Red Dwarf, Series XII by Doug Naylor (Dave, 2017) In which Red Dwarf becomes a shadow of even the shadow of earlier series. Lister jamming with a reformed Hitler is admittedly a highlight, but for the most part the boys from the dwarf are putting on a fannish tribute to themselves.
Red Dwarf: Last Human by Doug Naylor (Viking, 1995) A competent SF novel that broadens the Red Dwarf canvas but relies a little too much on prior knowledge of the show (while at the same time rehashing chunks of televised stories; these are the book’s weakest parts). Funny, but somewhat scattershot.
Red Dwarf, Series XI by Doug Naylor (Dave, 2016) Even though it’s comprised now solely of what in earlier series was incidental humour, and careful plotting has been replaced by a laissez-faire ‘Let’s see where we are when we run out of time’ approach, it’s hard not to love Red Dwarf.
Red Dwarf IX: Back to Earth by Doug Naylor (2009) Though much welcome after the decade of Dwarflessness following Series VIII, this three-part 21st anniversary special exhibits a slow-moving stiltedness that belies its imaginative premise. Fans are encouraged to create their own director’s cut: a ruthless edit down to one regular-length episode.
Red Dwarf X by Doug Naylor (Dave, 2012) Although still somewhat an aging caricature of its earlier series, Red Dwarf X brings back the laughs through six cleverly constructed (if frivolous) episodes. ‘Lemons’, in which the Dwarfers misassemble a flat-pack anti-aging machine, consequently time-travelling and meeting Jesus, is a highlight.
Red Dwarf VIII by Doug Naylor (BBC, 1999) Returning to the eponymous mining ship, Red Dwarf became unabashedly silly and yet managed also to transmogrify into a creature of ephemeral comedic brilliance. ‘Cassandra’ is a classic episode, while elsewhere, amidst the rampant caricaturing, a long-suffering Captain Hollister steals the show.
Red Dwarf VII by Doug Naylor (BBC, 1997) Danny John-Jules’ portrayal of the Cat remains tainted by cross-pollination from buck-toothed alter-ego Duane Dibbley, but the (re)introduction of Kochanski is enough to shake up what had become a staid crew dynamic and revitalise — at least somewhat — Dave Lister’s comically vagabond existence.
Red Dwarf VI by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor (BBC, 1993) After a stellar run from 1988-1992, Red Dwarf returned in 1993 as a caricatured shadow (almost a parody) of its first five seasons, stripping the crew of all seriousness and sacrificing thematically self-contained episodes for cheap laughs and a token story arc.