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Television's Best Space Opera Goes Through The Wormhole And Comes Out Blu,
This review is from: Farscape: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Series: 5 stars
Presentation: 4 stars
Extras: 5 stars (though most not new)
Worth initial purchase: Absolutely.
Worth upgrading if you already own: Not necessarily.
For four seasons (1999-2003), "Farscape" is a show that redefined my feelings about science fiction television. I'm not someone who got caught up in Star Trek, Firefly, Stargate, Babylon 5, or the myriad of other sci-fi shows that predated or ran concurrently with "Farscape." But this one captured my attention. So simple, yet so complex, this show assembled elements that really shouldn't have worked. From slapstick comedy, to genuine romance, to serialized adventure, to harrowing drama, to riveting suspense, to flying puppetry--"Farscape" had something for everyone. In a precise balancing act, they made you genuinely care about the well-drawn characters. While others might talk of great effects, costumes, and make-up (which the show had), the thing that distinguished this piece for me was the characters who were always believable despite their otherworldliness. I credit a crew of great writers and great actors!
In many ways, I still think of "Farscape" as one of the most underrated shows of its era. Nominated for only one Emmy (Costumes in 2002), the actors really deserved a lot more recognition for their deft contributions. Ben Browder is one of the most appealing leading men that you're likely to encounter, I was happy to experience this land of wonder through his eyes. Claudia Black, in my opinion, had at least two years where I felt she was one of the best actresses on TV period. The show boasted one of sci-fi's best villains, Scorpius, and Wayne Pygram would have won a Supporting Actor Emmy in the perfect world. But the entire cast blended together seamlessly, so when the show morphed from lightness to tragedy--the results could be emotionally devastating!
Few things have been more anticipated in the science fiction landscape than the promise of "Farscape" on Blu-ray. As someone who owned every episode on standard DVD, the announcement still made my heart beat a little faster. And the question on everyone's lips is certainly "Is it worth an upgrade?" After making some visual and content comparisons, the answer would have to be a qualified maybe. It isn't, perhaps, an essential upgrade or one that needs to be undertaken immediately--but the show looks great even if it's not on a whole different level. This edition was optimized from European PAL masters for HD and there is a image crispness and clarity that is a step up from the original releases. Truthfully, though, it doesn't really change the overall viewing experience to a vast degree. So if you already own the episodes, it may or may not be worth the extra expenditure depending on how much this improvement is worth to you.
The Blu-ray Bonus Features only include one addition that is not present on the standard DVD releases. The HD presentation of "Memories of Moya: An Epic Journey Explored" is a contemporary documentary in which notable members of the cast and the creators look back on the show's legacy. As a big fan of the show, I loved seeing everyone now--but again, it is a large financial investment just for this one new feature if you already have everything else.
Blu-Ray Details: 88 episodes on 20 discs. 31 Audio Commentaries. Aside from NEW Memories of Moya Documentary, all other features are the same as the previously released standard DVD Complete Collection set. It is a comprehensive and exhaustive collection of added bonuses, over 15 hours worth.
(1) Farscape Undressed: Behind-the-scenes special that aired on the Sci-Fi network (before it was SyFy), (2) Documentary entitled In The Beginning: A Look Back with Brian Henson, (3) Documentary entitled Making of A Space Opera, (4) Documentary entitled Farscape: The Story So Far, (5) Villains Featurette, (6) Visual Effects Featurette, (7) Save Farscape Featurette, (8) Deleted Scenes, (9) Director's Cut Scenes, (10) Alternate version of Season 2 Premiere, (11) Behind the Scenes Interviews and Video Profiles, and (12) original TV promos.
Not Included: 2004's Miniseries The Peacekeeper Wars
If you do not own "Farscape," do yourself a favor and treat yourself to one of the most innovative and entertaining shows imaginable. Buy this now! If, however, you already own the series--this version may not be worth the upgrade if you are already happy with the edition that you have. Like most things, this boils down to a matter of choice, priorities, and finances. KGHarris, 11/11.