I've decided to
waste time complete my reviews of the Red Dwarf collection DVDs for the sake of completeness while I'm waiting to watch the final two episodes of Burn Notice.
For the previous series review see here:
Chris Barrie as Arnold Rimmer
Craig Charles as Dave Lister
Danny John-Jules as "The Cat"
Robert Llewellyn as Kryten
Hattie Hayridge as Holly
The third series of Red Dwarf marks the point where the show evolved into the entity that captured the hearts of the British nation. Sadly it is also the first season where Normal Lovett was not involved in the project, Hattie Hayridge (who played Hilly in the final episode of the previous season) takes over the role for the next three series. A large amount of events are explained in a ludicrously fast moving set of text that parodies Star Wars. The short version is, Holly has changed his appearance, Lister has repaired Kryten but had to give him a new head and Lister's twin sons have left to their mother's dimension.
Series Three is really where Red Dwarf found its feet and struck a balance between dialog and sci-fi action. It's also the first series I actually watched as it was being broadcast on TV, having just become old enough to be allow to stay up. As such I have fond memories of the episodes, but on rewatching they hold up brilliantly.
The first episode Backwards is a clever piece that has the crew discovering a wormhole that leads to a 'modern day' (i.e. 1990s) version of Earth where time travels backwards. Initially Rimmer and Kryten find the place first and enjoy their lives but Lister and the Cat ruin it for them and they end up leaving. Marooned is a fantastic character driven showpiece for Chris Barrie and Craig Charles which has their characters stranded on an ice planet and Lister forced to go to extreme lengths to survive. Polymorph remains my favourite episode of this series as it features massive laughs (especially in the boxers scene) and some of the most memorable lines from the show. Bodyswap is another episode where the actors get a chance to show off, this time it's Craig, Chris and Danny who all get to act like each other as their personalities have been swapped about. Timeslides I'm not so fond of, it has a lot of cause and effect but it also has a very major change to the history of the show being used as a throwaway gag at the end and it doesn't really work. The Last Day is a strong ending to the series, when Kryten's expiration date comes up his replacement arrives, and the long journey in space has affected his sanity.
It's a great series of the show and it sets up the sweet period for Red Dwarf (Series three to six are the best, especially series six) and it often serves as a better introduction to the show over the first two series.
The BBC have kept the same standard for every series throughout, matching the spine up on each series to create a copy of the logo and only changing the colour plus stills used on each. I love this attention to detail as nothing throws me more than a series switching up their design halfway through.
As always the BBC put others to shame with the extras on this. Not only do you get excellent and interesting cast commentary on every single episode (even if Danny is a little bit too fond of the word woofer) you also get a whole separate disc filled with stuff:
"All Change" Original Documentary
Smeg Ups (Out takes)
Hatties DJ Diary
Tribute to Mel Bibby
Backwards - Forwards
Raw FX Footage
Isolated Music Cues
Talking Book Chapters
And Easter Eggs plus a collectors booklet
The outright winner for this boxed set is play.com who have it at £7.99. Which is 4.9ppm, of course the problem with UK TV shows is they are always shorter than the American ones which makes it hard for them to ever win the ppm wars.
Run time: 161 mins
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Full Frame
Subtitles: English - SDH