- Actors: Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn
- Format: PAL
- Language: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 2
- Studio: 2entertain
- DVD Release Date: 15 Jun. 2009
- Run Time: 69 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 336 customer reviews
- ASIN: B001UHO102
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,746 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Red Dwarf - Back To Earth - Director's Cut [DVD] 
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Back to Earth takes place after ‘series ten’. Kochanski is dead and the crew are hurled through a portal and discover they are just characters from a TV series. Knowing they will die in the final episode the Dwarfers, in best Blade Runner traditions, decide to track down their creators to discover how long they have left to live. First the crew attempt to track down the actors who play them in the series and their metaphysical odyssey begins…
• Bonus Features • Cast Commentary • Director Commentary • All-New Exclusive Documentary • The Making of Back to Earth • Deleted Scenes • Smeg Ups • Featurettes • Trailers Web Videos • Photo Gallery • Easter Egg • Features both a Director's Cut version of Back to Earth and the original televised version.
It was a long time coming, but finally the crew of the Red Dwarf were reunited for what could be the last time with Back To Earth. And it proved to be a bit of a mixed blessing, with the three parts of show--all of which are brought together on this DVD--throwing up moments of absolute genius, alongside parts where you couldn’t help believing that its best days are far behind it.
The idea behind the show is quite ingenious. Back To Earth takes place after the supposed season ten of Red Dwarf, and the crew find themselves thrown through a portal, whereupon they realise that they’re all just characters from a TV show. Furthermore, they’re characters from a TV show who are going to all buy it in the final episode. The only solution? To track down both the actors that play them (including a trip to the Coronation Street set!), and the creators of Red Dwarf itself.
This opens the door for plenty of postmodern gags and situations, but arguably it’s only when things get back onto a more comfortable Red Dwarf plain do things start to gel a little more. And when it works, you can’t help but enjoy the fact that the crew are back together.
Will this be the last voyage for Red Dwarf? Quite possibly, and there’s little doubt that it’s far from the show’s peak. But it’s still a fun send-off for the crew, and while a little patchy, it still manages to be both funny and entertaining. It’s also, thanks to the DVD, far better to watch it all in one advert-free block.--Jon Foster
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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."
Overall the DVD pack is great for any Red Dwarf fan however can disappoint those who are hard-core fans.
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