Woh there! Those are two shows that have, time and again, been surprising! Whether it be the discovery of what the 'Bad Thing' was, or a simple appearance on Countdown turning into a street battle, in the context of their formats, there's oodles of unexpectedness in those shows. (Jeremy ate a dog!) Regardless of all this, though, what drives me nuts about the 'Do you prefer the comedy or the sci-fi?' question is that it assumes such separation is possible. It's like asking 'Do you like the characters or the stories?' when, done right, the former drive the latter and the latter reveals the former. Or hey, do you just prefer jokes? (Seriously, good jokes appear in bad comedies all the time. We don't laugh because the stories are weak and the characters haven't grabbed us.) When people say they'd prefer Rimmer to be an intangible hologram rather than hardlight, is that a character - and therefore comedy - issue or a sci-fi one? When one argument against Series VIII is 'Lister should stay the last human alive', is that about story, tone, character or science fiction? It doesn't separate that easily. You can't simply pick one. Worst of all, comedy/sci-fi being seen as the two key aspects for preference totally forgets about story - yet it's storytelling that really makes the difference. The strongest story eps, the ones with clearest structures, are constant poll winners - episodes like Gunmen, Polymorph, Back to Reality - and stories that have structural issues peg lower. (The Pete two-parter, for example, which is a series of sketches with little character or story arc. It's also part of what caused Meltdown's backlash: holding back the information that the people we were meeting were waxdroids for such a long time alienated a lot of people at the time, prevented them from feeling comfortable with the silliness.) Good stories come from, and shed light on, character; they make the comedy stronger, and utilise the best tools available within the show's format - in Red Dwarf's case the sci-fi. Once looked at that way, once stated like the line above, how can we pull the show's appeal apart so divisively? They're too interconnected. Sure, we all prefer the show because it makes us laugh - we can get whacky universe-jumping stories for a gazillion shows - but those laughs are too connected to story, character and the sci-fi format to be seen as wholly separate. Or, to put it another way: if the sci-fi isn't key to the appeal, how come we're not all going to Ten Percenters conventions?