25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Well, glaze my nipple nuts and send me to Alaska,
By A Customer
This review is from: Red Dwarf: Series 4 [DVD]  (DVD)
As a man whose first Red Dwarf experience came courtesy of "Camille", and still regards it as one of the greatest episodes of any sitcom ever, the DVD release of Series IV was always going to be an exciting event for me. And I wasn't disappointed... Every episode a slice of pure sitcom genius; all really quite different, all brilliantly and intelligently written; all displaying finely the latest stage of the progression which RD has been subject to since its first series, up to the final series VIII. The special effects have now catapulted into the stratosphere and all locations look as space-age as they rightly should. But the most notable feature of this series is watching Red Dwarf's most universally appealing character come into his own. After staying very much on the backburner following his inception in Series III (with the honorable exception of The Last Day), Kryten becomes the wonderfully inept, frank and guilt-ridden mechanoid we know and love him for, and Robert Llewellyn's performance is truly commendable.
Camille, as mentioned, is a highlight of Red Dwarf's entire lifespan, as Kryten discovers and falls in love with a fellow Series 4000 mechanoid aboard an abandoned ship, who is not all she seems... Perfection, from Kryten's timeless, choke-inducing "smeeeeeeeg heeeeeead" opening sequence to the tearjerking Casablanca-spoof ending. A fine episode for the Cat too; some great one-liners and the classic moment when he discovers the identity of his perfect partner...
DNA particularly impresses on the effects front, as a transmogrifier makes Kryten human (cue another classic scene -the double Polaroid) and turning Lister's curry into a psychopathic beast. Kryten's meeting with his infatuous Spare Heads is also a stomach-tickler. More chance for parody occurs when Lister is made into a mini-Robocop for the finale...
Justice sees the crew enter a zone in which it is impossible to commit crimes; this ep again allows Kryten to shine as he delivers a wonderful monologue defending (in a fashion) Rimmer, who is on trial for 1,169 counts of murder. More hilarity ensues with Lister's appalling bout of space mumps, and the final encounter with a crazed simulant, allowing Danny John-Jules' Cat to execute a perfect comic fall.
White Hole gives Hattie Hayridge's Holly a chance in the spotlight as she is given genius-level IQ again, but an error of calculation and the encountering of a space oddity make this much less simple than it should have been. A welcome return here for Talkie Toaster (voiced by the original Kryten actor David Ross, for trivia fans), incredibly predictable but funny nevertheless.
The hilarious Dimension Jump, reportedly Chris Barrie's favourite ever episode, introduces us to Rimmer's cross-dimension equivalent, the testosterone-fuelled superman Ace Rimmer, who visits their universe in time to rescue them from an accident. A great opening sequence set in Ace's dimension - "If you're interested, I'll be in my quarters at lunchtime covered in tiramisalata" and a chance for the regular Rimmer to let rip with biting lines have made this a fan favourite.
Finally, Meltdown, a more controversial Dwarf outing, sees Rimmer's Napoleon complex taken to its literal conclusion as the crew happen upon a waxdroid theme park in the midst of war. Much criticised by fans, it's actually extremely entertaining and thought-provoking, if, at the very least, for the performance of the excellent Elvis impersonator Clayton Mark, and of course for Rimmer ordering Mahatma Gandhi to do fifty press-ups.
The sparkling DVD extras need no introduction - the producers deserve a round of applause for the immense effort made here. Full cast commentary is provided once again - despite frequent periods of silence and occasionally forgetting their facts, the cast are fundamentally a very affable and likable bunch, and it's a joy to hear them rib each other and to laugh so heartily at their best scenes/jokes. Another massive in-depth documentary is included with individual episode details and anecdotes (perhaps a tiny bit too long spent talking about Dimension Jump, though), along with the usual generous helpings of deleted scenes, outtakes and model shots. The "Lurve" clipshow featurette is amusing, as is Holly's history of Ace Rimmer "A Life in Lame", but look out for a special programme from the BBC Red Dwarf Night a few years back, "Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg" which is almost perfectly hilarious in its total anarchy, although I did feel Barrie's Rimmer was somewhat underused (despite he and Duane Dibbley winning).
There really is nothing more to say. Just like all the previous DVD releases, Series IV is an essential purchase and one that, if you're anything like me, will bring the glory days flooding back. Dwarf has never been bad, just sometimes less good; this series represents a time when it was sitcom gold. And how better to commemorate such a time than with this glorious and generous DVD package.
Smoke me a kipper; I'll be back for Series 5...
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Apr 2009 01:15:44 BDT
Mortal Wombat says:
Thanks for the Spoiler warning about "Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg". Do you recommend books to people and then tell them what happens on the last page as well?
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Nov 2009 15:56:03 GMT
Four Spades says:
Do you frequently chastise reviewers for revealing less-than-inconsequential "spoilers" about DVD extras, in reviews they wrote FIVE YEARS ago?
Get some perspective, dude.
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