Red Dwarf-Series 4 (1994)

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Released 9-Mar-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Cast
Outtakes-Smeg Ups
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Can't Smeg Won't Smeg
Featurette-Built To Last
Featurette-Lurve
Featurette-Ace Rimmer - A Life In Lame
Gallery-Production Stills (3), Effects And Sleeves
Gallery-Instant Snap Shots
Audio-Only Track-Audiobook Clips - Planet Pool, Talkie Toaster
Audio-Only Track-Music Cues
Featurette-Raw FX Footage - Model Shots
Theatrical Trailer-2
Easter Egg-Dimension Jump
Booklet
DVD Credits
Web Links
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 165:14 (Case: 340)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jeffrey Melman
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Chris Eigeman
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $49.95 Music Todd Rundgren


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 for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Here we have season four of Red Dwarf. In my opinion, this season holds some of the best episodes of the entire series. There are six episodes in the season and one of them is Dimension Jump which is probably my favourite episode, although Backwards from series three is a close second. Along with Chris Barrie as Arnold Rimmer, Craig Charles as Dave Lister and Danny John-Jules as Cat we have Robert Llewelyn as Kryten and Hattie Hayridge as Holly (she took over in series three).

Camille (26:45)

    Trying to teach Kryten to lie leads to some of the funniest lines and expressions in the series. Kryten and Rimmer find a crashed ship with what appears to be a surviving crew member. Kryten is ecstatic as the survivor appears to be not only a 4000 series android, but a Gti, and with the opposite polarity groinal socket to his. Unfortunately, all is not as it seems as we rollick through some great references to Casablanca.

DNA (27:51)

    There are just so many great parts to this episode. For example, the initial discovery of the DNA transmogrifier and Lister's experiences as a chicken. Then the brilliant series of jokes as Kryten discovers what it is like to live out his greatest dream, and the final sequence with the dreaded curry monster. Constant laughs from start to finish.

Justice (28:17)

    We start with Lister and a very bad case of Space Mumps, which is not pretty. From here we move to a cryogenic escape capsule which contains either a crazed, psychotic, killing, murdering, nearly indestructible android, or a woman. Well, punk do you feel lucky? Do they open it or not? The best option seems to be to drop in at a local enforcement station where, if things do not turn out as they hope, they can deal with the unfortunate consequences. While they think that entering the justice zone is safe, they do not allow for Rimmer's conscience.

White Hole (27:32)

    Pool with planets (I wonder if they have been reading Hitch Hiker's?). Can Lister pull off the shot of the millennium and pot the planet in the white hole that is spewing time into the universe? With the infamous Talkie Toaster entreating every passing person and computer with questions about bread products it is hard for Holly, who has had her IQ increased to 12,000 and her life span reduced to 3-odd minutes, to run the ship and work out what is going on. Things are looking problematic for the crew of the Red Dwarf.

Dimension Jump (28:43)

    This episode concerns alternate dimensions, where every decision and its various consequences are played out. In this particular universe, Rimmer takes the exactly opposite direction with his life and becomes the hero of Space Corps. When the hero version of Rimmer is offered the opportunity to jump dimensions and perhaps meet other versions of himself, he heads off. His disappointment at meeting the Rimmer that we all know so well is palpable. Chris Barrie does brilliantly playing both ends of the spectrum against each other.

Meltdown (26:26)

    Kryten discovers an experimental matter transporter in the science lab and the crew of the Red Dwarf are off too explore a new planet. On this particular planet there are the remains of a Westworld type waxworks. The exhibits are androids that have broken their programming and become sentient (some more than others). There is currently a war, where all the exhibits of the good guys of history are battling the exhibits of some of the worst characters. Unfortunately, the good guys end up trusting Rimmer to lead them, with predictable results.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Overall, the quality of this series is the same as the previous ones that I have reviewed - not particularly good.

    Presented at what is undoubtedly its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, the transfer is of course not 16x9 enhanced.

    As this is video sourced material of some number of years of age, the sharpness is not the best. In particular, moving objects suffer badly from video blur. Shadow detail varies and whilst it is mostly acceptable, in some of the darker scenes it is quite opaque. There is a large amount of low level noise.

    Colours are a little muted and also affected by the noise.

    The encoding is right on the edge, most likely caused by the level of video noise. Most scenes contain some pixelization such as in the first episode at 12:16. The blur and pixelization at times combine to make moving objects very indistinct. Examine Cat's Zebra coat as he enters the frame from the right at 17:33 to see this effect. Aliasing is present in many scenes such as the model shot at 6:07. There are many video artefacts such as moire on the floor at 5:41 along with the previously mentioned noise and blur.

    The subtitles are easy to read but occasionally do not keep up with the dialogue.

    Both discs in the set are RSDL-formatted with the layer changes presumably in between the various titles, as I saw no evidence of a pause.

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

Audio

    There are two Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks on the main feature disc. The first is the main audio for the episodes and the second is the cast commentary.

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

    I just love some of the musical asides that are used in this show. Having an Elvis version of the theme song not only works well with the episode in question but is a good laugh in itself.

    Engaging surround decoding, in particular Pro-Logic II, extracts some useful and at times quite good surround material.

    There was little for the subwoofer to do.

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

Extras

     One nice feature of the extras disc in this package is that you can select animated menus for the items i.e.: Kryton's spare heads are selections for several items. Or you can select text menus which allows you to see all the items (except the Easter egg) and not have to guess at what it is that you are selecting.

Menu

    Presented at 1.33:1, the menus for these two discs continue the excellent 3D animated offerings that we have seen in the previous seasons, themed this time around the console that Cat keeps trying to unplug. Selecting sub menus again takes you on a 3D fly-though of some corridors to the new menu themed around the drive room or other Red Dwarf locations. There is a video console where Holly appears in the centre playing out parts of different episodes. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.

Commentary: The entire cast

    This commentary is a lot of fun and is like having the crew around for a video night. The thing is that the commentary was recorded many years after the show was put to air. While the cast love Red Dwarf and enjoyed acting in it, they are not Dwarfies and have not seen the episodes since they went to air. This leads to the first part of each episode being a 'which episode is this' type discussion along with 'I remember now!" type comments. Still, well worth listening to.

Documentary: Built To Last (73:32)

    A series of interviews with the cast and crew with intercut footage from season IV, spending some time on each episode. One thing that they mention several times is the move of the filming to Shepparton, apparently a much nicer location. This is a good documentary with some very interesting information imparted along the way. Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Smeg-Ups (10:40)

    There are some very funny moments here, though in lots of cases it is the cast forgetting their lines and then swearing. They have reached new levels of censorship here where they not only bleep out the bad words but pixelate the actors' mouths so that you can't lip-read either. Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailers (0:41) (0:36)

    As explained on the menu where you can select either of the trailers, the original trailers have been lost somewhere in the BBC archives. What is presented is a fairly bad VHS recording of the two trailers. Of course, this is better than missing out entirely but it is a shame. Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Lurve (3:03)

    A video clip set to "I am busy" (I think), this is all the 'love' scenes from Red Dwarf. Not all of the embraces are between members of the same species and are often just about enough to turn your stomach.

Photo Gallery

    Three sets of production stills totalling 57 shots. Presented as an insert with next, back and menu selections you just keep hitting enter to view the next slide.

Music Cues

    A large selection of the music cues used in the fourth series including: Opening Theme, Main Theme, Elvis Theme, Ace's Themes (3), Farewell, Justice Attack, Planet Pool, Rock Guitar Instrumental, Action (4), Romantic (3) and Dramatic (12). You make your selection from the above list and the music cue plays. The screen does not change and remains on the menu/ You can override the current selection that is playing.

Deleted Scenes (20:54)

    These are presented with a quick text screen explaining a little about the scene and why it was deleted, which was usually for timing or pace reasons or simply because there was not enough time in the episode. They are interesting in a couple of places but they were deleted for a reason and are not the crew's best work. Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg (26:30)

    A special edition of Can't Cook, Won't Cook which appears to be a British cooking show where two sets of contestants bring in someone who can't cook and the Celebrity chef, Ainsley Harriott tries to teach them how to cook something. A further contestant has to taste the results and decide a winner. In this case it is Kryton and Lister on one side and Rimmer and Dwane Dibly on the other with Kichanksy (late series version) as the tester. This starts a little slowly but it soon warms up and poor old chef has the show completely stolen from him as he is completely outclassed. Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Ace Rimmer "A Life In Lame'" (11:13)

    A series of clips of Ace Rimmer intermixed with comments by Holly. This jumps round a little but is still fun. It is not as good as some of the other extras.

Audio Book Clips

    Planet Pool and Talkie Toaster are two excerpts from the Red Dwarf audio books as read by Chris Barrie. The books are interesting as they string together an entire season in a more coherent fashion. Chris does an excellent job with his reading and voices sometimes a very accurate caricature. As with the audio cues, the menu simply remains static while the audio plays, a little bit of a worry for those with projection devices prone to burn-in.

Model Footage (7:09)

    As explained on the menu selection page, there was now a library of the main Red Dwarf ship and other exterior shots so the money this season could be spent on more episode specific model shots. They are presented here at 1.33:1 with no audio.

Easter Egg (1:42)

    As with the season one and two discs, this Easter egg is a very simple animation presenting a discussion between the writers regarding the episode Dimension Jump. While short, there are a couple of quite funny comments. You find the Easter egg on the extras menu at the bottom right. A 3D model of the matter transmitter appears and disappears. While visible, select this and press Enter to view the Easter egg. Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Web Link

    A quick description of the Red Dwarf site and the link at which to find it. It you don't wish to type the link in they include a .htm file on the DVD in the top directory that you can double click.

R4 vs R1

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

    It would appear that we have received an identical release to Region 2 while in Region 1 they have almost the same material except for the deleted scenes. This gives us an R4 win for the inclusion of additional extras.

Summary

    As it has my favourite episode, season four of Red Dwarf is my favourite season. All the episodes are excellent with some truly funny moments. The extras are going to be contentious. If you have a particular sense of humour then things like Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg will give you a good laugh. If not, they might leave you a little cold.

    The video is not the best.

    The audio is functional.

    The extras are good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Sunday, March 21, 2004
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.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR800
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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Comments (Add)
Meltdown near the top of any fans list? -
2ND Easter egg -
Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg -
LURVE Extra Music - James O