πŸ’© Did anyone like Farscape? 🚽

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    Farscape (1999-2004) was probably my second most obsessed-over sci-fi show after Red Dwarf (though there was a big gap). I’m using past tense, because before an abridged rewatch last year I hadn’t thought about it much after late high school discovery and multiple university marathons with friends/girlfriend. The stuff I like about it still holds up, but it’s an acquired taste to say the least.

    The main problem with recommending Farscape is that it doesn’t start out as a show worth watching at all. The early episodes are basic, boring and don’t feel much like the show that would come later, basically being promotion for the Jim Henson Creature Shop like an 80s cartoon selling toys. But around 9 episodes in, Brian Henson got bored and they let Australians do what the hell they wanted with this weird thing, and they somehow salvaged the flimsy premise and stock characters to make something compelling, ridiculous and moving.

    Abridged season 1 viewing order: 1 (regrettably essential), 7 (kind of need), 8 (they cover in flashbacks though), 9-11, 13, 15-18 (okay now), 19+ (great now – with shit bits like any 22-episode/year series has).

    Seasons 2 & 3 are peak. Stark and Scorpius are best. I like it when they say frell.



    I put the poo and toilet in myself for accuracy, the forum isn’t being mean.



    I suddenly want to watch a Nebula and Gamora porn parody.



    Oh and Farscape was a load of shite, it makes Babylon 5 look like TNG.


    Paul Muller

    Yeah I was super into it when it came out. Trailed off a bit towards the end when it got a bit caught up in itself but the writing was pretty sharp, it was a lot of fun and the aesthetic was, for the time, new and interesting.

    I’ll have to go back and rewatch it, although I fear it might not have aged too well…



    The main thing that comes to mind when I think Farscape is that the big blokes rubber beard always freaked me out.

    I watched Farscape often but never really got into it. I was excited for it when the adverts started but after watching probably most of the first series week to week, I just couldn’t be bothered to continue.

    I was left in a state of non-grippedness.



    I agree it trailed off, season four was a mess with Sci-Fi Channel interference insisting they dial back the arcs (like happened in Battlestar Galactica season 3) and bringing in some disappointing new writers. It improved in the second half, but I never liked the post-series miniseries that much.

    I only started watching after the last (regular) episode aired on the BBC and my brother described the ending, which we assumed would be final since cancelled shows weren’t in the habit of returning. It sounded so dark and strange that I checked out a load of random episodes and started buying the DVD sets. If I’d started at the beginning I wouldn’t have stuck around.



    Distilled Farscape:


    International Debris

    compelling, ridiculous and moving.

    This sums it up. It definitely requires a certain sense of humour, but once you get into it’s an absolutely beautiful series. Once the writers started putting the characters and their relationships at the centre it became really incredible. It’s very hard to cry on anti-depressants, but the climax of the two Crichtons plot in S3 had me in floods of tears last time I watched it. And ‘Revenging Angel’ is one of the funniest episodes I’ve ever seen of anything.

    it makes Babylon 5 look like TNG.

    The only people I’ve come across who think Babylon 5 is cheap / tacky / rubbish are those who haven’t watched it. It tends to have a reputation of being really fucking good.

    One thing that ties those two together is fairly shoddy opening seasons, with standalone plots that could be in pretty much any SF series. Once the main arcs come along, they both come alive.



    I tried to get into Babylon 5 once, starting at season two and watching for a bit, but I wasn’t feeling it, despite being a big Deep Space Nine fan and feeling a kind of Trek guilt about it being a bit of a rip-off.


    International Debris

    The dialogue is occasionally a bit clunky, and it needs some commitment to really get into. But you really have to start with the pilot film and pretty much watch it all (there are only really seven or eight episodes in the first series that don’t add to the overall story), because it’s a very slowly evolving story that is seeded very subtly at times (aspects of one of the main arcs form the plot of the first film, and there’s a time-travel story split between episodes in seasons 1 and 3 that only makes sense once you see both sides of it). The whole thing was planned before the show went into production, so it benefits from in-depth viewing. From about halfway through the second season it really ramps up though, with the third and fourth seasons being pretty epic sci-fi in scope, as well as featuring a secondary arc about Earth falling to totalitarianism.

    It’s also a really biting satire on corruption in the media and propaganda, a lot of it from first hand experience of the show’s creator who was previously a journalist.



    I bought season one 2 years ago, but got bored and forgot about it. I may skip to 2.



    How many seasons were there in total?



    4 seasons, 88 episodes.

    Let’s take 11 each and report back this time next week.


    International Debris

    The fifth season was cancelled*, so the main plot of it was condensed into a two-part mini series at the end.

    *at the show’s commercial peak. I’ll never understand TV commissioners.



    “We’re no longer interested in the audience Farscape used to attract”

    If Farscape was an early internet website host, it would be Geocities.



    Blake’s 7 was always mentioned as a primary influence on Farscape, though maybe only as far as an escaped prisoners / obsessive antagonist premise and not helium-farting Muppets and stuff. I’ll have to watch it.

    Mild Red Dwarf similarities with the only human in deep space trying to get home, selfish semi-antagonistic crew, Skutters/DRDs and stock episodes like the bodyswap (Out of Their Minds), images of the future (Picture If You Will) and a bad version of Polymorph (Twice Shy).



    …and the main character being called Kryten. Blatant.



    ‘Switching channels, I saw what was clearly a science fiction programme, and at once, to my horror and outrage, what I thought I saw was a rip-off of Red Dwarf. I was already reaching for the telephone to call my lawyer when I something happened that made me vomit, and it something that certainly wouldn’t have happened on Red Dwarf. So I left the telephone where it was and I went on watching and I think within a few moments I had got what the show was and I was vomiting all the time.’

    – Craig Charles on Farscape (2008)



    Vomit plays a vital role in the plot of 7 episodes at least, not counting all the times it’s just for fun, so that’s fair.

    And exploding wee-wee one time.



    β€˜Switching channels, I saw what was clearly a science fiction website, and at once, to my horror and outrage, what I thought I saw was a rip-off of Ganymede & Titan. I was already reaching for the telephone to call my lawyer when I saw something happen that made me involuntarily orgasm, and it was something that certainly wouldn’t have happened on Ganymede & Titan. So I left the telephone where it was and I went on browsing and I think within a few moments I had got what the website was and I was having involuntarily orgasms all the time.’

    – Nearly everybody, ever on Gazpacho Soup (2018)

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