Red Dwarf XII – Skipper

Red Dwarf Skipper
Red Dwarf XII. Picture Shows: Norman Lovett as Holly. ©UKTV

Some very familiar faces make a welcome return in the final episode in the current series.

Thanks to an experiment by Kryten (Robert Llewellyn), every time the crew make a decision the opposite thing happens, due to every decision creating multiverse where the other one happened. Because of this, Kryten has been able to create a dimension skipper that will allow anyone to skip to a different universe. Hoping to find a universe where he isn’t a complete loser, Rimmer (Chris Barrie) decides to use it.

When Rimmer skips, he finds himself in his Series I uniform, and also meets a familiar face: Holly the computer (Norman Lovett) who is working perfectly well (as can be expected for him), and the Red Dwarf crew are all alive. The problem is that the radiation leak that wiped out the crew occurs moments later meaning he has to skip again. Thus Rimmer lands in various universes including ones where he is the ship’s computer, to one where Lister (Craig Charles) is not in the company of Cat (Danny John-Jules), because he smuggled a rat on board the ship.

For the first part of the episode, the best scenes belong to Lister and Cat, as Cat keeps making decisions that result in him making a fool of both himself and the others. In the second half, the return of Holly (complete with a massive cheer from the studio audience) is the main highlight, as well as other figures from Red Dwarf’s past too.

While this episode has been one of the better ones from Series XII, personally I worry that this series has been relying too much on nostalgia to get the audience on its side. In last week’s edition, “M-Corp”, the finale paid homage to the opening scene of the first episode, “The End”. The episode before that, “Mechocracy”, had the return of the Talkie Toaster. All the references back to earlier episodes are nice for fans, but at the same time it makes you think that the series was better back then. You feel that Red Dwarf’s glory days are behind it and that these more recent series may be good, but will never achieve the same respect as the old ones.

All the indications are that Series XIII will be commissioned and possibly Series XIV too, but deep down you think that maybe it is time to bow out gracefully. If Red Dwarf returns, it will be nice, but perhaps it’s time to think of a way to bring everything to a satisfying conclusion.

Red Dwarf XII is available on UKTV Play, and is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Monday.