Friday, October 12, 2012

Red Dwarf X: Fathers and Suns

OK, maybe Red Dwarf is going to become something of a recurring theme here over the next few weeks, but, well, why not? This review will contain spoilers.

Way back in series VII, thanks to some 'time-travelly, paradoxy, sci-fi smeg', Lister became his own father. In this episode, he realises he hasn't been a great father to himself, and tries to put things right.

It's not up there with the funniest Dwarf episodes ever, but every episode can't be a comedy classic, so that's all fine. A couple of lines could have got in much more obvious directions, which is good. Unfortunately the running gag about Chinese whispers was lame, although I could see something of a nod towards Arthur Dent getting the Nutrimatic Drink Dispensers side-tracked - again, not followed through to the same conclusion as in Hitchhikers. Nothing close to last week's moose gag though.

What we do have is some great science fiction - Lister plays father and son brilliantly, aided by a computer straight out of A Space Odyssey. And those two plot elements combine to give plenty of food for thought, if you want to drag seriousness out of the show. Like: is the mess we made of our lives our own fault, or can we blame our dad? Or to extend that into a Christian worldview, can we blame our heavenly father? And if our Dad is a total bum (or as he might have it, a bum, but not a total bum) how does that affect our view of God as a Father? Does he want to exercise tough love and throw our beloved guitar out of the airlock? Or will he, indeed, throw us out of the airlock if necessary?

And as for Pree, the predicitve computer, well, you could get an essay on free will and predestination out of her, but it's getting late, so I won't.

In summary: Fathers and Suns was a great bit of sci-fi TV, with more laughs than the average Star Trek.

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