Red Dwarf-Series 2 (1994)

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Released 1-Apr-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Easter Egg-Queeg
Outtakes
Gallery-Photo
Theatrical Trailer
Interviews-Cast-Doug Naylor
Audio-Only Track-Music Cues
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Model Shots
Audio-Only Track-Audio Book Clips
Featurette-Alternate Personalities
Featurette-Tongue Tied
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 174:24 (Case: 310)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Ed Bye
Studio
Distributor

Rising Star Entertainment
Starring Chris Barrie
Craig Charles
Danny John-Jules
Norman Lovett
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $49.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The standard music that accompanies the BBC opening credits on TV or DVD is always a welcome sound, as it always heralds a great time watching a great British show of one description or another. In this case, the BBC theme music was followed by the wonderful Red Dwarf theme music and I just knew that it was going to be a couple of fantastic nights worth of viewing.

    In Series Two, we see two characters that later become regulars on the show. The first is Kryten, looking quite different from how we see him later, and sounding different as he is played by David Ross rather than Robert Llewellyn. The second of course is Hattie Hayridge, initially as Hilly and then later as Holly.

Kryten (28:19)

    A distress signal leads the Red Dwarf crew to the scene of a spaceship crash. Initial contact seems to indicate that there is life aboard - female life! The boys rush to prepare themselves to meet and greet these lovely young ladies but alas all is not what it seems. They meet up with the onboard robot butler whose only purpose in life is to serve - anything, anytime. Back on board, Rimmer takes advantage of Kryten's nature to have him perform many unpleasant tasks. Lister is not impressed and sets out to free the slaves.

Better Than Life (29:33)

    The mail finally catches up with the Red Dwarf. Considering this is the English postal system, three million years is not bad going. Included in the delivery is the latest in computer games, Better Than Life. This game plugs into your brain and provides a world that is totally believable and completely under the player's control. The crew is off for the holiday of a lifetime, as anything that they can imagine is theirs for the thinking. Unfortunately, Rimmer is unable to handle things actually going right and things go downhill fast from there. Red Dwarf does monsters from the Id!

Thanks for the Memory (28:27)

    It is Rimmer's death day and the crew head off to a likely asteroid for a party, all imbibe in the appropriate beverage and end up rather under the weather. While under the influence, Rimmer makes an unfortunate admission and Lister takes pity on him and decides to give him a very special present. When they wake up the next morning with two broken legs, four days missing and the Red Dwarf black box recorder missing they set out to discover what happened during those four days.

Stasis Leak (29:55)

    A strange portal is discovered on one of the lower decks, which appears to lead into the past, the past about three weeks before the accident that killed all of the ship's crew bar Lister. The discovery of a picture in which Lister appears to be married to Kristine Z. Kochanski leads Lister on a chase to find Kochanski and marry her. Meanwhile, Rimmer is off trying to save himself from destruction.

Queeg (29:43)

    The crew has lost confidence in Holly and proceeds to give him a right royal hard time after a small mistake, one that nearly kills Lister. Unbeknownst to the crew, there is a backup personality for the Red Dwarf computer. This alternate is called upon when the regular computer puts the life of a crew member at risk, so he now appears appears and deposes Holly. The new personality is a nightmare and proceeds to drive the crew nuts. Holly has been demoted to a night watchmen and decides to face Queeg in a duel to the death.

Parallel Universe (28:27)

    Holly's greatest invention: The Holy Hop Drive. Capable of transporting the ship anywhere in the universe in no time...well, nearly. Once activated, the Red Dwarf and crew find themselves in a parallel universe, one populated by their opposite numbers. A female for each of the human and computer crew and something entirely different for the Cat. Rimmer and Lister each find a female version of themselves more than a shock, and get an even bigger surprise when they discover another feature of the alternate universe.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Unfortunately, the video quality of the transfer has not improved since the first series. The source material is slightly better, but compression artefacts are still a real problem.

    The transfer is presented at its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is therefore not 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is not too bad on most images but any movement soon reduces this, and fast movement reduces the image to a smear. A good example of this is when the Cat turns at 9:29. Shadow detail is good but there is almost constant low level noise.

    There is far more colour in the second series, as is pointed out in the commentaries and interviews. While the saturation is good, the colours are affected by the low level noise and compression makes moving colours smear.

    MPEG artefacts abound. In the opening credits at 0:12 there is a funny smearing of the image (although this may be source related). Any moving object is blocked quite heavily, such as at 9:42, where there is also posterization in Lister's face. As this is probably video sourced, there is some video noise and of course some aliasing. There are also a couple of source errors in the blue screen work such as the break throughs at 15:53 in the newsreader's shirt.

    The subtitles are easy to read but paraphrase a little too much occasionally, changing the impact of the lines.

     This is a dual layered disc with the layer change somewhere between the episodes. The second disc is single layered.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     A pretty standard English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is on offer here with no real problems, but also nothing spectacular to note. Also on offer is an English Audio Commentary, also in Dolby Digital 2.0.

    There are no problems with the dialogue nor the audio sync.

    The music is great and works very closely with the script to enhance the entire show.

    There was no surround activity and nothing really for the subwoofer, either.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menus remain the same as those on the Series 1 release; a 3D animation based on the control room of the Red Dwarf and two extra rooms, one with lots of air locks to help select a particular episode to play and the other Rimmer's and Lister's room, complete with yellow banana. The only other change is the location of the Easter egg.

Easter Egg (2:28)

    Ed Bye, Rob Grant and Norman Lovett are back again in their cartoon alter egos, this time talking about the episode Queeg. You get there by selecting the watch that is sitting on the console below the monitor on the main menu on the first disc. This is presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Cast Commentary (174:24)

    Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules and Norman Lovett are back again to talk us through all the episodes of Series 2. They are far more forthcoming in this commentary than in the Series 1 commentary, and there are some very interesting tidbits about the tensions between the various players during the filming of the second series. Along with interesting comments and a few jokes, this is very much a step up from the first series commentary.

Photo Gallery

    Twenty one photos set into a display screen such as that found on the Red Dwarf, so that the photos take up about three quarters of the screen. There are 15 black and white and coloured photos ranging from scenes from the series to on location shots. The remaining 6 are the covers from the videos as released in England and Australia.

Documentary: Red Dwarf A-Z (30:02)

    A very interesting documentary with a very wide range of material on offer, one item for each letter of the alphabet. Included is a guest appearance by the Daleks, and a nearly embarrassing appearance by Patrick Stewart. While I have great respect for Stewart as an actor, his opening comments had me shaking my head. Another guest is Steven Hawking who has some great things to say. All this intercut with excerpts from the show make for a very entertaining half hour.

Outtakes (6:33)

    Smeg-ups from Series II, mostly consisting of lines gone very wrong. A good laugh due the the actors' reactions to stuffing up yet again. Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Interview: Doug Naylor (17:08)

    A talking head interview where the interviewer is never seen, only heard. The questions and answers are broken up with scenes from the series. There is some quite interesting information covered here about the evolution of the series and whether the series would continue after the first season. Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Model Shots (4:15)

    As explained in the Doug Naylor interview, the entire special effects budget for the first series all went on the Red Dwarf model and flybys and the scutters. Once the second series was confirmed, more money became available and a new series of special effects were created. This includes the approach to the crashed ship in Kryten and the Blue Midget, the first small and very blue shuttle. There are also some extra Red Dwarf exterior shots near asteroids and planets. Presented as raw footage as shot with no audio.

Dance Number: Tongue Tied (3:30)

    This is the full and uncut version of the very unusual song and dance routine that the Red Dwarf crew perform, first appearing, for no clear reason, at the start of Episode 6. The first time this appeared I fell off my seat as it is just so "out there". Danny is obviously having a great time while Chris and Craig look a little dazed by the whole experience. Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Alternate Personalities (3:22)

    A whole series of clips from the entire series set to music, acting like a series of flash cards taking you back to each episode with some great and very memorable moments. When you watch this, you realise just how much original comedy there is in this series spread over many years.

Deleted Scenes (18:15)

    Deleted and extended scenes as shot with no special effects or final sound mix, or so we are advised by some text on the way into this feature. There is a similar text message telling us about each clip. While there are some new jokes in here that were cut, usually for time reasons, they lose a little as they are out of context.

Trailer (0:33)

    TWO trailers consisting of the famous 'Dog's Milk' scene presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Isolated Music Cues (25:31)

    With some material repeated from the first series discs and some new from this series, this sort of feature is interesting but doesn't particularly grab me. On offer are the main theme, opening theme, space cues, character cues, background cues and additional cues.

Audio Book Extracts (15:02)

    Two more extracts from the audio book Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers read by Chris Barrie. Very well read and of a reasonable length - definitely something to look for in the shops.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Other than the addition of closed captions in R1, the disc appears identical across the planet. Normally I would lean towards a PAL transfer of a film with the only caveat being that a PAL master was taken from the original film stock rather than being an NTSC to PAL conversion. In this case, I know that the original was PAL and probably video, so the R1 release is likely to be a conversion from PAL to NTSC. Unless the compression is far better in R1, I would call the R4 version the winner.

Summary

    Red Dwarf certainly comes near the top of my favourite series list. My only real complaint is that there is so long between releases - I want all my Red Dwarf now! I am really looking forward to the third series as I particularly like the character of Kryten.

    The video really could be better.

    The audio is accurate to the source material.

    The extras are great and will entertain for quite a period of time.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Monday, March 24, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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Comments (Add)
faces - Anonymous
check out the price rise for season 3 - gRANT (Read my bio, mmm... uncompressed surround audio)