There was a time before the late 1980s when one word was associated by most folk with high-end electrical goods rather than science fiction.
True, Smeg has produced some mighty fine white goods over the decades, but utter the word around many a forty-something-year-old and you will conjure fond memories of a sit-com set onboard a rusty spaceship, populated by a suitably quirky crew.
Originally aired by auntie Beeb in 1988, Red Dwarf was a staple in BBC2s schedule until its demise in 1999.
Over the years a much-yearned for big screen adventure was muted, but never materialised.
It took the people at TV channel Dave to resurrect the franchise, with a three-parter in 2009 and now in Red Dwarf X, a six-part series that reunites Dwarf’s fantastic four.
It is indeed good to see the boys back in town, occupying a galaxy with infinite possibilities and spreading joy on whichever planet they land.
And the years don’t seem to have been too unkind to last living human Dave Lister, holographic Arnold Rimmer, Kryten the mechanoid and the oh so cool Cat.
They all look so fresh. Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between how the crew looks now and back in the show’s earlier incarnations.
In contrast, cast your mind back to 1980 when a ‘rested’ crew of the USS Enterprise returned to continue the adventures of Kirk, Spock, Scotty and co. The crew had turned into planetary pensioners.
It is as if the crew of Red Dwarf had been cryogenically frozen. Not a girdle or hairpiece were evident last night. William Shatner are you listening?
Actually, for those not in the know, Red Dwarf is perhaps best described as a hybrid of Star Trek and Black Adder.
It’s a delicious combination of sci-fi and fabulously well-rounded characters, all with superb dialogue.
In last night’s episode, the crew stumbled upon an abandoned vessel and intercepted a distress call from Rimmer’s brother, Howard.
Rimmer’s hard drive goes into melt down, brought on by jealousy of his siblings successful career in the space corp and before beaming him aboard come up with new identities to impress him.
Yes, the plot is as flimsy as ever, but it was never the story that brought millions to their sofas over the years.
It has always been about the narrative.
And it’s good to know that even in space xenophobia still exists, explaining why my favourite line of the night was: “Your brain’s smaller than the salad section in a Scottish supermarket”, uttered by Howard in reference to his brother’s apparent aquirement of a decent military rank. Brilliant.
TV channel Dave appears to be on a mission to create a number of new series over the coming months.
If that is the case, it will make a refreshing change for the millions of viewers flicking endlessly through their dozens of Freeview channels, faced more often than not with reruns of Have I Got News For You, QI and Never Mind The Buzzcocks.
Will the show be a success in its new home?
I don’t see why not.
The recipe is unchanged and all the ingredients remain intact.
Who cares what oven you bake it in? The icing on the cake is that all four cast members agreed to bring the show back.
Of course, with this being Red Dwarf, there was a smeg here, and a smegging there, by way of a great method of replacing swear words.
Thinking about it, my fridge freezer is on the blink. Maybe I’ll buy myself a smegging Smeg in the near future?
What the smeg am I thinking? They are way too smegging expensive. Well, you get the picture.