Saturday, December 30, 2006

Farscape

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?

17 comments:

Stewart Sternberg said...

I have heard so many good things about this show, but I was never able to get into it. I should probably have started with a dvd set and watched a full season. I may do that yet.

One thing that encourages me about this show is that it has show courage staying away from some of the more traditional and cliched elements of science ficiton, at least from what I have been able to gleen from fan comment and criticisms.

SQT said...

I wasn't able to catch this when it first came out either. I've watched a couple of episodes in syndication and they were very good, but I'm still kind of in the dark on the whole plot.

I've been meaning to go and put this in my netflix queue. I'm going to do that right now.......

SQT said...

Dang! There's 11 disc's just in season 1 of farscape! I'm going to look on amazon and see what it costs to just buy the set. That's a lot of rentals!

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Yeah, it's a bit pricey. There is typically only two episodes per disk and the bonus material don't really justify the huge ammount of DVD's used, in my oppinion.

Patricia and I saw most of Season 1 going to our local giant video conglomerate, but then we saw most of Season 2 on TV. Now the show jumped times and it's in the middle of Season 4, so we're all over the place.

Pricaes are a little cheaper at Deep Discount DVD, but the only drawback is that you have to put up with their site.

Professor Xavier said...

Well since you haven't seen the mini-series yet I won't tell you that John Crichton dies at the end.

Actually, I've never seen Farscape so I have absolutely no idea what happens.

And I do have cable so I have no excuse for not watching it. Except that around the time it started I was just finishing watching all of the Star Trek the Next Generation and was a little burned out on Sci Fi.

Crunchy Carpets said...

This was our all time fave sci fi till BSG showed up.

It was in a class by itself.
With JimHenson Co. effects, quircky humour, huge long plot lines....

It surprised us at every turn.
It was just a visual feast too.

Sci Fi Channel seriously has to stop thinking short term cash gain and remember that they are a tv channel dedicated to sci fi and therefore should maybe try to please the fans once in a while instead of cancelling all the hugely successful shows.

The mini series is a bit of a disapointment..I don't think it was their fault..but it was rushed and left us feeling dissatisfied.

I am just boggled that Farscape was made by the guy that brought us SeaQuest!

Anonymous said...

Nice mate!
check this one, you will like it!
http://www.inblinks.com/content/view/34/5/

Just click on the show, choose your episode, lean back and enjoy

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

I freaking LOVED Farscape and agree that it's up there in the Best SF Series of All Time category... and my high praise has nothing to do with my unbridled lust for Gigi Edgley as Chianna...pant.
It may have been "too cool for the room" when it first came out (weren't they still re-running Bill Bixby's Hulk on SciFi at the time? And cancelling MST3K? Ugh.)
The "big long plot lines" might have hurt it too, with people who only caught an episode now and then. But it was MUCH more complicated emotionally than STTNG-- how many times on that show did one of the principals in Star Trek fall in love only to have their lover die conveniently by the end of the hour, so that Our Heroes could be single and available for the next episode?
Another twist I enjoyed was Crichton teaching humanistic values to the aliens-- he was often technologically behind but morally superior to many of the warring aliens instead of the other way around...

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

And it was FUNNY. Laugh out loud, not just smirking.
Remember the bit where we found out that Rigel farted helium when he got nervous? And Chianna and the others would shout "That's disgusting!!!" in high pitched voices while hiding in confined spaces?

E said...

I have to agree with you--my vote for "best" sci fi. I watch Battlestar regularly but it has yet to involve me on an emotional level. Farscape did from the first episode I watch.

The first few episodes are a bit bumpy but I'd say, overall, the acting is first rate, especially as the show progresses towards the end of season 1.

Angela/SciFiChick said...

I never got into the Muppet Show..
Stargate SG1 & Atlantis will always be the best shows on the SciFi Channel, to me.

Darth Nepharia said...

Wow, Jon, I've never watched Farscape, but may have to rent the first season to see what all the hubbub is all about.

jedimerc said...

Farscape was pretty good, but for sheer plot continuity and writing, Babylon 5 was the best (yes, the special effects are dated now, though a new movie with some updated effects is being released in mid '07 on DVD). BSG has given my beloved B5 a run for the money.

Fab said...

Hi, it's the first time I've visited your site. I just recently finished rewatching all the DVD's of Farscape (because I just couldn't stop watching the lot in one go). What I love about it is that it isn't just science babble but has so much variety and the stakes are always so high.

But it's hard to find any Scaper fans here in Belgium. Or to get hold of the DVD's! I had to order them in from the UK! No wonder so few here know of and about Farscape.

Anonymous said...

Farscape is one of the best shows on television period. Instead of watching all the episodes by paying for them from Netflix, you can watch them online for free streaming. If you have an S- cable and a compatible television you can watch them streaming from your computer to your TV. The episodes are also available to download in Avi and for the PSP. Type Farscape Streaming into your google browser and the site should show up. Enjoy all 4 seasons and the peacekeeper wars in Divx.

Vincent@G said...

The best online DVD shop- DVDSETPRO! The most popular DVD:Farscape dvd seasons 1-4 box set, Smallville seasons 1-7 dvd boxset , Charmed Seasons 1-8 DVD Boxset.

johns said...

All the Farscape seasons are worth watching. I usually watch Farscape online at download-watch-farscape.edogo.com. The site provides unmatched picture and sound quality.