Villordsutch reviews Red Dwarf Series XI …
I think we can all agree that when we heard the announcement for the new series of Red Dwarf, a fair few of us felt a wee pang of trepidation. Even a long-term fan such as myself – I have been watching the show since the first transmission of the very first episode – felt the strain on series ten. However, as a fan of the “Boy’s from the Dwarf” I had to give Series XI the benefit of the doubt, and as fans will now know we are all glad we did!
Series XI hugged and held both humour and science-fiction just perfectly. All being delivered by the co-creator of Red Dwarf Doug Naylor, who as with the previous series, decided to take on the role of writer and director for each and every episode.
Twentica started the series and was good but wasn’t fantastic; it was Samsara which truly showed the loyal fanbase that Red Dwarf was back, and it was beautifully fantastic, with Lister (Craig Charles) and Rimmer (Chris Barrie) opening with the episode with conversation and this spilling over into more two crew-member conversations, reaching a perfect Cat (Danny John-Jules) “Formica” climax. The show continued to shine with a time-bending/classic sci-fi with Give & Take, then Officer Rimmer with The Thing-esque Rimmer monster, Kryten’s (Robert Llewellyn) mid-life crisis in Krysis and finally the Cat centred Polymorph episode in Can of Worms. Honestly who had trepidation…it wasn’t me!?
If honesty was being called into play, there were a few odd occasions where the endings of episodes felt to have been closed off too quickly, specifically Officer Rimmer. Though this would be looking for holes in what would be classed as an excellent series.
Another impressive standout factor of Series XI was the special effects department which really shone. Watching the behind the scenes on the DVD you get a feel on how either these were minutely detailed or brutally hamfisted – from numerous cameras snapping Robert Llewellyn’s face for perhaps the most comfortable Kryten mask ever, to discovering that the sleeping quarters had expanding in storage and they had to hack pieces from it.
On the DVD we get a rather packed behind the scenes look at the work that goes into a show, the queue for who controls a Scutter, Danny John-Jules unaware that there was a person inside Snacky (until it falls over after three days onset) and the fact that Chris Barrie was made to wear a wig. Also fun fact, we actually got to see a set piece from Series XII in the very first episode of Series XI.
With model shots, gallery and other such stuff, we get to look at the special effects department and here I let out a laugh now knowing that they “acquired” older ships and re-designed ships to save on cash. Of course we get the Smeg-Ups, this is clearly a treat to watch and I can still recall buying this as a VHS tape many years back.
Red Dwarf XI is a true return to form for this long-running Sci-Fi/Comedy show. This DVD release has it all, the episodes, behind-the-scenes documentary, deleted scenes, smeg ups and more. You need this.
Red Dwarf XI is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US now.