I'm briefly interrupting my NaNo writing to continue the mini-series of Red Dwarf reviews, mainly because this isn't going to take very long.
Dear Dave was not a bad episode, but it didn't have a lot of structure or depth to it. It had a few nice comedy moments, and had the feel of a much earlier episode, Lister being all melancholy about being the last human, Kryten and Cat failing epically to console him while Rimmer is just... Rimmer.
But the trouble was, all the various plot points (such as it could be called a plot) were things that had been done before in earlier episodes. To give realism its due, in 20-odd years with the same three smegheads, conversations are going to be repeated occasionally. Still, taking bits of old storyline and gluing them together with some new jokes didn't really work; the episode needed something a little more meaty than a letter from Lister's ex to hang all the other bits on.
There wasn't much Cat in the episode, but he did, once again, get all the best lines for his trouble. The random reference to the JMC on-board computer (don't they remember Holly?) was a bit odd and disrupted the sense of continuity from earlier Dwarf that the episode otherwise maintained.
Oh, and I quite like the way Red Dwarf has taken Douglas Adams' vending machine nightmares off to a completely different extreme, especially in this episode (although I'm sure nobody in the known multiverse would really try and lift up a vending machine by lying on it and jumping up and down).
On the plus side, the cast are all well in their stride now, so combine that with the (presumably) minimal budget spent on Dear Dave, and given the overall goodness of Red Dwarf X, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a decent finale next week...