Sunday, 19 June 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: Red Dwarf XI - Fathers and Suns,

Red Dwarf is no stranger to bringing family into it's episodes and storylines. Lister has mentioned his family before. Rimmer mentioned his parents too. Cat also mentioned his family a few times as well, but we never really had an episode based around Father's Day....until Series XI's Fathers and Suns

The episode begins with Lister playing video games. Rimmer walks in and sees a Father's Day card that Lister's making for himself. Lister explains that every year, he sends himself a Father’s Day card to celebrate the fact that he is his own father, but deliberately gets so drunk that when Kryten delivers it on Father's Day the following year, he doesn’t remember writing it. When Rimmer points out he’s been a lousy father to himself, Lister decides to do something about it. The ship's Medibot, not understanding Lister is his own father, advises a tough love approach, and also sets up a medical record for "Dave Lister Jr." Lister wakes hungover in the morning to find a drunken video message left by his "dad", in which he tries to use tough love to get his "son" to improve himself.
Meanwhile, Rimmer and Kryten install a new computer, Pree, who is so advanced she can predict entire conversations, rendering them unnecessary. When asked by Rimmer to fix a number of faults with Red Dwarf, Pree anticipates that Rimmer would make errors in ordering repairs, and so trashes the corridors as he would have unwittingly ordered her to.
Lister is horrified to discover that, while drunk, he resigned from his job as part of his self-improvement kick, and Pree now intends to terminate his shipboard privileges - including oxygen. Lister flees, and only just manages to don a spacesuit before Pree opens an airlock and shoots him into space. Since Lister is no longer crew, Pree concludes the ship has no mission, and, citing anti-pollution protocols, locks Red Dwarf on a suicide course into the nearest sun.
Lister manages to return to Red Dwarf and joins the others in trying to shut down Pree, but they end up being attacked by Garbage-bots. At the last minute, Lister uses Pree's own logic against her - arguing that he is Dave Lister Jr. (as proved by the medical record) and that it was Dave Lister Snr. who quit. Therefore, the ship's mission is still valid and, as Lister intends to uninstall her, Pree should anticipate this and shut herself down. She obliges.
Safe once more, Lister is presented with the various freebies that are given to new registered crewmen by Kryten and politely turns them down, citing that he needs to study for the Robotics Training Programme he's applied to. Upon discovering one of the freebies is a new video game though, Lister rapidly forgets about studying.
The episode aired 11th October on Dave and can also be found on the Series XI DVD and Blu-Ray. The episode references the series VII episode Ouroboros, where Lister finds out he's his own father. Critical reception was mixed. Many said it was a classic episode of Red Dwarf that was still funny, however, some said it was a little bloated and messy.