Series V Review

The results are in, the critics have had their say. What's the verdict on DVD number five?

17 December, 2004

The verdict is good. Not to kill any of the dramatic tension or anything, but the feedback on the Series V DVD has been little short of fantastic. We all know about the shows by now, of course - and V is probably the all time fan-favourite season (though feel free to debate this on the WebBoard!) - but what did people make of our fifth foray into DVD production? (Apart from three reviews who all mis-named Back to Reality as Better Than Life!)

Series V Review

Starburst deliver five out of five for the extras, claiming that "the disc's highlight is Dwarfing USA, a candid look at the power games, petty politics and mistakes made in the making of the US pilot."

Meanwhile Dreamwatch awarded 9 out of 10, praising the "enthusiastic fan commentary" as well as "a comprehensive selection of DVD extras is headed by the superb new 75-minute documentary Heavy Science, which offers a surprisingly honest look at the making of Series V."

FilmFocus.co.uk were similarly generous with a full five stars. "Grant Naylor Productions have surprisingly managed to gather an even bigger plethora of content than ever before. Among the usual inclusions of deleted scenes, outtakes and the likes, here we are presented with a superb 75 minute documentary, a 30 minute behind-the-scenes look at the making of the visual effects, and a rare insight into the infamous US pilots."

For those keeping count, that's two 'superb's for Heavy Science. Suddenly all those weeks in the edit seem worthwhile...

DVD Review magazine offered a four-star overall score, describing the extras as "enjoyably extensive", while Ultimate DVD went with five-star extras stating that "perhaps unbelievably, the extra content on these sets just keeps getting better."

Series V Review

DVD Debate delivered an overall mark of A+. "Another outstanding collection of bonus materials, which makes the wait between releases a little more bearable given that equal effort is being put into the sets for all the series... The chance to hear what the stars think several years later is too good to miss... Consistency seems to be the key on these sets, and I can't wait for series six in February 2005."

This review also provides one of my favourite quotes: "It does appear that the commentaries were not recorded in the order the episodes appear on the disc though, as you can find them expecting a scene to come up that was in a previous episode." Sadly the episodes were recorded in order - but our casts' memories aren't always all that they might be!

Still, the most hilarious review has to be found on Sci-Fi Online who give a score of 10 out of 10 for the "incredible" extras. Not that we're complaining, but check out the summation paragraph: "The BBC has recently re-released series 1-4 of Red Dwarf without any extras - a good move as the majority of the special features on those discs are pretty dull." For the record, the same reviewer gave those DVDs - whose extras provided the structure of the RDV discs - respective scores of 8, 9, 7 and 9. Answers on a postcard please; not that we're not pleased to have such positive criticism!

Series V Review

On to the fan reviews, then. The WebBoard's own Captain Darling said that "nine months after the previous 'best ever' DVD was released, Series V has taken over the best ever title... 'Brilliant' springs to mind, but frankly doesn't do the material justice." (And Heavy Science is "pure class", apparently. Come on Cap, would a 'superb' have killed you?)

Fan site Fuchal says "It's another class act - but did you expect anything less?... Further evidence that, when complete, Red Dwarf will be the finest and most comprehensive television comedy DVD set out there."

He also says that the doccos are "pretty much the best thing" about the DVDs - but fails to add to our 'superb' tally. Ditto Ganymede & Titan, who we'll forgive for this quote alone: "This is just the best thing ever. Ever." Likewise Big Blake, who settled for "utterly brilliant in every possible way." (Do you get the feeling we're obsessing?)

Series V Review

In fact, let's give Big Blake the final word on the whole shebang:

"Each newly released series of Red Dwarf on shiny disc greatly improves on the previously released series. Series V is no exception; Grant Naylor Productions have surprisingly managed to gather an even bigger plethora of content than ever before. But then, such a fine series deserves an equally spectacular DVD release anyway. Just look at the fabulously in-depth Heavy Science documentary and the incredible array of deleted scenes for examples of this. That's not to mention The SFX of RDV and Dwarfing USA - and in fact, every feature included on the discs.

"This truly is an astonishing, jaw-droppingly fantastic DVD release. Hats off to Grant Naylor Productions and all else involved for such a wonderful piece of kit."

Aww shucks.

Still can't find those elusive Easter Eggs for Series V? Fear not - directions have now been added to the FAQ section!

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