THE PLOT THUS FAR
John Crichton. Astronaut. Flung through a wormhole and lost in a galaxy far from home. He finds himself in the middle of a prison break, surrounded by hostile aliens, soaring through space inside a glorious living space ship called Moya. Hunted by the relentless Peacekeepers, he allies himself with his unimaginably alien fellow refugees and searches for a way home.
So begins the epic sci fi classic FARSCAPE. A fusion of live action, state-of-the-art puppetry, prosthetics and CGI, FARSCAPE features mind-boggling alien life forms, dazzling special effects, edge-of-your-seat thrills, irreverent humor and unforgettable characters — all brought to life by the creative minds at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. No wonder it’s been called the most imaginative sci fi series in television history.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
The relationships between John and his new-found friends that develop over the succeeding four years of Farscape provide a great context for the many adventures they share. Through death, betrayal, birth and rather massive cultural dissonance, Moya and her crew see and do it all as they flee the pursuing Peacekeepers in more ways than one. Each character has his or her own arc and backstory, and even in the most plot-heavy and action packed episodes of the series, it is the characters that give the show its structural integrity.
A space opera with the emphasis on the ‘opera’. Individual episodes did all the fun or thought-provoking things the very best SF short stories are able to do, but as an ongoing story it owed more to opera, to fairy tale. The role of the Henson creature workshop and the show’s brilliant, brilliant designers was vital. In Star Trek the aliens look just like us except they have pointy ears, wrinkled foreheads, snub noses, the occasional spot; you see weirder creatures at any bus-stop. On Farscape, the aliens are really alien. On Farscape, the monsters are out of Bosch, Goya, Giger, Burroughs, the Brothers Grimm. On Farscape, the villains are pantomime demons from your childhood nightmares.
On Farscape, most of the episodes begin at a point it would take the modern Star Trek series half an hour of arrival and exposition to reach, and then pack in as much as any film. On Farscape, most of the episodes begin with the crew already chased up a tree with no idea how to get down. Three key Farscape phrases: ‘We’re cursed’, ‘You have got to be kidding me’ and ‘We’re so screwed.’ This last became the title of one of the episodes and could have been the title of almost all of them. The episodes start with the heroes screwed; then they become more screwed; at length they make a plan, that backfires, and they get progressively screwed even more. I lost count of the number of episodes where I genuinely thought one or more of the lead characters was doomed; and sometimes they were.
The Blu-Ray comes with a ton of featurettes, deleted scenes and three archival documentaries. The information presented on the discs is fun, but a lot of people seem to be making a big deal over the Undressed Special. Apparently, this documentary is hard to come by in Region 1. However, I’ve also noticed a lot of fans complaining about the bitrates on the discs. This might have to do with four or more episodes being on some discs.
When you’re dealing with shows that are approaching the hour marker, taking this stuff into HD increases that disc space usage like crazy. The DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track seems to make excellent use of the original audio channels. However, I’m feeling that we’re not getting the ideal picture quality. Corners seem rather edged and there’s a lot of digital noise in the background of earlier episodes. Sure, the last season looks great, but I think that season was natively shot in HD. Oh well, it’s still worth a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!