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A direct continuation from last season's episode Nanarchy:
... after a long odyssey through space, our heroes - Lister (Craig
Charles), Kachanski (Chloe Annett), Cat (Danny John-Jules), Kryten (Robert
Llewellyn) plus the senile ship computer Holly (Norman Lovett) have made
it back to their ship Red Dwarf, which was in the meantime destroyed but
rebuilt by nanobots (very tiny little robots) ... and the first
thing they do is they crash the shuttle they have been travelling with.
Then our quartet (minus the computer) has to realize the nanobots have
not only rebuilt the ship, they also brought the crew back to life - and
before long they are arrested on various charges, including abducting a
shuttle, trying to get stowaways aboard the ship respectively being
stowaways (both Cat and Kryten were not with the original crew) and a
slight case of mutiny - not charges taken too lightly by the ship's
captain Hollister (Mac McDonald).
The only thing that could help our friends now is proof of the
nanobots' existence, which would corroborate their story, but the nanobots
seem to be gone for good.
Lister, who is at first confined to his quarters, now has only one man
he can turn to: Rimmer (Chris Barrie) ... thing is, Rimmer is not the
Rimmer he has been travelling the universe with but Rimmer the pedantic
git, who puts his career over everything even though he is incompetence
personified, and who hates Lister's guts ... however, when Lister promises
him the crew's files to blackmail his way to a higher position, Rimmer
agrees to help, but once he has the disk containing the files, plus a very
potent love potion, he forgets Lister and uses both to his own ends... not
without the captain noticing it, who also climbed the career ladder by
using crew files to blackmail his way up - and should that ever come out
Soon enough, Lister, Kachanski, Kryten and Cat manage to make a
getaway, even without Rimmer's help, to track down the nanobots as proof
for their case ... but they are only doing so in artificial reality (where
the captain has put them to hear their side of the story. However, when
Lister finds that out, he alters the alternative reality to remove all
proof that he has his hands on the crewfiles ... which our heroes notice
soon enough, and they manage to exit the artificial reality in order to
not being framed. But then somehow they end up making another getaway, and
this time Rimmer is even with them ... but what they don't know is that
all five of them are in yet another artificial reality, that finally
proves to the captain that the story of the nanobots is true and our
heroes are not guilty of abducting a shuttle, mutiny and bringing
stowaways aboard/being stowaways - which should be good news.
However, they are guilty of using crew files to their own advantage,
which throws all five of them (yup, including Rimmer) into the slammer
after all. And of course, it is all Rimmer's fault, which is why Lister
squirts a bit of the love potion onto him once they are in prison ...
The first season of Red Dwarf was close to excellent,
maybe no masterpiece but a nice variation on the last human in the
universe-theme, done as a sitcom. After that however, the quality of
the series was steadily decreasing, so there was little hope for season 8
being any good ... and surprisingly enough, this first story of season 8,
consisting of 3 episodes, is just that, good.
It seems the series has
found back to its original formula, with the conflict of Rimmer as the
selfish arsehole and Lister as the good-natured sloppy guy taking center
stage, and with Norman Lovett as Holly back and doing what he does best -
appearing out of nowhere and making incongruent remarks. Plus some
inventive (if not terribly convincing) computer effects spice up the
proceedings, like Cat dancing with four shuttles or our heroes' (shrunken)
shuttle getting stuck in a rat's ass and taking the poor animal on a trip
(ok, one has to be a bit childish to find that funny ... but sue me !). Of
course, the basic concept of the series is gone with this season, no
longer is Lister the last man in the universe, and no longer is Red Dwarf
journeying the universe aimlessly, but in the new enviroment, the comedy
Simply put, the best Red Dwarf episode in a looooong