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Red Dwarf: 10.1 “Trojan” Review

Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 24 years since this show began and even harder to believe it’s been 13 years since we last saw – not counting the 2009 ‘specials’ of course, which if anything were special in a bad way. That being said, cult fans of this famous British comedy were still excited at the prospect of seeing Lister, Rimmer, Kryten and Cat sprawling through space flinging over inflated insults at each other. So did Trojan deliver or was it, for want of a better phrase, a complete smegging smeg up with smegs on top?

Well, simply put – it delivered. This was a brilliant return to the classic formula that has given this show its deservedly high status among sci-fi fans. Although, this wasn’t the polished article and Trojan isn’t up there with the classics of Back to Reality, Parallel Universe or, my personal favourite, Gunmen Horseman of the Apocalypse, but what it did do was re-establish the characters for a modern day audience.

By concentrating on the characters and not worrying about a story too clever or sophisticated, the episode flowed seamlessly from start to finish. Rimmer ‘crashing’ due to self created mal-ware was fantastic and really showed that this aged two-decade old sitcom can evolve yet maintain it’s core humour. The script was full of the timeless Dwarf-esque sarcasm and banter all accompanied by a studio audience laughter track that really gives the show a nostalgic feel.

As for the plot, this at first appeared to be simple yet entertaining, letting the characters interact like it was any other day onboard the lost mining ship. As the episode developed so did the comedy, with the crew finding out that things were not what they seemed on board the unmanned prestigious star ship. By the end the script had delivered on both the story as well as the sarcasm. The only real criticism was Lister’s slightly overblown scenario about being kept on hold for hours, only to miss his chance to place and order for a ‘stirmaster’ at the climactic moment. This was pretty pedestrian concept for a predominant character that was only really going to have one outcome but nonetheless it still delivered a laugh at the pinnacle moment.

In all, this was a very strong return for a show that’s been around the cosmic block more than a few times. What made it fun to watch and cleverly entertaining was the fact that it didn’t try to adapt itself too much to modern comedies and simply concentrated on what it does best – taking four outstanding characters, placing them in a ridiculous situation at the end of the comedy universe and letting them smeg it all up.

8.5/10

Scene of the Episode:  “What caused the accident?” – This was quintessential Red Dwarf, extremely well scripted, effortlessly delivered and absolutely hilarious. Roll on next week.

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