Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: Red Dwarf Season 3

by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)

Apparently I totally goofed up and forgot to post this Blog post (Season 3) before posting Season 4. Oops! No one really reads this Blog anyway so it doesn't really matter... However it does prove to the readers that we prepare Blog posts well in advance and that (sometimes) leads to misposting... oh well.

Welcome to the third review about the British comedy Red Dwarf. For those who don't know, Red Dwarf is a British Science Fiction comedy about the last human being alive. This is the first part of the reviews that will span all eight seasons as well as the Back to Earth specials. Perhaps when the next season finally comes out I will add it to my list of reviews. Click here for the review of Season 1 and Season 2. Don't forget Season 4.

Season 3 (1989)

Episode 1 - Backwards
Kryten and Rimmer are off in Starbug to get Kryten's pilot license. In the attempt they sucked into a time hole and are flung back to Earth... only an Earth where time is backwards. Lister and the Cat seek them out and soon find them on this crazy backwards planet. This episode is where the sci-fi element really took off. The writers seemed to say 'the smeg with it' and broke all sorts of story concepts, continuity, and the like to make an enjoyable series. Lister seemed to loose his intense interest in getting back to Earth, technology seems to jump back and forth between the mundane and the fantastic (where the heck did a mining ship get a cloaking device???). The balance however between the sci-fi element and character interaction is just about perfect making this my (and many people's) favorite season.

Episode 2 - Marooned
Lister and Rimmer crash land on an ice planet and spend the whole episode in the main section of Starbug talking... keeping the starving Lister occupied. That's it. The whole thing never leaves the one room. It is the most entertaining episode of the series and involved so much less than every other episode. Chris Barrie (Rimmer) says that this is his 2nd favorite episode of the series (next the Dimension Jump in Season 4).

Episode 3 - Polymorph
A genetically engineered life form called a Polymorph gets ontop the ship and causes havoc. Polymorphs suck emotions out of its victims and it get everyone in the crew. With vital emotions missing each of the crew become very different. In the end they regain their emotions when the Polymorph is destroyed. There is a lot of effect shots in this episode along with the hedious Polymorh. There are some fantastic gags including Lister's shrinking underpants and Kryten's gronial attachment.

Episode 4 - Bodyswap
The crew happens upon a technique called a mind swap where people's minds can be moved about betwen different bodies. Rimmer convinces Lister to let them swap so Rimmer can experience touch again (and get Lister into shape) for a short while. Rimmer totally freaks out and abuses Lister's body in the extasy of being alive again. This is my second favorite episode of the third season. Although there is that sci-fi element it is basically the ability to have the story occur and not the focus of the story.

Episode 5 - Timeslides
In the episode Kryten is developing photos and the 3 million year old fluid has made the photos act very strangely. They actaully move (like a video) but the crew can actaully move into the photographs (when shown as slides). Lister and the crew go 'back in time' and once again try to convince their former selves to do things that will chage their history and get them off the ship. Lister succeds and Rimmer has to go back and 'fix' things (bringing Lister back to his current, space lost self). This is one of those episode where the character just walk off the screen at the end (leaving the whole prospect of changing their pasts alone).

Episode 6 - The Last Day
This is my third favorite episode and would be higher up but for the poor show production during the last scene. Kryten gets mail at the ship stating that he is soon to be replaced by the latest android model. The crew has a big bash (the funniest part of the episode) and then the replacement shows up. Kryten uses human logic to win the day and stop the insane replacement android. The final scene which looses points for me is where Hudson (the replacment shows up). The problem with the scene is the audio and lighting. They shot the scene somewhere other than the studio and it lighting and sound suffer badly.

Things start going down hill as we start the review of the next season so keep an eye out.

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