And if you don’t know what a SMEG is…
Sensible readers amongst you might guess that a smegazine is the PR exercise of the high-end Italian appliance-maker Smeg. It isn’t. The British readers amongst you will almost certainly jump to a conclusion about the mining ship “Red Dwarf” and her crew. They, or course, would be abso-smegging-lutely right!
Red Dwarf, the TV show, is about to start broadcasting its 11th series, some 28 years after its 1988 debut. For many British sci-fi fans, this is very special, as we’ve grown up with the ‘boys from the Dwarf’.
The series premise is pure comedy gold; the Mining Ship ‘Red Dwarf’ finds itself far from Earth, 3 million years into the future, with a crew consisting of Dave Lister (the last Human alive), his evolved cat (the aptly named Cat!), a Hologram of Arnold J. Rimmer (the long-dead crew member who spoke the most words to Dave, most of which were Smeg!) and Holly, a super-computer with an IQ of 6000 who has gone a little peculiar during her time alone. A later series introduced the service mechanoid Kryten.
Now, onto that Smegazine…
In 1992, after 4 increasingly successful seasons, Red Dwarf gained its first monthly magazine. Issue 1 (above) was jut a magazine (that couldn’t be sold to SMEG HEADS). By issue 3 they’d coined a new term, and the smegazine was born. Running for 23 issues, the smegazine contained a mixture of news, reviews, interviews, comic strips and competitions and you can read them over at archive.org – you’d be a total gimboid to ignore the opportunity, the comics are a particular highlight!
Issues one to three contain a comic for the first TV episode ‘The End’ and the artwork is amazing! Other highlights in issue one include a beginners guide, an interview with Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Holly’s Amazing Facts (including her fascination with footballer Kevin Keegan!), a surprisingly in-depth Studio Report, and lots of silly competition and trivia pages. Issue two has details of America’s attempt to re-create the show, the start of a TV series guide to the episodes thus far (in the wrong order!) and the diaries of Arnold J Rimmer! Seriously, go and start reading them!
You might have spotted that I mentioned a US pilot. You can see the first 1992 pilot over on Youtube… warning, it isn’t great!
And for reasons that are ‘too stupid to go into’, they had a second stab at another pilot IN THE SAME YEAR! Warning, this isn’t great either!
Fortunately the British original has plenty of clips on Youtube to remind you of its brilliance!
What a SMEG HEAD!