DVDs in Review - #34 - Red Dwarf: The Complete Fourth Series

Category: , , , By Rev/Views

Having been distracted by the huge torrent of fantastic returning shows I haven't had quite as much time to review DVDs, but one must push on and at least finish reviewing each season of Red Dwarf.

For the previous series review see here:
Series I
Series II
Series III

Series IV

Chris Barrie as Arnold Rimmer/"Ace" Rimmer
Craig Charles as Dave Lister
Danny John-Jules as "The Cat"
Robert Llewellyn as Kryten
Hattie Hayridge as Holly

The Show:

The fourth series of the British cult comedy classic Red Dwarf continues the level of excellence set by the previous seasons and builds on the revamped style of the third season. This season contains some of the best episodes the show has put out, introduces one of the classic Red Dwarf villains - Simulants - and gives us one of the greatest recurring characters the show has ever produced.

In Camille after Lister teaches Kryten to lie in a classic scene...

...The mechanoid deliberately disobeys Rimmer's orders and rescues another female mechanoid called. The two of them hit it off instantly but when Camille meets the other members of the crew strange things begin to happen. DNA gives Robert Llewellyn a welcome chance to appear without his mask on when the crew discover a strange ship with a device that appears to be able to restructure genetic material. As to be expected things take a turn for the worse when Holly attempts to use the device on a vindaloo. Justice is a series classic; when the crew stop at an old prison facility to provide a safe location to defrost an escape pod that may contain either a deranged synthetic killer or a beautiful woman, Rimmer is put on trial for the crime of murdering the entire crew of Red Dwarf. In White Hole, the ship experiences strange distortions of time brought about by close proximity to the titular white hole. Unfortunately any chance to maneuver clear of the space phenomena is removed by a mistaken attempt to repair Holly's intelligence - which results in the ship's computer being forced to shut down after having a life span reduced to minutes. Dimension Jump introduces one of the fan favourite characters when the crew meet an alternative Rimmer from another dimension. "Ace" Rimmer is everything Arnold Rimmer is not; witty, charming, brilliant, successful etc etc. Needless to say Rimmer immediately hates him. Last of all Meltdown has the crew discovering a matter transporter that can take them to the nearest planet with a breathable atmosphere. A planet that turns out to be populated by giant birds, Hitler, Ghandi and Elvis (amongst others).

Series four is a great series, it shows a lot of development in both the scripting, performances and dialog. It's a clear improvement over series three and leads wonderfully towards the best two series of Red Dwarf (Series five and six). It features some truly memorable moments and gags that still remain fresh to this day.

The Other Stuff:

Just like every single other DVD in this set the packaging fits in perfectly with the rest. Matching up with the others in every aspect while also remaining unique in it's own way. There's not much else to say about it except "Bravo".

As always with this line the BBC give you more extras than you can shake a stick banana small, off-duty traffic warden at. While the two volumes of Red Dwarf "Just the shows" are a great alternative I really do feel that the full extended extras package is just worth the extra shelf space and price.

Full List:
Cast Commentary
"Built to Last" Original Documentary
Deleted Scenes
Smeg Ups (Outtakes)
Ace Rimmer - A Life In Lame
"Lurve" Featurette
Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg Special
Raw FX Footage
Isolated Music Cues
Talking Book Chapters
Photo Gallery
Web Link
Easter Eggs
Collector's Booklet.

Play.com win this round with the low, low price of £7.99. That's a reasonable but not stunning 4.8 ppm. Again though I don't begrudge this price and if you do then you should consider investing in the "Just the Shows" version instead.

Run time: 165 mins
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Full Frame
Audio: Stereo
Colour: PAL
Region: 2 + 4
Subtitles: English - SDH

The Final Word:
Series Four is one of the best series of the show, it's riotously funny from the first episode to the last and contains some iconic moments. It's a must have for any fans of the show and a great example of classic British comedy. It's just brilliance.


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