Prior to some more in depth material on this great British show, I will list my grades for each and every Grant/Naylor episode (1988-1993(
The End – *B+* – Does a fine job of establishing the show’s premise. Lister is immediately likable and Rimmer the perfect foil for him. The Cat gets very little to do here owing to the structure of the episode, but still makes a notable impact. Better was to come, but this is must-see viewing.
Future Echoes – *A – * A clever story with many great jokes. The regulars are settling and Holly gets to provide many dead pan one liners that hit the mark well. This episode took some very careful planning and timing to achieve the right effect, and yet the beauty lies in the simplicity of the concept. A very intriguing ending too that opens up all sorts of routes to take Lister’s character to.
Balance of Power – *B* – A special episode for me as it was the first one I viewed more than twice out of impatience before the next repeat showing in the early 90s. VHS was the bomb! But looking at it now, there are some labored jokes and it all gets a bit too maudlin at times. The Kochanski storyline though is very well done.
Waiting For God – *B-* – The weakest episode thus far, but still somewhat underrated IMHO. The Cat gets a whole lot more backstory added, although still much room for character development persists. The ‘Quagar’ subplot is a bit too painful to watch, with Rimmer’s desperation for being alive again striking sympathetic chords with the audience. The Cat Priest stuff though is great – satirical yet moving also.
Confidence And Paranoia – *C-* – By no means bad, but definitely the weak link of the maiden season. Much of it seems thrown together, and the contrivance to have new guest stars on the ship isn’t achieved via an interesting sci-fi idea at all. Paranoia is played very well and forms a great double act with Rimmer. Confidence is however grating and not really reflective of Lister, with quite a nasty edge to him. The closure of the main storyline is quite rushed too. However the cliffhanger involving the real contents of Kochanski’s hologram box is the best joke of the whole episode.
Me 2 – B+ * — Mostly hilarious, and with some crucial character development for Rimmer as we learn of both his death, and the reasons for his last words. Lister and the Cat have also developed a stronger bond by the final scenes. Chris Barrie really plays a blinder by having two subtly different versions of Rimmer. Yet this is marred by over-egged scenes where the new Rimmer turns into a mental torturer; for which I blame the writers. Wonderful last scene though where Arnold J tells all and then has to endure taunts for the months to come.