Red Dwarf is back, baby! Yes, it’s time for fans of the Small Rouge One to rejoice as Series XII is almost here, premiering on Thursday 12th October on Dave (or a week earlier on UKTV Play, if you’re lucky enough to be living in the UK), and if the teaser trailers are anything to go by, co-creator, writer and director Doug Naylor seems to have the show in the kind of tip-top form that made it a staple of anybody with an active funny bone back in the 90s.
Not that we should be surprised. Back in 2012, the show returned for its first full series since Red Dwarf Series VIII aired in 1999. Taking complete creative control, Naylor smartly decided to return the series to its roots, and crafted six standalone episodes around his core cast (with the exception of Holly), and then filmed them in front of an ecstatic live audience.
The results were a pure joy for Dwarfers everywhere who had been patiently waiting for more since Back to Earth aired in 2009. For others, it was a perfect moment to get onboard with the crew and once more go on some incompetent adventures, 3,000,0025 years or so into deep space. The show was back just the way it was supposed to be!
What makes this even more impressive is that, according to the documentary, “We’re Smegged,” (available exclusively on the Series X DVD) the production process was so challenging, so beset by budgetary and technical issues, that Doug Naylor and crew must have thought they were living in a nightmarish hallucination concocted by a particularly vicious Despair Squid.
That may go some way towards explaining the four-year gap leading up to Series XI, which was released last year, and spin my nipple nuts if it wasn’t worth the wait. With an obviously increased budget Series XI looked as good, if not better than Red Dwarf ever did during its BBC2 heyday. It had incredible visual effects, and convincing sets, which helped to enthral audiences just like the old days, as the Boys from the Dwarf encountered deadly space stations, a demented medi-bot and visited a prohibition era world, where science not booze is outlawed. It also saw the crew take on yet another Polymorph, the Cat finally get his end away, and Rimmer fulfil his dream of becoming an officer. It felt familiar, and fresh at the same time. Justly, Series XI was voted best comedy of the year, and best returning comedy by the British Comedy Guide.
Thankfully, the upcoming series was filmed back to back with the last, and so we can surely expect more of the same high quality thrills, fantastic science-fiction, and writing as sharp as a page of Oscar Wilde witticisms that have been rolled up into a point, sprinkled with lemon juice and jabbed into someone’s eye, as someone pretty darn amazing once said.
So, what do we know about the new series? Well, the episodes are entitled Cured, Siliconia, Timewave, Mechocracy, M-Corp and Skipper. Hang on! Skipper? Does this mean that Ace Rimmer will be returning? Either way, what a guy! We do know for sure that Norman Lovett will be returning for an episode as Holly. We also know that the entire crew will have shared Robert Llewelyn’s enjoyment of spending hours in the makeup chair, as they are somehow transformed into mechanoids.
But let’s not waste time on further conjecture when we can just quote the official website. Here’s what it says on reddwarf.co.uk…
“For the very first time, the rest of the crew discover just how it feels to be Kryten when they’re arrested by the Mechanoid Intergalactic Liberation Front. The Dwarfers come across a ship where criticism is illegal, and a space station where the crew have developed a cure for evil. When all the machines on Red Dwarf go on strike Rimmer and Kryten hold a Presidential election, while The Cat faces an identity crisis like never before when he discovers he needs glasses. Lister discovers a simple update of the ship’s latest software could be a matter of life or death. Finally, Rimmer decides to leave Red Dwarf in search of a parallel universe where he isn’t such a massive loser.”
There’s never been a better time to be a fan of Red Dwarf!
Red Dwarf Series XII will be available on Dave from Thursday 12th October 2017, and on UKTV Play from Thursday 5th October (UK only). For US audiences XII will be available on BritBox for a small monthly subscription fee.