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Review – Back to Earth, part 3

Posted by Michael Warren on April 12, 2009

Yeah, I couldn’t think of a memorable quote to use… tells you a little bit about the review.

Having considered through the making of (which definitely felt far too short), I’m more at ease with part 3 than the immediate reaction I had.

It is something more of a mixed bag, this one. Some good moments, some weak moments. The fakeout with the chase sequence was fun, and there were some good character moments, particularly for Craig (both as Lister, and as himself). The Kabin scene and Kryten’s “interrogation” were a big minus, though, and almost spoiled the rest of the episode for me.

I felt a bit too lost with the Blade Runner references – last night, I enjoyed them without knowing what they were; tonight, knowing that they’re Blade Runner references, it feels rather different. The fact that I was told that there were references actually impacted how I saw them in this part.

The ending seemed a little bit too pat (oh, it was the despair squid, oh, Lister’s staying for Kochanski, oh, Lister’s going back, oh, everything back the way it was), but I’m still, overall, quite pleased with the episode. There were some good moments of humour, some good moments of pathos and emotion, and it didn’t quite disappear up its own arse, as I might have feared.

The writing out of Katerina in part two seems even more abrupt and silly after all three, though.

But, they kept the secret of Chloe Annett’s appearance incredibly well, considering the press interest in the series, and the extensive pre-release publicity. And that resulted in a genuine surprise which I really enjoyed.

I look forward to the DVD release, and hope we get to see Back to Earth in a feature-length form there.

As I mentioned above, the making of that followed was good, although rather too short (we’ve been a bit spoiled by the documentaries on the DVDs – this really needed to be 90 minutes long!).

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Review – “Science fiction, it’s all bollocks, isn’t it?”

Posted by Michael Warren on April 11, 2009

Erm… my brain has not quite recovered from Back to Earth part 2. Red Dwarf, you went all wonky, and yet awesome at the same time.

The first half, I pretty much laughed hysterically for nine minutes non-stop. Utter magnificence. The second half, not quite as much, but there was a huge grin on my face even when I wasn’t giggling madly.

This was, quite frankly, superb. And that’s about all the reaction I can manage this evening.

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Review – “I bid greetings”

Posted by Michael Warren on April 10, 2009

group2-1000So, “nine years later”, eh…

Red Dwarf is back, after quite an absence – film deals falling through and the BBC completely abandoning the series made it feel like we’d seen the last of The Boys from the Dwarf. But now, on what is, quite frankly, a fairly minor channel (for which this is one of their first original commissions), we have a trilogy of episodes airing over this Easter weekend. And part one just finished.

It’s hard to judge the thing based solely on this first episode – as the first part in a trilogy, it’s largely a lot of plot setup. It’s not bad – although it felt rather too short, and the jumps to/from commercial break and the “To Be Continued” were rather abrupt. There were some humourous moments, some good bits of character interaction, and some intriguing plot developments. The use of special effects is good, and rarely intrudes into the reality of the situation.

It’s clear that the sitcom aspect has pretty much been jettisoned for this trilogy, and the setting is far more of a comedy-drama. This is fine, as it feels like a natural evolution for the series (which was already underway in series VI and VII [the slide back in VIII is best left forgotten – and the complete ignoring of the “cliffhanger” we had at the end of that series is very welcome]), and the cast don’t seem to be troubled by the shift in tone. It’s almost like they’ve never been away, as each has settled straight back into their character.

Part two tomorrow, along with new Doctor Who!

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