It's cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere -- but space is warming up with the return of everybody's favourite smegheads: the crew of Red Dwarf.
Last human Dave Lister, holographic vending machine repairman Arnold Rimmer, style-obsessed feline the Cat and rubber-headed mechanoid Kryten warp back to our screens in Red Dwarf X on Dave tonight.
Gone are Kochanski and the rest of the resurrected crew and the Corrie cross-overs of latter series. The boys are back to the classic formula: Lister, Rimmer, Kryten and the Cat travelling through space on the mining ship Red Dwarf, bumbling from one smeg-up to the next, battling their own dysfunctions and inadequacies as often as they must square up to rogue simulants, insane computers and other space-faring sociopaths.
In tonight's opening episode, Trojan, the boys from the Dwarf stumble across an advanced ship, where Rimmer encounters an adversary from his past -- and in the process confronts his own neuroses.
The new series is filled with jokes that only Red Dwarf can pull off -- a cocktail of character-driven gags and contemporary jokes about mooses driving cars and customer-service hotlines, mixed with sci-fi high-concept humour such as quantum rods, hologram malware and Lister dealing with the time-twisting consequences of being his own dad.
Chris Barry, Danny John-Jules, Craig Charles and friend of CNET UK Robert Lewellyn are all clearly having a great time, and the effects are much improved too. I'd like to see the crew make it off the ship more as the series progresses, and I could do without the slightly intrusive laugh track on every other line, but series X is still more fun than smearing Pot Noodle on a mechanoid's nipple nuts.
Red Dwarf returns to our screens tonight on Dave at 9pm, on Sky channel 111, Virgin 128 or Freeview 12. Smoke me a kipper in the comments, or join us for breakfast on our Facebook page.