Rob Grant, the co-creator and writer of the science fiction classic ‘Red Dwarf’ chats with us about ‘Star Trek’.
Back in February 1988, only a few months after Star Trek: The Next Generation hit television in the USA, another sci-fi show was just starting off on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The show was Red Dwarf, a science fiction comedy set on a mining ship that, due to an accident, is crewed only be Dave Lister. Lister finds himself three million years out into deep space with a humanoid who has evolved from his pet cat, a hologram simulation of his dead roommate, and a senile computer called Holly, as his companions on his journey back to Earth.
Red Dwarf was the TV show that truly introduced me into sci-fi and acted as a springboard for me to seek out other shows in the same genre, which of course lead me to Star Trek. Red Dwarf was a wacky sometimes outrageous comedy show which was worlds apart from the more serious aspects of Star Trek. Yet both series also had so much in common, amazing characters that you really rooted for, visually stunning spaceships, and great story lines.
Something else you may not know about Red Dwarf is that the shows co-creator and writer, Rob Grant, is a huge Star Trek fan. The best selling author took a few minutes out of his day to talk to Redshirts Always Die about Star Trek:
“I remember seeing the first show and thinking that Spock was basically a humanoid robot.”
What are your earliest memories of Star Trek?
The first transmissions on BBC, which would have been around ’69. There was very little science fiction on TV at the time, and an awful lot of westerns (Gene Roddenberry’s pitch to the Broadcasters was: “Wagon Train to the Stars”), so I watched it hungrily. I remember seeing the first show and thinking that Spock was basically a humanoid robot. I enjoyed it, though. Massively.
What series of Star Trek do you enjoy the most, and is there a specific episode that sticks out in your mind?
That’s tough: I love Classic and STNG. Best Classic ep: ‘The Menagerie’ – very cleverly cobbled together from the original pilot footage, which had Jeff Chandler as the Captain, and winner of a Hugo award. Best STNG: ‘The Best of Both Worlds’.
Kirk or Picard?
Tough. But Kirk. The original.
As a co-creator and writer of British sitcom Red Dwarf, did Star Trek have any influence on you during the early development stages of Red Dwarf?
Ha! Only in a negative way: we had to avoid everything Trekish: no transporters, phaser weapons. We made the ship commercial and not military.
What are your thoughts on the new trilogy of films set in the now designated ‘Kelvin Timeline’?
The original reboot movie was utterly sensational. Very cleverly establishing its own timeline. Not so fond of the second outing, and still not seen the latest one.
“The original reboot movie was utterly sensational”
What are your hopes for the new Star Trek: Discovery TV series coming in 2017?
I hope they’ll go back to the show’s roots. After Deep Space 9, the Star Trek franchise took a series qualitative nose dive.
Finally, if Star Trek was to end tomorrow, what do you think would be its legacy?
It changed the world.
Are you a fan of Red Dwarf? Will you be checking it out? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.