It’s no secret that, Red Dwarf having first aired in 1988, the boys from the Dwarf have aged. Even though the makeup people on season 11 have done an astounding job at making the characters look consistent, including giving actors wigs that matched their hair in season 1, the characters are now middle-aged. Dave Lister was 25 in episode 1. Today, Craig Charles, the actor who plays him, is 53. One of them will need to go through a mid-life crisis at some point. But who? Wouldn’t it be funny if it was the robot.
In “Krysis,” Kryten upgrades his body to the equivalent of a shiny, red sports car, complete with sub-woofers that cause the Cat to dance, not for the first time this season. It is then appropriate that we should journey back to Kryten’s beginnings. The dwarfers find a ship much like the Nova 5 where only a Kryten-like android is left. His name is Butler, and he is played by the always funny Dominic Coleman (Miranda, Psychoville, Trollied, etc.). Like Legion in the episode “Legion,” Butler excels in all the high-minded aspects of life, from painting and music to finding cures for diseases. Unlike Legion, Butler does not have a secret, devious plan. In fact, it’s Rimmer who wants to abduct Butler, not the other way around.
Robert Llewellyn is an actor, writer, and TV presenter. He is best known for playing Kryten on Red Dwarf and presenting Scrapheap Challenge. He has written several books, fiction and non-fiction. He currently hosts the web show Fully Charged. @bobbyllew
Red Dwarf has poked fun at religion before. My favorite is the news report that goes, “Archaeologists near Mt. Sinai have discovered what is believed to be a missing page from the Bible. The page is presently being carbon dated in Bonne. If genuine, it belongs at the beginning of the Bible and is believed to read, ‘To my darling, Candy. All characters portrayed in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.'”
This time, the universe gets the last laugh. Literally. The boys don’t meet God, exactly, but they do meet the universe. Based on the theory of expansion, another attempt to educate viewers on physics, the universe will some day die. Though the math isn’t exactly right, the universe estimates that it is now midway through its life, thus giving the universe a midlife crisis. Daniel Barker, who did the voice of the lift in “Give and Take,” does the voice of the universe, Morgan Freeman style.
Finally, a quick visit from the GELFs (Genetically Engineered Life Forms), which, if you’re paying attention, should foreshadow what’s to come in the next episode. GELFs have appeared on the show in no less than twelve episodes. They come in all shapes and sizes, the most traditional of which is like a ginger gorilla. One time Lister married one. Another time they tried to detonate Lister’s manparts with an explosive. They have a unique language that sounds like a hairball. We’ve always believed that Kryten was fluent in GELF, but it turns out his pronunciation could use some work. Butler is pals with this particular GELF, which gets the crew out of danger.
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