AT about 20:55 yesterday I was ready to engage Ape Shit mode as I waited for this to start. Having been a huge fan of the show since I first saw it in my youth, some 20 years ago, this was a momentous occasion which we have all been waiting for… But did it deliver?
I have to say that there wasn’t a huge amount of hype leading up to the release, with a few teasers which didn’t give away too much of the story and did get you a little worried about the crew. But other than and a pre-release of the first 5 minutes of the show (below) that they were pretty quiet about the release on Dave which has for the last few seasons been the home of the small rouge one. Those last few seasons have been great by the way, becoming increasingly rude and crude and television rules relax, but also becoming much more professional looking.
This story sees us catching up with the cat society which left Red Dwarf. I’m not going to discuss this society too much but there are some feral cats which have taken over the fleet and chase down some followers of Cloister who manage to catch up with and meet their god… As you can imagine absolute nothing good can come of anything the crew of Red Dwarf do, so imagine what happens when Lister (once again) becomes god, and strap in for the ride.
This feature length episode had probably the highest quality production yet with plenty of special effects, fancy lights just a crisp and clean finish… That is with the exception of Kryten for some reason. Between now and the last season they’ve made him really rusty and crusty looking for no apparent reason. Back to the production level though, I’ve always said that I never want to see Red Dwarf looking too professional… the low budget feel is what always made the show feel that much more special… made it feel like it belonged to the viewers!
Don’t get me wrong, this feature length looked amazing. The costumes were mostly on point, the locations looked brilliant and the effects were well executed… It felt like a serious show, so had to be brought “back to reality” (incidentally also one of my favorite Red Dwarf episodes) with some huge doses of comedy… This is where I’m not sure it quite delivered.
The episode was filled to the brim with nostalgia, the actors all did an amazing job, we were introduced to new characters, new worlds and new stories which felt very familiar! But other than a few exceptions, where were the belly laugh moment… those laugh out loud moments? There were a couple, and it was littered with chances to have a little snigger… But I really did have my hopes up for the rude, crude comedy of the Dave era of Red Dwarf… Full of laughs at every turn and I’m not sure that we really got that.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVED this feature length episode and it stirred up a lot of emotions connected to one of my favourite shows of all time, and I don’t think they could have given us much more, but it fell just those few inches short. I think there will be plenty of people who will disagree, but look, I gave it 4 stars! I just don’t think it can compare with some of the earlier seasons, whilst being leagues better than Back to Earth which I think really was a flop!
The best thing about this really was however seeing the whole crew come back together with plenty of familiar faces!