by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)
Welcome to the 5th 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, 2, 3, and 4.
Season 5 (1991)
Episode 1 – Holoship
As the popularity grew for the show so did the demand for more and more spectacular shows. Season 5 has a few great episodes but it seems to be far from the interpersonal comedy that happened on the first three seasons. In this episode a ship composed of nothing but Holograms comes across Red Dwarf. Rimmer desires to join the crew and even uses illegal mind patching techniques to try to get on board via a super tough testing session against a current crew member (basically replacing the other hologram on the crew). The whole episode revolves around the theme of some movie they are watching at the start and Rimmer complains about how dumb the movie’s characters are acting only to find himself doing the same thing later.
Episode 2 – The Inquisitor
A crazed android is going through to time ‘judging’ every person who ever existed to see if they are worth to have been given the gift of life. If not, he erases them from history. The android shows up on Red Dwarf and the crew fights for their very existence. The concept of the episode is good but the action aspect comes off confusing and not very entertaining.
Episode 3 – Terrorform
Rimmer gets stuck down on a planet but not any old planet. It’s called a psy-moon. It changes itself to reflect the psyche of the person on it. With Rimmer’s twisted mind it takes a very nasty shape. The rest of the crew show up to rescue him. When things get worse they crew do everything they can to make Rimmer feel loved and wanted (to help turn the tide of his psyche’s onslaught).
Episode 4 – Quarantine
In this episode the crew get attacked by a mad hologram who transmits a hologramatic virus to Rimmer. Rimmer puts the rest of the guys into quarantine as he looses him mind. The crew breaks out with the help of the luck virus they found on the ship were the mad hologram was. They clean Rimmer’s programming of the virus at the last second. The luck virus will come back into play in the 8th season. This is one of the more popular shows of the season (behind Back to Reality).
Episode 5 – Demons and Angles
Kryten and Lister have been working on the Triplicator, a device that makes 2 copies of anything. One copy has all the best attributes of what ever was copied and the other has all the worst attributes. The machine backfires and created 2 Red Dwarfs, one good and one bad while the original blows up. The good Red Dwarf is manned by a bunch of hippie-like goodie goodies and the bad Red Dwarf has far more evil versions of the crew. The bad guys (or ‘lows’ are they are called) try to take over the better ship but in the end the crew recreates the triplicator and re-creates the original Red Dwarf. The big mess up here is that in the end of the episode the evil Lister is still alive although he should have disappeared when the 2 ships formed back into the original. I know I am nitpicking but like I said earlier, the writers don’t seems too concerned with continuity.
Episode 6 – Back To Reality
The crew visit an underwater ship only to be chased by the Despair Squid which shoots ink that causes hallucinations that make the victim kill themselves. The crew escape only to crash and die. They all wake up on Earth. It turns out they were all playing a virtual reality video game this whole time. Each crew member were very different that their real life persona. Before their memories come back they leave and each discovers that they are less than desirable in their ‘real’ lives. In the end they try to kill themselves (all together) but Holly intervenes and brings them out of their hallucination that was brought on by the Despair Squid. It was all just a hallucination and the crew carries on. This is the most popular episode of the series in large part to the alternate characters that the crew plays. The whole scene where they each discover who they ‘really are’ is hilarious. This hearkens back to the first three seasons where the characters were the main point of comedy and their interaction with each other.
Join me for my least favorite season of Red Dwarf next time!