With the arrival of Red Dwarf X on British TV screens last October, fans of the show have had the chance to see the first full series of the cult comedy classic in over a decade. Red Dwarf X, or series 10 if your core program cannot process Roman Numerals, consists of six 30 minute episodes. Just like Back To Earth in 2009, the new series aired on UK comedy channel Dave rather than the show’s one-time home of BBC 2. The entire series, along with over two hours of never broadcast bonus material, has since been released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK, US, and Australia.
With filming taking place during December 2011 and January 2012 at Shepperton Studios before a live studio audience, the end result is one that sees the show returning to doing what it does best. And, thanks to the interior of the ship now having a much grittier and more industrial look than the futuristic luminous style used in Back To Earth, stylistically Red Dwarf X looks very similar to series 3 to 5. Of course there is the occasional off-ship jaunt to the odd derelict ship or space station thrown in, but there are also a couple of episodes where the action takes place entirely on board Red Dwarf itself. These are very reminiscent of the earliest episodes from series 1, where the show excelled as a character driven comedy which just happened to use science fiction as plot devices.
Although the cast all seem to be carrying a few extra inches around the waist this time around, it would appear that they are actually somewhat lighter than their last full outing in 1999. Both Kristine Konchanski, the object of Lister’s affections, along with the ship’s computer ‘Holly’, do not feature in this series. Instead we are left with the original crew from series 1 of Rimmer, Lister, & The Cat, along with service mechanoid Kryten who became a regular from series 3 onwards.
With the series having now drawn to a close amid some very favourable reviews, the folks over at Dave must be congratulated for bringing back a show that the BBC has long chosen to ignore. Red Dwarf X has also brought Dave a huge boost to ratings too, with over 1 million viewers consistently tuning in. This gave the digital TV channel over 5% of the national audience share for Thursday night’s 9pm slot. No mean feat for a channel that is known for only broadcasting repeats. And with the DVD and Blu-Ray release coming just in time for Christmas in the UK and Australia, and just afterwards in the US, fans worldwide have now also had the chance to watch the Dwarfers’ latest exploits.
Despite some trepidation from both fans and critics before Red Dwarf X hit our screens, it would appear that the series has been a complete success. In 2009 Back To Earth received mixed reviews, and suffered from a more sluggish pacing to the preceding eight series, not being filmed in front of an audience, and not having a laughter track. Returning to the old formula of a small crew stuck on a huge ship, and filming before a studio audience again, has proven to be a master stroke that has breathed new life into a show many thought past it.
Red Dwarf X has now been released on Blu-Ray and DVD, and is available from both the UK and US Amazon sites. With over two hours of exclusive bonus material to complement the six 30 minute episodes, the release is a must for any Red Dwarf fan. Check the latest prices from the Amazon links below.