Red Dwarf: Back To Earth Review – They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

RED DWARF: BACK TO EARTH, Friday 10th April, Dave, 9.00PM Alert Me

That’s it. I’ve had enough of bloody re-makes, and come backs.

Sorry, Red Dwarf, whilst you were one of the great comedies of my childhood, “Back to Earth” is the straw that has broken this camel’s back. After setting the bar so high for so long, to come back with a distinctly average first episode of the new three-part “special” is gonna cause a serious backlash from fans. It’s a cult show, you have to quit whilst you’re ahead, a la Spaced (Yes, Pegg is still my hero, regardless of How To Lose Friends And Alienate People). Always leave us wanting more.

It’s nine years on and the awesome foursome are down to their last water tank. Kochanski is dead, Kryten is on holiday and the Cat has just been viciously assaulted by a massive testicle (cue the inevitable “he means tentacle” pun) belonging to a dastardly sea monster that is occupying the vessel containing the last of their water supply. The team decide to confront the beast head on, well, all except Rimmer who sits reading a classic car magazine. You may have noticed from the blank tone of this review that I was almost baffled by the lack of a fluid plot,  punchy dialogue or the re-kindling of that old sparkle.

In fact, the only part of the show that actually wowed me was Cat’s amazing pink, shiny, lycra jumpsuit, complete with glittery shoulderpads. Suddenly I can see where Lady Gaga gets her inspiration from. Danny John Jules seems to be the only member of the cast who has not been withered by jealous Father Time and his gnarled walking-stick of wrinkly doom. Catch a glimpse of those nut-cracking buttcheeks and tell me you aren’t impressed. After a decision was made to ditch the canned laughter, the show felt noticeably flat. Cat’s occassional extreme outbursts, (for example “Looking like this, I wouldn’t even get on the cover of Minger Monthly”) only served to reinforce the fact that the script, as a whole, was poor.

After chopping off a tentacle from the Hibernating Space Octopus and getting haphazardly splashed with purple goo, new science officer Katerina beams in from nowhere in an apparently unconnected smushing together of random storylines. In the same way a child thinks merging several different colours of playdough into one amorphous mass is “art”, Doug Naylor seems to think this is a smooth transition in storylines. He would be very, very wrong.

As the team decide to open a portal into another dimension and return to Earth, I am past caring about what happens to them. Even the threat of imminent death fails to bring any drama to the show. I never thought I’d say this, but I hope they all die in this special so the show can’t possibly be ruined any further.

Three words of advice for the future Naylor, leave well alone.

Sally McIlhone

So what do you think oh faithful Dwarfers? Was Sally right? Or is she smeggin’ insane? Should the old programmes of our youth go peacefully into the night? For a hilarious run-down of comebacks of a different kind, make sure to check out our list of  Film and TV’s Ultimate WTF Resurrections – guaranteed to be the only place you can find Harold Bishop, Saw and Lost in the same sentence.