Kryten: “He’s completely helpless. What are we going to do?”
Cat: “I say we draw a moustache on him.”
Again we waited for a much loved show to return to our screens, and last night Red Dwarf X's first episode was broadcast. All the promotions and press releases promised it would be going back to a live studio audience, and would have a lot more of the clever and slap stick humour synonymous with the show.
It all starts with Cat and Lister in the cockpit of Red Dwarf. Lister has been reading a book about facts and tells cat a lot of car accidents in Sweden are caused by moose. Of course Cat being Cat really doesn't get it at all and this humorous scene was obviously one both Danny John-Jules and Craig Charles enjoyed. They then come across and advert in space for a 'Stir Master' The advert has been created to look like one of those tacky telecommercials and both Cat and Lister are sucked in to buying one each. Cue Lister being on the end of a phone for the majority of the episode.
Meanwhile, Rimmer has taken his Astro-navigation exam yet again in the hope of perusing his dream to become an officer, not just a smeghead. He tells Kryten he's already setting himself up for a fail so will be happy either way. Of course he has failed yet again and begins beating his results with a hammer.
The boys stumble across a ship called the SS Trojan which is deserted. When they get to the flight deck its clear the designers are giving a firm nod to Star Trek. As Rimmer sits in the Captains chair, he begins to get jealous for what he can't have, and his holographic image flickers on and off for a while.
Whilst exploring, they get a distress call (whilst Lister is still fanatically waiting to place his Stir Master order) from another crew on a crashed ship in danger. Rimmer realises the person sending the distress call is his brother Howard and he MUST pass his exam to be an officer before he can save and face his brother.
Whilst triyng to figure out a mock exam lateral thinking question about a man crashing into a tree (the moose gag comes back in) Rimmer's jealousy gets the better of him and causes his hologram to 'crash' in the most hilarious way. Obviously the writers are Apple fans with what they do to Rimmer's eyes, and Cat decides to draw a moustache on the defenceless 'frozen' Rimmer.
The guys reboot Rimmer and remove the self created "malware" from his own resentment which makes him feels more calmer. Kryten and Lister tell him to just save his brother and not bother about the exam but Rimmer doesn't want his brother to see him for the faliure he is. They all agree to go with Rimmer's plan to pretend to be crew members of the elite SS Trojan (with Lister still on the phone getting stressed)
They teleport the survivors: Howard (who is also a hologram) and a female android on to the ship. Howard is taken aback at how well his loser of a brother had done better than him in becoming Captain in the Space Corps elite. He continues to be suspicious of his brother, with the rest of the Red Dwarf crew trying bail him out.
Howard then crashes like his brother, resentful of his brothers 'success'. Crawford goes to call for help, whilst Rimmer is amazed his brother felt that way. They get him back online, only to find Crawford has turned against them and is holding them all hostage. Lister has just got through to the complaints line for the stirmaster and is determined to lodge a complaint, even if she kills him. He goes for the phone, she shoots and Howard takes the shot. Cat manages to stop her and poor Lister loses his chance to make a complaint.
But at least Lister gets his own Stir Master for free:
Whilst his brother is dying (again) he confesses to Rimmer he lied about his success and that he never passed his exams and was a lowly technician. Rimmer goes to confesses he lied too.... about how many sports cars he had. Howard crashes one final time which destroys his light bee. In the end scene Howard gets the highest posthumous award for bravery which again causes Rimmers resentment to make him crash.
|Rimmer doing his finest psychotic hamster impression again
It was overall a great start considering the team haven't worked much together in recent years but its clear they aren't as close knit as they used to be. The lack of Holly was also glaringly obvious, hopefully he or she will return in future episodes.
It was like the classic Red Dwarf format: a running joke or two throughout the episode, Rimmer wallowing in his own failures (and the whole team aiding him with this), and the whole gang getting themselves into trouble with hilarious consequences. You could see the sheer joy the boys from the Dwarf had in being together again and having fun filming it. Yes, the continuity had a lot to be desired, but this is Sci-fi comedy, it pokes fun at the serious side.
Also although the SFX and sets were pretty advanced, they were not heavily relied upon. The script and the actors were strong enough to make the episode work if it had been filmed in the bottom of one of Lister's vindaloo curry trays!!!
Looking forward to next weeks already!