Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I love love love the stuffing out of Red Dwarf, the British outer-space comedy series. The writing is absolutely brilliant and the acting is spot-on. This, for me, ranks with Star Trek as all-time best tv space series.
The two lowest-ranking people on the vast mining ship Red Dwarf, Lister is a charismatic rule-breaking happy-go-lucky loafer and his roommate Rimmer is a super-dorky by-the-book loser (picture a nakedly ambitious Barney Fife with a yellow streak a mile wide) . Lister is fired and put in stasis before returning to earth for bringing a cat on board the ship. 3 million years later, Lister awakens from stasis to find that all humans on the ship were turned to little piles of powder, and that he is the last living human. Anywhere.
Holly, the ship's computer, has slowly gone mad after twiddling his thumbs for 3 million years. He's adorable - a disembodied head floating on a vid screen. The pregnant cat had her babies on the ship and from them a new life form emerged - a vain dandy James Brown type called Cat.
Turns out the ship's computer has just enough juice to support one hologram of a former shipman as companion, so the perennially dim Holly has chosen neatness freak Rimmer, who constantly harasses Lister about his slob ways. His hologram status is the reason for the H on Rimmer's forehead. Kryten (the android pictured above with Lister actor Craig Charles) is a service android who is picked up a ways into the series from a wrecked space ship. Kryten has a groinal socket for cleaning attachments - you've go to see him vacuuming the place to really appreciate him.
Opening episode of season 7 was Tikka To Ride, in which the ship runs out of curry, which is a disaster of epic proportions to Lister, who is partial to a chili-cheese-chutney-egg sandwich. They manage to travel in time to re-stock curry supplies for the ship, and end up in Dallas Texas, 1963. They accidentally prevent JFK's murder, and he goes on to be prosecuted for crimes and leaves office in manacles. Our heroes travel in time yet again and tell JFK how badly things will end for him on the tarmac of Idlewild airport in NYC. JFK is utterly downtrodden and Lister tells him that in their version of history, JFK died a hero, and this very airport is named after him. Anyway, turns out, they take him along to travel in time yet again and JFK is the mystery gunman on the grassy knoll.
What's not to like? Oh, and the dialogue is brilliant.
Rimmer: We're going to have to switch to Red Alert!
Kryten: Are you sure, Sir? That will mean changing the bulb.
Check it out on Amazon or at the Sad Geezer's Guide to Red Dwarf.