Red Dwarf – Samsara (Series 11 Episode 2)
Now we are heading in a great direction. The show definitely is sharper and funnier in this second edition, and hopefully it will continue to improve as series 11 goes on. This week we get some of the classic interactions which always made the 90’s Dwarf such must-see TV. It is also a great thing when I can say that The Cat does get some of the greatest and silliest lines for some time. Also we get a classic crazy premise similar to the shows of old, but let’s talk a bit about that plot!
So an escape pod from a ship called the S.S. Samsara comes into contact with Red Dwarf, the pod itself carries two survivors (who left the Samsara before it crashed on an ocean moon three million years prior). During this time, Lister and Rimmer are playing a game of Mine-Opoly and Lister’s cheating seems to be paying off no matter what! Later, the crew then go to Samsara to scavenge and see what happened to the crew. We also get to follow the story of the two survivors before they left the ship, which gives a great pay-off to the main twist in the episode. I really do enjoy the episodes where there is a smart backbone to all the jokes…and honestly this sits there with some of the best Series 5 and 6 episodes where I think they reached a peak in clever storylines which would entertain and tickle you. Also, how many episodes do you see the crew get rewarded for being themselves (out for themselves, greedy and vain. Wouldn’t want them any other way!).
The highlights for this episode is when you finally learn why the Samsara ended up crashed on the moon, the certain positions of them skeletons definitely gave me a good hard chuckle (and with the glow sticks, it was funny again!) and then there was the moments with Lister and The Cat when they are sealed in a chamber together. Kryten and Rimmer get some time together too, but it seemed to be more about the interaction of the two living characters this week. The joke about Archimedes being the inventor of gravy was so funny, and then saying he got a special hat to hide his bruises (a Knight Hood!) was indeed Cat at his best when he is completely wrong, but believes himself to be right. The only comments I would say against this episode is that you do feel a bit underwhelmed by the time the credits roll. This isn’t too say I didn’t enjoy the episode, this is probably one of (if not my favourite) the best episode’s since the show transitioned to Dave. Doug Naylor does still provide some sharp, funny scripts. They need to keep coming more like ‘Samsara’ and less like ‘Twentica’. There is nothing wrong with ambitious, but it needs to be tight and well-rounded too.
With episodes still to come such as Kryten having a mid-life crisis, The Cat apparently finding love and hopefully an episode which will very much be the ‘Bodysnatchers’ episode which never came to pass. For now, two in and I am ready for more…
Final Rating: 8.5/10
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove