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New big budget Red Dwarf series 7,
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This review is from: Red Dwarf: Series 7 - Xtended [VHS]  (VHS Tape)
For 6 years Red Dwarf was one of the most consistently funny TV shows in TV history.
Perhaps Red Dwarf series 6 was beginning to show signs of running out of steam - too many repeating old gags (Dwayne Dibley and Polymorphs) and the same old space core directives over and over. Still funny though. After a long gap and the loss of one of the writers we finally got the return of Red Dwarf series 7. We can clearly see the difference in the two writers in the Red Dwarf books the writers wrote on their own. Doug Naylor's "Last Human" is a good story but not very funny. Rob Grant's "Backwards" is quite amusing but just recycles old TV episodes. Red Dwarf 7 is written by Doug Naylor on his own. Together the writers work very well but they seem to stumble when left alone.
The first things we notice about Red Dwarf 7 are the new computer generated effects and lack of canned laughter. It's even filmed on cinema film rather than video tape for bright colors and an expensive look. The new effects were mildly shocking at first - a lot of the charm of the old series was that it was obviously filmed in the BBC canteen and the props were painted cycle helmets and old computers they found dumped in skips. It a whole new big budget Red Dwarf and a lot of fans remain unsure if it works. It's so different it's almost a different show altogether. It does look very good. Once you get over the shock of the new look the first episode Tika To Ride is quite interesting. We get a very good time travelling story with some funny moments. There are some amusing moments but it is not as funny as before. The story is the main focus rather than the humour which is strange for a so-called comedy show.
In series 7 we lose the character Rimmer and with him we lost both the funniest character, the whole group dynamic and all the relationships that the show was based on. Lister no longer had anyone to wind up and bounce off, Kryten didn't have anyone to belittle him, the Cat had no one to make fun of. The introduction of Kochanski as a regular character was another huge blow. Chole Annet (not the original Kochanski either) plays the character far too seriously and politically correctly and it was just no longer funny. How could the crew be funny slobs as before when they had a women to impress and fawn over?
On this video the actual episode where Rimmer leaves ("Smoke Me a Clipper") is missing!! To leave such an important episode off is bizarre to say the least. Unless you've seen it on TV you will have no idea where he's gone because it's just not mentioned. The second episode on this video (third in the series) is the introduction of Kochanski which is fairly good, with a great performance from Robert Llewellen and some interesting revelations about Lister's past.
The third episode "Duct Soup" is the first without Rimmer and with Kochanski in his place and it's not too great. The extras on this "Xtended" video are quite interesting, especially the hilarious Rimmer Munchkin song from "Blue". But it would have made more sense to put it on the video with the episode "Blue" on it... It seems to me that the running order of this video is wrong. Missing off "Smoke Me a Clipper" and replacing it with "Duct Soup" is stupid because when you buy the Byte Two video of series 7 then you'll have "Duct Soup" twice but not "Smoke me a Clipper" at all.
This video is OK. A lot of things that made the show great were now missing towards the end, but series 7 made up for it in part with some decent stories, especially towards the start. It is not nearly as bad as people say it is and it still has some funny moments. The first few episodes shown here on this video still hold the attention. However I recommend buying the standard video of Byte One of series 7 instead of this Xtended version. It makes for a more complete collection. The extras are not worth losing such an important episode as "Smoke Me a Clipper" for. I have no idea why they left that episode off this video. Maybe it's to make people buy both videos? Anyway, this video is not bad.