Lister makes the connection between these “Psirens” and the sirens of myth, referencing Ulysses (he’s read the Aeneid rather than the Odyssey). He does, however, think that the story is Turkish. The Cat even offers up something like a Homeric simile in the form of an “old cat proverb”: “There’s an old cat proverb – it’s better to live one hour as a tiger than a whole lifetime as a worm.” Unlike Odysseus the crew are seduced by these Psirens, and barely escape with their lives.
In the eighth season the crew, joined by a parallel universe version of Lister’s lost love Kristine Kochanski (Chloë Annett), return to Red Dwarf. They also encounter a computer so advanced that it can predict the future, aptly named “Cassandra” (season 8, episode 4, “Cassandra”). Besides the gift of prophecy there’s little to relate this Cassandra to her mythological counterpart – after their initial scepticism is abated, the crew believe what she tells them even when she lies.
While some of these references are clearly intentional, the interplay between Red Dwarf and ancient epic is largely conjectural. While Rob Grant and Doug Naylor show casual familiarity with Greek myths such as the sirens and Cassandra, they clearly don’t know what the Aeneid is about. But as a working-class hero last man alive Dave Lister is a worthy successor to Odysseus, lost in space and trying to get home.