Compiling my ten favourite episodes of Red Dwarf turned out to be almost impossible. For over two decades the BBC2 sci-fi comedy entertained the nation in a characteristically British manner, despite working with a budget tighter than Rimmer’s, er, wallet. With a catalogue of over 50 televised shows, I knew it would be a challenge to pick and choose those which stood out from the rest.
Some of my earliest childhood memories are interlaced with Red Dwarf, during those rare evenings my parents allowed me to stay up late. Characterised by my father and I slumped side by side on the comfortable living room sofa, I would innocently giggle at witty jokes I would not understand until I was far older. Despite my childhood naivety I found that Red Dwarf stuck with me as I grew up. Fifteen years on and I can proudly say that it remains my favourite comedy.
In order to celebrate the continuing popularity of RD, I have attempted to brief a countdown of ten episodes that no fan should frown their H-clad forehead at. Enjoy, smegheads!10. Krytie TV – Series VIIIThe eighth series of Red Dwarf may have been the last, but that hasn’t stopped fans from airing their disappointment. Although I am heavily inclined to agree – my interest in RD dwindled at VII – I deduced that including a VIII episode was only fair. Krytie TV is certainly not as memorable an episode as others on the list, but managed to utilise the opposite of Kryten’s usually selfless character in a cleverly entertaining way.
9. Stoke Me A Clipper – VIITaking into consideration that Rimmer is a “two-faced sad git” (Lister’s words, not mine), he would strike you as the very last person to compete with his alternate self, Ace Rimmer. But when Ace confides that he is close to death, Rimmer must choose between another thousand years of being a nobody, or abandon the crew and ship to take Ace’s place. Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast.
8. White Hole – Series IVComing in a close second favourite in Series IV next to Dimension Jump, I chose White Hole because the plot happens to focus on Holly rather than the main cast. The opening scene features the culinary delights of Talkie Toaster, the kitchen appliance with an IQ and annoying determination to serve you a countless array of bread-related products.
7. The End – Series IIt may be ironically titled but ‘The End’ was the first ever episode to be broadcast. Originally shown on February 1988 to an audience of 5.1 million viewers – an impressive amount at the time – it introduce viewers to the main characters (with exception of Kryten who made his first appearance at the beginning of the second series).
6. Gunmen Of The Apocalypse – Series VIWhen Starbug extracts a deadly virus, it is up to everyone to help Kryten as he battles it. The fight to regain control reveals itself in the form of a Western movie. With the help of some artificial reality machines, the crew must save the ship from cavorting violently toward a large planet.
5. Better Than Life – Series IIIt has to be said that poor Rimmer leads a rather bleak life. In order to cheer him up Lister suggests a therapeutic round of Better Than Life, a total immersion virtual reality game where you can have everything and anything you desire. Unfortunately the game is dependent on positive thought, a trait Rimmer possesses negligible amounts of. His negativity leaves him with his worst nightmare: a wife, seven kids and a mortgage…oh, and an untimely death involving jam and some hungry killer ants.
4. Parallel Universe – Series IIParallel Universe opens with the infamous ‘Tongue Tied’, a musical interpretation of Cat’s dream. There is also an amusing exploration into the alternate side of gender stereotyping. In a world where women dominate and treat the opposite sex as mere objects, Lister finds out the hard way that in such a topsy-turvy world, men can become pregnant. Ouch.
3. Quarantine – Series VThis is undoubtedly one of the best episodes from Series V. If Rimmer dressed in a checked gingham dress sporting a puppet named Mr. Flibble doesn’t do it for you, then perhaps the arguments ensuing between Lister, Cat and Kryten as they survive on a Wallpapering DIY video and knitting magazine will.
2. Backwards – Series IIIImagining for one moment an alternative Earth where everything runs the opposite way round is mind-bogglingly scary. This is exactly what Lister, Rimmer, Cat and Kryten face as Starbug accidentally slips through a time hole.
1. Back To Reality – Series VI always knew that the most enjoyable episode on my list would go to Back To Reality. It is impossible to fault this episode in any way shape or form, thanks to Cat’s dorky alter ego Duane Dibbley and a fantastic plot twist toward the end. If there is one show to watch again (and again and again) then this is most certainly it.
Agree? Disagree? Head to the comments!