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Red Dwarf
Red Dwarf USA / Red Dward - Unaired US Pilot

USA 1992
produced by
Todd Stevens, Linwood Boomer (executive), Peter Greenwood (supervising) for Satin City Productions
directed by Jeff Melman
starring Craig Bierko, Chris Eigeman, Jane Leeves, Hinton Battle, Robert Llewellyn, Lorraine Toussaint, Elizabeth Morehead, Michael Heintzman
screenplay by Linwood Boomer, based on the TV-series by Rob Grant, Doug Naylor, music by Todd Rundgren, special effects by Peter Greenwood

TV-pilot
Red Dwarf

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Lister (Craig Bierko) is the lowest ranking crewmember on the 5000-man-strong intergalactic mining shipt Red Dwarf - but he doesn't mind much, he never had any high aspirations in life anyways, and he has a girlfriend on board, Kochanski (Elizabeth Morehead). Then though, Kochanski breaks up with him, his unquarantined cat is found, and as a punishment he is sent into suspended animation until the ship returns to earth. Could have been worse though ... like a radioactive leak wiping out the ship's entire crew and Lister being brought back to life only 3 million years later, when he's the last human survivor. And to make matters worse, the holographic companion the ship's psychotic computer Holly (Jane Leeves) has afforded Lister is none other than Rimmer (Chris Eigeman), the least likeable guy on the whole ship. And then there's also a weird robot on board, Kryten (Robert Llewellyn), who has passed the last 3 million years reading the fire exit sign over and over again. And there's a descendant of Lister's cat, Cat (Hinton Battle), who has evolved to humanlike form in the last 3 million years. If that wasn't enough, Lister from the future stops by to warn him of ... well, he doesn't get any further than to warn him of something, since the temporal link breaks off way too soon ...

 

Taken by its own merits, Red Dwarf is a mildly amusing pilot for a series that never got made, except from the sci-fi setting there is little to distinguish it from a myriard of other TV sitcoms from that era, but at least some of the jokes are ok.

Compared to the British cult-series of the same name though, this one's a disaster: Now I'm the first to admit that the British Red Dwarf was not free of flaws, especially as the series progressed, but it worked as an ensemble comedy with great characters ... and these characters are totally lost in this pilot: While the original Lister as played by Craig Charles is a likeable slob and the most unlikely guy to be the last human alive, Craig Bierko is essentially the cool laid-back guy who has an aura of heroism to him. While the original Rimmer as played by Chris Barrie is an incapable but pedantic wannabe-leader, Chris Eigeman is just somebody you don't like a lot. And while the Cat played by Danny John-Jules brought absolutely weird dynamics to his role, Hinton Battle at best seems slightly odd. To put it another way, the US-version seems to be streamlined, and in a way that all the elements that made the UK-version special, suddenly don't gel anymore. And maybe that's why Red Dwarf in the USA never made it past this pilot ... and another pilot with a partly replaced cast that botched up the original concept even more.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD