Blimey, how about this. The new Red Dwarf was pretty funny. There’ve been four prime ministers, three presidents and a harrowing journey through puberty for most of us since we could say that.
Well, funny is relative. Red Dwarf’s never been Series 1 of Bottom funny or Garth Marenghi funny, but it’s always been very watchable. It’s also occasionally pretty on the ball too. The new episode wasn’t the second coming of Comedy Space-Jesus or anything, but compared to some of the desperate bollocks they’d been churning out before (remember 2009’s Back To Earth? jeeeeesus) it was actually… good?
The crew, despite looking increasingly gnarled, haven’t changed a bit, still bumming about in deep space like it’s 1993, making bad jokes about shopping channels and trading lame barbs. Rimmer’s still an angry space virgin, Lister’s still dressing like an even stinkier crust punk, Kryten’s still got a bad American accent and walks around like he’s got a dump in his trousers and Cat’s still really really dumb, sporting the same pompadour/flat top since the Eighties. Which is nice.
This was the best Red Dwarf for ages because they scaled back the effects, dispensed with the bad ‘ambitious’ ideas (lest we forget, in series 7 we found out Lister was his own father) and concentrated on what made the show work in the first place; four mismatched idiots putting up with each other in the deepest recesses of space. Some of the jokes were actually good too (the chair gag and moose ones stand out), which helps obviously.
BBC Comedy’s in a dire place right now (getting rid of Reeves and Mortimer was the final straw for many), the output becoming increasingly diabolical, save for the mercurial Limmy’s Show. It’s nice then that Dave, the channel that shows Top Gear 37 hours a day, ponied up the dough for this to be made. Yes, Back To Earth was rancid, but at least it showed interest in the series was still strong, and judging from the first episode they’ve fixed what made Back To Earth so shit. It wasn’t some focus grouped, BBC3 sanctioned Friends rip off aimed at the kind of people that get excited about Adele and panel shows with Andy Parsons. It was made by fans, for fans. It’s not much, but at least it’s something. It was also nice to see a comedy show with a bit of effort put into the set design as well. It wasn’t set in a flat, and it wasn’t filled with expensive furniture and Lee Mack.
It’s very much of its time, but you know what, there’s something quite comforting about that. It’s a cast iron fact that life gets more horrible and unbearable the older you get. Things get saggier, young people get scarier and all you have to look forward to at the end of it all is the sweet oblivion of death. So God bless Red Dwarf X for reminding us of better times, times where we’d sit watching these four goons titting about on the TV, glass of weak orange squash in hand, fretting not about taxes or paperwork, but Sonic the bloody Hedgehog. Let’s hope it keeps this up.
And by God, even at its lamest it was still better than Hyperdrive. Miranda Hart can go piss.