Series 1

\ Overall thoughts | Episode ratings | Downloads /

Overall thoughtS

My first experience with Red Dwarf was not the first series, but rather the second and fifth. They were the only DVDs my brother had at first, but they were enough to introduce me to the basic flow of changes over the series, from a comedy-drama about being stranded in space, to madcap sci-fi action comedy antics. Needless to say, I was hooked, but I was still curious to see what the first series was like. All opinions I'd heard of the first series seemed to be around the basic premise of "it's crap," which was certainly slightly off-putting. We got DVDs of series 2 through 6, but the first series was still a mystery to me, and if just for curiosity's sake, I wanted to see it.

So despite being introduced to the series around 2003, it wasn't until 2009 that I actually got my hands on the series.

And I really, really enjoyed it.

Okay, the first time through there was an odd vibe about it; the audience never seemed terribly enthralled by anything, the humour was hit and miss, and Rimmer was not as developed as he would be later on, so the way he was conveyed had a slightly different light to it (Craig Charles mentions in the commentaries that Rimmer seems much more of a spiteful jerk, which he feels was toned down in later series). Some episodes has an almost meandering vibe to them, due to the rather casual plots, portraying a more slice-of-life perspective than the more dedicated adventures you would see later on... but I like it. It's got an interesting, raw charm to it, and was back when the series still treated its concept with mystery and gravity.

The characters are lost in space with no other life to be found or quick way of getting home, and although most of the plots are just Rimmer being a smeghead and Lister getting back at him in some manner, you can see that's really what keeps their lives exciting. Sure, there's the future echoes and mutated illnesses, but all other plots are prompted by their own actions, which emphasises just how lonely and depressing it is out there. That would be downplayed later on for obvious reasons (it's depressing!), but the first series also sports a wonderful aura of mystery around it, with the changes that have happened over three millions years - not many, of course, but still. It too would be downplayed later on, to my personal chagrin.

Series 1 is definitely experimental, and often hit and miss; a lot of jokes aren't as strong as they could be, and some people probably aren't going to be impressed with the rather mundane plots, but I like it that way. It's down to earth yet simultaneously entrancing. From a story and atmosphere point of view, series 1 definitely ranks high on my list.

Episode ratingS

Ratings are made from "most favourite" to "least favourite", though that doesn't necessarily mean the low-scored ones are bad.
These particular ratings are made mostly on how memorable the episode was. Balance of Power and Confidence & Paranoia are decent eps, but rather forgettable, y'know. The End is one I'm likely to skip when rewatching the series, but a series debut is always something special. While I'd declare Me2 to be the best episode of this series, Waiting For God is just something special for me, personally.

The End

A cute and functionally sound episode, if rather slow-going. Serves as a great introduction to the premise, and still flows nicely even on multiple watches.

Future Echoes

Not exactly high on laughs, but a very entertaining story with intrigue and mystery that really helps define the series' niche.

Balance of Power

Probably the first Rimmer-centric episode, and our first meaty sample of the great bickering between the two. Otherwise a rather take-it-or-leave-it episode, though.

Waiting For God

It's a little lacking in comedy, but I find the story truly memorable - the cat culture is tragic but intriguing and it's our first look at the deeper depths of the ship.

Confidence and Paranoia

The comedic writing is a step up from the norm and the bizarre scenaro is pretty neat, though the story feels a little half-baked in some places.


The Rimmer episode, the one that truly defines his astounding ability to be so loveably unloveable. Great laughs, and for all his immature foibles, it's almost sad to see Rimmer so emotional.


One of the many, many reasons I love Red Dwarf is because of the music, which, especially in these early episodes with their mystifying ambience, really ties everything together beautifully. The dramatic opening isn't the best of ways to start a show that's mostly comedy, but I am just hopelessly in love with it, both for the fantastic visuals and for the booming yet melancholy piano playing alongside it. Beautiful stuff.
Beyond thankfully, the DVDs include all of the music cues for each series, something I wish many other DVDs had as extras. So I'm sharing the wealth in MP3 format.

Opening (0:59/ 645kb)

The aforementioned piano tune, and the basic source of all the incidental music. I've already briefly stated my love for it, so I'll spare you any further mushiness.

Theme Song (0:50 | 700kb)

And the ending theme, a peppy, light-hearted rendition with lyrics relating to Lister's five year plan, sung by Jenna Russell. This song would be more associated with the series from series 3 onward after the piano tune was phased out.

Space Walk (1:51 | 1.8mb)

Used in Confidence & Paranoia when Lister goes looking for the personality discs on the ship's hull. Another beautiful take on the theme song, now mixed with a vibe of the Blue Danube Waltz.

Rasta Billy Skank (0:41 | 639kb)

Heard briefly in Balance of Power with Lister singing along. I hear a hint of Crazy Little Thing Called Love in it, though I might be going slightly mad.

Space 1 (0:19 | 310kb)

One of several incidental themes for the scene transitions. Just a taster, sir.

Dramatic 2 (0:36 | 555kb)

Heard during the "everybody's dead, Dave" sequence in The End, though reused more prominently in series 2's Better Than Life. A fanfare with a mixture of electric guitar and horn.

Dramatic 15 (2:20 | 2mb)

Yet another melancholy take on the main theme, using what sounds like strings and bells. This is used in the cat priest's chamber in Waiting For God.

Additional 10 (1:12 | 1.1mb)

Yet another version of the familiar theme, now in a rather downbeat and sombre style. Don't recall any usage of it, though.

space 1 - 6 (zip / 1.4mb)

character 1 - 7 (zip / 1.8mb)

dramatic 1 - 18 (zip / 8.2mb)

additional 1 - 10 (zip / 4.5mb)