Thursday, October 11, 2012

Red Dwarf--"Fathers and Suns"

“Fathers and Suns” establishes a connection with past episodes, in as much as Red Dwarf cares about continuity, by revisiting Lister’s strange parentage and installing a new computer program to finally replace Holly. The result is a mixed bag less amusing the series premiere last week.

Lister gives himself a Father’s Day card every year because he was the one to dump himself as an infant in a box at a pub. Rimmer points out that Lister is being an awful father to himself, so Lister decides to record a drunken video message to himself, father to son, in order to force himself to grow up. “Father’s’ tough love winds up causing lister to be expelled from Red dwarf by the new computer, Pree.

Pree is initialized by Rimmer and Kryten in order to better maintain the falling apart ship. Pree is programmed to anticipate what the Dwarfers would do in any given situation do it before being asked. Unfortunately, the Dwarfers are grossly incompetent, so pree manages to make their lives miserable with her actions. In the end, she scrubs the mission to return to Earth and plots a course for a nearby sun instead. Lister returns to Red dwarf to ave the day, therefore feeling as though he has made something of himself like ’dad’ wanted.

I am only half-hearted about “Fathers and Suns.” If series ten is going to revisit a past storyline, Lister being his own father is far from the one I would choose. Pree is nowhere near as great a character as either of the actors who played Holly in the past, so I am let down by her introduction. More likely her sole appearance, but we shall see. I cannot imagine her shtick carrying more than one episode without some changes in her dry demeanor.

Some of the running jokes were not up to par. The longer than Rapunzel’s pubic hair” gag literally makes me cringe thinking about . The debate over whether using Chinese as an adjective is racist goes on far too long only to be capped off by the Dwarfers asking a Chinese food dispenser for the answer and receiving it in angry, pigeon English. If it were not for the exchange between video Lister and himself, there would be hardly any laughs at all.

My introduction to Red Dwarf was a little over a year ago when I got the chance to view the show straight through. I got spoiled being able to watch all the episodes back to back, so watching only one episode a week for a scant six weeks is near starvation. Because there are so few--and no guarantee of more, truth be told--I have to grade on a curve. Bad Red Dwar is still new Red Dwarf. I can only award two stars for “Fathers and suns,” however, and hope the problem is merely a sophomore slump.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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