Top critical review
7 people found this helpful
The plot is dead, long live the special effects!
on 26 August 2004
What began in series one as a "bums in space" sitcom, by series five had become a Sci Fi comedy drama. In itself this is not a bad thing - the series needed to change and adapt if it was to remain successful. Series five has elements which make it worth watching: Back to Reality contains some interesting, if not entirely original, ideas. Terrorform and Holoship have their moments.
The main problem with it is in the laziness of the writing. This is strange and annoying, as Grant and Naylor were in the throws of novel writing, and were certainly showing an aptitude for it. Series five, in comparison, shows the duo relying on formulaic treatment of the characters, heavy-handed exposition from Kryten (though, thankfully, nothing matches his cringe-worthy explanation of DNA in series four) and increasingly sophisticated special effects.
This DVD may be worth buying for Back to Reality alone. To be honest, I was yearning for the show to go off on a more interesting tangent; allowing the characters to grow and the actors to act. Sadly, from this series onwards, Red Dwarf seems only to be able to muster the energy for one such episode per series. For Series five onwards, spinning it out seemed more the order of the day than making it interesting. However, in relative terms, these episodes are a veritable high compared to the crimes that were to follow from series seven onwards.