Why do I think more fondly of VIII these days than I used to? Have I mellowed in my old age, or what? Well, I think I’ve finally figured it out.I still maintain that VIII, compared to 1-VI, is poor in nearly every respect. However, what VIII is, in essence, is: knockabout face. Knockabout, brightly-lit, studio-based, sitcom farce. Something that there just isn’t enough of on TV these days. Yes, it’s now a cliche to say it, but most comedy around these days is obsessed with either being dark, or being moody, more filmic stuff. And even out of the stuff that isn’t (Look Around You, for instance), it still isn’t your traditional sitcom in front of an audience programme – a format that, as you well know, I adore.
So, Red Dwarf VIII despite all its many faults, scores in this area – its a type of show I love, and so I’m warming to it simply because of the form – and because there’s so little stuff like it around these days. The show hasn’t fundamentally improved in my eyes – it’s still got the same faults it always had to me – it’s just its far easier to ignore them and concentrate on the good stuff, because of the affection I have for that kind of programme.
As it is, I’m really rather looking forward to the VIII release now. And not just because of the extras, either. But wouldn’t it be nice to have some decent traditional sitcoms around again?