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Mr. Hippo reviews Episode 2 of "Red Dwarf" Series 8

Glen here...

..with another review from MR. HIPPO!

As requested (and as promised), The Hippos will be reviewing Series 8 of UK's Red Dwarf for the next several weeks. Mr. Hippo, and his wife Mrs. Hippo, have kindly committed to reviewing each episode of the new season as it airs.

But there is a problem: due to a Public Television station fund-raising campaign here in the States, many stations here in the U.S will be airing most of (if not the entirety of) Red Dwarf Series 8 on one evening towards the middle of March (it's March 7 in the San Francisco area, March 11 in Austin, etc.)

None the less, not everyone in the States will be fortunate enough to have this opportunity - and many folks overseas will not be able to partake of the coolness either. As such, the reviews will go on - one way or another. Perhaps we'll have some folks here in the States pick-up when we move past Mr. Hippo's place in the series. Perhaps we'll let Mr. and Mrs. Hippo go on doing what they're doing, as many seem to enjoy the Hippo reviews very much.

Anyway, there's still a few weeks before this conundrum has to be resolved. For now, sit back and enjoy this latest review from Mr. Hippo. The second episode of Red Dwarf Series 8.


Mr. Hippo wrote:

London Calling!

Mr. Hippo here to review the latest Red Dwarf episode, "Back in the Red - Part II".

Mr. Hippo has seriously thought about taking Vorlon's advice (Vorlons always being wise, if slightly cryptic creatures) and produce two reviews for the Coaxial readers - one a non-spoiler and the other a major spoiler review.

However, Mr. Hippo has some problems with Vorlon's otherwise excellent suggestion - one: in doing a review immediately after the episode finishes, and he can - at this very moment - hear in the background the end credits ('Fun, fun, fun... in the sun, sun, sun'), he has no opportunity to watch the episode again for the kind of detail necessary to produce a major spoiler review, hence increasing the likelihood that he may say something really stupid. And two: the simply fact is Mr. Hippo is a busy hippoman and has other things which must be done and they all have to be done right now!

So, he has decided to go halfway and produce a series of 'sort of' non-spoiler reviews for the Coaxial readers which will give an overview of the story, hint at some of the highlights and provide a categorical 'thumbs up or down'. Hopefully, this will be enough to get people's pulse quickening (no, not the DS9 variety) but not enough to ruin the episodes for most people when Red Dwarf VIII arrives stateside.

Mr. Hippo should produce a warning though and here it is:

Mr. Hippo does not know what other people may consider spoilers so if you don't want to chance it, then don't read it.

Give a hoot! Don't pollute!

Now, before we get into this latest Red Dwarf episode Mr. Hippo thinks it is important (having read Ain't It Cool News for a while) that people know where he is coming from television personality-wise, how his opinions fit within the grand scheme of the universe, etc... If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all or Mr. Hippo will turn this review right around!

If you don't care, then just skip below.


Mr. Hippo grew up watching Star Trek and Doctor Who. Favourite Doctor - Colin Baker (yes, Mr. Hippo is a bit of a rebel). Let's get right into it at the start. He DOES NOT believe that enjoying Star Trek and Babylon 5 are mutually exclusive endeavours. Mr. Hippo loves them both. He believes that Season 3 of Babylon 5 represents the best science fiction ever seen on television, in a word - incredible!

However, it is Mr. Hippo's opinion that DS9 overall is a better series because of its consistently good stories, acting, character development, production values, etc... and it has been doing it longer. The end of the Shadow War ('will you come with us?' MY GOD!... the worst Star Trek cop-out Mr. Hippo has ever witnessed) through all that Byron (get a haircut for god's sakes) crap was a big disappointment for Mr. Hippo in a way DS9 has rarely disappointed him.

Think of it this way: force Mr. Hippo to choose a SEASON for him to watch through all eternity and he will say Season 3 of Babylon 5; force Mr. Hippo to choose a SERIES for him to watch through all eternity and he will say DS9. (By the way, Mrs. Hippo hates Babylon 5 and implies she merely tolerates DS9, though Mr. Hippo thinks she secretly loves DS9 but just can't admit that Mr. Hippo is right).

((Glen Note: I sense a domestic disturbance forthcoing in the Hippo Hovel))

Mr. and Mrs. Hippo both love ST: TOS (There's only one Jim Kirk!) and Mr. Hippo loved ST: TNG during its first run but now thinks it looks outdated in a way TOS never has. Mrs. Hippo could care less about TNG, loves TOS and believes it isn't Star Trek unless the Captain is trying to make it with some alien girl (and so lives on Gene Roddenberry's vision). Mr. and Mrs. Hippo both thought ST: First Contact and Insurrection sucked big time though both liked Generations enough.

Mr. Hippo's latest fav is Buffy the Vampire Slayer though to be honest, Sarah Michelle Geller could just sit there and read the telephone book, and Mr. Hippo would watch. Mr. Hippo is adamant that The Empire Strikes Back is a better film than Star Wars and he has seen the trailer for Episode 1 about 300 times (via Internet and the movie theatre).

He is envious that people in the good old US of A will get to see it 2 months before him though Mr. and Mrs. Hippo may fly with friends to New York especially for opening weekend (Mr. Hippo hopes and prays). Mr. and Mrs. Hippo are both professionals living in London now for 7 years and have several college degrees between them (lost count, to be honest).

Mr. and Mrs. Hippo are both in agreement that their favourite Red Dwarf episodes are (in order): "Quarantine", "White Hole" ('toastie's the name and toasting's the game') and "Back to Reality".

Favourite Series: Red Dwarf V.

Favourite Character: Rimmer (and he will never need a Zimmer).

Now.... what you really want to hear...

"Back in the Red - Part II": THE REVIEW

Let's cut to the chase: an amusing episode with some funny lines but story-wise it appears to be a transition to what happens in the next episode and so seemed to be a bit stretched.

The episode ended "To be continued" so I guess it's "Back in the Red - Part III"? I'm not sure what is happening next, but it appears so.

For this episode, you will laugh but nothing so witty as to kick your ass our of your seat doubling over in pain from laughter (see Series 5's "Back to Reality" classic 'escape' from the fascist police, for example).

There are several things happening in this episode, some of which are quite funny (though not so funny, it hurts) and some good gags but the overall story started in last week episode isn't really progressed in any manner - we are still not sure what is going to happen to our smeg heroes. Basically, it is two concurrent storylines about Lister and gang's (sort of) escape from the dock, and Rimmer's latest attempts to move 'up the ziggaraut, lick-a-di-split' as well as the effect the Sexual Magnetism Virus has on both him and the female crew members.

Highlights included:

** Rimmer's new, never-ending salute for extra special people (which showcases Chris Barrier's talents for physical humour);

** Kryten's medical examination which has some unforeseen results;

** The length to which Kryten goes in his attempts to say 'no' to the crew's plans to reset him to his factory settings;

** Cat's idea (his second one, really) of a disguise to hide from the crew (featuring the return, if only in appearance and in a different form, of a past favourite which wins this year's award for 'Best Use of Mop-heads and False Teeth' in a TV series);

** Cat's understanding and recreation of courtroom drama;

** and, yes... the return of the scutters (which features the best gag)!

Low points included:

** Holly (Norman Lovett) does not make an appearance in this episode;

** Rimmer's attempts to get the coffee during dinner with the Captain and five other female crewmembers is a little long-in-tooth. Actually, Chris Barrie hardly interacts with Lister, Cat or the others in this episode and that is drawback. In Mr. Hippo's opinion, he is underutilised in this episode. What we want to see is the 'posse' back together again. Chris Barrie is asked to carry too much of this epsiode on his own.

So there you have it: funny but not great. Don't get your hopes up too much and you will enjoy it. Mr. and Mrs. Hippo did, though we both agreed it wasn't as funny as last week's episode.

However, "Back in the Red - Part II" is still more funny than most of the Red Dwarf VII (non-Rimmer) episodes. Enjoy and let's hope this is leading up to a 'big' laugh next week. Thumbs up (but not fully erect).

Mr. Hippo welcomes positive criticism...


COAXIAL RELATED questions, comments, praise, ridicule ?

CLICK HERE to e-mail Glen

Or call:

(512) 347-1992

Mail can be sent to:

Glen Oliver

P.O. BOX 160812

Austin, TX 78716-0812


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