I was introduced to (or rather, told about) Red Dwarf by my good friend, Hannah. I won’t go into much more details, but I watched series 1 to 9 on Netflix. In the foreground of my mind, I felt the show was good. However, somewhere in the back of my mind, something made me want to stay in the Red Dwarf universe just a bit longer. I didn’t want to leave it yet. I didn’t want to leave to the point I couldn’t hold off rewatching all nine series again. At the time of writing this, I’m on my 3rd and 4th rewatch – the 3rd of a plain watch through, 4th with the cast commentaries turned on.
Without writing this like too much of a review and without any spoilers, I would like to explore why I, somewhere in me, love this British sci-fi comedy, essentially about four guys on a spaceship.
The word “pathetic” springs to mind when I think of Red Dwarf. It’s a word that encompasses the underlying layers of the series, under all the humour and storylines that you have to occasionally think about (and generally dismiss as something you can’t think too much about). And it’s exactly why I love the series.
The characters are pathetic.
They’re not super human, not fantastical, brilliant people. They’re not extraordinary. Heck, they’re not even ordinary. They’re pathetic. Humanly pathetic. Extremely flawed. They remind me of the teenage and young adult heart, spending their passing days trying to ignore their sad existence in which they feel alone. Except, in this show, they are actually pretty dang alone. They really only have each other. And, to be honest, I don’t think they even really like each other that much.
Their universe is also pathetic. Moreover, it reminds me of our universe. Sure, we don’t have swirly things that come at spaceships or giant mining ships in space, but the overall feeling of their universe feels so much like our own. The planet we reside on. Our universe – or at least, Earth – is pretty dang pathetic. Perhaps extraordinarily pathetic where sometimes it cancels itself out…but still. Pathetic.
This is why I love Red Dwarf and why it resonates with me!
I don’t want to be part of their universe. I am a part of their universe. (Meaning the feeling I get from their universe is the same as I get for ours.)
For a bit of better explanation for those who don’t quite understand what I’m talking about, one of the other British sci-fi TV shows I enjoy is Doctor Who. I personally WANT to be part of that universe – travelling with the Doctor in his 1963 London Police Box shaped spaceship, the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space), nearly getting killed almost every day from some fantastic adventure, feeling somewhat important. I am not part of that universe, but I want to be.
Red Dwarf, on the other hand, I don’t want to be in that universe. It’s pathetic, lonely, and even the most extraordinary things are pale in comparison to what shows like Doctor Who does. It’d be the kind of universe that would remind me of how insignificant I am, even more so each day. However, I am part of their universe – life here on planet Earth in 2013 feels pretty dang pathetic, lonely, and extraordinary things are pretty dull.
Of course, as I said before, it’s that pathetic, lonely, and extraordinary dull things that make the Red Dwarf universe so lovable.
If you haven’t seen Red Dwarf, I actually highly recommend you try watching it, especially if you enjoy other British shows, especially comedy and/or sci-fi ones!