For Day Six of Sci Fi on my blog it would have been really easy for me to carry on from yesterday’s post about Star Wars; follow the trend and then talk about the other well known franchise on TV. Yes … Star Trek. But No! I’m not. Although I am not a Trekkie I did absolutely love Deep Space Nine. About two years ago, I rented all of the DVDs and watched every single episode again. It was great!
But what I wanted to talk about was another Sci Fi programme on TV and that is Aussie Sci Fi drama Farscape. Now, some people hated it. They hated the concept, they hated the actors and they hated the storylines, but Farscape has got to be one of the most exciting TV programmes I have ever watched and I instantly fell in love the dark, gritty nature of the show. When it was eventually cancelled after series 4, I remember being so mad, I even wrote a strongly worded email to the BBC, who kindly replied that it had nothing to do with them, but actually the American network instead.
If you are unfamiliar with Farscape, allow me to set the scene. John Crichton is a human astronaut who is testing a new theory when all goes horribly wrong and he is sucked inside of a wormhole and comes out in the darkest deepest depths of Space where he discovers there are in fact plenty of alien life forms in the galaxy. He meets a crew of escaped convicts consisting of various alien species and joins them on their quest as they try to outrun the Peacekeepers; a human like species who’s aim is to command an entire area of space.
John Crichton soon becomes the target as enemies want his scientific research on wormhole technology and their appeared desire to turn it into a weapon. So Crichton (human), Aeryn (Peacekeeper), D’Argo (Luxan), Zhaan (Delvian), Rygel (Hynerian) and Chiana (Nebari) travel on a Leviathen Ship called Moya, and they travel the universe trying to avoid capture and build a new life for themselves.
What is so unique about Farscape to me is that with Star Trek, Babylon 5, Andromeda etc it would have been so easy to copy ideas already set out. But it is so much grittier and raw than its Sci Fi counterparts and creates original concepts as it tries to build its own world.
The character’s all have their own unique abilities and roles and there comes a time when they clash, fight, squabble, fall in love, fall out of love; the list goes on. Perhaps I was clouded, but I don’t see bad acting at all; I see a wonderfully engaging and goosebump thrilling action and relationship driven show. I would go as far as to say that Farscape is one of my all time favourite shows. I’m getting giddy now just talking about it, but thankfully I have this, which allows me to simply give in to temptation and satisfy my craving.
When I say that it is more raw and gritty, I simply mean that it doesn’t have a set structure and is more dramatic where anything can happen. Star Fleet have there set of guidelines for the crew to follow, there is a hierarchy and that’s means that characters know their place. In Farscape, everyone is equal, they are all convicts and they must get use to one another in order to survive. It is much darker too, less family orientated and more adult drama. It has stronger issues, stronger language and doesn’t pretend it is something it isn’t.
Jim Henson designed and created the ‘puppet’ characters of Rygel and Pilot and they have come to be some of the more well known and canonized characters. Rygel crosses many lines, is defunct of morals and is out for himself. As a former king, he has expectations and is possibly the main character responsible for the humour in the show.
Some characters are killed, some leave and new ones are discovered, but I have a great respect for Scorpius; an evil, dark, sadistic antagonist that never falters and is always one step ahead. You don’t see this sort of ‘baddie’ in Star Trek. He will be prepared to do anything to access Crichton’s mind and even implants a device inside of his head to extract the information.
This is where some of the more alternate, fresh, comical and weird scenes come into play. When Crichton discovers the device working away inside of his head, he has hallucinations of Scorpius and can enter his own imagination. He call’s the Scorpius in his head ‘Sparky’ which is just pure genius; along with his pistol which he calls ‘Winona’ after a certain actress he finds attractive.
But the character of Crichton is perhaps the most inventive. He represents us humans in the show and he is flamboyant, bubbly, talkative on many occasions and he comes out with proverbs, one liners, clichés and funny quotes from our lives that make not only his character more believable and charming, but also that the world he is now faced with is perhaps just as scary for us to journey along right alongside him with; how would we react if we were thrust into his shoes?
There is not much more I can say, because I will give away entire plot lines. Please give this series a go if you ever get the chance because it is something different and if you are a fan of Sci Fi don’t be a snob; let your guard down and relax and give this your real attention. It certainly deserves it.
Watch the Series title run for a teaser to see if it intrigues you.
*Coming tomorrow: a chance to win a Sci Fi eBook*
*Please note i have taken the images from various websites. I do not own any of them*