Villordsutch reviews Red Dwarf XI Episode 1 – “Twentica”…
Rimmer – “We’re picking up a ship heading straight for us in an unmapped region of deep space.”
Lister – “Where?”
Rimmer – “Nearing region: Uncharted, Sector: No Name, Quadrant: Nameless.”
The boys from the JMC are back! Along with the Cat and the Mechanoid… they’re all back! Except Holly of course, but we’ll just ignore that for the time being.
Red Dwarf returns to our television sets with Red Dwarf XI starting on Dave come September 22nd, however it’s now live over on UKTVplay.co.uk. This sci-fi/comedy show has been taking one grubby Scouser and one self-hating, narcissistic, dead Technician (Second Class) around the galaxy now for nearly thirty years and it isn’t looking to stop anytime soon.
With our posse of four cruising around in Starbug, they come across a ship contain human-hating Simulants who wish to trade with the members of crew. Their side of the trade is a hostage – namely Rimmer – who is also sat on the bridge of Starbug. After a brief discussion on how valuable this version of Rimmer may be to everyone, Rimmer decides a negotiation and trade is needed and a swap is made for the Casket of Chronos, which is supposedly the soul of a former Simulant numbered 23 of 27. The swap is made and it’s discovered – from Rimmer – that the Simulants plan on using the Casket of Chronos to return in time and alter Earth’s history to stop the damage our planet has brought upon the galaxy. Following the Simulant, by time surfing behind them, Lister, Rimmer, Cat & Kryten arrive in 1952 where technology and science is now illegal and Earth is stuck in a bleak pre-1930’s style era.
This opening of Red Dwarf XI is a very enjoyable one; Doug Naylor leans heavily on the science fiction cliches of old, which he even highlights throughout the script to show that Red Dwarf is actually a science fiction show with comedy elements The comedy is there and any fans of Red Dwarf of old will instantly feel like the show hasn’t been away. We also have some rather splendid new moments including the Dwarf boys having to deal with Albert Einstein and Kryten’s knowledge of ancient human customs.
My only issue I have with this first episode is that it doesn’t feel like an opening for a new series. Yes we’ve known this team of chaps for nearly thirty years, but this episode begins with the boys in Starbug searching an unmarked region of Space. We don’t know if the Mining Vessel Red Dwarf is still with them. Is there a reason they need to be this region of space? After watching the fantastic second episode ‘Samsara’, I feel that would have been a better episode to begin with, but you’ll have to wait a week to read that review.
That being said, these questions don’t detract from what is a great return from Red Dwarf. It’s fantastic to have the two JMC employees, one cat and one mechanoid back, and Red Dwarf is truly a brilliant piece of British television.
Red Dwarf is now live on UKTVPlay and will air on Dave on September 22nd at 9pm.