In my essay I have chosen to explore Red Dwarf' the long running Sci-fi Sitcom that has been BBC2's biggest comedy show. I will begin by discussing the history of the Sitcom as a genre; secondly I will trace the history of the Science fiction Genre and finally, I'll analyse how Red Dwarf has taken elements from both of these to create its own unique hybrid entity.
A situation comedy (sitcom) is a narrative comedy programme, usually in series running for around twenty to thirty minutes per episode. In most sitcoms the settings and characters will remain the same throughout the entire time it is on air. Sitcoms are popular because viewers can relate to one or more characters in the show. Sitcoms are ideal for television audiences as the flow of episodes each week enables people to build identification with the characters over the period of time they watch. This is much harder to do on film, as you do not have as much time to build/develop characters and make the audience feel the right amount of empathy for them. .
The sitcom originated on radio in the 1920s . The first is said to be Sam and Henry which started on WGN (American radio) in 1926. Another pioneer was Amos & Andy (america again) in 1928 and was one of the most popular sitcoms through the 1930s . .
US sit-com formats developed for radio were transferred to TV in late 1940s and early 1950s.
This transfer of genres from radio to TV was widespread, and radio still provides programme ideas for TV to this day.
Situation comedies have been a part of the landscape of broadcast television since its early days. Probably the most well-known and successful early television sitcom was I Love Lucy , starring Lucille Ball which is well known because the producer took the step, unusual for its time, of recording the episodes, thereby inventing reruns and the profitable syndication business. Her show I Love Lucy was seen in Britain in late 1950s and influenced British sit-coms, especially in regards to camera and editing technique.