DVDs in Review #49: Red Dwarf: The Entire Seventh Series

Category: , , , , , By Rev/Views

Must finish Red Dwarf before the year ends!

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

Chris Barrie as Arnold Rimmer/"Ace" Rimmer
Craig Charles as Dave Lister
Danny John-Jules as "The Cat"
Robert Llewellyn as Kryten
And introducing Chloë Annett as Kristine Kochanski

The Show:

After my slightly controversial opinion that the sixth series was the best we move onto the series that most Red Dwarf fans will agree is the weakest (tied with the eighth one). The crew are still lost in space tailing after Red Dwarf having just recovered from a bout of temporary deadness. The show is still missing the titular Red Dwarf and this second series on the trot without the ship really does wear the concept thin, a single full series without Red Dwarf was OK but this second one is a bridge too far.

This series is also longer than the previous ones with eight episodes, while I welcome the longer run in concept sadly in practice this was not enough, because combined with various problems resulted in a series that was not so hot. In Tikka to Ride after surviving time paradox where they were all dead for a while Lister decided to abuse the laws of time once more in order to get some more curry. Frankly this is a low point for Lister in the series, but it does result in a few amusing moments (unintentional cannibalism) and the scenes involving JFK were well done. In Stoke Me a Clipper Mr Fan-service himself returns for the third time as Ace Rimmer meets up with the crew and attempts to pass on his legacy to Arnold Rimmer, a man who has more yellow than a streak of custard.

has an alternate universe Kristine Kochanski joins the crew after an accidental breach between them occurs and Lister learns the truth about his existence (hint a certain orange haired individual from another sci-fi series learns a similar truth). I know that some people aren't too keen on Chloë Annett's arrival in the series and her role in the crew as Kochanski. But Chloë is exactly the kind of woman who pushes all my buttons so I for one like her appearance in the series, it's one of the two decent points series seven has. Duct Soup is overall a rather unmemorable episode spiced up with some rather fun Kryten moments, I really can't recall too much more about it at this point mind you. Blue is something of a final goodbye to Arnold Rimmer as when Lister begins to miss the man Kryten puts together "The Rimmer Experience" to remind him just what Rimmer is really like.

It remains one of my favourite moments in Red Dwarf and here it is in full:

Beyond a Joke is a Kryten-centric piece in which Kryten's head explodes, he meets Able (another Series 5000 Mechanoid like himself), he is abducted and then learns a disturbing fact about his creator. In Epideme the crew encounter one of Lister's old crushes, Caroline Carmen (Lister has a thing for alliterative women obviously) who turns out to be already dead and infected with a sentient virus. Sure enough the virus infects Lister and the crew are forced to undertake drastic measures to try and save him. Finally in Nanarchy the crew hunt after Kryten's missing nanobots with the hope of solving Lister's situation and make a dramatic discovery.

As I mentioned at the start, series seven is possibly the weakest of all the series, the show suffers greatly from the loss of Chris Barrie but I do like the addition of Chloë Annett greatly (so much so that'd I'd put her up alongside Tara Summers as one of the women I'd most like to marry when I grow up) and there are still quite a few good moments to be found amongst the wreckage.

The Other Stuff:
The Packaging:
There's nothing to be said here that hasn't been said before, it's a purple variant of the previous covers with a shot of something techy (I suspect part of Starbug) as the backdrop. The Red Dwarf logo continues to be completed on the spine and it's just a nice looking product which is about the right size for what it contains.

The Extras:
As always Red Dwarf leads the way for extras, but series seven is packed even when compared to the other series of the show. There's an incredible amount of material here.
  • Extended editions of 'Tikka To Ride', 'Ouroboros'and 'Duct Soup' episodes with additional scenes
  • Remastered edition of 'Tikka To Ride' episode (extended and unextended) with all new CGI FX
  • Cast audio commentary on all the episodes
  • 'Back From The Dead' original documentary (90 mins)
  • Deleted scenes
  • Smeg-ups
  • 'Identity Within': the lost episode, performed by Chris Barrie
  • Robert Llewellyn's video diary
  • Fan Films: the winning shorts
  • 'Burning Rubber' featurette
  • Raw FX footage
  • Isolated music cues
  • Dave Hollins radio sketches
  • Photo gallery
  • Easter Eggs (hidden features)
  • Collector's booklet
The Details:
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Soundtrack: Stereo
Runtime: 230 mins
Region: 2 + 4 PAL UK
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: 12

The Price:
Play.com currently have it at £7.99, that's 3.5ppm which is excellent for a Red Dwarf product but that can be accounted for by the two additional episodes over the normal amount.

The Final Word:

Honestly series seven is one for the dedicated fans only, if you're a completionist who must absolutely have everything then it's worth owning. But for everyone else I'd say try before you buy when dealing with this series, either get it in the 'Just the Shows' combined set or just watch it the once then forget about it.


3 comments so far.

  1. Dan 29 December 2008 at 22:36
    Chloe Annette... WTF happened to her, eh? Personally, I thought involving a woman was another major misstep for the series (departed co-creator Rob Grant would NEVER have allowed it.)

    Nothing wrong with Kochanski making a return for an episode (maybe even two), but to replace Rimmer full-time? A big, big mistake. As was the decision to even BOTHER doing RD7 without Chris Barrie in 90% of the episodes. No RD, no Rimmer = no point. Terrible season that's definitely the worst of the 8. Horrid filmic-look and absence of a live studio audience also killed it for me.
  2. Rev/Views 31 December 2008 at 00:43
    Definately fair comments Dan, I certainly missed Chris Barrie's presence and Rob Grant's work in this series.

    As for Chloe, I think she does the Red Dwarf fan circuit but TV wise she hasn't done anything since 2004. This will change this year because I believe she's onboard for the Red Dwarf specials on Dave.
  3. Dan 31 December 2008 at 22:45
    A shame Chloe became the personification of when RD turned terrible. She now poses for RD fansite photoshoots? http://www.geocities.com/area51/lair/2548/real_ca.html

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