Excellent DVD presentation with terrific extras elevates the
Valnastar | Deep 13, USA | 04/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although Red Dwarf would slowly decline in Series VII and then rapidly do so in Series VIII, the terrific extras on these sets make them worthwhile for any Red Dwarf fan. Here are specific descriptions of each set.
Red Dwarf Series VII is very different than any Red Dwarf to come before it. Rob Grant, half of the team that till then had created and written all Red Dwarf episodes, left the show and the strain on remaining writer Doug Naylor clearly shows. Some of the writing slack is taken up by others, including Robert Llewellyn (Kryten), who has written a few successful books on his own, but the feel of the show is never the same from here on out. The humor is now less dense and arguably less sharp at times, and the situations in which the characters find themselves often do not have the same comedic quality of the older shows. Additionally, Chloe Annett is introduced as Kochanski. While competent, she is far different than any of the actesses that originated the part like C.P. Grogan, and her addition to the cast takes time away from funnier established characters, like the Cat, who is brilliantly played by Danny John-Jules. To add to the list of unwanted changes, Chris Barrie was not fully available for this series and so is absent much of the time.
That said, if you love Red Dwarf, you'll probably feel obligated to own these later shows anyway. There are still occasional brilliant moments, and the cast is still funny and committed to their roles, even if the writing is now very uneven. Series VII is better than Series VIII, which takes Red Dwarf even further away from it's original comedic fundamentals.
As in Series VI, in Series VII the crew are still living aboard Starbug and still chasing the trail of their larger mother ship, the Red Dwarf. Episodes in Series VII are:
1. Tikka To Ride
Lister ignores Kryten's warnings about the hazards of time travel and takes the crew on a quest for more curry that will change history.
2. Stoke Me A Clipper
Ace Rimmer returns to Red Dwarf to enlist the aid of Arnold Rimmer to continue his galactic fight for justice. Can Arnold actually be up to the challenge of becoming the greatest hero in the multi-verse?
Lister discovers his true origins in a well-written episode full of paradox.
4. Duct Soup
Lister tries to make Kochanski feel at home and Kryten becomes a wee bit jealous, with expected comedic results.
Lister actually finds he misses Rimmer and Kryten invents a creative and hilarious solution to the problem.
6. Beyond a Joke
The search for spare heads for Kryten leads the crew to a dangerous encounter with Simulants and GELFS.
A deadly and sentient virus infects Lister and drastic measures are needed to destroy it.
Kryten's "nanobots" (microscopic robots) are found to be the culprits in the disappearance of their home ship, Red Dwarf, and may also provide a solution the disability with which Lister was left after the previous episode.
In spite of all the changes to the show after Series VI, Red Dwarf Series VII is still better than most anything else on television. It's only when one compares it to earlier Red Dwarf that it seems disappointing. Previous Red Dwarf DVD releases have had excellent extra features, with hilarious outtakes (Smeg Ups), featurettes, hidden features, deleted scenes, and more and this set is no exception. There's also a "lost episode" called Identity Within, performed by Chris Barrie and raw footage included in the extra features, so Red Dwarf fans will find plenty to love on this release.
Red Dwarf VIII, the last Red Dwarf series produced for television, is so far off the original premise and comedic style of the first few series of the show that in many ways it seems like a completely different show. Having an entire ship full of people with whom Lister can interact really shatters the great comedic premise on which Red Dwarf was created, that being that Lister is the last human left in the universe. The premise of bringing back the entire crew and then putting the main characters in prison for nearly the full eight episodes is contrived and limiting. I believe Series VIII has a lot of unwelcome changes and writing difficulties compared to earlier series of the show. The humor is now clearly less dense and less clever, often relying on low and obvious gags that do not even approach the level of razor-edged wit and originality prevalent in earlier episodes of the show.
Nevertheless, there are a few bright spots in this series. Chris Barrie is back and the full cast of regulars is present for the entire series. And there is some occasionally inspired humor that still manages to make this better than most of the other shows on television. Cassandra particularly stands out as a good, "classic" Red Dwarf episode.
Finally, the extra features, as on the other Red Dwarf DVD sets, are terrific, with Smeg Ups, deleted scenes, extended versions of two episodes, a making of documentary, commentary tracks, and much more. The extra features alone are worth the price for any "serious" Red Dwarf fan. Based on that alone, I would recommend this set. Plus, what Red Dwarf fan can resist completing their collection? Sadly, as of this writing, Series VIII is the last Red Dwarf ever produced.
Here is a synopsis of the plot of each episode in this set:
Back In The Red Part I
Kryten's nanobots have recreated the ship Red Dwarf and the original crew as well, which is an especially good thing for Arnold Rimmer.
Back In The Red Part II
Rimmer uses a virus that enhances sexual magnetism to assist him with attracting female crewmembers, but this gets him into trouble when he dines at the captain's table.
Back In The Red Part III
Lister and his bunch face time in the brig for crimes against the Space Corps., so they escape to try and prove their innocence.
Lister joins a special military unit comprised of convicts, only to discover it's basically a suicide squad. Things get interesting when they face the all-knowing Cassandra. This episode is the one in Series VIII that is the most like a classic Red Dwarf episode from earlier series of the show; it is cleverly written and hilarious.
Kryten's private TV station is most amusing to his fellow prisoners, but the jokes are at the expense of others, which gets him into a bit of trouble.
Pete Part I
Rimmer and Lister are forced play against the guards in a basketball game. They sabotage the opposition's half-time juice with a virility enhancement drug.
Pete Part II
The crew becomes the prey when a sparrow devolves into one of its large dinosaur ancestors.
Only The Good
Rimmer passes into a parallel universe where his other self is the ship's captain."
Robert Frank | Jacksonville, FL United States | 03/10/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not a review but I love the series. I own up to season 6 and have to say each season is better then the prior. 6 was a delite!
My beef is why the price increase for the US DVD's. Amazon UK sells the UK versions for half the price we have to pay in the US. For instance 1-3 convert to be $14 USD each, 4 is $16, 5 is $17, 6 is $19, 7-8 are $23 each. Also they have a DVD set that is just the shows. 1-4 of this is only $20! 5-8 is $60. So for $80, you can purchase just the shows.
They do have a 17.5% tax rate but that is their tax and goes to their government so it is not part of this discussion.
Lastly, what is the deal with the combo 7-8 pack for $81? Do you think we can't add? 7 is $35 and 8 is $35 = $70. Why is the combo $11 more?
UPDATE: Now it looks like 7 & 8 are each $19.50 in the US. We'll see if that is the new price or just a sale. Combo is still $81."