RED DWARF: Top Ten Countdown - 1. Gunmen of the Apocalypse

Andrew Jero heads to the wild west to complete his Red Dwarf Top Ten Countdown.

Before we get to the number one spot on my Top Ten Countdown, here are the previous installments...
The top spot is taken by the only episode of Red Dwarf to have won an International Emmy Award (the same year as the show won Best Sitcom at the British Comedy Awards). It was the third episode of Series VI, Gunmen of the Apocalypse, and as far as I'm concerned it's easily the funniest piece of television ever produced. As with my last couple reviews I’ll go through my favorite bits in story order.

The episode starts with Lister playing a game in the Artificial Reality Suite, he is a private eye in a classic film noir style. In the game he is kissing a beautiful brunette, but in reality he is just wearing an AR helmet and gloves and making out with a computer sprite. Kryten walks in and, unable to get Lister's attention, joins in the game and it continues to grow funnier and funnier. Lister is busy having some fun in the back seat of the car, eventually Kryten informs him about a band of rouge simulants, which mean they need to shut down all non essential systems to avoid detection. Reluctantly, Lister exists the game.

Lister returns to the rest of the crew to which Rimmer asks him where he’s been. “In the AR machine.” “Lister, you only use the AR machine to have sex.”

They are contacted by the rouge simulants who request to talk to the crew. The crew decide to communicate with them, but it’s Listers’ idea that they use, and after the captain beams aboard we are greeted with another directive…

The captain shoots the crew and they wake up to find the entire ship upgraded, and as the Cat tells us, “They’ve even got rid of the squeak on the seat tilt control!”. The crew use their new laser cannons to destroy the simulant ship, defeated the simulants transmit the Armageddon Virus to Starbug, infecting the navicomp. Kryten volunteers to contract the virus and fight it, and the crew hook him up to a monitor so that they can see that his battle. In his 'dreams' he is a Sheriff in the wild west, he finds himself in battle with the four Apocalypse brothers; Death, War, Famine and Pestilence. The crew enters AR to help Kryten defeat the virus, which presents my favorite scene in the history of the show.

I don’t think the rest of the episode, and in particular that scene, would’ve worked as well if they hadn’t given the crew special skills whilst in the western-themed AR game, such as making Rimmer a bare fist fighter and the Cat one of the gunmen, this really helped elevate the humor. Those elements to the story are major components that, for me, propel Gunmen of the Apocalypse above all other Red Dwarf episodes.

These final two clips below are the making of for this fantastic episode...

Do you agree with this choice?
Or if not, what episode would be number one in your Red Dwarf top ten?

Smegging Brilliant - The World loves a bastard! - A look at Kryten 2X4B-523P - Five fantastic moments with the Cat - Dave Lister: The man who fathered himself

Andrew Jero lives in Iowa and has a very strong love of both Red Dwarf and Doctor Who. He enjoys acting and writing plays, television scripts, and short stories. Follow Andrew on Twitter.
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