Top 10 moments that shaped Red Dwarf

Here are the 10 most decisive, important and game-changing moments in Dwarf history...

Back to Earth

10. The cadmium II incident

Red Dwarf's first major event was the cadmium II radiation leak which wiped out everybody but Lister. If you stop to think about this for a second, we're talking about a terrible, TERRIBLE disaster here, rivalling the loss of the Titanic, but have you ever considered this? No, you just laughed at Holly's "everybody's dead" speech instead. You heartless goit.

9. The discovery of the Nova 5

For a while there were only three people on Red Dwarf, which was almost enough to reduce them to Jack-Nicholson-in-The-Shining levels of gibbering madness. Luckily, they met Kryten on the Nova 5, alleviating boredom for a few seconds. He wasn't the Kryten we know and love, though – he had to be smashed up and rebuilt first. Which is a method worth remembering whenever a mate starts to grate on you.

8. Back to reality

Their skirmish with the Despair Squid – which made the Dwarfers think they'd been playing a virtual reality game for years – led to the introduction of the duke of dork himself, Duane Dibbley. Complete with anorak, plastic sandals and "teeth the druids could use as a place of worship", he's very probably the greatest character in the history of television. And civilisation.

7. Arise, Ace Rimmer

Red Dwarf isn't just about the chuckles – it's also got proper character development 'n' stuff. Take Rimmer, who went from gimboid to hero, ultimately donning the mantle of Ace Rimmer in the most heart-warming moment of the series. It was also hugely significant, as that was the last we ever saw of hologram Rimmer until the Back to Earth specials. More on those in a bit.

6. Kochanski's return

After the shock of Rimmer donning his dashing wig and going off to become Ace, there was another big twist straight after, when Kochanski became part of the crew. This was a new, posher, parallel universe Kochanski, and the entire dynamic of the series was radically transformed. By which we mean, there was a chick around at last. Although if she heard us call her that she'd probably slap us.

5. In space, no one can hear you inbreed

Revelations about Lister's past completely transformed our understanding of him as a man. They also made us go "ick", especially when we learnt that he's his own dad and Kochanski's his mum, thanks to a sperm sample and time-travelling shenanigans. A situation like this demands a new phrase. Freudian paradox? Cosmic inbreeding? Actually, "ick" will have to do.

4. The rebirth of Red Dwarf

For a while, Red Dwarf didn't actually have Red Dwarf in it. It was all about Starbug, until Kryten's nanobots were unearthed in Lister's laundry basket and agreed to rebuild the Dwarf from scratch. With its entire crew resurrected. It was the most unexpected, game-changing twist in a series since Bobby came back from the dead in Dallas, only with less wet male torso.

3. Rimmer's return

Bringing the crew back also meant that Rimmer was back where he belonged as the show's smeghead-in-chief. And he really was a smeghead, as this was the human Rimmer, who had undergone exactly none of the rich, sympathetic character development of the hologram version. This meant a return to cheating and scheming: old school Rimmerishness, in other words.

2. The End?

We were all as excited as Lister faced with a heap of mutton vindaloo when the series eight climax saw Red Dwarf destroyed and Rimmer come face to face with the Grim Reaper. Luckily, Rimmer had the wherewithal to violently kick him in the bollocks and run for it, saying "only the good die young". And that, as far as anyone knew, was the end of the series. But it wasn't. Ohhh no.

1. The big reboot

Then came Back to Earth, which returned the show to its original concept: a bunch of losers on a big ship. Rimmer was even a hologram again, for unexplained reasons. Will we find out more in the upcoming new series, or will it just carry on in this new, semi-rebooted continuity? Who knows, we just hope we don't ever have to use the phrase "semi-rebooted continuity" again – it makes us feel very Duane Dibbley.

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