on November 10, 2004
Between 1999 and 2003, the unique sci-fi television series "Farscape" was aired on the Sci-Fi Channel in the U.S. Filmed in Australia primarily by Jim Henson Productions with assistance from several Australian production companies and some funding from the Sci-Fi Channel, the series developed a strong following and was under contract for a total of five seasons. However, various funding & political issues forced the premature cancellation of the show following the fourth season (a total of 88 episodes), much to the dismay of loyal fans who (for the most part, including myself) were greatly disappointed by the inconclusive events left in the final minutes of the final fourth-season episode.
However, under the leadership of Jim Henson's (1936-1990) son, Brian Henson (Jim Henson Productions' president & CEO), Jim Henson Productions was able to secure full control over "Farscape", allowing it to produce a four-hour mini-series in 2004 to provide a better closure for the existing four seasons than the final events of the final fourth-season episode. Entitled "Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars", the four-hour mini-series was ostensibly equivalent to what the planned fifth season would have been, albeit much shorter, but in no way less wonderful or engaging as the original 88 episodes. On the contrary, thanks to Brian Henson's efforts (which included directing the mini-series himself), "Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars" was a fantastic, engaging and powerful conclusion for one of the best sci-fi television series that has ever been produced.
Seamlessly beginning where the final fourth-season episode ended, all of the cast members from the final fourth season returned in "Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars". This includes the no-nonsense Earth astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder), his fiancée Peacekeeper Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black), Ka D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe), Chiana (Gigi Edgley), Rygel XVI (voice of Jonathan Hardy), 'Pilot' (voice of Lani John Tupu), Scorpius/Harvey (Wayne Pygram), Sikozu Shanu (Raelee Hill), Joolushko Tunai Fenta Hovalis (Tammy McIntosh), Stark (Paul Goddard), Utu-Noranti Pralatong (Melissa Jaffer), Skarin Emperor Staleek (Duncan Young), Skarin War Minister Akhna (Francesca Buller), Peacekeeper Commandant Mele-on-Grayza (Rebecca Riggs), Peacekeeper Captain Meeklo Braca (David Franklin), Ka D'Argo's son Jothee (Nathaniel Dean) and wormhole alien dubbed 'Einstein' (John Bach).
With exquisite special effects, superb direction, an engaging & consistent plot and excellent acting, I rate "Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars" with a resounding 5 out of 5 stars and very highly recommend it to all "Farscape" fans. Some of the many memorable scenes in "Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars" include Rygel's efforts to help restore John & Aeryn and the subsequent consequences, the various battle scenes both in space and on the ground, John's solution to war, and the birth. Many thanks go to Brian Henson and the many wonderful actors and film crew that brought "Farscape" back to life. On a side note, Ben Browder has received four Saturn Award nominations from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, of which he won one in 2002 for "Best Actor in a Television Series".
We all know the drill. JC, astronaut, is shot through a wormhole and joins up with a crew of a ship, a living ship, as they blast through space one season at a time. Along the way they run into multiple baddies, destroy a wide array of bases, depositories, and even a few civilizations, and they also become something of a family. Sometimes that makes for humor, sometimes for seasons of sadness, and sometimes for thrilling adventure.
Such is Farscape.
For those who don't know about the series all that well, it is one of the few I'd tout as a complete product that can't be hyped enough. Following the exploits of John C. and the crew was a thrilling whirlwind to take part in because it evoked so many emotions and rewarded you, the viewer, for riding shotgun through the wormhole. You saw the transitions from character introduction plots and awkward travels to the becoming of crew labelled with words like "notoriety," "infamy," and a message filled with the hope for a better tomorrow. You even had the "little things" handed to you, from references to brushing teeth and how alien lifeforms could communicate, and you got it all with an Earth twist. Personally I've never pulled for "the good guy" before, not really one to touch base with the cliche characters in most shows, but the crew of Moya was different. They actually touched me with their plights and the ways they could always turn a bad situation into something worse and still come out alive, and I found myself addicted to it by the end of Season Two. That all seemed to come to an abrupt end when the plug was pulled on the series, though, and many people weren't happy with the cliffhanger ending. So, amidst a flurry of protest and the knowledge that Farscape sells, the Peacekeeper Wars was born.
Vaguely commenting, the storyline picks right up where we left off, taking into consideration a few things I didn't think of and setting off a war that everyone watching knew was going to come. You could smell it brewing, the Scarrans threatening too many people and Scorpius standing too close to that end, and when it falls it falls beautifully. I was actually taken by all the digital love the series was shown in this miniseries, shocked in a way by the amount of currency I saw circulating in those lovely ship battles, and I loved it. Added to this is the continuation of the tale of the main characters, with even Rygel getting a little news of home and the promise of things to come. And those these comments have to be vague, I can say with certainty that the storyline flowed and wasn't forced. If you liked the series, you'll love the taste of this brew as well, with all its emotional kicks in tow.
One other thing to note in all of this is that EVERYONE was back and taking part in this epic piece. I'm not talking about the crew and the main biggies, either, but I'm instead filtering through the "little guys" and happily noting their faces. Bracca, possibly one of my favorites, is joined by an array of people that take part in the series, again rewarding people that were perhaps wondering where they'd all gone. By and large, it is a complete set of faces to admire (and without that "guest spot" taste).
So, in a nutshell, buy this BUT ONLY if you've kept up with the series. If not, it would be akin to reading the final chapter in a book and trying to taste the textures. To those who wanted it, though, it has come and it felt good to have more. By the frelling gods, I'm still pumped up from seeing it.
on October 31, 2004
With the final episode of the series leaving all of the fans a bit lacking, and the huge amount of campaigning that was done to bring the show back, this miniseries was an answer to all that.
And what an answer it was.
Wrapping up many of the questions left behind after 4 action packed seasons, and bringing back to TV the characters that so many people fell in love with, The Peacekeeper Wars keeps up with the tradition of excellence that fans of the series have grown accustomed to. The plot line, though condensed considerably(this could have easily have been a Season 5 for the show) it still gives people a sense of closure to the series, but opens up new doors as well. The writing is excellent and the direction is fantastic, better than anything seen on tv or even in movies in a long time.
As for the acting, everyone did a more than excellent job with their roles, Ben Browder and Claudia Black once again show everyone why they are and always will be the sexiest and funniest, if not actionable, couple ever to be seen on TV. Wayne Pygram comes across better than ever as the dark anti-hero Scorpius, and also as the bumbling sidekick Harvey who still resides inside John Crichtons mind. All of the friends that people have made over the past 4 seasons return, and none of them give us a bad performance.
With Peacekeeper Wars you'll laugh, you cry, and you'll cheer, and your heart will break. It's the best mini-series I've ever seen, and I only hope that we see more of this wonderful show.
5 out of 5 stars.
on January 21, 2005
I could not possibly give this less than 4 stars because... well, it's Farscape! FarScape is definitly my FAVORITE SciFi show - ever. I can't imagine anything in the genre ever taking it's place (unless they ever finally make a GOOD version of Dune... but even then, it would be stiff competition!)
I loved Peacekeeper Wars - don't get me wrong... but the reviewers praising it as "perfection" just doesn't fit what I saw. On the other hand, the reviewers blasting it as awful obviously had their expectations raised to a level where nothing would have been able to fulfill their heart's desires... I'm somewhere in between.
While the show itsself was great, and finally filled that terrible gaping void that was left in my scifi heart when I saw the last Season 4 cliffhanger finale - it was still... an entire Season 5 squished into 4 hours. The writers, as always, did a terrific job in dialog, action, and fun - but they were given the unenviable task of trying to tie up alot of loose ends, and give us what they had originally planned to give us over the span of 22-25 hour episodes.
So, in conclusion - great show. I'm buying it, and I'll watch it over and over, and show as many friends and family as I can get to sit down long enough to see it :) But, as much as I did love it, in the end, there wasn't enough time to end it properly.
Here's to hoping for more FarScape - another episode, another ciniseries.. or best yet, a FarScape movie on the BIG SCREEN!!!!!
Warning: Spoilers ahoy!
When FARSCAPE was cancelled after Season Four and one of the great cliffhangers in TV history (John Crichton and Aeryn Sun becoming engaged to marry, but immediately afterwards being turned into a pile of crystallized pellets by a mysterious aircraft that flew over their boat), fans of the show responded with outrage. Had there not been a renewal of the series, or a mini-series, or even a feature length film to wrap up the loose ends of the series, it would surely have gone down as the least satisfying series finale in history. The demand was there, especially after the audience for the show actually grew after its cancellation (so much so that in a Summer of 2004 TV Guide poll of the top cult shows of all time, FARSCAPE surprisingly managed a #4 ranking, immediately behind BUFFY, THE X-FILES, and, of course, STAR TREK). So, when it was announced that there would be a mini-series, FARSCAPE: THE PEACEKEEPER WARS, to wrap up the series, the news was greeted with ecstasy by fans of the show.
So how'd they do? Overall, pretty well. Let me start with one of the few negatives: this is pretty clearly a mini-series into which most of the ideas of what would have been the fifth season was stuffed. There is through much of it a rushed feeling, as if they had to cover too much narrative in too brief of a time. This is especially true at the beginning. In a Season Five, the recreation and reconstitution of Aeryn and John, which took up only the first few minutes of the mini-series, would have been the subject of at least a couple of episodes. And Aeryn's brief hesitation to marry John in the mini-series would have taken up perhaps half of Season Five. In other words, the mini-series suffers slightly from a lack of room and the luxury of taking their time in unrolling the narrative.
What THE PEACEKEEPER WARS does not suffer from is a surfeit of ideas. After all, they are stuffing an entire season's story arc into four hours instead of twenty-two. As a result, we get a rich, fast-moving, idea-laden epic that manages to resolve all of the major plot lines of the series, while at the same time keeping sufficient openness for feature length film or spin off television series. I do miss the patient, slowly developing moments (remember the scene from Season Two when John is trying to talk to Aeryn after having narrowly avoided getting married to the princess, Aeryn doing dips on a bench in the background refusing to talk to him, then slowly, silently stopping her exercising, walking slowly to him and holding up the vial that contains the liquid that, when applied to the tip of the tongues, allows two people to know if they are genetically compatible, their applying it to their tongues, then kissing, then the long, long delay followed by Aeryn's turning poker faced around, and then finally a smile breaking out on her face?-this mini-series simply does not have the luxury for an exquisite moment like that). But these guys are on borrowed time; they have a story to tell, and they tell it quickly and they tell it well.
I won't go into all of the plot details. I will recount some of the things that I most enjoyed in THE PEACEKEEPER WARS. I loved the beginning, with a CGI Rygel swimming about the bottom of the lake where we witnessed the demise of John and Aeryn at the end of Season Four. I had more or less forgotten that Rygel was basically a frog, and seeing the usually immobile creep swimming about so nimbly was a lot of fun. The scene where the crew is fighting a host of enemies at the same moment that Aeryn is giving birth while continuing to blast away and getting married to John is classic FARSCAPE, taking absolutely everything way over the top. I loved how Aeryn, the former Nazi storm trooper, had softened, and experienced instant love for an infant she would never been allowed to have had she remained a Peacekeeper. I loved the final resolution of the Scorpius arc, and even felt a pang of regret when Harvey and John say goodbye for the final time. I loved Chianna's new look, having gained new eyes after suffering blindness in Season Four. I loved the fact that she and Ka D'Argo finally managed to patch things up, after she crushed him at the start of Season Three. Would they have married? Who knows, but there was clearly a desire on the part of the writers to heal things between them. I loved Ka D'Argo's death, though I detested the fact that he died. The almost jocular way he talked with John reflected how far their friendship had come from Season One, when he seemed more likely to kill John than befriend him. And after having watched John and Aeryn engage in one of the most tortured near-romances in the history of TV for four seasons, it was marvelous to see them together, comfortable with one another, content and unconflicted at finally being a couple, exalting over their new son. There was a great else besides that was great to enjoy, but these were only a few.
Apart from the rushed aspect of the series and the fact that Ka D'Argo died, there was not a great deal that I didn't like about the series. There was, however, one. At the end of Season Four, Sikozu Shanu was not clearly a good or a bad character but had the potential in Season Five (had it taken place) to evolve into either. In the mini-series she evolves into a completely reprehensible character. Her treachery was a bit of a shock. I also had serious problems with her physical appearance. Raelee Hill, who plays Sikozu Shanu, is a remarkably beautiful woman (most Americans only know what she looks like in make up, but she might be in real life the most attractive of all of the FARSCAPE women). But the hairstyle and make up they deploy on her in the mini-series was shocking. Despite having seen Raelee Hill's name in the credits, I seriously wondered whether they had a new actress was playing Sikozu Shanu. It was a bad, bad look for her. Perhaps in the course of a full season Sikozu Shanu's treason would have been developed more convincingly, but here it felt implausible and unconvincing. It was one of the few false notes in an otherwise excellent mini-series.
Now for the big question: was this up to the extremely high standards set by the series? Yes and no. Clearly it was well-conceived, and many of the individual moments were marvelous. In the end, it is the difference between having 182 minutes with which to work versus over 900 minutes. As it is, I think it is a wonderful extension of the series as a whole. I think there is also enough evidence here to indicate that Season Five would have been very good indeed.
Is there a future for FARSCAPE? Though it labored in relative obscurity during its run on TV, more and more it considered to be one of if not the finest Sci-Fi series that TV has seen. Star Ben Browder has stated a willing ness to work on either a film project or on a spin off series, though his involvement on STARGATE SG-1 obviously complicates things. My gut (which admittedly has no connection with the world of reality) tells me that we have probably seen the end of the FARSCAPE saga. Had they seriously been considering continuing the series in some fashion, I simply cannot imagine them deciding to allow the death of Ka D'Argo. Mind you, no one would be happier to see Moya and her companions exploring new corners of the universe, but I suspect that this mini-series will be the last we see of the guys. Nonetheless, I am profoundly grateful that they did this marvelous mini-series not just to wrap up the various story lines of the series, but to allow us to share some final adventures with some characters we had come to love very much. FARSCAPE is one of my favorite series ever, and I'm delighted that the powers that be allowed it to end so very well.
Finally, I want to praise Hallmark for bringing this mini-series out on such a remarkably affordable disc. I honestly feel that the full season DVD sets are criminally overpriced (there truly is no hyperbole in that statement). The outrageous price tags are absolutely not morally justifiable, and I can't conceive that they are economically justifiable, since few can afford them (if FARSCAPE is ever made available on sets that discount to around $38 a set, then this series will experience another leap in popularity). In fact, THE PEACEKEEPER WARS might be a tad under priced. We might have been better off if they had put it on an extra disc and added more special features and commentary. As it is, we have a high quality reproduction of the television mini-series with little or no special features, but with a truly outstanding price. I just wish each of the four regular seasons were comparably priced.
on February 26, 2005
It was so much more than any of us were expecting. As an ardent Save-Farscaper, I was stunned and overjoyed when this amazing franchise was revived for three more hours of mind-blowing entertainment.
There is not a single thing in the mini series that disappointed me. A couple of plot points were more comical (and possibly slightly contrived/ridiculous), but hey, that's Farscape, right? They've had their fair share of wacky.
All in all, I give the mini series 6 out of 5. The only problem I have is that it didn't disappoint me enough to let me down gently. Instead, it has geared me up, ready for the next chapter in the saga! Please, Brian Henson, never give up!
As for this DVD release, I like the idea of combining the two parts into one movie ++ length piece, but it was done at the expense of some picture and sound quality. The extras are good without being spectacular.
However, if you have NOT YET BOUGHT THIS ITEM: Get the Region 2 PK Wars (Available from amazon.co.uk, of course). For those of you who are wondering why, I have two words for you:
But either way, anyone who has ever enjoyed an episode of Farscape needs to put the PK Wars DVD (Region 1 or 2 - and hopefully, soon, 4) first on their shopping list!
on October 31, 2004
Back from an apparent death, John Crichton (Ben Browder) and a very pregnant Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black), along with the rest of the Farscape ensemble, find themselves scrambling for cover in the midst of an all-out shooting war between the Scarrans and the Subaceans. Crichton still possesses, locked in his mind, what many believe to be the key to victory: the secret of wormhole technology. He and his friends enlist the aid of a nearly extinct race of legendary peacemakers to settle the conflict, but, cornered and desperate to save his new family, Crichton will ultimately be forced to produce the weapon that everyone has been clamoring for. However, is it what they expect?
One of the best TV series ever finally gets the send-off it deserves. With the exception of a couple particularly implausible moments, this is classic, top-notch Farscape all the way. I understand that the Sci-Fi Channel got great ratings for this mini-series, with the second night surpassing the first. Here's hoping for more Farscape. As The X-Files demonstrated in its final seasons, the pressures and responsibilities of parenting don't mesh well with a weekly adventure series, but more mini-series events would be very welcome indeed./
on October 31, 2004
While a most excellent ride, I give this miniseries 4 stars rather than 5 as it doesn't quite match the series' best moments. This is probably due to having to compress the main story from an entire season into a 4 episode miniseries.
Also I felt that Sci-fi channel butchered it a bit, being a bit happy as regards cutting scenes to make room for ads. The feature time on this DVD is listed as 4 hours, whereas the Sci-Fi airing was only 3 hours long after you took out the ads. Hopefully if the DVD specs are accurate, the DVD version should prove far more enjoyable and be worthy of 5 stars.
I'm not sure if I'd recommend this DVD to Farscape virgins. While there is quite a lot of standalone plot and exposition, you don't get to see the characters in all their glory, and Farscape is above all a character driven story. For fans waiting for the resolution of the cliffhanger from the last series and hoping to see tie-ups of loose plot threads, this miniseries delivers. Harvey in particular gets a fantastic farewell scene. And the "this is your playground" scene at the end really summed up what the series was about.
on October 26, 2013
For me, I had to struggle to get through almost every one of the episodes of the fist three and a half seasons. Here's why. Someone once warned "don't eat the Brown Acid." If you watch this series (and you should) you will be convinced that not only did they eat the Brown Acid, but all of the peyote to.
That said, I'm a diehard sci fi fan, that kind of snob that demands that everything in the story be at least plausible. I realized late in my viewing, that if I was going to stick it out, I would have to abandon that platitude. Sadly, I couldn't, but something wonderful happened on the way to OZ. All of a sudden, the writers sobered up enough to say to each other "we gotta cut down on the Brown Acid and peyote." Once they did, real character development took place, some plausibility came to bare and the story took real shape.
When I started the show, I was convinced I'd never see it through. By the third season I hated it, but two thirds through season three I really liked it. By season four I was sad it would soon be over and by the end I was left wanting more. I was so turned around and involved in the show I paid $10.00 for the Peacekeeper wars. Last night when I finished the Peacekeeper wars, I realized I hated to see those wonderful characters go. At that moment I became like all of the rest who bothered watching this show hoping that someday the powers that be would do a reunion show all of these years later.
If your going to watch Farscape, it might be a good idea to indulge yourself in a few Fellini movies or watch the movie Heavy Metal to prepare. Also, open your mind until it nearly rolls out of your head on to the floor, then you might be ready. What ever you do, watch it, and for god's sake "don't eat the Brown Acid."
on March 25, 2016
Movie itself: great finale!!! Loved every minute of it, and was satisfied by the ending (as opposed to favorite shows that have had very poor endings). Product: pricey, but hard to find and in high demand. No regrets. Product of quality with no glitches.
Only one complaint: there is no information on the "two-disc set." I expected that that the finale was in 2 parts as it stated 180min (3 hours long). So, did not get to prepare myself emotionally, and did not know I was viewing the last minutes of a favorite show, until it ended. First disc is the 3-hour long movie, second disc is a 30min documentary on the making of the series.