Have you ever watched a sci-fi TV show and wondered why it seems that everyone in it has two arms, legs and walks upright? There are numerous in-universe explanations but the real reason it’s difficult to get realistic seeming characters in other shapes. Farscape was a sci-fi tv series that ran from 1999 to 2003 and had two of its major characters as animatronics produced by the Jim Henson Company that also makes the Muppets.
Describing the plot of Farscape is not straightforward. The show starts with Earth astronaut John Crichton’s tiny experimental ship being hurled across the galaxy and ending up in the middle of an escape attempt by living spaceship Moya from the Sebaccian Peacekeepers. Crichton collides with a Peacekeeper fighter killing the pilot and ends having to run on Moya with the Peacekeepers in hot pursuit. Moya’s crew has no real common thread wanting just to get home to their respective lives. Farscape’s lure is partially in the alienness of the crew with very different physical and cultural backgrounds. There’s Aeryn Sun, the militaristic ex-peacekeeper, the young Luxan warrior Ka Dargo framed for his wife’s murder and looking for his son, Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan a mobile plant priest with a dark side, Dominar Rygel XVI a frog shaped Hynerian focused on regaining the empire lost to his cousin and the Leviathan ship Moya with her symbiotic octopoid Pilot. Confused? You probably will be and it gets a lot more complicated.
This complication wasn’t helped by the scheduling the show suffered when it was first broadcast with numerous gaps at random times and episodes broadcast out of order. Farscape ran for four seasons and ended on a cliffhanger but two years later there was a three-hour mini-series deliberately designed to wrap up the storylines. There have also been several 3-4 minute webisodes, a magazine, two series of comics, novels and two (poor) games.
Retailer: Amazon +:
Price: ± £45 for DVD Boxset
Paid extras: Peacekeeper Wars Movie
Delivery costs: Free Delivery
Ships to: U.K., Europe. U.S., Canada
About Rockne S. O’Bannon, The Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment.
O’Bannon is an American writer and producer who conceived, wrote and produced Farscape. He’s also well known for seaQuest, Defiance, Alien Nation and was the main writer for Amazing Stories and The Twilight Zone, Constantine and V.
The Jim Henson Company is the best known for the Muppets but also produces animatronics for Sesame Street and has made numerous films such as Dark Crystal. They handled all of the special effects, animatronics and set building for Farscape.
Hallmark Entertainment is a trading name of Sonar Entertainment which is an American cable network and television production company. They commissioned, financed and showed Farscape.
I’m going, to be honest- Farscape takes work. It has a look and a feel that is very unlike most TV shows and it takes you and throws you from one problem and culture to another without giving you a chance to catch a breath. This isn’t TV to watch while doing something else but something to concentrate on. If you can put the time and effort in it’s well worth the effort. Highly recommended.
The review is based on Farscape. Read more about Ergohacks’ eco and access used in reviews. This article was first published on 26th June 2016.