Dave Lister, the last surviving man continues on well over 3000 years into the future. Accompanied by a sassy computer, a life form created from a cat cell, and the holograph of a friend, Lister travels through space on the spacecraft Red Dwarf. Volume … see full wiki
"3 Million years from Earth... the mining ship, Red Dwarf... It's crew: Dave Lister, the last human being alive. Arnold Rimmer, a hologram of his dead bunk-mate, and a creature who evolved from the ship's cat..." The second season of this cult BBC classic is like a nostalgic and chagrined conversation between old friends. There are plenty of highlights to smile at fondly, plenty of laughs, and a few moments of youthful embarrassment to even the road.
Lister, Arnie, and Cat can barely contain their excitement when Holly receives a distress call from the seemingly lovely survivors of a shuttle crash. Kryten, the service mechanoid aboard the Nova 5, has held on above and beyond the call of duty, making sure that the humans he serves have everything they need while waiting for rescue. The season opens with a show entitled simply, Kryten, and the brief addition of a new crew member!
Other revelations? Lister finds out that the ship's supply of cow milk ran out some time ago, and he's been drinking dog's milk! "There's nothing wrong with dog's milk." Holly informs the shocked Lister, "It's full of goodness, full of vitamins, full of marrow bone jelly." And Rimmer asks for a little respect from Lister with the imminent addition of new female personnel! "For a start, don't call me Rimmer... What about my nickname from when I was in school?" "What, Bonehead?" Lister quips. "No, the other one... Ace!" Rimmer replies. "Your name was never "Ace"," Dave insists, "maybe acehole..." All of which leaves us wondering... Who would be crazy enough to want to join this crew?!
In episode two, Better Than Life, we delight with the crew over the arrival of a mail pod. The scutters receive their package for their John Wayne fan club. Lister finds two seasons of zero gravity football and a copy of the new Better Than Life game. This virtual-reality type entertainment reads your deepest desires and turns them into reality! Rimmer receives a warm epistle from Mumsy about the death of his father. While learning more about his cold parents and their dubious state of sanity does create sympathy for Rimmer, it is quickly lost when he ruins the new game for everyone!
Episode three, Thanks for the Memory, reveals a mystery aboard the Crimson Short One... following Rimmer's wild death-day celebration... four days go missing! Lister and Cat are each sporting a broken leg, a jigsaw seems to have put itself together, and Holly's black box has been buried upon a small and inconspicuous planet under a headstone reading, "To the Memory of Lisa Yates"! Will the boys let things rest, or will digging up those four days bring them the peace of mind they think they've lost?
Rimmer's pathetic life reaches new depths with the drunken revelation found in an inexplicably delicious triple fried egg, chili sauce and chutney sandwich. "Now me... all the ingredients are right. I'm disciplined. I'm organized. I'm dedicated to my career. I've always got a pen. Result? Total Smeghead despised by everyone with the exception of the ship's parrot! And that's only because we don't have one! Why is that, Lister?"
Stasis Leak, episode four, folds time and space to allow the boys access to a time, 3 million years and 3 weeks into the past... just a few weeks away from the radiation leak that killed all of the crew except Lister, who was being held in stasis without pay. Finding a wedding picture on board the ship of him and Kristine Kochanski, Dave searches for a way to either bring her forward in time or stay behind and marry the girl of his dreams. Rimmer is even more determined to use that remaining stasis pod to save himself.
Perhaps he would have been more successful if he wasn't popping back into a point in his life right after Dave had slipped him some hallucinogenics known as Titan Mushrooms or simply "freaky fungus". His then recent experience that could only be described as " a voyage to trip-out city" has Rimmer believing that these appearances of himself from the future are just really wacky flashbacks!
The next episode, Queeg, is one of my favorites and possibly the best of season two. Holly nearly causes Lister to fry himself while trying to guide repairs to the hologram simulation suite after meteor damage. Holly's constant reassurances to the crew that everything is all right don't foot the bill. "If it's not serious when your genitals can go wandering off on their own, I'd like to know what is!", Rimmer exclaims just before taking turns channeling various crew members while repairs progress!
Queeg 500, Red Dwarf's emergency back-up computer, retires Holly for gross negligence, and lays down the law. Rimmer has no choice but to follow the standard exercise program required of all holographic crew members. While Lister and Cat are both amused to watch Queeg manipulate Rimmer's body through the jumping jacks, sit-ups and remaining 3/4 of a 3 mile run after Rimmer fainted at the first mile... the situation is dire. Dave and Cat are forced to work for their food! None of them ever realized how good they had it under Holly's rule. As Holly says, "The moral of the story is... Appreciate what you've got, because basically, I'm fantastic!"
The season closes with Parallel Universe, which opens with the amusing musical number "Tongue Tied" performed by the Boys of the Dwarf... one of the many dreams you can find on the ship's Dream Recorder. Holly with his staggering intellect that is the "same as 12,000 car park attendants", has invented the Holly Hop Drive. Holly believes this will enable them to return to Earth in an instant, but actually it transports them to a parallel universe. Lister's and Rimmer's counterparts in this world are very similar to the originals with just one key difference... they're women! Cat's hopes that he will finally meet a female as lovely and style-conscious as himself are dashed when he finds that his counterpart is in fact... a dog!
Season two of Grant & Naylor's fabulous Red Dwarf is filled with laughs and amusing revelations about the tight-knit crew. While Kryten, played by David Ross, is an entertaining and humorous addition to the crew, Kryten appears and disappears within that first episode. His character, played permanently by Robert Llwellyn with occasional guest shots of Ross, reappears in the first episode of season three with no explanation. This is one of the roughest edges of the show that just never found a better angle, or really took the time to polish out some of the jagged bits left behind.
The charms of the show far outweigh any inconsistencies though. From Holly's amusing anecdotes during each ship's log at the beginning of each episode, to the always satisfyingly humorous close that leaves us wondering where the Dwarf will take us next... Red Dwarf entertains. It causes us to brim with laughter and the inner warmth that laughter and smiling bring to us.
Lines like, "As the days go by, we face the increasing inevitability that we are alone in a godless, uninhabited, hostile and meaningless universe. Still, you've got to laugh, haven't you?", or "Our deepest fear is going space crazy through loneliness. The only thing that helps me keep my slender grip on reality is the friendship I have with my collection of singing potatoes. " show how highly quotable these shows are. However, one cannot imagine where the simplest conversations might lead!
Lister: "And for this very special occasion, I have baked a cake!"
Holly:"What's that, then?"
Lister:"It's shaped like a spanner, Holly, because he was a technician."
Holly: "That's very apt, that is. If he'd have been a postman, you would have baked it in the shape of an envelope, I suppose?"
Holly: "Gordon Bennet! It's lucky he's not a gynecologist!"
This DVD offering from the BBC gives us some extras to thumb through as well. Smeg-Ups is your basic blooper reel. Deleted Scenes and a Photo Gallery are also pretty standard fare, and the complete performance of the Tongue Tied number is well worth viewing. The A-Z Documentary is the real prize for Dwarf fans though. It offers interviews with both Terry Pratchett and Patrick Stewart, insight into past episodes or characters as well as possible future developments, and a search for the definition of "smeg"; the Dwarf's favorite slang term. Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Norman Lovett and Danny John-Jules supply some highly amusing commentary for these episodes too!
Even though they leave us with a bit of a cliff-hanger, wondering if that photo of him with twin boys from season one's Future Echoes episode was a foreshadowing of Lister actually becoming pregnant on a parallel universe, there are really very few complaints to be found over these early formative episodes of what was to become a cult classic of serious proportions. Season two sees the show rounding out the crew's collective character as well as branching out with more space shots, better sets, and even bigger laughs. Available on Amazon for around 30 U.S. dollars, Season Two of the splendorous Red Dwarf is well worth every penny.
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for Groups
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age
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