DVDs in Review #48: Red Dwarf: The Entire Sixth Series

Category: , , , , By Rev/Views

With 2008 fading fast I am determined to both hit fifty DVD reviews and also complete reviewing the Red Dwarf DVDs. Fortunately I have three reviews left before the five-o mark so it looks quite possible. Here's the sixth series.

For the previous series reviews look here:
Series I
Series II
Series III
Series IV
Series V

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

The Show:
I mentioned in my previous review of series five that there was only one other series in the lifetime of Red Dwarf which I considered to be superior to it. This is that series, this is the series of the show which I enjoy more than any other and the series I feel is Red Dwarf at it's best.

The crew of Red Dwarf have lost the ship in between the events of last series and this one. They're stuck in Starbug chasing after the ship's trail but it's growing cold. They're approaching an exceptionally hostile part of space filled with GELFs (Genetically Engineered Life Forms) and rogue simulants when Kryten awakens the crew in the first episode Psirens. Psirens are a type of GELF which can take the appearance of anything they wish with the intent of getting close enough to a living life form and then sucking their brains out with a proboscis. Barely surviving this encounter the crew discover an exceptionally advanced space station inhabited by an individual who introduces himself as Legion, at first he appears to be exceptionally helpful - saving Lister's life with emergency surgery and even installing a hard-light hologramatic bee for Rimmer (allowing Rimmer to touch things and also get touched). But as always, things take a turn for the worse.

In what is possibly the greatest episode of Red Dwarf ever, Gunmen of the Apocalypse has the crew encountering a group of rogue simulants. After narrowly defeating the simulants in combat Starbug is infected with a virus. In order to deal with the virus and create a 'dove program' Kryten infects himself with it but begins to lose the battle quickly. It's up to the rest of the crew to grab their virtual reality game, plug it into Kryten, assume the persona's of Brett Riverboat, "Dangerous" Dan McGrew and "The Riviera Kid" and mosey on into town. The episode manages to combine everything I love in one as a comedy/sci-fi/western all rolled up years before Firefly arrived on our screens and it's brilliant.

In Emohawk - Polymorph II two characters from previous episodes make a reappearance after a familiar looking monster attacks the crew, in Rimmerworld Arnold Rimmer faces hundreds of years alone after an act of great cowardice and in the superb Out of Time the crew face the consequences of time travel in a shocking and exciting finale.

I cannot recommend series six enough, Gunmen of the Apocalypse alone is so brilliant that I wish it had been an extra long special but you, the viewer, also get another five amazing episodes on top of that one. This is Red Dwarf at it's finest.

The Other Stuff:
The Packaging:
I've said it all before, the BBC know how to make sets that look good together while keeping their individual appearances. I especially love the subtle brown image of the 'Last Chance Saloon' on this front of this set. Everything else about this set is spot on where it needs to be.

The Menus and Start Up:
The Red Dwarf menus are always a joy to navigate around and series six is no exception. The start up is fast, there are no annoying adverts for other shows and the BBC anti-piracy/copying message is short simple and inoffensive.

The menu itself opens with a once off series of exterior Starbug shots that chart a simple story of the ship crashing. We're then led on board and to the airlock controls where the menus are located. There's options to see the individual episodes (which takes you to the cockpit for selection), play all and commentaries. The music in the first menu is a little short and loops badly but the music tunes for the individual episode menus are better. It's a good looking set up with only a few minor flaws.

The Extras:
Just like every single set previously released in this line there is a huge wealth of material for the viewer to enjoy. The cast commentaries are the highlight of it for myself and I feel they're amongst the most interesting cast commentaries ever released (behind The Shield and Futurama).

The full list of extras is as follows:

Cast Commentary
Fan Commentary - Gunmen of the Apocalypse
"The Starbuggers" Original Documentary
Deleted Scenes
Smeg Ups (Out-takes)
Howard Goodall: Settling the Score
"Sick" Featurette
"Return to Laredo" Featurette
Behind The Scenes Footage
Interview with Andy de Emmony
Raw FX Footage
Isolated Music Cues
"Dave Hollins" Radio Sketch
Photo Gallery

The Details:
Runtime: 170 mins
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Sound: Dolby Stero
Regions: 2 + 4 PAL UK
Number of Discs: 2
Rating: 12

The Price:
The winner for price right now is play.com who have the set at £7.99, but at the time of writing this review they were out of stock. Sendit have it for £8.89 as another option.

The price works out a 4.7 ppm. Good for a UK series.

The Final Word:

Series six of Red Dwarf is without a doubt the finest series of the show, it's six episodes of comedy gold dynamite wrapped up in some beautiful SFX with a ribbon of top notch comedy acting. If you were going to watch only one series of this show, this would be the one to watch. It's the pinnacle of the shows comedy prowess, especially 'Gunmen of the Apocalypse' with it's wonderful rendition of the Red Dwarf theme in a western style.


6 comments so far.

  1. Dan 20 December 2008 at 14:05
    As a fan of Red Dwarf since it started, even though I was only 9 at the time, I can claim to have grown up into a teenager with this sitcom. And, for me, series 6 is where the show started to fail.

    In comparison to series 7 and 8, it's genius. But, at the time, I can clearly remember feeling very disappointed. Too many repetitive jokes (the Space Corp directives), signs the creators were pulling in different directions (no Holly, no Red Dwarf?), and the tell-tale sign of a show losing its creativity: the return of old characters like Ace Rimmer and Dwayne Dibley

    S6 is where it all started to fall apart for me (and I personally didn't find Gunmen Of The Apocalypse very funny -- and thought it very strange to have actually won AWARDS).

    As I say, I think people react to it kinder these days, because it's nowhere near as god-awful as the last two series, but as someone who saw it when it first aired... disappointing stuff.
  2. Aaron 22 December 2008 at 10:16
    I find season six to vary in quality. Psirens is a great start and a good way of re-introducing the characters. Legion is disappointing as nothing really happens other than Rimmer's hard light form (which was a pretty transparent writer's crutch). Gunmen is a lot of fun but is overrated. Emohawk is pretty awful as the return of Dwayne Dibbley and Ace Rimmer was a blatant piece of fan service. Rimmerworld was okay but the whole 'Rimmer-stuck-in-a-Hell-of-his-own-creation' episode had been done in the previous series. Out of Time was great but it's a pity that they decided to go for a clumsy cliffhanger ending with no payoff.

    Red Dwarf just wasn't Red Dwarf without Red Dwarf! :)
  3. Rev/Views 22 December 2008 at 10:27
    Bah! You've both got no holiday spirit!

    Ruin my childhood love of cowboys in space would you? Why don't you both tell me how rubbish Firefly is next!
  4. Aaron 22 December 2008 at 15:26
    Firefly's rubbish!

    (I don't really mean that)
  5. Dan 23 December 2008 at 15:28
    My order, best to worst: S3, S4, S5, S2, S1, S6, S7, S8.
  6. Rev/Views 23 December 2008 at 18:57
    I'd certainly go 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 8, 7

Something to say?