Classic TV: Red Dwarf

‘Red Dwarf’ was a cult British science fiction sitcom that first aired on BBC 2 in 1988. Since then 12 series was made but it was moved to Dave channel after season 8.

The series was voted the Best Scie-Fi Show Of All Time in 2007 and Best Returning TV Sitcom as well as Comedy of the Year in 2016. It was the longest and best-rated BBS 2 sitcom ever and it gathered over 8 million viewers for the first episode of the returning after two years break series 8. It is a story of the last surviving human Dave Lister trapped on a spaceship with a hologram of his least liked work colleague Arnold Rimmer, a droid Kryten and a Cat that evolved over 3 million years into a humanoid.

It is most of all a sitcom so it’s mainly based on the idea of opposite characters being forced to spend time together but it also deals with a lot of science-fiction concepts. Such as time-travel paradox, virtual reality, parallel universes, multiverse, extinction of humans and possibility of evolution of other species. It also often discuss religion, determinism and the idea of the free will. One famous episode from the first series was ‘Waiting for God’ where we find out that Cat people believed Lister was their God. He did save Frankenstein – the pregnant cat from which the whole humanoid cats race originated. But he is horrified when he finds out that they fought wars in his name, arguing about insignificant details regarding their idea of heaven.

The creators returned to that plot in the last part of the Red Dwarf made so far, the 90-minutes special ‘The Promised Land’ from 2019. Another episode that deals with organized religion was ‘Lemons’ from series 10. The crew of the spaceship Red Dwarf meets Jesus who, similarly to Lister before, is appalled by the wars and distraction his followers inflicted on others so he decides to avoid his fate and instead of following his path, starts selling bags. In the end however we find out that he is Jesus of Caesarea not Nazareth, so they scared the wrong Jesus. The right Jesus is later seen in India with his twin brother Judas.

The episode that I remember the most, just like many other viewers, was ‘Back to Reality’ from series 5. Many fans consider it to be the best episode of all. It makes us believe that what we have been watching the whole time was four guys playing a ‘Red Dwarf Total Immersion Video Game’ for the last four years and they just lost it. Their memory is not back yet and they are trying to figure out who they really are. Fortunately, in the end we find out that they were just hallucinating.

They show us that our reality might be much more than we expect it to be. It is both very funny and at the same time thought provoking, one of the kind TV series.

‘Red Dwarf’

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