this...

The BBC series ended on a low with SVIII. I won't go into details, but while I could happily watch SI to VII back to back on continuous loop, I could, just as happily, remove the last two discs from my box set (Red Dwarf: SI - SVIII) and use them as drinks mats or bird scarers. I rather get the impression that the writers/producers probably feel the same way. The continuity is such that it could just as easily follow-on from SVII as VIII, there are numerous references to a mythical ninth series ("the best series yet") and many of the worst elements of SVIII (pretty much all of it, to be honest) have been dropped from B2E.

Indeed, the writing is good enough that B2E could be considered a return to form. The gags are funny and the story is an good one and is done in the best traditions of the earlier series. It may not rank alongside the series' heyday (SIV to SV, in my opinion) but it easily beats SVII and SVIII. B2E does suffer however. Red Dwarf is at it's best as a series of self-contained weekly adventures and a three-parter or feature length episode strains Naylor's writing ability as well as the viewers' patience. It's just too long. Note that this release of B2E can be played as either a single feature-length episode or in the original three part format. In the latter case, the flow suffers somewhat between episodes and in the former, it is the internal continuity that breaks down somewhat. Take your pick.

The cast's performances are absolutely fine. No acting Oscars I'm afraid, but Craig Charles does deliver a couple of surprisingly touching scenes regarding his relationship with Kochanski. It's great to see the character balance restored after the aberations of the previous two series - all four of the leading lads are on form and have more or less equal air time, where SVII and SVIII focussed too much on the Lister/Kochanski affair, to the detriment of the tried and tested "Space Jockeys Behaving Badly" theme.

The story is very much a homage to Blade Runner and this has annoyed some fans. I rather liked the idea and enjoyed B2E all the more for spotting the references. I do admit that some rather heavy-handed pastiche strayed into parody in places which may be the source of criticism. On balance though, I thought it was done quite well.

I do wonder that, for all it's good points, it was a lost opportunity. The SFX on the Dwarf at the start are rather tasty (albeit in stark comparison to the cheap and cheerful FX of the early series) and tantalisingly suggest what could have been... All that CGI capability might have turned out a very eyecatching sci-fi comedy set on Tatooine, or Ringworld or drifting through the Crab Nebula but no! In the end the series is set on... 21st century earth, including a brief visit to Coronation St, for heaven's sake - talk about recycling sets!

In the end, this is a bit of a curate's egg; not as good as the best but far, far better than the worst. It's a shame that B2E is hard to enjoy without reference to its egregious predecessor, but on balance it is still a very worthy addition to the Red Dwarf library.

This release includes an "Extras" disc which contains a 2-part documentary. It's a bit "ho-hum" but nice to see and hear the cast out of character. There are some other bits and pieces, but the best reason to buy this is the first disc, not the second.

Bartikovsky: "In my country we have word for people like you."
Rimmer: "In my country we have several."
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The team are back together and not as bad as I expected., 19 Jun 2009
By 
Low-Quality (London England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Dwarf - Back To Earth - Director's Cut [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I am a huge Red Dwarf Fan and hearing there was a new recently made mini series, I was really looking forward to see these actors reunited.

We live in an age of remakes and sometimes surprise returns of well known series/actors trying to recapture the peaks of glory. Many attempts in recent years of making a huge comeback of recreating nostalgia or continuing a series/franchise put to rest long ago , have been a mixed bag of decent effort and Epic Fail. So one has to keep an open mind nowadays and except returns of old greats to differ greatly from it's past success.

Luckily for Red Dwarf fans, things aren't that bad because many of the people behind the show are still involved , as well as the 4 main actors ! Infact my heart gives a huge salute to see them back together. It's actually very heart warming to see them play the same roles again without problems after such a long period of absence.

Unfortunately even though it's great to seem the old team back , it's not among the best Red Dwarf stories told. It gets a while to get into it ( Well with Red Dwarf having left us years ago , that's a given ) but later on it shows to have the makings of the more classic style of Red Dwarf Formula and the series classic trademark humorously confusing yet clever scientific explanations and twists.

This is still a great adventure with some fresh new twists, along with the usual great stuff you'd expect from Red dwarf.
One thing to note is that special effects are greatly improved and amazing to watch ..... which is a big step forward from the humble days of bad special effects budget BBC that we loved and gave great charm to the older series.
There are a few scenes that are particularly enjoyable to watch thanks to these modern advances .

Also without spoiling too much .. the location of this new adventure leads to funny new situations , although the general idea/concept does seem to be somewhat of a recycling of a past well loved classic episodes. but I don't mind so much since it's being told in such an exciting new way.

As a big Red Dwarf fan I'd still recommend this especially to loyal fans alike. This is one of the better comeback shows/titles that capture the spirit of their former endeavours without sacrificing too much for modernisation.
There are still many laughs to be had after all that's said and done.
This was not as bad as I expected and I very much enjoyed this recent return despite my cautious nature of modernising classic titles.

Although compared to the caliber of the shows in the past, I have to sadly give it an average rating. But that doesn't mean I didn't greatly appreciate the effort to bring one of my favourite comedy series back for one last farewell party.
All hardcore Red Dwarfers should still give it a try though and not be too harsh . But I think it might actually impress and entertain casual Red Dwarf fans alot more than the die hard ones.
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82 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What Is It?!, 5 Sep 2010
By 
E. Thomas "manthedestroyer" (Leicester, Leicestershire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Red Dwarf - Back To Earth - Director's Cut [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
'What is it?!'

'It's the equivalent of one of those overly self-referential Christmas specials that aren't actually as funny as the regular series (When 'Carbug' pulled up at the Rovers Return at the end of episode 1, I died a little inside)'

'What is it?!'

'It's a surprisingly heartfelt Lister and Kochanski story, with Craig Charles providing some highly touching moments'

'What is it?!'

'It's a comedy/drama hybrid that tries too hard to be both, ending up being an emotionally confusing experience'

'What is it?!'

'It's a self-deprecating look at the series and its legacy, which can be viewed as a humorous aside to the series itself'

'What is it?!'

'It's a story that uses a number of unfunny 'aliens/time-travellers in an unfamiliar place' cliches. I mean, Kryten talking to a post box because he thinks it's a robot?! Purlease...'

'What is it?!'

'It's a surprisingly un-padded, cleverly structured three episode story with some nice DVD freeze-frame gags that are picked up through repeated viewings'

'What is it?!'

'It's a science fiction story that is heavily weighed down with genre references and head-twisting digressions, making the light-hearted comedy elements seem out of place, and alienating the series from those who just want a good, well-scripted laugh'

'What is it?!'

'An extension of the cinematic aspects that made Series VII both so brave and controversial, and probably as close to 'Red Dwarf: the movie' as we are ever likely to get. As such, its an initially jarring departure from Series 8'

'What is it?!'

'It's an unbalanced feature length comedy that nonetheless features some very funny scenes (along with some that just don't hit the mark)'

'OH! An enjoyable but self-conscious T.V. movie! Well why didn't you say?!'
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lighten up and appreciate this for it is............, 15 Feb 2010
This review is from: Red Dwarf - Back To Earth - Director's Cut [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
First of all, I think a lot of the criticism of this program here and elsewhere stems from the fact that it doesn't capture the magic earlier Red Dwarf seasons. Series one and the wooden sets and hilarious Lister-Rimmer banter, series two's injection of colour (well, a large inflatable banana and cup) and occasional trip off of the large rouge one, Krytie's arrival in series 3 with an odd, possibly even backwards Canadian accent that was quickly rectified as Llywellyn found the character, and Lister found out what Hitler had on his sandwiches. It's not quite like the excellent series four, the editing is isn't as hodge podge as season five, though it pays homage to the all time classic television that is Back to Reality from that season, a favourite of Terry Pratchett amongst others. Nor is Back to Earth as "honey I'm home" as season six, or as utterly baffling yet strangely charming as season eight's at least partially successful attempt to recapture the magic of earlier seasons.

This feels most similar to Season seven's "adventure-com" style of excellent sci fi storytelling taking priority over humour, but the humour being good enough to make one think and smile, if not fall off the couch laughing (Rimmer's crotch pounding scene aside). Season Seven is an acquired taste that divided opinion somewhat, but the point here is that the show has constantly been in flux, changing and adapting over the course of it's eight series. Exactly what series did you expect this to recreate? All of them at once?

If you really expected this program to 'turn back the years' and catapult you back through time to the late eighties, when hairdos were bigger than BBC budgets and all areas were grey, you must have droidrot or something. The fact that one of the co-creators and writers left after series six effectively rules out the possibility of anything up to that point being recreated, the fact that the show is now about 30 years old (depressingly) makes the notion laughable. Yes, we'll get the cast back together, dress them at OXFAM, put them in a grey cardboard set and have them sit around annoying each other while referring to Peter Beardsley and watching VHS videos, yet in glorious full HD with incredible digital effects at our disposal. Yeah, I'm not too keen on that idea. The visuals of the show were like that through necessity, not design. Admittedly, this could well have had the unexpected and beneficial effect of forcing the writers and actors to work ten times harder to compensate for this, but it was not how this great universe was ever supposed to be. If anything, Back to Earth is probably more in line with how Red Dwarf was always 'supposed' to look and feel.

This was never going to capture that unique combination of two talented writers bouncing off each other, improvised sets and effects on tiny budgets, models instead of cgi, deliberately crappy props for us to snigger at and a cast that worked beautifully despite coming from such diverse and downright daft backgrounds that no one sane would throw them together. What we needed from a new dwarf is big ideas, a big story, excellent locations and, seeing as the universe/dimension/spacetime continuum the boys, and girl, from the dwarf themselves inhabit is almost entirely empty, we need dimension shifting metapysical freakiness. This IS Red Dwarf, after all.

The only option for director and writer Doug Naylor with this project was to pay homage to things past, influences and ideas, while adding to the central story of Dave Lister, the last(ish) human being. In returning to the very essence of the story, the core, human part of this universe, Lister's unlikely (given that the human race is extinct) but never-ending search for love and fulfilment, something every person in the world can relate to, I feel this show is faithful to what Red Dwarf is and was, and is a triumph.

And.....

If you think that's a load of poppycock, you'll still want the dvd if you're a dwarfer because it's very well produced and full of behind the scenes, geektabulous extras that'll make you hornier than a dog at a Miss, well, enough of that. Buy this DVD!!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to the Smeg, 20 Oct 2009
By 
A. J. Hawkins - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Red Dwarf - Back To Earth - Director's Cut [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
After a ten-year hiatus, Red Dwarf finally returned in Easter '09, and while the ending was disliked by some, it was meant to be a celebration of Dwarf --hence references to several classic episodes, especially Back To Reality, Doug's own personal favourite.

This certainly got the ball rolling; a new series has been commissioned to be screened at the end of 2010, so this will be essential to follow the new series, as it establishes a new back-story for the characters, something they've not had for a long time. BTE leaves the series VIII cliffhanger unexplained, so that may be explained later.

If you're a Red Dwarf fan like me, it's a real treat to see the cast back together after such a long time (during which time the movie failed to launch many, many times), even if it isn't the best RD has to offer (which is probably largely due to the fact that it was somewhat rushed -- the cast and crew didn't have time to do all the read-throughs, rehearsals and re-writes a series would usually get, and it does show a little in the end product, unfortunately. But Dave have given Doug more time to write series IX/X, so expect better stuff to follow).

Most importantly, there are some great gags here, and the story is quite well constructed, having a sort of series VII/VIII feel to the drama side. Visually, however, this also returns the series to its III/IV/V style, which wasn't done by mistake. Red Dwarf is back. Watch, laugh and enjoy!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a second look, 20 Feb 2010
By 
I saw this "final series" when it was first shown on Dave. Having been a fan of Red Dwarf when it was originally shown on BBC I was intrigued as to how this would work so long after the original last series was made. Furthermore I had felt that the show had started to lose its momentum by series seven and eight so I was a little cautious about this new series. I remember enjoying it but not being over impressed.
I bought this on DVD for completeness as I had all the previous episodes on the two "Just The Shows" volumes. I enjoyed it much more on seeing it a second time and am glad I decided to buy it. The actors seem to slip back into their roles quite naturally despite such a long break. The story re-uses some ideas from the original show but with a twist, and it pays homage to Blade Runner in rather obvious but very successful way. If you a Red Dwarf fan I would definitely consider getting this as it is certainly a return to form and completes the Red Dwarf cannon.
I bought this one on Blu-Ray and was very impressed with the quality of the photography and the effects.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Red Dwarf: Back to Earth. A review in smeg., 10 Oct 2010
This review is from: Red Dwarf - Back To Earth - Director's Cut [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Very disappointing. Very, very disappointing. To the point of infuriating. Where do I begin?

Firstly, I am a huge fan of the Red Dwarf franchise, with all the series on DVD from series one to series eight. When I heard news of it returning to British television after a hiatus of ten years I was thrilled. No other show would benefit from the advances in computer technology than the pioneering combination of science-fiction situation comedy. As was shown with the revival of Doctor Who in 2005, the cult programs of old were ready to return to public consciousness with fancy CGI whizz and digital whatnot. Alas, Back to Earth failed in every department, like the one where it teased fans with fantastic locations and creatures the likes that the series had never been able to create before and then never used them.

Take another popular comedy series with the BBC stamp on it: The League of Gentlemen. It is a common belief that as a programme based on sketches carries on it gets less and less unique, every week we expect a different interpretation of the same joke, see: Little Britain, Monty Python's Flying Circus, and Catherine Tate. When the third series of the League and Gentleman came and went, the team had left the sketch format dead and buried and after the brief flirtation with the sitcom format seen in series three, the series left television forever. In 2005 the feature film was released. The basic plot is that all the characters within the world of Royston Vasey become aware of their existence as fiction, of the real world and thus of their creators (all playing themselves as themselves, but not quite as themselves, understand?). The whole fourth wall plot complimented the League perfectly. The sketches had gone through all the motions and so had the characters so to make them self aware was the next logical step. The self-refrentialism was perfect because the series and the characters had nowhere else to go so they could take out all the stops.

This is where Red Dwarf is different. It had somewhere to go, and characters to develop. The space setting meant literally infinite possibilities, storylines, jokes and situations could occur for a good five or even eight more series. Instead the Dwarf mythology is stopped dead in its track and the fans are subjected to ninety minutes of unutterable sights (the Dwarfers visit the set of Coronation Street! Coronation Street! Not to mention the visual of the crew driving a Starbug-esque car down contemporary Britain. A joke that reduces the show's humour from television to YouTube quality). The uncomfortable climax where the all realities crash into one another as the crew... re-write scripts that haven't been written yet to change their course in time to another point where they hadn't *BLEURGH*. The Blade Runner references are used without reason the characters are so out of place in the realm of another film. Yes, the original series parodied pop-culture with varying success, but to set the action IN another film's set would be like having the fifth Indiana Jones film set on the Death Star. Can you imagine it, Han Solo meets himself as Indy and they find George Lucas writing more scripts for *BLEURGH*. You get my point?

I imagined this special would redefine the word EPIC. Red Dwarf in the 21st century! The smart humour! The distinct memorable characters! The exciting science-fiction setting! With today's super fast computer technology able to produce amazing worlds and sweeping cosmic vistas? Sign me up! It was working up to be quite possibly the most important television event in 2009. And what do we get? A lazy middle-finger to one of the most established and devoted fan bases in recent history.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Thought It Was OK, 17 Jun 2009
By 
D. W. Bissett "dave_bissett" (Cumbria, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Dwarf - Back To Earth - Director's Cut [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I'll just get this out of way - BACK TO EARTH is NOT the greatest RED DWARF ever made. It's nowhere near as brilliant as the first six seasons of the TV show. But I enjoyed it more than the disappointing Season VII and the unspeakable travesty that was Season VIII. At least they got rid of the resurrected crew and they sort of got rid of Chloe Annett's Kochanski, who was unfunny and wooden (Clare Grogan will always be the best Kochanski).

I wasn't really that bothered about the lack of audience laughter in the special nor the visual effects look (this is the year 2009, you know). The four Dwarfers themselves have aged very well. It's almost as if those ten years had just flown by. And I love the references to BLADE RUNNER (1982).

I was a bit disappointed that Holly wasn't in it - maybe Norman Lovett was upset about the fact that in Season VIII, he had nothing to do except usher out unfunny dialogue.

So, BACK TO EARTH is OK. Not the best, but decent in some ways. If they ever do another RED DWARF, maybe co-creator Doug Naylor should re-unite with Rob Grant, because when these two writers wrote together, they truly did create comedy heaven.

Reviewer: Ben David W
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Travesty!!, 29 April 2010
By 
Gawen M. Lobb "Sirgoflobb" (Cornwall, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Red Dwarf - Back To Earth - Director's Cut [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I have been a huge fan of Red Dwarf since it first aired and after 10 years of waiting I had hoped that the show was about to get the send off it deserved. The title seemed to suggest an end to the story - perhaps Lister and co would finally make it back home - but then I saw the preview clips on Dave and my hopes rapidly began to fade.

So what did we get? An hour and 20 minutes of merchandise plugs, endless Blade Runner references and jokes lifted wholesale from other shows, most notably Rimmer's disposal of his hologramatic rival which seemed to have been stolen from the Family Guy episode where Peter joins the New England Patriots and Brian takes his revenge on Stewie for a violent assault by pushing him in front of a bus.

In the first part we discover that Kochanski is dead (or so Lister believes), Rimmer is a hologram again and the dwarfers are battling with a squid in the water tank. After an intervention from a hologram of a former Red Dwarf crew member the guys end up on Earth in our time. Once there they discover they are fictional characters and set off to find their creator to beg for more life.
Along the way they read the cover of the BTE dvd, visit a shop filled with models, toys and other products from the show, and make a particularly cringeworthy visit to Coronation Street. After the final 'confrontation' with their creator it dawns on them that strange things happened the last time they battled with a squid. And so it proves. Cat somehow managed to sneak a baby female despair (though in thias case labelled as joy due to it's gender) squid onboard after Back to Reality with the intention of eating it, and all that occurred has been another squid-induced hallucination.

I sat through it all with gritted teeth and rising fury, appalled that my all time favourite show had been reduced to this pathetic mess. The whole experience left me angry and disappointed, with the distinct thought that it was 80 minutes of my life that I wouldn't get back again!

It was recently announced that Dave have decided to fund a new series of the show. As a devoted dwarfer I will be watching in the hope that they decide to ignore Back to Earth and find a way to pick up more or less after where series 8 finished. Even if they don't, the writing will have to improve dramatically to halt the show's sad decline and prevent it from fading into a despised echo of its former self.
If they can not find a way to do this then another series would be the final nail in the coffin.

I only hope Doug Naylor realises that a great cult show like Red Dwarf will always be, to quote Rimmer from Out Of Time, 'Better Dead than Smeg.'
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