Red Dwarf: The Promised Land Review

Smeg It, They’re Back

By Mark

The boys from the Dwarf do return in this feature length episode of the former BBC classic space comedy, Red Dwarf.

It’s been over 30 years since Red Dwarf first appeared on our screens, back then it was both Rob Grant and Doug Naylor on writing duties, but in the mid nighties Grant decided he wasn’t going to continue doing it anymore and so it was left to Naylor to continue the legacy.

Some say it was around this time when the quality of episodes began to drop and, looking back, it’s hard to argue. Perhaps the most noticeable difference is between season eight and nine, when some ten years had passed in between.

The return wasn’t as well received as anything that had come before it, but yet it continued, now on Dave in the UK, for a further four seasons, and now we have this feature length episode.

Written and directed by Naylor, the episode/mini-film sees Lister, Craig Charles (“Coronation Street (TV)”, “Captain Butler (TV)”), Rimmer, Chris Barrie (“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”, “A Prince Among Men (TV)”), Cat, Danny John-Jules (“Blade II”, “Death In Paradise (TV)”), and Kryten, Robert Llewellyn (“Here Comes Hell”, “Mirrormask”), back on Red Dwarf.

Lister has been drinking, more than usual, and hoarding stuff from parts of the ship. There, he finds a gigantic floppy disc that contains a backup of Holly, Norman Lovett (“Last Contact (TV)”, “Roswell 1847”), the ships computer.

When they install him however, Holly has been reset to factory default, doesn’t recognise anyone, and decides to decommission the ship, meaning shutting everything down and stick most of it in the nearest black hole.

The boys jump in Starbug and head off and find a new ship which has three cats on it: Tom Bennett (“Rocketman”, “Mascots”), Mandeep Dhillon (“ Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker “, “After Life (TV)”), Lucy Pearman (“Mister Winner (TV)”, “The Baby (Short)”).

These cats are believers, believers in Cloister, that’s right, they think Lister is their God. But they are also being chased by Rodon, Ray Fearon (“ 2036 Origin Unknown”, “ Beauty And The Beast “), a man who has taken control of the cat empire. Rodon isn’t a believer in Cloister.

The boys are put through the ringer as Rodon chases them all down, Lister loses power, Cat makes a suit out of Starbugs parachute and Lister doesn’t know how to cope with his new God status.

For fans of Red Dwarf, of which I am one, you won’t be surprised to learn that, overall, this episode is on a par with those that have gone before it recently.

There are laughs, but they are mostly at the nostalgic elements contained within, of which there are many, Naylor electing to tell the Red Dwarf story again, as if he’s rebooting the whole thing, but keeping it all the same.

Red Dwarf: The Promised Land is as good as fans have come to expect of recent exploits of the boys from the Dwarf. Certainly not the best, certainly not the worst, watch it on catch-up and zip through the copious amounts of adverts.

Originally published at https://www.ocmoviereviews.com on April 9, 2020.

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