Confidence and Paranoia is not a high point in the history of the Dwarf. It does have some interesting ideas; the effect of 3 million years of evolution on the pneumonia virus, the constant struggle between aspects of Lister’s sub-conscious, and the dream recorder gets its first mention.
The story opens with Lister snooping around, wallowing in his unrequited love for Kochanski again; wondering how often she dreamt about him, and what Rimmer has done with her hologram disc.
Due to a tragic misunderstanding, Lister discovers that he has been snooping around in a part of the ship which has not been decontaminated, and from which he contracts the central premise of the episode – mutated pneumonia that gives him very real hallucinations.
In space, no-one can hear you cha-cha-cha
Unfortunately this doesn’t entirely work – the exploding Mayor of Warsaw is a nicely surreal touch, and the trashing of the medicomp by Confidence hints at a Jekyll and Hyde type of multiple personality gone very bad, but by the end of the episode the whole concept seems a bit tired to me.
For all that, it’s not without amusing moments, most memorable being Rimmer’s conversations with the weasley Paranoia, a character so annoyingly whiney that he makes Rimmer look fun to be with.
There are quite a lot of minor visual and audio upgrades in the re-mastered version, but the most obvious change is Holly’s joke in his opening monologue. The new joke is more in keeping with the science-fiction feel of the series, if not actually any funnier. There’s also a scene in the original version where Rimmer discovers that the medicomp has been vandalised which was cut from the re-master in order to up the pace of the story.
Watch this episode for interesting ideas, if not great execution; and a very brief dip into mental illness.