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This review is from: Farscape: The Complete Series (DVD)
"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..."
From the very first episode onward, it's pretty obvious that "Farscape: The Complete Series" is no ordinary sci-fi series -- the characters are outlaws, the ship is alive, and distant galaxies are full of Muppets. Fortunately, it's not just unusual but brilliant -- full of irreverent humor, strange alien species, heart-pounding action and eerie sci-fi.
Astronaut John Crichton is planning to slingshot his experimental craft, Farscape One, as a one-small-step into interstellar exploration. Instead, he gets thrown through a wormhole, and ends up drifting in a firefight between a vast living prison ship called Moya and the hypermilitaristic Peacekeepers. Obviously, he wants to go home, but isn't sure how.
So he begins a journey with a gang of escaped criminals -- the priestess Zhaan, the bombastic warrior D'Argo, deposed dominar Rygel, and the prickly, surly ex-Peacekeeper Aeryn Sun. They gain a few new members of their crew (including Moya's weaponized baby and the seductive, rebellious Chiana), but also lose some valued friends and allies along the way.
As the series unfolds, the Moya crew encounter countless alien planets, where they deal with bizarre problems, individuals (mad scientists, vengeful Peacekeepers, and Ancients), and alien life-forms (shapeshifting space bugs!). And they must constantly dodge the Peacekeeper Forces, and later the cruel Scarrans -- including the Sebacean/Scarran Scorpius. The Scarrans want the wormhole secrets locked inside Crichton's head, and ancient beings are even more determined to keep his knowledge secret....
"Farscape: The Complete Series" smashes apart the space opera mold, and puts it back together in its own style -- flying Muppets, an alien pilot grafted into Moya, squeaking insectile robots, Leviathans, and blue-skinned telepathic plant people. Yeah, it DOES sound cheesy -- but instead the Farscapeverse just ends up feeling colorful, diverse and sometimes horrifically dark. And fortunately, its promise is fulfilled by brilliant writing.
The series has lots of overarcing storylines twined with clever, intricate one-off episodes and solid personal subplots (mostly involving romance and revenge -- though thankfully it rarely gets soapy). And the dialogue is beyond awesome -- it's crammed with snappy dialogue, pop culture references ("How Batman was that!"), and alien slang words ("frelling" and "mivonks" among others). Every episode has loads of clever, irreverent and wonderfully quotable lines ("I'm not fast enough, I am not alien enough, and you know what, there are people in the universe who don't like me!").
And the cast is simply brilliant, especially since their characters evolve gradually through the series, revealing tragedies and hopes in the process. Ben Browder is great as the "alien" one, a seemingly ditzy astronaut with plenty of brains and sweet kookiness; Claudia Black's Aeryn makes a great love interest for him, as a hardnosed, disdainful ubersoldier who changes into a strong, passionate woman. Virginia Hey, Gigi Edgley, and Anthony Simcoe all give stellar performances as well -- and while Rygel and Pilot are technically played by Muppets, they are gloriously three-dimensional and expressive.
One thing to note: "Farscape: The Complete Series" ends on a massive cliffhanger because the Sci Fi Channel unexpectedly cancelled it, and "The Peacekeeper Wars" (the conclusive ending) apparently won't be included, since the rights belong to two different companies.
Thankfully, it has bucketloads of extras -- twenty-nine commentaries with actors, directors, Brian Henson; TV promos, slideshows, archival photos and clips; assorted conceptual scripts and art; deleted scenes; archival clips; and chitchats with the cast, crew, and fans. Also a whole bunch of featurettes and documentaries including "In The Beginning," "Making of a Space Opera" and "Inside Farscape: Save Farscape." Whew!
"Farscape: The Complete Series" is a cult sci-fi series that deserves to be watched again and again, especially with the new extras. Too bad the final miniseries isn't here.
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Showing 1-10 of 19 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 11, 2009 2:02:58 PM PDT
Christopher Tietgen says:
To me this is one of the best sci-fi series ever! A lot of people can't get past the muppets, but that's their loss.
All of the extras in this set appear to be the same as the old ADV produced DVD, which is lame, but it won't keep me from buying this set even though I already own the ADV version.
And it does suck that they won't be including The Peacekeeper Wars.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2009 1:46:50 PM PDT
Razr Maxx says:
Yeah, shame about PKW not being included, but no big deal. But I'm still going to pick this up because I never got a good copy of Starburst v2.3. Damn ADV and their terrible QC. Bad batch of discs were used for every copy of any particular volume. Had the same problem with Andromeda v4.4 (IIRC)... Disc layer sepaeration problem or something. Had what looked like water smears within the surface. Of course, this would play hell with the DVD player laser reader. Of course getting this entire series in one nice neat concise package will be a major help in freeing up shelf space. Get rid of all those double-alpha cases the Starburst set came in.
Posted on Aug 12, 2009 3:30:45 PM PDT
This is awesome news!, i was JUST about to purchase the region 2 set , i'm glad i didn't this IS the best sci-fi show i have ever seen!
Posted on Aug 12, 2009 4:42:34 PM PDT
J. Romeo says:
I ma jazzed that they are finally bringing it out again. I started watching it when it first came out, but went into the military and never was able to watch. Now all I see are crazy outrageous prices for the dvds. Over a hundred dollars for one series. I don't think so. Complete rip off. Now that this is coming out and you can get it all for the same price as one of those rip off artists I am happy as a clam. I hope they all get stuck with their copies and cannot sell them. Nothing more than they deserve.
Posted on Aug 12, 2009 7:05:44 PM PDT
E. A Solinas says:
Same as you all, I did a happy dance when I found out that it was coming out again. I am poor and cannot afford the hundred-plus marketplace pricetag for the older seasonlong editions (or spend four dollars per episode for the Starburst Editions), so this is great news for me. :D:D:D:D
Christopher, I don't know why Muppets are such a problem for some people -- nobody stops watching Empire Strikes Back! And Yoda is a more "typical" Muppet than Rygel and Pilot.
Posted on Aug 12, 2009 8:17:00 PM PDT
J. Romeo says:
I have to agree that I do not think that it was the "muppet" aspect that turned off people. There are plenty of examples around that it works. Heck, the new Where the Wild Things Are is full of the "muppet" thing. As much as I love Sci-Fi, and well done Sci-Fi, it just can't keep an audience. Or at least an audience that can keep a show alive. Firefly rocked, but it got cancelled. Battlestar Galactica rocked too, but it's not on the air anymore. Ok, besides the movie that is coming out and the Caprica mini series. I think that if the show were to come back some how (I know it's not going to happen) with the right production and the right network supporting it might last longer, muppets and all, but it would still be cancelled. Maybe I am too pessimistic.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2009 10:04:14 PM PDT
E. A Solinas says:
Well, sadly that's part of most cult shows of any stripe -- not just sci-fi, but also comedy (think Arrested Development), fantasy, and so on. Most of the time, they don't last as long as they deserve, while shows like "Friends" hang on forever.
Posted on Aug 13, 2009 2:13:10 PM PDT
Magdalena Michowska says:
All in all there were 41 commentaries recorded, so 29 on this release leaves quite a few out:(
Posted on Aug 25, 2009 9:46:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 25, 2009 9:47:26 AM PDT
Zachary Hutton says:
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2009 10:16:41 AM PDT
Robert Moore says:
I'm confused. How is repackaging a series that was previously prohibitively expensive into a version that is extremely affordable anything but a very good thing? I own the Starburst edition, for which I ended up paying several hundred dollars, which was a huge savings over the original edition.
And $50? That is absurd. The new price is a reasonable one. Your comment just sounds petulant and unreasonable.