Television is a vast and varied format, and it’s often the episodes that break the norm of their shows that often end up being the most acclaimed. By stripping the show down to its base elements, some of the most beloved episodes in television history are “bottle episodes”. These episodes take place in a single location and only feature the core characters, or even less. These episodes are devised to save budgets and reduce the need for vast locations or guest stars, although sometimes it’s due to a desire to try something different. These five episodes from television shows I love prove that sometimes less is more, and have been responsible for some of the finest outings for their respective shows.
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On February 16th 1988, the greatest sci-fi sitcom of all time began to air. Red Dwarf has gone on to be a staple of British comedy, and its enduring legacy has resulted in a show that is still going on today on Dave. I have always loved Red Dwarf, and consider it to be one of my all time favourite shows. Three million years in the future on the Jupiter Mining Corp ship Red Dwarf, Dave Lister wakes up from cryogenic imprisonment to find that he is the last remaining human in the universe. With only a senile computer called Holly on board Lister risks going mad, until Arnold J Rimmer, Lister’s superior vending machine officer, gets resurrected as a hologram. Sounds great- except Lister and Rimmer hate each other. Throw in a lifeform evolved from Lister’s cat, an overworking and clearly outdated robot called Kryten and countless shenanigans, the Red Dwarf crew try to get back to Earth. The show can be split into five main versions- Series 1 and 2 are a sitcom in space focused mainly on Lister and Rimmer’s relationship, Series 3 and 4 are ensemble pieces that incorporate set pieces and humour, Series 5 and 6 are exploration based adventures with comedy being equal with big ideas, Series 7-9 are… weird, whilst Series 10 onwards is a return to ensemble humour with a bigger budget and more outlandish ideas. I’ve missed the 30th anniversary but it’s always a good time to talk about Red Dwarf. With so many episodes it was hard to pick just ten, but here we go-
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