I’ve found an actually decent entry on Red Dwarf in John Clute’s Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia. Which isn’t entirely surprising, seeing as John Clute is one of the greatest SF critics, perhaps even comparable to Damon Knight. Anyway:
Millions of years in the future, a crewman awakens from suspended animation aboard a large spaceship to find that humankind is long extinct. His sole companions are a sentient hologram, a neurotic computer, and a cat that has evolved into a humanoid. Later they are joined by an android. Red Dwarf began as an attempt to place the then-fresh anarchic New Wave of British comedy in an unexpected locale. Gradually it came to transcend that aim, and imaginatively to explore SF scenarios and concepts while retaining its wit and satirical edge.