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My Top 10 Favourite Red Dwarf Episodes

Well, theres a new series of Red Dwarf thats airing in a month. While I wasnt too impressed with the Back to Earth specials, Im still giving the new series the benefit of the doubt. In preparation, I thought I might take a look at the ten episodes which I see as my personal favourites. Your mileage may vary, but this is based entirely on my own opinion and I promise to keep spoilers to a minimum. So without further ado, lets start the countdown.

10. DNA
But a man made from dandruff? Its never gonna work! I might as well start with something that involves genetics abuse. The crew discover a derelict spacecraft which they believe houses alien technology. When they explore the vessel, Cat tampers with a machine that alters DNA, turning Lister into a chicken. Shortly afterwards, Kryten is turned into a human. He is initially pleased with his new form, but finds it difficult to adapt to, especially after some embarrassing discoveries. Watch the episode and youll understand. I think the episode is great because it shows what a machine like that could do. Im sure that most people at some point in their lives wish they werent human (I always thought being a cat would be good for leading a lazy existence), or they might believe in reincarnation. Well, this episode shows a way that something like that would be possible, but it also shows the consequences of those actions. For example, when it goes wrong and turns a mutton vindaloo into a hideous curry monster.

9. Better than Life


Loneliness weighs heavily on us all. Personally, the only thing that keeps me going is the thought that we are over 60 billion miles away from the nearest Berni Inn. I think this one may be often overlooked. After a post pod arrives on the Red Dwarf, Rimmer finds a letter that tells him his father has died. To cheer him up, Lister and Cat invite him to join them as they play Better than Life, a total-immersion videogame where the players can indulge in all their fantasies and desires. At first it goes well, but Rimmers neurotic mind starts to reject the perfect dreams, turning it into a nightmare for everybody. I like the concept of Total-Immersion videogames. I like it a lot, but this seems to be an example of where it could be flawed. Furthermore, it discusses how Rimmers relationship with his father may not have been great, but he is still saddened by the loss. Im sure that anyone would agree that losing a parent is a crushing experience, even if they were the worst people around, there is always respect for them somewhere.

8. Tikka to Ride
It'll drive the conspiracy nuts crazy but, they'll never figure it out. While Series VII was not the strongest of the series, I still enjoy the first episode of the season. Starbugs entire supply of lager and Indian food is lost in a flood, and Lister is inconsolable. His suggestion to use a time machine to collect replenish his beloved curry supplies is opposed, so he tampers with Kryten to get a second opinion. Unfortunately, this backfires when the time machine sends them to Dallas in 1963 and they accidentally foil the Kennedy assassination. To make matters worse, they are stranded in a new timeline where the world is on the brink of nuclear war. I enjoy this episode because it takes an interesting look at what could have happened if Kennedy survived, albeit with a science fiction element. This was especially funny when I studied the assassination for my history coursework, as it was always tempting to put it into an essay for a joke. All in all, it was a good episode, and a good thing I didnt use it in my arguments.

7. The Last Day


No such thing as Silicon Heaven? Then where do all the calculators go? The argument for this one might as well be that quote alone, but I still feel that I should talk about it. Lister is told that Kryten is reaching his built-in expiry date and will go offline. The crew decide to throw a leaving party, or as Kryten puts it, The employment of time in a profitless and non-practical way. However, things get complicated with the pending arrival of the android due to replace Kryten. The dialogue is hilarious all the way through, and it contains some the most memorable quotes from the series. It may be the weakest of the third series, but its still hilarious.

6. Out of Time
Better dead than smeg. When I watch this episode, I get the feeling that it was meant to be the finale. The crew come across a secret research vessel which houses a time machine. Theyre initially thrilled by the prospect, but a test run leaves them unimpressed when they can only travel through time but not space. However, they become hopeful when theyre met by themselves from fifteen years in the future, only to find that they become amoral and corrupt. A battle ensues, resulting in a cliff-hanger. Like the DNA episode, this shows how easily science fiction technology can be abused. Doc Brown always warned about the dangers of using time travel for personal gain, and this episode takes his warning to lengths that even Biff Tannen would be ashamed of.

5. Quarantine
Mr Flibbles very cross. Season V of Red Dwarf always felt darker and edgier, but it still managed to be funny. The crew find a research lab on an arctic planet and discover a hologram named Dr Lanstrom. Unfortunately, she has contacted a virus which gives her psychic abilities but is also slowly killing her, all while making her completely insane. When the group return to Red Dwarf they

are put into quarantine by Rimmer, who is angry at his inability to assert authority over them. While the cabin fever theme youd often find in Red Dwarf is brought to an extreme level in this one, it takes a sudden dark turn when Rimmer also contracts the holo-virus. Its funny to see Rimmer using the fabled Space Corps Directives against his crewmates for a change, and his transformation is both hilarious and mildly terrifying at the same time.

4. Backwards
Theres no crime! The first night we were here, a mugger jumped us and forced 50 into my wallet at knifepoint. This one might be a lot of peoples favourite episode. It introduced the redesigned version of the Red Dwarf, and made Kryten a regular. Rimmer and Kryten warp into a time hole and find themselves back on Earth. The only difference is that time is running backwards. Although they are content to stay, Lister and Cat are reluctant to live in this new world. A lot of the jokes are visual, but they can be really funny at times. In fact, thats how Rimmer and Kryten make a living for themselves in the world. Plus, its funny seeing Kryten having his driving test in Starbug, with all the anxiety jokes you can make. Its the kind of situational humour I can relate to.

3. Gunmen of the Apocalypse


Rimmer what Westerns have you seen? Butch Accountant and the Yuppie Kid? Its a dreamscape-themed story that predates Inception. The crew is captured by a band of Rogue Simulants who upgrade Starbug so they can hunt them for sport. When the crew fight back and win, the Simulants infect their computer with a virus that sends them on a collision course towards a volcanic moon. Kryten infects himself with the virus so he can develop software that counteracts it, and the rest of the crew help him by using an artificial reality machine to enter his dream, where his conflict takes the shape of a Western. Its pretty awesome seeing the cast appear in a Western setting, with story elements that may have eventually gone into The Matrix or Assassins Creed. In fact, this episode drew influence from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called A Fistful of Datas. While I dont watch Star Trek, Im aware that Patrick Stewart was initially displeased with the episode until he realised it was a comedy. Either way, I think its a good episode, and cemented series VI well.

2. Polymorph
What about the Rimmer Directive which states Never tangle with anything thats got more teeth than the entire Osmond family? I just have to include this episode here, or Ill be hated for it. A shape-changing creature which feeds on negative emotions infiltrates Red Dwarf. When Lister is drained of his fear, the rest of the crew attempt to leave, only to track it the cargo bay where it picks everyone off. This is another episode which revolves around visual humour rather than dialogue, at least until everyone has been attacked by the Polymorph. The scene where Lister is being strangles by the Shami Kebab which then turns into a pair of shrinking boxers is just comedic gold. Not to mention when the post attack crew is having the group discussion.

1. Queeg
Revise and learn pages 21 to 25. You will then be tested. If you fail, tomorrow you will take a five mile jog. Hands down, I think this is one of the best episodes. The increasingly senile Hollys mistakes are irritating the crew after the Red Dwarf is hit by a meteor. The ship is then taken over by Queeg 500, Red Dwarfs backup computer, who acts like a drill instructor. He hijacks Rimmers body and forces him to exercise, he forces Lister and Cat to work by cutting off their food and drink, and he demotes Holly to night watchman. Although the crew were initially pleased with Queegs efficiency, his policies later make them want Holly back in command. It shows how noticeable changes in leadership can be, and the new leaders people want are often undesirable. Yes, I am looking at you Cameron. But I digress. The dialogue is once again great, and it was amazing seeing Craig Charles doing his own stunts. And the ending, I wont dare spoil. Its one of the funniest twists in anything Ive seen.

So there we have it, my top ten. If you agree with this list, thats always nice to hear. If you dont agree, you can always tell me your own ten favourites. And to avoid giving harsh judgement, here are the honourable mentions: The End Timeslides Waiting for God Meltdown Emohawk: Polymorph II

And of course I cant forget this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXYfnWRp1Q0 As he says: Smoke me a Kipper. Ill be Back for Breakfast.

Compiled and Written by Andrew Roberts