About the show

Red Dwarf is the greatest television show to come out of Britain since Monty Python's Flying Circus. Red Dwarf is now 10 years old, and has a total of 8 seasons. As for what the show's about, Holly probably explains best:
"This is an S.O.S. distress call from the mining ship Red Dwarf. The crew are dead, killed by a radiation leak. The only survivors are Dave Lister, who was in suspended animation during the disaster, and his pregnant cat, who was safely sealed in the hold. Revived three million years later, Lister's only companions are a life-form who evolved from his cat, and Arnold Rimmer, a hologram simulation of one of the dead crew."

Other important or memorable characters include Cat, Kryten, Kristine Kochanski, Ace Rimmer and, of course, Duane Dibbley.

Red Dwarf is the brain child of Grant Naylor (a combination of Rob Grant and Doug Naylor), who in addition to writing and directing the television show, have also written two books, Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers and Better than Life. There is a third book, written by Grant, called Backwards, and it's come to my attention that Naylor wrote another book entitled Last Human. These, however, appear to be separate projects (I ordered mine from the overseas and should get them in a couple of weeks). Fans of the show will recognize two of those titles as the titles of episodes...

Not too long ago, two American pilot episodes were filmed, but regrettably, they didn't make the grade. So for now, us Americans have to watch it on PBS.

About the ship

The show is named after the JMC mining ship Red Dwarf. It is enormous and is designed to be entirely self-sufficient. They have enough food to last millennia (although the cats got to quite a bit of it), they have a disco, and they have a (once) super-intelligent computer named Holly. The ship itself is powered by a hydrogen scoop at the front that collects hydrogen gas and powers the ship (so they should never run out of fuel). The Red Dwarf has several thousand floors and it can take hours in the elevator just to get to the other side of the ship. The ship is home to a large number of people, but this number is never certain. According to The End, the first episode, it is 169. Later, the episode Justice increases that number to 1,169. And of course, Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers sets that number at 11,169. In any case, the lowest ranking person aboard the ship is Third Technician Dave Lister, and second to last is Second Technician (and later First Technician) Arnold Rimmer.

About the movie

Nothing new to add to Redalien's writeup towards the end of this page except that I can hardly wait.


Well, that's all for now, folks, so smeg off.
"From Ganymede to Titan, yessir I've been around. But there ain't no place in the whole of space like this good ol' mining town"

Further information to Duane Dibbley's excellent w/u:
  • The radiation leak was caused by Rimmer, due to him not sealing a reactor plate correctly.
  • The Cat is is humanoid, who take immense pride in his appearance, and spends most of every day grooming himself.
  • Lister is the Cat race's god, and their partisan attitudes about him led them to a savage bloody war and a mass exodus from the ship. The Cats called Lister Cloister The Stupid.
  • Arnold Rimmer was only resurrected to keep Lister sane, and was chosen as he was the one Lister spoke to most during his time on board before the accident. This is only because they were roommates.
Red Dwarf is probably the nearest equivalent we Englisher pigdogs have to MST3K. It's the show that every geek watched. I remember when I was at school it was essential viewing for several years, over and above any other comedy show. This was back before BBC repeated things dozens of times a year, of course. The very early episodes are of course cheap and dodgy. They do however set out the show's imaginative premise very well.

By about the fourth series it had really got into its stride, with the crew encountering a new threat every week and dispatching it in imaginative, and - this being a British sitcom - often lavatorial / sexual / violent / puerile ways. (Rimmer : "Why don't we ever meet anyone who's pleased to see us?" Cat : "Why don't we ever meet anyone who can shoot straight?") Some episodes (such as Holoship) have never, to my knowledge, been repeated. One of the best (dramatically, and humourously) episodes was Back to Reality (I think?) where the crew are duped into thinking that they have been playing an immersive video game for the past four years. (This episode marked the first appearance of Duane Dibbley)

The show went downhill slightly with series seven, which had some stand-out episodes and a much larger budget, but did not have the atmosphere or writing of the previous series. And series 8 was completely crap. It seems slightly odd to me that so many people I encounter still count themselves as big Red Dwarf fans, as it never really hit the heights of Fawlty Towers or the like, and has been far outstripped by later sitcoms (although no subsequent series called for special effects so far in advance of the available budget, I'll admit).

A red dwarf is a main sequence star of small size (between 0.1 and 0.4 Sol masses) and low temperature (spectral class M). Since the luminosity of a main-sequence star is roughly proportional to mass^4, a red dwarf is typically around 10,000 times dimmer than Sol. However, a red dwarf also lives an extraordinarily long life compared to Sol: a star's lifetime on the main sequence is roughly proportional with 1/mass^3, so a red dwarf will typically last around 1,000 times longer than Sol. Compared to all the other stars around, red dwarfs are immortal.

Unlike a G-class yellow dwarf like Sol, when a red dwarf dies it doesn't enter the red giant stage; only a star big enough to fuse helium can become a red giant. Instead, it merely contracts into a white dwarf and slowly fades to a black dwarf over the next trillion years. Of course, no red dwarf in the entire history of the universe has died yet. They won't start dying off until you start talking about the timescales of the Stellar Era.

Some famous red dwarf stars include Proxima Centauri, Barnard's Star, and Wolf 359. Red dwarf stars are estimated to outnumber all larger stars combined by at least 2:1 (and probably closer to 9:1). However, the fact that they are very faint prevents us from detecting them at distances greater than 15 LY, a mere stone's throw compared to the size of the Milky Way.

Red Dwarf Episode List

For those of you not in the know, Red Dwarf's a terribly brilliant and hilarious outer-space romp that's peculiarly British. More information can, of course, be found in the writeups above (and eventually below). If you find that the links here are nonexistent and your knowledge of the show is above smeg level, feel free to fill us all in for any given episode.

Any /msgs to Codger about errors, omissions, typos or broken links (e.g. currently namespaced or otherwise-otherwise named episodes) and the such would be appreciated and responded to in due fashion.


Series I

  1. The End
  2. Future Echoes
  3. Balance of Power
  4. Confidence and Paranoia
  5. Waiting for God
  6. ME²

Series II

  1. Kryten
  2. Better than Life
  3. Thanks for the Memory
  4. Stasis Leak
  5. Queeg
  6. Parallel Universe Note: this goes to Holly Hop Drive since all that can be found at Parallel Universe is the lyrics to a Chili Peppers song?!

Series III

  1. Backwards
  2. Marooned
  3. Polymorph
  4. Bodyswap
  5. Timeslides
  6. The Last Day

Series IV

  1. Camille
  2. DNA
  3. Justice
  4. White Hole
  5. Dimension Jump
  6. Meltdown

Series V

  1. Holoship
  2. The Inquisitor
  3. Terrorform
  4. Quarantine
  5. Demons and Angels
  6. Back to Reality

Series VI

  1. Psirens
  2. Legion
  3. Gunmen of the Apocalypse
  4. Emohawk, Polymorph 2
  5. Rimmerworld
  6. Out of Time

Series VII

  1. Tikka to Ride
  2. Stoke Me a Clipper
  3. Ouroboros
  4. Duct Soup
  5. Blue
  6. Beyond a Joke
  7. Epideme
  8. Nanarchy

Series VIII

  1. Back in the Red I
  2. Back in the Red II
  3. Back in the Red III
  4. Cassandra
  5. Krytie TV
  6. Pete I
  7. Pete II
  8. Only the Good


Sources:
http://www.britannia.org/tvarchives/dwarf/episodes/e1.shtml
http://www.sadgeezer.com/RedDwarf/rd-epis.htm
Note:
I'm not doing this for XP or to NFN or anything like that. I just noticed a number of existing writeups with no centralized structure to access them.

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