I’m here to talk about the greatest science fiction series to ever grace the Sci-Fi channel. No, I am not talking about Battlestar Galactica, I’m talking about Farscape.
First, a bit of a confession, I do not have cable, and I haven’t had it for over six years. This is a blessing and a curse. Of course I miss the good programming like Deadwood, Venture Brothers, and yes, Battlestar Galactica I have to confess. On the other hand, to me Dane Cook isn’t overexposed and I don’t have to hear an hour of “Booyeah!” and “He… could… go… all… the… way…” when I watch the highlights of my favorite football team.
So I had seen Farscape a few times here and there, but because I didn’t have the cable, I couldn’t follow the storyline. I essentially missed the show’s entire run, but luckily it is in syndication now and that’s where my wife and I got hooked on it (We’ve got a great thing going, she’s made me cooler and I nerded her up). Now we’re watching it on TV and we have the series queued up in Netflix. Eventually we’ll get through the whole thing.
Farscape features John Crichton, an Earth astronaut who is shot through a wormhole while testing a theory in his spacecraft. On the other side of the wormhole is a living ship named Moya and her Pilot. Onboard the leviathan are three escaping prisoners, Zhaan, D’argo, and Rygel. Officer Aeryn Sun is one of the Peacekeepers trying to recapture them, through circumstances quickly becomes a fugitive as well.
They meet a whole host of other characters including Crais, Chiana, Stark, and Scorpius. Scorpius is a commander in the Peacekeepers and wants the secret of the wormhole technology for a super weapon to stop the greater threat of the Scarrans. As the series progresses other characters are introduced, including Jool, Xhalax Sun, Grayza, Jothee, Noranti, Sikozu, Harvey, and Einstein.
The thing that sets this show apart for me is that it’s very PG-13. The characters have adult relationships, and it’s not just good looking couples having sex. There’s conflict and angst and emotion in there. It’s not all anguish and torment though, there’s a lot of humor. John and D’argo in particular interact very well together like when they play rock, paper, and scissors. There’s also a pretty hefty amount of body functions. There’s vomit, urine (of both the non-flaming and flaming variety), and gas. Most of it works, but sometimes it’s a little too much.
Another aspect of Farscape that I like is that there is a lot of character development. Crichton starts out as the fish-out-of-water-trying-to-get-home-the-secrets-to-wormholes-are-locked-in-his-brain character, but as the story progresses he takes better control of his destiny. He strives to uncover the secrets of the wormhole, he develops a relationship with Aeryn (it was inevitable, every time Moya shook, they were thrown together), and when he does get back to Earth it ain’t exactly a happy homecoming. Characters grow on this show unlike their companions on other science fiction programs.
Farscape lasted four seasons before the company that owned the Sci-Fi Channel withdrew funding for the next season. That left a lot of plot threads hanging but due to the massive fan reaction, a mini-series was produced. I haven’t seen it yet so don’t spoil it for me, though I do know what happens to D’argo.
There are some good Farscape sites out there beginning with Official Site and the Wikipedia entry. My site of choice though is Farscape World, it has synopses, reviews, and image galleries for all the episodes. I normally read the reviews after I watch the episode. Sometimes before. That’s not too crazy is it?