Farscape: The Complete Series (DVD review).
I bought this complete boxset of ‘Farscape’ shortly after it was release over a year ago when it was released on special offer. The decision was largely because it was cheaper to buy this way than each season separately as I had done with the first two seasons. This is beginning to be the same way with a lot of series these days and ought to be considered in any of your plans if you want to buy a favourite show. It’s only been at the beginning of the year that I had a decent time slot to watch it all through. I haven’t checked whether or not the latest ‘Complete Series’ including ‘The Peacekeeper Wars’ has all the extras but allow that in any of your decisions. I bought the latter shortly after I bought this one and will be reviewing next month.
With the re-release in this format, there was added an additional eight audio commentaries by actors Ben Browder and Claudia Black. As to the differences in extras, that would be hard to say because I never owned the final two seasons. However, I should point out that there are some six hours viewing on the final DVD. Of these, seeing how composer Guy Gross put the music together should be of interest to any of you who want to see how it is done. Even more remarkable, it was all created on synthesisers and music samples rather than an orchestra.
For those who haven’t been paying attention to the show, astronaut John Crichton (actor Ben Browder) testing an experimental spacecraft gets flung through a wormhole to the other side of the galaxy where he collides with a spaceship and gains the ire of its pilot’s brother, Captain Bialar Crais (actor Lani Tupu) of the Peacekeeper Corps. Boarding Moya, a fleeing spaceship, he pals up with Ka D’Argo (actor Anthony Simcoe), Zhan (actress Virginia Hey) and Rigel (voiced by Jonathan Hardy) and an even more reluctant Peacekeeper officer, Aeryn Sun, who because of being in their company too long, is deemed contaminated and would be killed if she returned to the Corps. Later, other people join and leave, amongst them staying all the way through is Chiana (actress Gigi Edgley). Crichton is gifted with the knowledge of wormhole space travel by the Ancients and added to his pursuit is another Peacekeeper, Scorpius (actor Wayne Pygram), who would like to be informed as well. Over four seasons, these then are their adventures.
‘Farscape’ was originally going to be called ‘Space Chase’ and was the brainchild of Brian Henson, wanting to show that the animatronics that was used in the likes of ‘The Muppets’ could be employed in a more adult show. Writer Rockne O’Bannon and writer/producer David Kemper then filled in all the details and the series lasted from 1999-2003. What makes ‘Farscape’ even more unique was it being filmed in Australia with mostly Australian actors and allowed to contribute to each episode than just follow the script. There has never been a show like this made in Australia before or since come to that. All the characters have their own agendas and odd ways of co-operating with each other but they do bond in their own way. They also have some of the finest aliens you’re ever likely to see in a Science Fiction show and stretched the boundaries of what could be done and often breaking the decorated humanoids of other series. It was also cut short at the end of its fourth season by the Sci-Fi Channel and after a year’s persuasion by fans, did they commission ‘The Peacekeeper Wars’ so there was at least a conclusion.
As you should appreciate from my enthusiasm here that this is a marvellous series that has lost none of its magic and actually gets better with re-watching. It’s also one of those rare shows where you can watch through without feeling you need a break between seasons because of its strong continuity base. Watching it collectively, I did think occasionally it got a little bitty but with all realities you want to see the events than the boring bits between. I suspect I’ll take a year’s break and watch it all over again. The show deserves to be watched if only to see how they handle things like communication and how they cope when they visit Earth. The story in the fourth season ‘A Constellation Of Doubt’ where Crichton sees the results of his alien colleagues interviews on broadcast TV and human analysis is probably the most disturbing of all as it clearly indicates mankind isn’t ready to go out in the galaxy yet and one of the finest Science Fiction analysis stories ever.
The show has got heart and is still effective today. If you haven’t seen it yet, then it’s probably to an oversight in that it doesn’t appear on the box in re-runs. Get the boxset and spare yourself the adverts. ‘Farscape’ frelling rocks.
(region 1 DVD: pub: Contender Entertainment Group AAAE169430. 26 DVDs 4086 minutes 4 seasons 88 * 47 minute episodes plus extras. Price: currently $58.99 (US) if you know where to look and it’s cheaper to import if you live in the UK. It’s only got up about $10 since it’s original release making good value)
cast: Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Anthony Simcoe, Virginia Hey, Gigi Edgely, Lani Tupu and Wayne Pygram
check out website: www.aetc.com