Red Dwarf XII

The first episode of Red Dwarf XII is out on ‘Sky Catch Up’ – under the Dave section. It doesn’t officially start until Thursday night, but I remembered that last year the episodes inexplicably aired on the ‘On Demand’ channel a week in advance, which is a bit confusing, but hopefully still counts as a viewing figure!

Every season my wife and I have the big worry that ‘this year they might lose it’ and I have to say that every year we get about 30 seconds in and we know for sure that they definitely have not lost it.

The first episode of the season feels like pure Red Dwarf. It amazes me that all these years on they can get the same vibe going straight off the bat.

I love how you can almost predict how a conversation might go, in terms of the beats between the conversation, when the punch line will fall, or which member of the group will end up on the receiving end of the insult. But as always, it rewards you with the unexpected twist on the joke.

They’re perfect at touching on a seemingly meaningless topic early on, and then weaving it through the half an hour story, to pay off at the climax in some way that you couldn’t have seen coming. Whether it be a discussion about food, or a random event. You feel like every part of the show matters, and doesn’t matter, in equal balance making every part critical.

Red Dwarf works best when it takes some philosophical dilemmas and plays them out in their usual B-Movie sci fi style. This first episode covers the dilemma of being able to ‘cure evil’ and looks at whether that makes up for the past crimes of an individual if they were effectively doing bad because of their biology and not because of their biology.

I hope the rest of the season has questions like this scattered around it, but I also thought it would be good to think about what else I’d like to see, or not see, as the case may be.

Speaking of which, Kochanski – I rather liked her character in the short time she was in it. But I feel like they’d be making a mistake if they ever resolved that story between her and Dave. Some of Red Dwarf’s charm is in the fact they’re happy to just ignore the huge season finales and crack on without any resolution what-so-ever.

I think it’s crucial that they give us another Ace Rimmer episode though, that character is classic. I’d even go so far as to say they’d have a hit episode on their hands if they did a full 30 minute Ace Rimmer special some day.

In episode one, they spent a bit of time looking at the fact that Starbug was getting on a bit and was falling into disrepair.

I’d like to see them try and make some effort to get the ship working a little more, maybe bring back Holly but as part of a reboot to his systems.

They gave us the female version, and the super intelligent version, but with Norman Lovett seemingly hating the idea of doing it for any prolonged period of time, it’d be good to maybe do a Holly 3.0 and iron out any of the kinks.

Part of me would fear the worst for adding in a new cast member this late in the series, but equally it feels like this past few have seen a huge uplift in the quality of the stories.

I’d like to see an episode where they look at what would’ve happened if Lister had never been put into stasis.

The Cat wouldn’t exist of course.

Kryton would’ve been abandoned in the future and stuck on the same ship he was always a servant on. A one off episode where Lister, Rimmer and the Red Dwarf Crew go about their business and we see their lives in Fast Forward could make for some great viewing.

They could even cast Danny John Jules as a crew member that just looks suspiciously like The Cat, but that might kickstart some disturbing fan theories about how and why they look similar.

They could even add in a little kicker at the end by showing Kryten’s life if he hadn’t met the Red Dwarf Crew. Maybe right after they came by and ‘rescued’ him, another ship full of fem-bots and a fully functioning laundromat would’ve passed by providing him with his own idea of heaven.

Considering Red Dwarf has been travelling through space for an insanely long amount of time, it would be entertaining to see them reach the edge of space. Like if they just bumped into a wall and had to turn back…

That wouldn’t make for much of an episode – sure, but it would be interesting to see the limits of where they could go and where the ‘edge’ is.

They could do it by essentially ignoring the plot holes happening outside of the ship – so the various races that they bump into from time to time, and anything that helps future episodes can be ignored.

Meanwhile, Lister and Cat could ‘experiment’ by going into and out of stasis, like they have been known to previously. Skipping in and out of the time line to see what has changed and to skip forward enough time that they can explore the outer reaches.

It would need to be something underwhelming and funny, but they could fix everything back to normal again by turning around and stasis hopping their way back to where they were before.

Lastly with the size and resources of Red Dwarf, I think it’d be quite funny if they randomly came across an entirely different ‘mini crew’ living on the other end of the ship that they simply didn’t know about.

Similar circumstances could’ve lead to them being there, they can talk about all of their experiences during the past few decades of the show. The time the ship got shrunk and lost in a strange new world, or when the Crew reappeared for a brief period but haven’t been seen since.

It wouldn’t be beyond the gang to have been so wrapped up in their own adventures that they hadn’t even noticed that some of the things going on around the ship were happening because there were 4-5 other beings living there, perhaps including a couple of cats who also got left behind.

After a one off episode, they’d have to agree to part ways for whatever reason – perhaps they simply can’t stand each other – and then never be heard from again.

That’s all from me. I suggest you watch Red Dwarf on ‘On Demand’ right away and let me know what you think!

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