This Easter the last (mostly) human alive Dave Lister will once again grace the TV screens. Last seen in 1999, the program that married comedy and science fiction adventure is brought back to life for a special adventure.
The 2 part story is entitled Back to Earth and may finally bring some closure to the series that remained unresolved for so many years. Developed by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor in 1988, Red Dwarf filled an essential void after Doctor Who was canceled in 1989 by featuring some of the most madcap adventures the British viewers had ever seen.
Set in the far future, the program starred Dave Lister, the lowest ranking member of the crew of the mining ship Red Dwarf. Whereas other sci-fi programs featured spacecrafts on bold missions, Dave and his unruly unhinged bunk-mate Rimmer cleaned out chicken soup dispensers ship-wide. For Dave, this was not a problem since he had a ‘plan’ to buy a farm in Fiji where he and his girlfriend and cat would breed horses and sell hot dogs. Never mind that his girlfriend had dumped him, it would work out in the end.
All was not to be, however, as Dave’s cat was considered a health risk and facing the choice between handing his cat over for dissection or being frozen in cryogenic sleep for the remainder of the voyage, he chose the latter. Imagine his surprise when he is woken up 3 billion years later to an empty ship except for the sole survivor of a race of cat people and a hologram of his demented roommate Rimmer for company. But it wasn’t just the ship that was empty (the entire crew was killed by a deadly radiation leak… mainly Rimmer’s fault), the human race was extinct, leaving Dave the sole survivor.
The series explored alternate realities, a planet populated of waxwork robots at war, backwards time and even a rogue android who patrolled the time-lines eliminating wasted lives. The thing that made Red Dwarf such a great program was its unique blend of the hilarious with the ingenious and sincere. Yes it was a silly program but there were many times where I completely ‘bought’ Dave Lister as a character.
It has to be said that the latter years of the program were lackluster with a slight improvement in the final season too little too late, but Red Dwarf remains one of the most important programs of its kind if simply because it is so original. A feature film loomed on the horizon for decades with no results, but this Easter fans will rejoice to seeing their favorite bum of the universe once again don his sloppy hat and leathers for a final jaunt into the unknown.