In my opinion the change from the seasons 1 + 2 was not a good thing. Each season thereafter the series became more bloated and stale, and while seasons 3 and 4 still had life in them, they don't compare well. The cheesiness of the sets had nothing to do with the humor of the show, it was all based on dialogue anyway. Kyrten was a good character thereafter, no question, but basically he just replaced Hol in the four-way ensemble (five is a bit much for interplay, so Holly became a minor figure). By the third season the relationship between Lister and Rimmer had pretty much been beat to death, and that was the key to the show. That doesn't mean there aren't high points in future shows, several are very good and there are bits in all them that are priceless (cat taking a potty break on the backward planet). But all of the shows in the first two seasons were razor sharp. When undiscovered gems get popular, there's always an edge that gets lost, and this is no exception.
The Show: Series 3 is one of the all-out funniest Red Dwarf series, without becoming too dumb. Every episode in this series is a classic. I remember seeing Backwards for the first time back in 1996 and not being able to stop laughing. It still cracks me up today. Marooned injects some real character development for Rimmer and Lister, and still manages to be hilarious. Polymorph needs no introduction. Timeslides is possibly my favorite though. The sets are all-new, and COLOR if you can imagine, and two of the episodes even have location shoots. The DVD: Fan-smegging tastic. Quality has not dropped. The sound and video are just plain awesome, well, at least compared to seeing it on broadcast television. The extras just keep getting better every series. As always, commentaries are great, as are the outtakes. Watching the Backwards episode forwards...well its an interesting idea lol. If not just to hear what the pub owner says (one of the greatest RD in-jokes). Buy this DVD!
"There! There; in the shadows!," my original review (of the Byte One VHS), was written on January 31, 2001, under the reviewer name: vampire22. Now, exactly three years later, with the long awaited DVD release of the series, I have good cause to dig it back up. What can I say? Those boys from the circus may argue the point, but for my money, Red Dwarf is the greatest show on Earth. That said, "Polymorph" is the zenith of the series. Perhaps a bit more crude than the other episodes, but jam packed with gut-wrenching, torrents of humor. I'm not kidding when I tell you that I laughed so hard that I fell onto the floor and almost passed out from oxygen deprivation. Scene after seen will leave you breathless: Lister sleeping with Rimmer's mom and giving him attitude about it (right; pistons in an ocean-liner), Cat being seduced (too stupid to realize there are no women on the ship) and turning into a bum, the acronym for Rimmer's passive resistance movement (let's just say it's also a female body part), and so forth. By far the best moment of all happened when Rimmer walked in on Kryten trying to help Lister out of his shrinking boxer shorts. I don't care if you have never watched the show before, after this tape (unless you're a prude) you will not be able to stop until you've seen them all - and even then you'll want to own them so you can watch them over and over and over. I do! The other shows in season three are great, but none will ever compare to "Polymorph." You need no more justification to by the new disk set - but you get it anyway. Like the first two seasons on DVD, all the little extras, that make geeks like us jump for joy, are included. Enjoy!
Athough the Series 3 pack has yet to be released, these episodes are available on VHS. All I can say is that the show gets funnier and funnier, topped, I think, by the new "Kryten." Kryten rounds out the cast and could probably have starred in his own series! His comedic blurbs are made all the more hilarious by his sometimes misunderstanding of the human psyche. If you like or love Red Dwarf, this is a "must have!"