Red Dwarf: Series 3
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The Red Dwarf crew stumble further into deep space, facing an emotion-sucking polymorph, a psychotic mechanoid and a version of Earth where time runs backwards. Sdaehgems.
- 1. Backwards
- 2. Marooned
- 3. Polymorph
- 4. Bodyswap
- 5. Timeslides
- 6. The Last Day
- 2. Marooned
The third series of Red Dwarf introduced some radical changes--all of them for the better--but the scripts remained as sharp and character-focussed as ever, making this a firm candidate for the show's best year. Gone were the dull metallic grey sets and costumes, gone too was Norman Lovett's lugubrious Holly, replaced now by comedienne Hattie Hayridge, who had previously played Hilly in the Series 2 episode "Parallel Universe". New this year were custom-made costumes, more elaborate sets, the zippy pea-green Starbug, bigger special effects and the wholly admirable Robert Llewellyn as Kryten.
The benefits of the show's changes are apparent from the outset, with the mind-bending hilarity of "Backwards", in which Kryten and Rimmer establish themselves as a forwards-talking double-act on a reverse Earth. After a modest two-hander that sees Rimmer and Lister "Marooned", comes one of the Dwarf's most beloved episodes, "Polymorph". Here is the ensemble working at its best, as each character unwittingly has their strongest emotion sucked out of them. Lister loses his fear; Cat his vanity; Kryten his reserve; and Rimmer his anger ("Chameleonic Life-Forms. No Thanks"). "Body Swap" sees Lister and Rimmer involved in a bizarre attempt to prevent the ship from self-destructing. "Timeslides" delves deep into Rimmer's psyche as the boys journey haphazardly through history. Finally, "The Last Day" shows how completely Kryten has been adopted as a crewmember, when his replacement Hudzen unexpectedly shows up.
On the DVD: Red Dwarf, Series 3 two-disc set maintains the high standard of presentation and wealth of extra material established by its predecessors. Among other delights there are the usual "Smeg Ups" and deleted scenes, plus another fun commentary with the cast. There's a lengthy documentary, "All Change", specifically about Series 3, a tribute to costume designer Mel Bibby, Hattie Hayridge's convention video diary, and--most fascinating--the opportunity to watch "Backwards" played forwards, so you can finally understand what Arthur Smith's backwards-talking pub manager actually says to Rimmer and Kryten in the dressing room. --Mark Walker
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The third series features some of the best episodes of the entire series, including Backwards where the crew find themselves in a dimensions where everything happens in reverse; and Marooned where Lister and Rimmer are left stuck on Star Bug after crashing on a deserted planet while Kryten and Cat attempt to rescue them. Marooned is probably my favourite episode of Red Dwarf as the moments between Lister and Rimmer rank among the funniest of the entire series.
Red Dwarf's first two Series were good. Series III is better. With a new shuttle ship named Starbug replacing Series II's Blue Midget, Series III finally allowed the crew alot more time away from the eponymous ship, and establish itself as a Sci-Fi series and not just a Sitcom, whilst still keeping the jokes coming. With the introduction of Robert Llewellyn as Kryten (the character appeared in the Series II opener, played by David Ross), the Series hit comedy gold and the other new comer, Hattie Hayridge replacing Norman Lovett for the role of the senile computer Holly, stiull providing a lot of Deadpan humour, despite getting less screen time then the original. Craig Charles, Chris Barrie and Danny John-Jules reprise their roles as the space bum Dave Lister, the wound-too-tight hologram of his dead bunkmate Arnold Rimmer and the creature evolved from the ships Cat, who is still as vain as ever, respectfully.
The Series takes them to a Backwards reality (literally), an Ice Planet and Back in Time, the Series is better for the changes. Well worth a look in if your a fan of the genre, Series III never fails to satisfy.
The Last Day 10/10
Every episode from series 3 is a corker – in fact ‘Polymorph’ is often voted as the fan’s favourite, but for me the real treasure here is the superb ‘Backwards’ where to get to see a pub brawl entirely in reverse (a technique later used in an advertising campaign).
Both this and series four were to prove the highlights of this comedy series simply because they managed to combine the best effects they could afford, great characters and sharp writing – something that could not be sustained (particularly when Rob Grant stopped co-writing) which is a shame. As a fan I hope that some that it can return to this standard for the rumoured film version.
Given the excellent packages so far for these DVD releases the standard of extras should be high once again.
Again, there's bucket loads of extras (why the BBC can't seem to treat any other comedy like this I really don't know). Again, a MUST HAVE DVD for anyone.
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