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The 3 Greatest “Red Dwarf” Episodes Of All Time

Of course, being British, that only equates to 12 seasons (and a feature-length special). That means there’s a lot of rewatching to be done between installments, but thankfully most of the series holds up to repeat viewings, even after more than three decades.

As someone who has watched the show more times than I can count, I feel I can choose with some authority which are the absolute best episodes (but also, it was pretty agonizing to choose). So here it is, the definitive (and totally subjective) ranking of the top 20 Red Dwarf episodes of all time…

Camille (Season 4, Episode 1)

Red Dwarf’s pop-culture parodies can be hit or miss, but this take on Casablanca is both hilarious and surprisingly emotional. The crew comes across a pleasure GELF that appears to each individual as the object of their desire — for Kryten, a female droid, for Rimmer, a female hologram, for Lister, a woman, and for the Cat, a copy of himself.

Kryten genuinely falls in love with Camille, and his journey with her sees him finally able to implement the program-breaking training Lister has been coaching him in — specifically, the ability to lie. It’s not often Kryten is given space to grow, so it’s wonderful to see that here.

Balance of Power (Season 1, Episode 3)

As this list will make obvious, Red Dwarf is at its best when it’s focused on Rimmer and Lister and the shifting dynamics between the two of them. Rimmer’s character journey in particular is incredibly nuanced and compelling. In this Season 1 episode, Rimmer is on a power trip thanks to his new role as most senior officer on board, while Lister is frustrated at the prospect of being stuck with him forever and wants his old love Kochanski to become his hologram companion.

Its strength is in the odd-couple classic sitcom focus, allowing the characters to flourish and the humor to emerge purely from their interactions — as well as the physical comedy of Rimmer taking on the bodies (or sometimes just body parts) of other crew members.

 Out of Time (Season 6, Episode 6)

Red Dwarf has played with time travel a number of times over the years, with varying degrees of success. This episode is interesting in the way it delves deep into character and situation. The boys are dismayed and fed up with their repetitive, listless existence and with each other’s company, so when they discover a time travel device it seems to hold the answers to their prayers. That is until they see the consequences, as their future selves travel to their present and are not at all who or what the crew want to be.

The funniest part of this episode is the unreality pockets as well as all of Kryten and Lister’s interactions, but what makes this story so memorable is the bigger story, the action, the chance that Rimmer gets to save the day, and, of course, the iconic line “Better dead than smeg.”

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