CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: DOUG NAYLOR / STARRING: CHRIS BARRIE, CRAIG CHARLES, DANNY JOHN-JULES, ROBERT LLEWELLYN, NORMAN LOVETT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Red Dwarf is a sci-fi sitcom that has been on and off our TV screens for over 30 years. At this point, it’s fair to say that the show has a fixed pattern. The sense of humour has remained ‘slapstick and wacky’ throughout and the actors perform their roles effortlessly. Red Dwarf is comfort viewing. The Promised Land is the latest ‘special’ (the cast are usually too busy to record full series these days) and the DVD has some extras.
If you’ve somehow missed all 11 series and numerous specials of this comfy comedy, the premise is that Dave Lister is the last human being alive in space. Trapped on board an ageing mining vessel his only companions are a guy evolved from the ships cat, a hologram of his old boss, a decrepit android and an increasingly batty ships AI. Despite the sci-fi trappings, the show is about isolation and four losers trying to get a break.
The Promised Land picks up one of the show’s many hanging plot threads and deals with what happened to all the cat people. Amidst the various action adventure gags, commentary on false idols and sci-fi parody, what we also have is a story about growing old and friendship. It’s familiar fun.
DVD extras are okay, though it lacks commentary, which is a shame. Smeg Ups are out-takes, which are funny, the cast happily ribbing each other as they fluff lines or SFX fail. The two documentaries focus on the production itself. Both are basically love-letters to the fans and an insight as to what’s happening with both the ageing cast and apparently still young fans. It’s a nice add-on for a Red Dwarf fan’s growing DVD collection, but beyond that nothing special.