Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back to Earth

Depending on your point of view, it’s either about a month or several years past time this blog glanced in the direction of Red Dwarf. So that’s what I’m going to do now, starting with the 2009 mini-series Red Dwarf: Back to Earth.

In summary, it was a victim of it’s own hype (and, having blogged about it before the event, I guess I’m partly responsible for that). Had it met slipped quietly onto the Bank Holiday schedule of an obscure little digital channel, I have no doubt dwarfers the world over would have rejoiced. Obviously that would not have been possible, but the sheer volume of pre-event publicity it got made it a huge task for the show to live up to the expectations of fans. And, regrettably, it largely didn’t.

It was good to see the crew, and their bunk room banter, back just as we remember them. Holly was missed though, and the addition of second hologram Katerina Bartikovsky to provide scientific expertise and eye candy was a rubbish and largely pointless replacement.

It would be easy to criticise the plot – and many pundits have done so at length – but to be fair, there were some LOL moments. Not as many as I would have liked, but not every episode of Red Dwarf was a laugh riot. And I quite enjoyed the meta-fictional existentialism of the thing, although the self-references and the Blade Runner homage verged on being overdone.

What I really want to know, however – what happened after the end of series 8 – remains a mystery, explained in passing references to the successful series 9 and 10 of Red Dwarf

The plot is basically lifted from the original episode Back to Reality, and given a bit of a twist. That’s not a bad thing, as Back to Reality was one of my favourite episodes, and the new twist was an interesting and amusing one, but still, a little more originality might not have gone amiss. I mean, I wouldn’t have been surprised to have read this story as a piece of fanfic, rather than the work of one of the show’s creators.

More thoughts on Back to Earth, and Red Dwarf in general, later...

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