DVDs in Review #46: Red Dwarf: The Entire Fifth Series

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Today I make a push towards finishing reviewing DVDs for the most excellent BBC Sci-Fi Comedy Hyperdrive... Wait, no. That's not most excellent, it's average at best. I meant Red Dwarf.

For the previous series review see the following:
Series I
Series II
Series III
Series IV

"Mr Flibble is very cross."

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:

Located firmly within the 'sweet comedy spot'; Red Dwarf's Vth Series is one of the best, only the two series' either side of it compete for the spot as 'Best Series'. The Fifth season includes some of the most iconic episodes the show has ever produced and in my opinion is only bettered by the series which follows it.

Holoship is the first episode and one which allows the viewer to explore a new part of Rimmer's psyche, the crew encounter the titular holoship. A spaceship constructed entirely of light and populated by holograms (like Rimmer); Rimmer has a chance to explore the ship, experience what it's like to touch and feel things again, he experiences sex for the second time in his existence and ends up stooping to cheating in order to try and get on board. The Inquisitor includes one of the series more iconic villains, a rogue self repairing simulant (sort of a cyborg-android-humanoid) who survived until the end of time and decided that the only goal of existence was to live a worthwhile and fulfilling life. His sights are set on the crew of the Red Dwarf, and boy are they in trouble. Terrorform is another episode which focuses heavily on Rimmer, this time he's trapped on a psi-moon, a planetoid which reshapes itself to match the psyche of the first person to interact with it. Needless to say Rimmer's own self loathing and wretched persona make this a very unpleasant place to go. Quarantine is quite possibly the funniest episode of the entire series, after contracting a holo-virus Rimmer's sanity is gradually eroded away from him. But unfortunately for the rest of the crew he's in charge of the ship and he's put them in quarantine. Only judicious use of positive viruses could possibly allow Lister, Cat and Kryten to escape the flippers of the terrifying Mr. Flibble. In Demons & Angels a mishap with a matter transporter splits the ship into two versions of itself, one populated with the perfect versions of the crew and the other with the most deviant and perverse versions of themselves they'll ever meet. "First I'm going to whip you to within an inch of your life and then I'm going to have you."
Finally the series ends with an incredible episode called Back to Reality. Suffice to say that this episode had myself and my friends talking about it for weeks after it aired.

Series five is a superb episode that mixed the right amount of comedy and occasional touching moments, followed by more comedy. It built on the brilliance of series four and improved on it; the two series are so well constructed that I still have trouble remembering which episode is from which, they're so similar in style and awesomeness.

The Other Stuff:

The Packaging:
Exactly like the other boxes in this set, there are no switch ups or changes where the BBC packaging is concerned. Only the colour is altered here to distinguish it on the shelf; everything else is kept consistent and as such it just all looks darn great when you have them all together. I have no complaints, the two DVDs and the booklet are held well and it's exactly the right size.

The Start up and Menus:
As always the BBC start up anti-piracy warning scrolls up, it's a far less aggressive version of the FACT one that's located on the Fox DVDS. Then the BBC logo plays and a short introduction video has Starbug landing in the bay of the Red Dwarf and moving to a heavily damaged drive room where Holly spouts a few non sequitur one liners in her wonderful fashion. The loop is short and while amusing it can get a little tiresome, but at least it doesn't jar too badly when it repeats itself. Most of the other menus take place on various screens in the drive room but the individual episodes have their own area for menus. There are two Easter eggs on the first disc and one on the second.

The Extras:
As always with these the BBC have outdone themselves. Not only do we get the usual (and quite brilliant) cast commentary on each episode but there is also a bonus set of 'fan commentary' on Back to Reality. Additionally there is a whole host of extras crammed onto the second disc.

The full list is:
Cast Commentary
Fan Commentary on Back to Reality
"Heavy Science" Original Documentary
Deleted Scenes
Smeg Ups (Out-takes)
"Dwarfing USA"
Documentary on the Making of the US pilot
"Bag Guys" Featurette
The SFX of Red Dwarf V
Trailers, Idents and Episode Intro
Raw FX Footage
Isolated Music Cues
"David Hollins" Radio Sketch
Photo Gallery

Plus Easter Eggs and Collector's booklet.

The Details:
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Regions: 2 + 4 (PAL UK)
Runtime: 165 mins (plus 180 mins of extras)
Sound: Stereo
Subtitles: Snglish SDH
Rating: 12

The Price:
Sendit have everyone else spanked right now where the price is concerned. It's an astronomical price of £6.89 right now.

The Final Word:

Close to the pinnacle of Red Dwarf, series five is a must have for any fan of the show and a must watch at least once for everyone who enjoys well scripted and exceptionally hilarious comedy. I would almost be tempted to call it the best series of the show, but that title is held for another.


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