The Black Box Mini-Review: “Red Dwarf US”

Television pilots are tough to make. It’s hard to introduce the concept and entire cast of characters of a show in one episode and still have that episode hold up on it’s own. But just because something’s hard doesn’t make it any more excusable when you fail spectacularly at doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Box, where we check out pilots that crashed and burned to see exactly what went wrong.

This week, we have a little mini-sode about weird little misfire of an american adaptation of a british sitcom.


Another short review this week, but that’s mostly because of how poor the quality of the pilot is. Like, any screenshots I could take would be too blurry to use. I am kind of a Red Dwarf fan, meaning I’ve watched the first two series and liked them well enough. But wow does it NOT TRANSLATE to American television.

Red Dwarf US was created for NBC with the intention of airing in 1992, but the pilot never made it to air. It is dramatically not as good as the British pilot. Unlike something like “Coupling” or “Days Like These”, this isn’t just a pre-existing script that they re-shot, no this is a weird re-written one that was endlessly more confusing for me.

What they did right: The actor playing Kryten returns for this show, even though Kryten wasn’t in the pilot but whatever that’s just confusing as all get out. Still, it’s nice to see a guy with a british accent in this british created show.

What they did wrong: ugh, I’m tired and this bummed me out. The plot follows Dave Lister, slacker on the Red Dwarf, a mining ship in deep space. Lister gets imprisoned in cryosleep for being an idiot and everyone else onboard dies. When Lister is awakened, he, Kryten the robot, a holographic version of his asshole friend Rimmer, and a descendent of Lister’s cat must navigate the world around him.

The show is… ok? It really has no reason to exist when a better acted, better written version of Red Dwarf already exists. Like, go open up Netflix and start watching Red Dwarf right now. In fact, I’m done.

No, seriously, I’ve had an exhausting week and I need a break. Hey, if you like my writing, I wrote an article about Hawkman being dumb you can read here. It’s fun and should keep you occupied for the weekend. I’ll be back Wednesday with some bad bad kids movies. It’ll be fun. See you then. Sorry about this one.


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