It's times like this that I'm so glad I chose to change the date for this edition of the Red Dwarf liveblog, because series 4 is probably the first beginning-to-end solid season.
Not a stinker in the bunch. And yes, I am including Meltdown. Most fans don't like that episode. I do.
But let's start from the beginning.
One of the cool things about this season is that it shifts towards being a full-on science fiction sitcom, integrating some of the former's thinking with the latter's structure. Here's where we see the infamous "Space Corps directive" begin to take form. (First introduced last season). There's even a slight irony in using the twist from last season's The Last Day as a launching pad for one of the funniest sequences in Red Dwarf history (the beginning of Camille).
But what's great about this series is that it really allows - even in the compressed space of six episodes - to really begin exploring the nature of the characters. We see their ideal mates (Camille), their alternate selves (Dimension Jump, with the excellent Ace Rimmer), the subversion of the robot-that-wants-to-be-human trope (DNA). The writing is spot-on: Kryten's "defense" of Rimmer in Justice; the time-jumping shenanigans of White Hole...there's no real lack of strong writing, either. (In fact, most of Meltdown's derision seems more out of locale and the fact that the episode was transmitted during the first Gulf War).
But all in all, this is a special season for me - it was my "first" season. Imagine, it's a bleak December, having just moved from Eugene, Oregon to St. Louis. I'm staying with my friend, Craig, and the only joy I could take was that the woman who hired me, far from being dumpy, was a gorgeous redhead. I needed a good laugh, and Craig recommended Red Dwarf. Although I caught the first episodes of season 8 haphazardly, my first "official" episode was Camille. From there, I was hooked - so much so that I would heartly recommend series 4 for anyone who wants to dive right in.
Smeggin' brilliant. Dwarf at its dwarfiest.
See you next Monday.
Very highly recommended.