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Red Dwarf - Back in the Red

episode 8.1 - 8.3

UK 1999
produced by
Ed Bye, Doug Naylor (executive) for Grant Naylor/BBC
directed by Ed Bye
starring Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn, Chloe Annett, Norman Lovett, Mac McDonald, Kika Mirylees, Andy Taylor, Paul Bradley, David Gillespie, Yasmin Bannerman, Jeillo Edwards, Geoffrey Beevers, Graham McTavish, Karl Glenn Stimpson
written by Doug Naylor, created by Rob Grant, Doug Naylor

Red Dwarf

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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 works again.

Simply put, the best Red Dwarf episode in a looooong time.


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




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


A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD