NOW, HERE ARE EIGHT Of RED DWARF’S COOLEST SCI-FI CONCEPTS…
Back when The Matrix was still sitting on a floppy disc in the Wachowskis’ PC, Red Dwarf used virtual reality to create some of its most memorable episodes like “Better Than Life” and “Gunmen Of The Apocalypse”. For a few brief moments we even believed the whole show was actually a total-immersion videogame – until it was revealed to be a Despair Squid-induced hallucination.
Bringing back dead crew members as holograms, unable to touch anything, is a wonderful idea in itself, but to later give Rimmer physical form via Legion’s “hard” modification to his light bee took it to another level. Star Trek’s holodecks played with the properties of light in similar ways, but never put it quite so eloquently. It’s light! It’s hard! (And it’s so plausible that real-life scientists are actually working on turning light into a solid.)
A sci-fi staple, yes, but Red Dwarf has always played the mirror universe card superbly. From the female-centric universe encountered in “Parallel Universe” to a timeline where Arnold
Rimmer grew up to to be the bravest man in existence, Red Dwarf was dabbling in the “many worlds” interpretation of quantum physics decades before Fringe got in on the act.
THE JUSTIcE fIELD
Existing in that sweet spot where genius and sublime silliness collide, the Justice Zone is one of Red Dwarf’s greatest creations. A prison where any crime you attempt to commit is immediately transferred to you instead? We have no idea how it would work, but it’s a wonderful premise. And the automated shoes that guide the Dwarfers around the Justice Zone are hilarious.
The idea of quantum entanglement – where two particles on opposite sides of the universe can interact with each other – is on the out-there end of real-world physics. Red Dwarf played the concept to hilarious effect in Series X episode “Entangled” – and gave Danny John-Jules and Robert Llewellyn to show off some amazing in-sync acting skills.
What’s the opposite of a black hole? Obviously it’s an entity that spews time and matter back into space. Yes, this is mostly an excuse for gags about time repeating itself – “what is it?” – but it also skirts surprisingly close to actual scientific theories. And “white hole” sounds much more appealing than Star Trek’s many “subspace anomalies”.
RELIGION AND THE AfTERLIfE
The way Fiji and Lister turn into the promised land of Fuchal and spiritual icon Cloister over three million years of Cat evolution is a very clever satire of organised religion. Kryten’s belief in a Silicon Heaven is also rather sweet – though its origins (human overlords programmed the idea of an afterlife into machines to keep them servile) are actually rather sinister. Presumably those programmers now create software that resides in Silicon Hell...
A crazy premise that ties your head in more knots than Dave Lister’s personal family tree – thanks to some timey-wimey stuff, he’s his own dad. The grandfather paradox is a doddle to understand next to this one.
An alternative dimension that looks a lot like home...
A match made in a parallel universe.
The Dwarfers at their best.
Camille shows Kryten his ideal woman.