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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
69
Red Dwarf: Series 4 [DVD] [1991]
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£7.38+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on 20 February 2004
always a first class comedy now at series 4 dvd and as with previous dvds packed with extras such as a cast comedy which is worth a listen to plus a good making off vid plus many other extras though for a dvd a commentary i think it would be a good idea to have a fan asking some questions during it (there are many questions i would have liked to ask at certain points) but still its very funny and worth buying
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on 29 July 2006
Naylor and Grant seemed to delight in both challenging themselves and subverting viewer expectation every time Dwarf came back to TV screens by ignoring cliffhangers or unexpectedly overhauling the set-up - but series 4 was one of the rare occassions where Dwarf came back with no new sets; no new cast members; no new costumes. It simply takes the foundation provided by series 3 and runs with it, supremely confident in where it is and what it's doing. It never *quite* hits the heights of the dark, dramatic, groaning-with-ideas, sci-fi-heavy series 5 - yet it's got far more energy and intelligence than the slightly-lacklustre-towards-the-end series 3. It seems to bridge the gap between the two just right. It's got a perfect blend of good ideas, excellent stories and brilliantly executed effects, and also lots of gags, clowning and hilarious character moments.

The episode when Ace Rimmer first appears remains one of the best they've ever done (up there with the likes of Marooned and Back to Reality), and Meltdown, taking place on a planet of 'waxdroids' of a bizarre selection of history's greatest characters, is just gorgeous. Queen Victoria going head-to-toe with Adolf Hitler, machine gun blazing. Santa Claus standing on a landmine. Elvis as a sergeant and Marilyn Monroe in army boots. And let's not mention the fate of Winnie the Pooh...

The music is brilliant, the sets and effects a great step-up from series 3... I'm running out of reasons for it's greatness. Tell you what, buy it, watch it, and find out for yourself just why it's so good. You won't regret it.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 16 November 2009
The fourth season of Red Dwarf is interesting in that it is the only one without any major format changes. Some of the behind-the-scenes changes were quite big, most notably the moving of production from Manchester to the far superior Shepperton Studios near London, but otherwise the status quo from Season 3 remains unchanged.

The season begins with Camille, starting a brief two-year tradition resulting from the season beginning on Valentine's Day. In this episode Kryten recovers a female mechanoid named Camille from a wreck, but once back on Red Dwarf it's clear things aren't as they appear, as Rimmer sees Camille as a hologram and Lister sees a human woman. As for the Cat...I'll let that remain a surprise, as it's a classic Red Dwarf moment. It's quite a funny episode based around Casablanca, featuring some ripe misquoting of dialogue and some corny lines, but at the heart of it is some very interesting character development for Kryten, putting him back more or less where he was at the end of his first episode in Season 2, which was probably overdue.

The second episode, DNA, continues the theme of basing an episode around a major SF concept. In this episode the crew discovers a machine that can alter DNA and transform any biological entity into any other one. The upshot of this is that Kryten (whose brain is based on organic technology) gets transformed into a human. Cue some rather Star Trek: The Next Generation Data-esque musings on the nature of humanity and some rather more traditional Red Dwarf musings on how Kryten can cope with his new human sexual organs. This plot thread, though amusing, is thankfully cut short by a far funnier sequence where Lister ill-advisedly runs his mutton vindaloo through the DNA machine, resulting in the creation of a ravaging curry monster.

In Justice a long-standing plot hole is addressed: we learned in Season 1 that Rimmer was (albeit inadvertently) responsible for the accident that wiped out the crew of the Red Dwarf, but this was never really developed. This episode makes up for it when the crew visit an abandoned space prison only for the controlling AI to determine that Rimmer must stand trial for his crime, leading to a classic sequence where Kryten has to prove that Rimmer is innocent by virtue of being an incompetent, deranged and self-delusional half-wit ("If I have full access to your personal date files, I could perhaps put together a winning case by maybe lunchtime,"). This is another very solid episode, notable in the Red Dwarf mythos for introducing the simulants, a human-built race of psychopathic mass-murdering androids who return to plague our crew in future seasons.

White Hole spins off an idea raised in the second Red Dwarf novel, except there it was a traditional black hole causing problems. The episode is also notable as the second (and last) to feature Holly in a major role as Kryten successfully restores her super-brilliant IQ but in doing so radically shortens her lifespan. Events culminate in Lister being entrusted with the firing of a thermo-nuclear device, which is really not a very good idea...

Dimension Jump is one of the series' bona fide classics, introducing a parallel universe where Arnold 'Ace' Rimmer is a test pilot in the Space Corps Special Service, the best of the best, and is entrusted with piloting a faster-than-reality starship across dimensions. Arriving in 'our' reality he makes contact with the crew of Red Dwarf and is rather taken aback when he discovers that 'our' Arnold Rimmer is a rather different character. This is a great episode because is gets back to scouring Rimmer's backstory and psyche to find out what makes him tick, and it works well with Chris Barrier delivering a barnstorming performance as a super-handsome, heroic incarnation of Rimmer (complete with a Top Gun-esque soundtrack and a rather bizarre catchphrase).

Meltdown is another one of the series' unsung high points. Kryten constructs a matter-transmission device which teleports the crew to a planet thousands of light-years away. However, the planet turns out to be a 'Waxworld' where the wax-droid inhabitants have broken their programming and have divided into two factions fighting an endless war. Cue some brilliant scenes where Rimmer takes command of the 'hero' army and puts the likes of Mahatma Gandhi ("Don't eyeball me, Gandhi! Drop to the floor and give me fifty!"), Pythagoras, Jean-Paul Satre and Stan Laurel through advanced combat training with the help of Kryten and his second-in-command, Sergeant Elvis Presley. Meanwhile, Lister and Cat are captured by Adolf Hitler and forced to witness the (thankfully offscreen) execution of Winnie the Pooh by a firing squad led by Al Capone, before being tortured by Emperor Caligula and Rasputin! Events culminate in an impressive (and ludicrous) battle sequence between the forces of good and evil, with a rather unexpected outcome. A completely barking mad and brilliant episode with some of the show's most enduring quotes.

The fourth season of Red Dwarf doesn't rock the boat and happily continues the formulae from the third season, and as it's a formulae that works, this is not a problem. The characters of Kryten and Rimmer are explored in greater depth, but Lister drops into the background slightly more, becoming more of an observer and the viewers' surrogate stand-in for exposition scenes. The Cat has some great lines and scenes but isn't really focused on much. Holly gets her own episode, but there is already a notable reduction in her lines going on, as again much of the show's exposition goes to Kryten. These problems will become more apparent and will be addressed in the fifth and sixth seasons, but for now remain under control.
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on 14 November 2016
Series 4 is quite similar to series 3. It is not really a series of great change and innovation but just continues in a successful vein. Model shots etc. are still very up to the mark and there are signs of humour in some of the miniatures the Justice Station for example resembles the scales of justice.
Kryten continues as the major domo/nanny, notably at the start of Justice he is doing "Florence Nightingdroid" bit looking after Lister with his space mumps.
Lister undergoes a noticeable change here. Kochanski is no longer the ideal of unattainable womanhood.Now in a deliberate change they were an item and she later dumped him. This is part of a more mature Lister e.g. a changed Kryten seeks his advice in DNA and he responds more sensitively than would have been the case previously. As Craig Charles notes in "Built to Last", to sustain the unattainable bit would have been difficult.
Rimmer takes charge more & the others basically let him get on with it e.g. broadcasting to aliens. He is a little more capable e.g. he checked the black box recording in "Justice." He still gets to be very annoying by doing things such as regaling the others with his tales of the boardgame Risk.
The cat is as before well adapted to human beings but still shows his cat nature e.g. not wanting to vsit the sick Lister beacuse he looks so ugly with space mumps.
Holly gets featured strongly in 1 episode "White Hole" & is in other eps the not always competent controller figure

We kick off with "Camille" a fun story where Lister tecahes Kryten to break his programming (consisting of what you might call "Lying and Insulting 101"). He memorably insists Kryten call fruits by the wrong name. As a result Kryten ignores instructions and rescues Camille from danger. Taking her back to the Dwarf, she seems to be everyone's perfect partner!
"Justice" goes into Blake's 7, Star trek and even Captain Video territory with a riff on an old idea they all did too, rescuing a pod where the suspended inhabitant could be a dangerous killer. A precautionary trip to Justice World deposits them in a world free of crime where unpaid for sins are found out and Rimmer goes on trial for killing the original Red Dwarf crew. Strong story with a great trial scene.
Hitting the high road is "DNA" where a machine tuirns Kryten human and he finds he cannot handle the emotions & makes a monster out of Lister's curry. Fantastic scenes of Krytne asking Lister's advice about his genitalia! "it's hideous!"
Continuing the high scores we have "White Hole", where a plan to return Holly's former IQ goes a little wrong and she becomes a mega mega genius with only minutes to live! A special mention for Hatty Hayridge's subtle shift in performance as genius Holly and for the brief return of Talkie Toaster. The toaster's 2nd incarnation is ironically played by Kryten mk 1 David Ross.
"Dimension Jump" completes a trilogy of classics and is a deserved fan favourite. Dimension hopping (*1) Ace Rimmer the man Rimmer could have been crosses over into the Dwarfers' dimension and rescues the crew but Rimmer hates him! Great idea well explored and in Ace's own world, a chance for each cast member to do a 2nd role. No wonder Ace returned twice in the series (*2). great work for the cast epsecially Chris Barrie making Ace a believably more heroic Rimmer.
"Meltdown" as cast bemoan in "Built to Last" and in the commentary is not well loved by fans. It is despite the anti war sentiments, lightweight knockabout stuff and would have made a fine Christmas episode (Santa is even there amongst the non-speaking roles). it's a fun piece where in a waxworld some waxdroids break their programming and go to war. Then Rimmer tales charge of the good guys!
A fine series with 3 classics and no bad ones-no not even Meltdown!

Last appearance of the skutters until series 8 & the 1st appearance of the holgram light bee.

The cast commentary is a good one as always. Robert Llewelyn notes the Man From Uncle style switch between scenes in meltdown, Danny john Jules informs us John Lenehan was disappointed not to be able to return as the toaster adn Hatty discusses dropped looks for the hyperintelligent Holly.
"Built to last" is a definitive documentary covering all aspects of the series e.g. Dimension Jump came about as Chris Barrie was in "Git overload" & Llewellyn's fears over coming face to face with Kryten mark 1 were unfounded.
"Ace Rimmer: A life in lame'" is a clips based featurette notable only for having new scenes of Hatty Hayridge as Holly.
Raw FX footage, iolated music cues, smeg ups , photo gallery, trailers and talking book chapters

a bonus from red Dwarf night is the oddly chosen "Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg" with the cast lampooning popular contemporary cookery show "can't Cook, won't Cook". Quite fun but the cast facing a Red Dwarff quiz "A question of Smeg" might have been better.

No arguments though, a great package all round.

(*1) and time travelling considering the millions of years of Lister's stasis
(*2) and memorably in a comic strip in Red Dwarf the Smegazine where he went to the parallel universe of the same named episode and Deb Lister tried to bonk him to upset Arlene Rimmer!
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on 21 February 2011
After a few changes in series 3 (e.g. the full-time introduction of Kryten and the changing of Holly) series 4 of Red Dwarf offers us something of stability with the cast, allowing the comedy to move centre stage; not that the earlier series suffered at all from this. The series opener, Camille, is a brilliant spoof of the film Casablanca, which is heavily referenced. When I first saw this, I found it quite funny, but that was before I had actually seen Casablanca. Now, having seen it, the episode is twice as funny.

At the other end of the series, there is another great film parody, this time of Westworld. In between are 4 episodes that are just downright good. Drawing on a variety of sources, this is Red Dwarf in cruise control. Standing against other episodes over the 8 series, they perhaps don't stand out as the all-time greats (except maybe for Justice) but compared to just about any other comedy series they are a cut above the rest.

What makes Red Dwarf such an enduring creation (remember, this is now 20 years old) is the pathos mixed in with the gags. Although this is set as a bunch of misfits floating in space, and only one of them is technically a living human, the relationships between them maintain a kind of sad desperation of knowing they are unlikely to find further friendships in the universe. This gives us immense empathy for their plight and leaves us rooting for them to win, in spite of their utter failure to deserve victory in any walk of life.
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on 28 June 2004
Pure class - Probably the best comedy series the BBC ever produced - I love Fools and Horses and Vicar of Dibley but red Dwarf has that extra level of one-liners and qoutes that are just un-missable - such as "That's like putting your wedding tackle in a Lions mouth and flicking his love spuds with a wet towel". Red Dwarf takes some getting into. You have to persevere with series 1 and probably 2 before things absolutely take of in series 3-6 which are fabulous. 4 is the best one available at the moment but 5 and 6 will be must haves.
Series 3 sees the fulltime inclusion of Kryten and from then on in the series takes of.
The DVD's are good quality and have some reasonable extras but these I find of limited value.
Get them - at this price the're a steal.
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VINE VOICEon 11 April 2015
Highly original and very funny sci-fi comedy.

Some absolutlely hilarious moments - most involving Chris Barrie as the hapless Rimmer.

Well writtena and acted.

A classic comedy which is well worth watching again.
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on 20 November 2007
Get this it has lots of extra's and it is funny, funniest of them all.
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on 31 August 2008
This series is worth seeing just for the look on Listers face when a genetically altered Kryten (altered into a human being) hands him a double polaroid of his newly acquired "re-charge socket" and asks "Is this normal?" I don't know what was actually on the photos, but Craig Charles looks genuinely stunned.

The series was going from strength to strength at this point. The writing was genius, the acting superb and the scrapes the characters got into were hilarious.

As with all the other Red Dwarf DVDs the extras are as brilliant as the series itself, good documentries, lots of smeg ups and Chris Barries impression of Kenneth Williams is brilliant.
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on 18 February 2011
It's the 4 installment of the much loved and popular Scifi series Red Dwarf. Seeing the return of Lister (the last human in existence), Cat (the result of 3 million years of evolution starting from Lister's cat Frankstein), Rimmer (hologram of a former shipmate and total smeghead) Kryten (mechanoid with issues) and of course Holly the ship's on board computer. The series takes you through 6 hilarious episodes as they continue their journey to Earth.

If you love Science Fiction shows, you will definetely love Red Dwarf, its fun quirky and completely different to any comedy show you've ever seen. 5/5 stars!
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