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Recap / Red Dwarf Back To Earth

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Red Dwarf: Back to Earth (also referred to as Red Dwarf IX and Red Dwarf: Series IX) is a three-part miniseries which marked the first outing of Red Dwarf for ten years.

After a series of incidents on Red Dwarf involving a giant squid, the hologram of a female scientist and a dimension portal, Lister, Rimmer, Cat and Kryten arrive back on Earth circa 2009, only to find that they are not actually real, but characters in a television series called Red Dwarf.

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  • Actor Allusion: The crew meet Craig Charles, and Rimmer asks for his own sitcom (Chris Barrie starred in The Brittas Empire, which alluded to Brittas having a similar event occur in his past to Rimmer).
  • Big Budget Beef-Up: Totally subverted. The scenes on Red Dwarf look spectacular, but this is mostly thanks to general advancements in special effects. The three-parter actually had a minuscule budget that was made up for by much of the crew working for free. This is probably why the story takes place in real life at all.note 
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  • Call-Back: Cat describes the set of Coronation Street as being "worse than Rimmerworld". And, of course, the whole miniseries is a sequel to "Back to Reality".
  • The Cameo: Chloë Annett turns up as Kochanski in a single-scene dream/fantasy sequence, her last appearance in the series to date.
  • Cassette Futurism: Kryten actually provides a Watsonian explanation for why Red Dwarf has this aesthetic when the Boyz visit a DVD shop in 2009 and Lister (being a late-22nd century boy) is confused as to what DVDs are. Turns out, at some point in the mid-21st century, humanity had such a problem with losing DVDs that they reverted back to videotape — as VHS cassettes, being bigger and bulkier than DVDs, are much harder to lose. Ironically, streaming services took off after this and supplanted the need for physical media at all!
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  • Enhance Button: One scene features a wildly over-the-top parody of this, ending with Kryten Stating the Simple Solution of simply looking their target up in the phone book after they just got the reverse face of his business card.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • This fact that the Crew get attacked by a Squid in Part One, as well as the title of the Mini-Series itself, Foreshadow that it is actually a Sequel to the Episode "Back To Reality"!
    • Bartikovsky blanks a confused Rimmer when he asks how there can do two Hard Light holograms operating when Red Dwarf has only ever had the power for one. Turns out he's right, and everything from her turning up onwards is a hallucination.
    • When the clerk at a sci-fi shop mentions an event in Series IX where Kryten rushed to tell Lister that Kochanski had been sucked out of an airlock, Kryten is shown giving a rather guilty expression. He later confesses that he helped Kochanski leave Red Dwarf and made up her death as a cover story.
  • Hot Scientist: Katerina Bartikovsky's outfit is hardly regular for a scientist but quite fetching.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: It's all a hallucination of the crew.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Katerina Bartikovsky is definitely one.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Lister manages to complete a trifecta of being annoyed at other versions of himself... by adding his own actor!
  • Put on a Bus: Everyone who was on the reconstituted Red Dwarf except the main foursome.
  • Sequel Episode: One for the Season V Episode; "Back To Realty".
  • Stating the Simple Solution: As noted above, the special features a sequence showing ludicrous useage of the Enhance Button trope, bouncing off of windows and even reflective doorknobs, all to get the phone number on the reverse side of a man's business card. At the end, Kryten asks why they didn't just look him up in the phone book, since his name was on the side of the card visible in the original photo.
  • Take That!: A great number of Take That(s) aimed at Blade Runner, The BBC, Coronation Street and other material.
  • Take That, Us: Much of the episode is the show making fun of itself.
  • The Unreveal: The show resumes in its traditional four-character format with no mention or explanation about the previous season's cliffhanger ending.
  • What Measure Is A Nonhuman: Katerina Bartikovsky argues there's no moral problem with murdering a hologram. She is a hologram who wants to kill Rimmer, also a hologram. So he kills her instead.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The mini-series is a long parody of Blade Runner.


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