HOME   News   Reviews   Adv Search   Features   My DVD   About   Apps   Stats     Search:
  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Full Frame
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Deleted scenes
  • Audio commentary
  • 6 Featurette
  • 5 Photo gallery
  • 2 TV spot
  • Outtakes
  • Music-only track

Red Dwarf - Series 4

BBC/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 156 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

By the fourth series of Red Dwarf the show had really hit its stride and was a combination of great scenarios encompassing great laughs from an experienced and comfortable cast and crew. It had established a rabid and loyal fan base that, at one time, rivalled that of Star Trek.

Okay, so the last statement was a bit ambitious, but there can be little doubt that the anorak brigade had really taken to Red Dwarf and elevated it to cult status. The cast had well and truly cemented their roles, including Hattie Hayridge (Holly) and Robert Llewellyn (Kryten) who had spent much of Series III establishing their place in the crew.

For the uninitiated, Red Dwarf is a mining ship trying to find its way back to Earth. The crew are all dead thanks to a stasus leak, apart from Dave Lister (Craig Charles), who was in deep freeze during the accident, his cat, Cat (Danny John-Jules), who has evolved into human form, Arnold Rimmer (Chris Barrie), a hologram sustained by the ship's computer Holly, and Kryten, a mechanoid that crossed paths with the crew and stayed for the ride. The remaining crew are subject to a wide range of interesting and amusing scenarios as they travel aimlessly around the universe.

For Series IV, production had moved from Manchester to a film studio in Shepperton and the sets were more intricate and realistic, giving the series a more expensive look. It meant that sets were more permanent and there was no need to break them down on a regular basis. Rehearsals could take place on the same sets where filming would take place. Naturally, there was more money to be spent and there was more location filming in this series than before.

There is little to really set this series apart from the series' either side, but this is a good thing. Fans know what to expect, those who have not seen the show could almost certainly pick up on the character histories without too much help, and fans of multi-levelled comedy will appreciate the subtle gags, as well as the bludgeoning ones.

Episode One: Camile. Rimmer and Kryten pick up a distress call and against Rimmer's orders rescue the last survivor of a derelict space vessel. The survivor appears to be a series 400 Mechanoid named Camile, but to Lister she is a trashy babe, and Rimmer thinks she is his perfect match who shares his love of 20th century telegraph poles and Hammond organ music. Can they all be right? Yes, they can. She is a pleasure gelf, and even Cat gets to meet his perfect match - himself! But is she really all she seems? Oh no...

Episode Two: D.N.A.. Another rogue space craft and another crazy discovery. This time it's a machine capable of altering DNA which, after turning Lister into a chicken and back, turns Kryten into a human. It seems perfect, but Kryten quickly learns that being human is not to his liking. He attempts to turn himself back, experimenting on one of Lister's vindaloos first, with monstrous results.

Episode Three: Justice. Yet another craft crosses Red Dwarf's path, and this time it's a prison ship. After finding a floating space pod, they track down the ship to return the contents that may be a dangerous criminal or a beautiful female warden. On board, their criminal past is examined and Rimmer is found guilty of killing the entire Red Dwarf crew and sentenced to 1000 years in prison.

Episode Four: White Hole. Holly's I.Q. drops to double figures and the crew attempt to restore it using a technique called Intelligence Compression. They succeed - and how - giving Holly an I.Q. of more than 12,000, but creating a white hole in the process. However, her life expectancy is now only a few minutes. The solution? Plug the white hole using planets as billiard balls in a game of galactic pool.

Episode Five: Dimension Jump. At any given time there are an infinite number of possible futures. We get a glimpse of one, as we meet the Red Dwarf crew in another dimension, one where 'Ace' Rimmer is a popular, all-round nice guy who's much admired by all. When 'Ace' crashes his new test space ship through a dimension barrier into our favourite Red Dwarf ship, he discovers that 'our' Rimmer is a complete prat.

Episode Six: Meltdown. Kryten discovers a matter-panel in the lower decks of the ships and, whilst testing it, transports himself and Rimmer to the nearest life-sustainable planet. They are promptly arrested by Elvis Presley and Pope Gregory! Meanwhile, Lister and Cat beam themselves down straight into Adolf Hitler's headquarters and are thrown into prison with Abraham Lincoln. They are, of course, waxdroids that have run amok a la Westworld in a struggle of good versus evil. With General Rimmer's help, the good (Marilyn Monroe, Einstein, Pythagorus, Elvis, Stan Laurel and Noel Coward) hope to overthrow the evil (Hitler, Caligula).

  Video
Contract

Red Dwarf Series IV is again full frame and is a carbon copy of the previous season as far as video quality goes. It is reasonably sharp with good colouring and minimal grain. There are no artefacts or glitches to contend with, while aliasing and shimmer are rarely evident. Black levels are fine and shadow detail is reasonable. The layer change is placed between episodes

  Audio
Contract

As with the video, the audio transfer is good without being great. It is a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo effort with noticeable separation between left and right. Bass levels are fine, but will not rattle your windows, while all vocals are loud, clear and well synchronised. This is akin to watching and hearing a good television reception of the show.

  Extras
Contract

As with previous Red Dwarf DVDs, there are numerous and varied extras that will take as long to get through as the six half-hour episodes, longer in fact.

The audio commentary from the main cast has its moments but, after 18 episodes, there is little left to say about this series in general terms that is new and therefore it is the comments about specific moments and scenes that become the most interesting, although these are becoming fewer and farther between. The cast obviously have fond memories of their time, judging from the countless giggles and snickers that seem to pepper this commentary.

Disc Two is where you will find most of the extras, kicking off with the 72-minute special Built to Last that is a detailed look at the show in general as well as an episode by episode guide to Series IV. The interviews with the main cast and crew are mixed with snippets from the show and offer interesting anecdotes and assorted memories.

The bonus material is offered in two menus, and I have to say the animated menu is hard to navigate so the text-only option is a blessing.

Smeg Ups are a standard extra for Red Dwarf DVDs and this one at over ten minutes is typically amusing, although the same smeg up repeated over and over tends to make one feel cheated. Oh, the expletives are 'bleeped' out and pixelated like on the news, so you can't lip read them either.

There are two 45-second trailers made available for this DVD release by fans on VHS and no longer available in another format. They are of dodgy VHS quality, but the DVD makes no secret of the fact they are poor quality due to their source.

Lurve is a three-minute montage compiled from various seasons, all based on the idea of love, and backed by the cover of Dizzy by Vic Reeves and The Wonder Stuff.

The obligatory gallery - or, in this case, galleries - offer a combination of production stills, conceptual sketches and model shots, VHS covers and assorted miscellaneous snaps.

Those who enjoy the music of Red Dwarf will dig music cues that contains roughly 30 pieces of music of varying lengths, including the Opening Theme and Main Theme. It also includes a 'Play All' option.

Fans will love deleted scenes, even though many remain 'as shot' without effects and a final sound mix. There are also brief reasons provided as to why they were cut. 21 minutes later it's all over. Each is preceded or followed by an included scene as a marker as to where they would have appeared in the final episodes. A seemless branching option from the feature would have been a nice option, but alas...

Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg is an episode of a TV cooking show called Can't Cook, Won't Cook hosted by Ainsley Harriott who once appeared in Red Dwarf, though not in this series. At 26 minutes it gets a bit tedious, but does feature Robert Llewelyn (Kryten), Craig Charles (Lister), Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Chloe Annet (Kristine Kochanski) and Danny John-Jules (Cat and Dwayne Dibbley!), all in character and having some loosely scripted fun in a curry cook-off.

Moving right along, we get to Ace Rimmer: A Life in Lame, which is an 11-minute 'revisit' to episodes that featured 'Ace' Rimmer. Hosted by Holly and featuring snippets from Red Dwarf, it features a gallant 'Ace' Rimmer being... gallant. Indiana Jones ain't got nothin' on this boy! Audiobook clips again features Chris Barrie (Rimmer) reading excerpts from the novels that comprise Series IV. Having seen the episodes, there seems little to gain from hearing snippets read in this manner, although fans may disagree.

Model shots is a brief look at the model sequences as used in Red Dwarf, presented in raw, uncut form and without additional sound.

There is also a DVD-ROM Weblink, DVD credits and subtitles on this disc.

A rather snazzy booklet is provided too, containing a lot of information about Series IV.

There is also an Easter egg featuring cartoon caricatures of the writers discussing the writing of Rimmer for Series IV. It is very short at under two minutes.

  Overall  
Contract

Red Dwarf was a very successful long-running sitcom for the BBC and general consensus is that it peaked from Series III until Series VI, so there is still plenty to look forward to, and even the other series are of worthy value and better than much of the rubbish that is on television these days.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3812
  • Send to a friend.

    Cast your vote here: You must enable cookies to vote.
  •   
      And I quote...
    "The halfway point in the life of Red Dwarf and all is right with the universe..."
    - Terry Kemp
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Akai
    • TV:
          TEAC CT-F803 80cm Super Flat Screen
    • Receiver:
          Pioneer VSX-D409
    • Speakers:
          Wellings
    • Centre Speaker:
          Wellings
    • Surrounds:
          Wellings
    • Subwoofer:
          Sherwood SP 210W
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
      Recent Reviews:
    by Terry Kemp

    The Boondock Saints
    "This ‘Tarentino-coulda-been’ film is pretty damned enjoyable..."

    Take the Money and Run
    "... will appeal to die-hard Woody Allen fans but be lucky to earn passing interest from most."

    Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em - The Christmas Specials
    "By this stage, you either love or hate Frank Spencer and nothing in this review is going to change that…"

    Beyond Imagination - Pyramid. Colosseum. Pompeii
    "This triumvirate of features is a great addition to any collection and sure to offer something to adults, children and armchair historians everywhere…"

    Empires - Islam: Empire of Faith
    "…forget the “Be Alert – Be Alarmed” campaign (or whatever the fridge magnet assault suggested) and try – “Be Informed”."

      Related Links
      None listed

     

    Search for Title/Actor/Director:
    Google Web dvd.net.au
       Copyright © DVDnet. All rights reserved. Site Design by RED 5   
    rss