Over To Bill Review

One of the biggest downsides of the Red Dwarf Movie’s ten year development hell is that British comedy was robbed of one of its most unique voices for an entire decade. Even after Dwarf‘s triumphant return to our screens, it’s still been nearly 20 years since we’ve seen anything written by Doug Naylor that doesn’t contain those familiar four characters flying around in one of three spaceships. So now it’s over to Over To Bill to see if the man who co-created one of the greatest sit-coms of all time can still conjure up compelling new characters and exciting fresh scenarios, in this one-off comedy drama.

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Red Dwarf X: Bluray/DVD Review

IT. IS. HERE. Less than a fortnight after the final episode of Red Dwarf X aired, the DVD and Bluray have been released into the loving embrace of fans throughout the UK – just in time for Christmas. Despite the tight turnaround, nearly three hours of extras accompany the release, most notably the epic behind-the-scenes documentary We’re Smegged. Having set a precedent for incredibly comprehensive, entertaining and value-packed releases for the earlier series, will this latest offering stack up?

The short answer is: yes. The longer answer requires an unhealthy level of detail, chronicling every aspect of the release in far too much depth. Get comfy.

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Red Dwarf X: The Beginning Review

If you were to put together a wishlist for elements you want in a Red Dwarf episode, it would feature a credible threat, character issues bubbling away in the background, an interesting narrative, memorable guest performances, fantastic model work, and, preferably, something that draws from and expands on the mythology of one of the central characters. These elements have been present in throughout Red Dwarf X, though not all at the same time, and with varying degrees of success. Could The Beginning bring everything together to give us the conclusion that this series and – potentially – Red Dwarf as a whole deserves? The answer is… pretty much, yeah.

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Red Dwarf X: Dear Dave Review

Dear Dave,

Remember me? I’m Hayley, your plot device. I know you’ve never mentioned me before, despite Red Dwarf being on its tenth series, but I still expect you to care that I might be pregnant by you, despite the fact that both I and the baby died 3 million years ago, and that your oddly casual reaction concludes in you just as casually calling me a slag once you realise that you’re not the father after all.

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Red Dwarf X: Entangled Review

During the Entangled Instant Reaction DwarfCast I proclaimed this episode to be my favourite of the series so far, which is something that’s endured over a number of rewatches. Every other episode has undoubtedly had stronger elements and, in the case of Lemons, had a neater and better story. But what I think Entangled has in absolute bags is a pleasingly familiar, traditional feeling with the best main cast performances of the series so far and tonnes of great laughs.

Surprisingly, given the controversial elements of episodes 2 and 3, I think Entangled has seen the most extreme splitting of fan opinion. In general, people either rate this as their favourite thus far, or the worst of the worst. If at times this review seems to be going to address criticisms from a straw man, that’s because I think more than ever I think I need to explain exactly why I like this episode so much and why some of the things that are bothering others are not bothering me. Whether I can achieve that without being reduced to screaming “BUT I LIKE THIS BIT YOU WANKERS I HATE YOU ALL” remains to be seen, but I’ll try.

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Red Dwarf X: Lemons Review

Last year, I wrote this little piece on audience sitcom and ambition. About how too much audience sitcom these days doesn’t look much further in terms of setting than a house, or office; and how much more it could be with a bit of imagination.

That article was based on an old set of emails I wrote, a long time ago – but I must admit, when I finally got round to writing that article, I knew Red Dwarf X was coming, and I knew it would be shot in front of an audience. I wanted the show to prove that audience sitcom could still move beyond french windows and a sofa – and I wanted to write a follow-up piece pointing out exactly what I was driving at.

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Red Dwarf X: Fathers & Suns review

Fathers & Suns could have been a classic episode of Red Dwarf. It’s got two intriguing, interweaving plots that bring with them danger, pathos and a whole bunch of quality comedy. There’s a superb guest performance, exciting levels of peril, and there’s one stand-out scene that embodies everything that made us fall in love with this programme in the first place. However, there’s also a few unnecessary and excruciating elements, featuring some of the worst guest performances we’ve seen for some time, that drag the episode down and leave me struggling to fully fall in love with an otherwise extremely enjoyable show. These two extremes of quality make for a complex and confusing episode, that will take quite a lot of words to summarise…

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Red Dwarf X: Trojan Review

For the first time in my life, I’m sitting down and writing a review for a brand new episode of Red Dwarf. Three years ago we all watched Back to Earth, the first new Red Dwarf in 10 years, but soon after Series X was properly announced it was clear that it would be more of a true continuation of the show. A full 6 part series of 30 minute episodes is a much, much bigger prospect than a mini-series that was essentially one special anniversary show, and so it feels much more important and a much better indicator of what Doug and the cast and crew can really do with the show.

It turns out, in my own humble opinion, they can still do Red Dwarf real good. Real good indeed.

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