Science fiction comedy series Red Dwarf lost a lot of its charm in the last three or four years of its 8 year run. Whether or not they stuck around for the complete series, fans of Red Dwarf will enjoy Back to Earth. Some of the original energy and fun of the show is back and you do not need to be familiar with the series’ mytharc to enjoy the Back to Earth DVD.
Red Dwarf Back to Earth The Director’s Cut features 2 versions of the show. The 70-some minute version and the as originally broadcast 3 show version. A second DVD contains various special features and such.
Back to Earth picks the story up nine years later. Stuff happens in the first episode after all the characters are reintroduced and the crew finds a way to return to earth (episode 2) circa early 21st Century. Lister, Rimmer, Cat, and Kryten are in for a bit of a surprise.
This is where this Red Dwarf finale gets really fun. It is constantly self-referential with the crew going to an SF shop that sells a whole bunch of things in their image and reading about itself in various fan magazines. Lister, Rimmer, Cat, and Kryten have to find Red Dwarf’s creators and stop the series from killing them off in the last show. I am sure someone geeky enough could read some existential subtext in that.
This is a very self-referential show but, again, you do not have to be very familiar with the series to get most of the jokes. A particular fave is the nod to Coronation Street in episodes 2 and 3.
Red Dwarf Back to Earth is a fun DVD set. Fans of the series will want it, others will enjoy renting.
Special features on the DVD for Red Dwarf Back to Earth include Cast commentary; Director commentary; All-new exclusive documentary The Making of Back to Earth; Deleted scenes; Smeg ups; Featurettes; Trailers; Web videos; Photo gallery; and Easter egg.
The director’s commentary is on the director’s cut version and is especially inane. The cast and crew commentary is on the 3 episode version and is okay as these things go.