WE FINALLY get to see Kryten's nipple nuts, and they have voice-activated covers. If that's not a good enough reason - after 10 series of teasing references but no reveal - to tune in to Red Dwarf XI episode 1, it's hard to know what is.
But on top of that, Dave has brought Red Dwarf XI back with an absolute bang. Backed up by Steve Coogan's Baby Cow company, the obviously increased budget has allowed Dave to inject some seriously imaginative period sci-fi into the oddly named first episode, Twentica.
It's also on UK Play TV if you prefer not to wait until it airs on 22 September.
After some very brief set-up with a special breed of time-travelling Simulants (one of which is a nice cameo from Kevin Eldon), the main thrust of the episode gallops into view.
The Dwarfers visit 1950s America which, instead of alcohol, has suffered a 30-year ban on technology. Cue 'bootleg science clubs' disguised as restaurants during police busts, and offers from floozies to "grab a drink first, or go somewhere quiet and discuss relativity".
Einstein, Hubble and Edison appear as raving drunks pushing prams of string around, for which Einstein "has some theory, but nobody will listen".
It's silly, gawky and unashamedly Red Dwarf. Series X arguably over-relied on sometimes stilted and awkward dialogue scenes to push along relatively empty plots, but Twentica feels like it's putting the 'situation' back into the comedy, echoing the show's peak at series III to V.
Somehow, jokes about Cat not caring if Rimmer dies, Kryten's funny walk and Lister being a hard criminal at seven years old never get old.
Writer Doug Naylor seems - rightly - only too aware that the majority of the audience will tune into the continuing adventures of ‘the Boys from the Dwarf' for the fuzzy nostalgia of these now heavily cemented characters.
So it's great to see Lister, Rimmer, Kryten and Cat given a bit more to do physically on top of the established antagonistic banter that series X showed us is still alive and kicking.
We'll be pretty excited if the rest of Red Dwarf XI pans out with the high-quality poise of this debut.
Check back for verdicts on the rest as they air. µ
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