Before I mention the new specials I'd like to say that I'm a huge fan of Red Dwarf (I have all the series ... bought first on video then again on DVD). Of the 8 full seasons (to date) I would rate them as follows: * Series one was pure cheese - but brilliant all the same. * Series' two to five were Red Dwarf at its best. * Series six was funny but seemed a little tired. * Series seven was, in my opinion, abysmal. It wasn't just unfunny it was boring. This is the only season that I can't bring myself to re-watch on a regular basis. * Series eight was an improvement over seven ... but nowhere near 1-6. For me, the "Back to Earth" specials rank between series 7 and series 8 for quality. The premise was OK although hardly inspired (they’ve done that basic storyline twice before) – it had a few chuckles … but it was largely flat. Long gaps between laughs (and I use that term loosely) ... over-long buildups with little payoff. It had a very high cheese factor ... but not in a particularly funny way. There were no honest belly-laughs to be had anywhere in these specials. It was more an amusing "dramedy" as opposed to the laugh-out-loud comedy it should have been. They tried to be clever (Bladerunner references were pretty well done) – but it just wasn’t funny enough. I guess that's part of the balancing act. The fact that they had such a tiny budget (most of the SFX were done basically for free), and only had 14 days to shoot the entire thing, goes some way to explaining why it was so flat and seemed so forced all the way through. However after waiting 10 years I was hoping for something a little more inspired ... re-invigorated after the break so to speak. Don't get me wrong ... I don't think it was *terrible* (it was certainly better than most of the cr*p on TV these days) it just wasn't classic Red Dwarf. I really hope they get the go-ahead to make series 10. But if they do they really need to go back to the roots of Red Dwarf and what made it funny. They also *really* need to film in front of a studio audience again … the live laughter adds something (and also gives them feedback as to what jokes work and what ones really really really don't) And they need to get Rob and Doug to settle their differences and work together again. It just hasn’t been the same since they went their separate ways. Just my 2c worth.