It’s amazing how when you think of a good series, one you enjoyed from start to finish and watched every episode of, you also remember the good times you spent with the people you love, the tiny details of things said, seen and done while you were watching the episodes.
That’s what it’s like for me when I remember Farscape. I remember roping my dad into watching an episode. His interest waned while I stayed glued to the seat, my geeky mind in awe of what I was seeing. I remember fighting with him and the rest of the family over the remote to watch the show. We only had one TV hooked to the cable at the time, so Farscape-time was my time and I wasn’t going to let any of them take it from me.
What I loved about the show and what hooked me from the start was that it wasn’t shy about going big, about showing you the weird, the horrifying and the over the top. Farscape went for broke in every episode, and you know me, I love it when fiction goes big, bold and even stupid at times.
It starred a crew of prisoners aboard a living ship, a Leviathan, Moya, with its symbiotically linked Pilot, a strange being whose name was the same as his role. Even now I find it a fascinating concept.
While most species were mostly humanoid, their specific characteristics were fascinating. There were plant people, a race of Viking-like warriors whose blood was transparent but darkened when badly wounded. A human-like species lacking in sweat glands and any form of heat regulation. There was even a toad-like species and one of giant lizards with heat-wave projection abilities and even a guy who needed cooling rods shoved directly into his brain.
How can you not love a show that gives you so much? Every episode was a new adventure, new locales and everything was strange and wonderful. You never knew what you might find, but one thing was certain, no matter what the plot of the week was, you would always advance the overall season’s story in a significant way. There were very few wasted or filler episodes. Storytelling throughout the season was on point, and it build up to many climactic season finales. Though when it had filler episodes they were out there, exploring some weird concepts and dream scenarios.
And it all started with this iconic narration: “My name is John Crichton, an astronaut. A radiation wave hit and I got shot through a wormhole. Now I’m lost in some distant part of the universe on a ship, a living ship, full of strange alien life forms. Help me. Listen, please. Is there anybody out there who can hear me? I’m being hunted by an insane military commander. Doing everything I can. I’m just looking for a way home.” And what followed was one of the most amazing opening songs I have ever heard, with beautiful and haunting harmonies by Avigail Herman.
I put a lot of emphasis on storytelling and characterisation during my reviews and articles, and Farscape never disappointed me with its cast, a group of fascinating and with amazing depth. None of them were simple to describe and every episode and every season gave you much more to discover. From Ka D’argo’s deep honour and family regrets to Zhaan’s patience and wise counsel hiding her rage and barely restrained violence. When she blew up in everybody’s faces, you felt it across the screen and it was so intense that I could almost imagine the TV shaking.
And there’s nothing like having a selfish and borderline hedonistic character like Rygel be the voice of reason and sympathy.
Every character in Farscape, no matter how strange they looked, no matter how alien, had such an amazing humanity to them and I think that is Farscape’s greatest accomplishment. There wasn’t a sad scene with Pilot where I didn’t shed a tear, and even though he was a marionette, he could convey such emotion that to this day I’m amazed.
Sure, there were strange things, some recurring characters surviving despite deserving to meet the reaper long before. There’s Harvey to consider, a character many didn’t care for—I tolerated him as he was often a catalyst for wonderful character stories—and the fact we had to wait some time for the ending to come out in a miniseries. But nothing could put me off Farscape.
As I write this, I’m looking for the series again, keen on watching it once more, to hear those harmonies in the opening, to board Moya once more and sail across the stars with this band of lovable misfits.
There have been many SciFi TV series in my life, but none of them have been as special as Farscape. And if you haven’t watched it yet, then I hope this ramble of an adoring fan is enough to at least spark some interest in you.
- Review – Farscape (GeekOut South-West. 10/03/2016)