Farscape's first season is a winner. Although clearly in its infancy, the series quickly estabished a group of interesting malcontents riding around on a living prison ship (which, contrary to the amazon.com review, the concept of a living ship wasn't borrowed from Babylon 5. It's been in science fiction literature for years and was first used in Star Trek: The Next Generation in the episode entitled Tin Man). Astornaut John Crichton has been flung through a wormhole while on an experimental space flight. He ends up on the other side of the glaxay. There he discovers that the Universe is filled to the brim with alien life forms. We haven't encountered them because our corner of the Milky Way still has too many vacancies.
He has to throw his fortunes in with a group of escaped prisoners and a Peacekeeper--the galatic military police force that keeps law and order. It's not the premise that matters (there are any number of great premises that fail to deliver).
What matters is the quality of the writing. Episodes like the Premiere, That Old Black Magic and others feature strong writing and witty performances by the ensemble cast. The direction is always interesting and even the weakest written episodes usually has something to recommend it.
The visual effects are marvelous and most on are a par with feature films. This isn't the finest season but it has many terrific moments that rank with the best in television science fiction.
on 12 September 2002
The long awaited dvd-box-set of season 1 has arrived.
FarScape is a welcome breath of fresh air in the world of sci-fi. The Jim Henson Company tells a story about an astronaut who, during a test flight, gets shot through a wormhole, and ends up on the other side of the universe in the middle of a space battle. What seems unreal to him, looks pretty everyday to the aliens surrounding him. As events unfold, he is forced to team up with a colorful crew of escaped prisoners.
While finding a way home, they have to stay out of the claws of a race called 'the peacekeepers' which are, despite their name, actually a pretty ruthless and aggressive species.
The great thing is that, unlike some other series, everything is possible in this universe and no one feels the need to explain why it is possible. Just as you think you start to know how the series is going to develop, the next episode takes you by surprise.
Combine the amazing Jim Henson Studios creations with some funny and dead-sexy characters ("Ah you mean like The Muppets?" "Mmmm no, not quite!"), and you will have yourself a series to have and to hold. Forever.
on 8 January 2006
One year on (more or less) from the conclusion to the Farscape series (the mini-series Peacekeeper Wars) and I still haven't recovered from the loss of an ongoing Farscape story. One of the most gripping, thought-provoking, groundbreaking, and entertaining TV series ever made, Farscape's premature cancellation, despite winning many awards, still rankles.
Thankfully, ALL four regular seasons plus the 2-part mini-series conclusion (which brings the story to a satisfactory end at least) are available on DVD. That's 90 hours of perfect television at your fingertips. What more can you ask for?
At the beginning of Season One, John Crichton (superbly played by Ben Browder) is a contemporary American astronaut/scientist on a 'routine' mission outside the earth's atmosphere to test a theory of space propulsion which he has invented. While making his test, he is inadvertently shot though a wormhole instead and spat out 'on the other side of the galaxy.' He is then picked up by the crew of a leviathan ship—which turns out to be a huge benign creature who allows other creatures to live inside her—and is confronted by a motley group of aliens of varying species who have never heard of Earth, and are more concerned with eluding pursuit than with either Crichton or his planet of origin. Turns out this leviathan's crew are all escaped prisoners, and John is stuck on board with them—for better or for worse.
Crichton, the only human, is our instant reference point. He only wants to 'find a way home,' at least at first. Of course we can all relate to his point of view, but as the series develops, we get drawn, with him, into that universe on the other side of the galaxy which holds so many wonders for our displaced human. We get to watch John meet the challenges he faces, and discover, to our extreme delight, what a lowly 'human' such as himself brings into the mix.
The character of Crichton is an American, but the series was filmed in Australia with input from people from all over the English-speaking world, so Farscape is NOT a typical American good-guy-white-hat kind of story. John Crichton is a complex human being, with strengths and weaknesses we get to discover right along with him and his crewmates on the leviathan. We become aware that Crichton an INDIVIDUAL human being, not a race, or a national stereotype.
John Crichton is cheeky, resourceful, kind, intelligent, inventive, loyal, incorrigible, hilarious, intuitive, sexy, unpredictable, explosive, courageous, romantic and supportive. We love him truly—right from the start—and begin to ponder, at least by midseries, what the heck will happen if he ever does manage to 'get home' again. Won't earth be too small for him now? (Hold that thought.)
Season One is more episodic than the following seasons. Several story arcs develop subtly in Season One, including the incredibly moving and believable love story between Crichton and the stiffly-vulnerable Peacekeeper soldier Aeryn Sun (played by Claudia Black) but Season One is primarily where you get to know Crichton, get to know the other beings he associates with, get to know the larger 'world' of Farscape.
Some episodes are weaker than the others, of course, but they are all entertaining and all bear re-watching too. Season One ends by revealing to us the 'real' villain of the piece—the most memorable villain EVER recorded on film—but fortunately you don't have to wait a whole year to find out what happens next (like I did while watching Farscape on the BBC!) Not with all these wonderful DVDs on offer now...
I can only recommend that you buy ALL the Farscape DVDs right away, along with this one. You will love the show—I guarantee!—and will watch them all, again and again and again. Probably for your whole lifetime. Farscape is unforgettable stuff.
on 10 November 2005
Farscape is at the least a refreshing Sci-Fi TV series that reminds us (a little bit) of the beginning of Buck Rogers: the main character is a contemporary human that is catapulted by accident through a wormhole to a further technological advanced faraway point in the universe.
It's funny and sexy, well directed, reasonable scripts (even though the forced hate relationship between the villain with the bad hair do and the hero is pretty lame), the CGI is very good; the puppets are the best of Henson's workshop.
It is a must have for Si-Fi fans. Very good special features within a great packaging box set with 22 episodes at a very good price.
FOR ALL NON-ENGLISH VIEWERS: This DVD box set doesn't have any audio options besides original English (no problem here); BUT (and this is unforgiving): no subtitles available (not even English for the hearing unpaired). Making it really difficult to understand if you are not a very well English language tutored person: names and Sci-Fi terms are really difficult to catch, so as when aliens speak up (this makes me think twice before considering purchase further seasons; and let me say, modesty apart, I think I have had pretty good tutoring). Hence the 4 stars general rate (4 for the show and 1 for communication options, maybe the DVD producers don't want to make more money with it).
on 18 January 2004
This is a great and essential season of Farscape too own on DVD. In this First season we are introduced to the main cast characters (John Crichton, Aryn Sun, Rygel, D'Argo and Zahn) and some other recurring characters such as Scorpious, chiana, Bialar Crais and Stark. The strong points of Farscape have to be the excellent writing and directing, the great performances, great humour and some of the best visual effects I've seen for a TV series.
And although this wasn't the best season made it does includes some great scripted and well directed episodes such as 'Through the looking Glass, The Hidden Memory, Thank god it's Friday again, Nerve and Premiere.
Anyway I recommend anyone who has or hasn't seen Farscape to check out this DVD box set.
The Box set includes all 22 of the episodes from season one and features some great extras such as a making of Farscape documentary, video profiles and audio commentaries that will keep you entertained for hours and hours. It also comes in very nice packaging!!!
on 2 January 2004
The result of Sci Fi channel and Jim Henson productions, Farscape is the most original and enjoyable science fiction series to grace international screens for a long time, and the serialised nature of the show entails knowledge of at least some of the developments in the first formative year.
This DVD box set contains all 22 episodes previously released by Contender Entertainment Group and Kult TV but there are a few advantages; as well as a lower price the set includes audio commentaries from cast and crew which were previously unavailable, while the set itself is more compact and collectable than the original releases.
Noteable episodes include "Premiere," the story of how John Crichton ended up far from home with the crew of escaped criminal extraterrestrials; "'Til the Blood Runs Clear" where the appearance of bounty hunters allows Moya's crew to test their loyalties; "A Human Reaction" which is a vital episode that leads to the whole wormhole technology/Ancients story arc that provides the motivation for Scorpius over the next two years, and every episode on the latter discs leading up to the excellent cliffhanger of season 1.
The first season of a major television series is a time of new ideas and directions and while the plot arcs and episodes aren't all up to the standards of some of the later series there are enough classic Farscape episodes here to make the set worth the RRP, and is certainly worth buying for Amazon's reduced price.
on 11 September 2006
Over its four series plus minseries, Farscape attained giddy heights of TV excellance. The first series was in many ways the weakest but still far superior to anything else in the genre, even the underated "Firefly" and it, er, tinkles over the Star Trek and Star Gate franchises from an almighty height.
You'll want to start with Series 1 so its worth getting this set. Don't be put of by the clumsy early episodes. Its gets much better even in Series 1 and by series 3 things are really cooking. The first four episodes on the DVDs are in transmission order rather than the original script order and actually work best if viewed in sequence 1.01, 1.04, 1.03, 1.02. After that, over all four series, the DVD order is correct and thats important because this is not a series of standalone episodes. There are rich interweaving arcs and by series three a novice
viewer coming in on a given episode will be completely lost, which is as it should be.
Though the dialogue is reasonably snappy, the humour endearing, and the effects and costumes impressive, what really makes this series are the characters and the acting, and that includes the muppets. There really is nothing alse like Farscape. Its a tragedy it ended but what we have rocks.
on 2 June 2007
This is so close to a five star series but I've decided to give it only four for the fact it doesn't quite reach the same quality as later series and the stunning neglect of language options on the disks (No subtitles of any kind including english for the hearing impaired).
The series follows an astronaut John Crichton who is on an experimental one-man space flight when a wormhole opens up out of nowhere and he's suddenly catapulted across the universe into the middle of a massive space battle. Long-story-short he ends up on board a living ship full of escaped prisoners trying to avoid the Peace-Keepers (The PKs are basically the federation from star-trek but with more torture and oppression). The plot of the series does take a few episodes to get into swing, with the episodes still very much self-contained stories as opposed to parts of one big storyline until about episode 19. Having said that all of the episodes (bar 'Jeremiah Crichton') are very enjoyable sci-fi stories in themselves and still feature some of the best characters to grace science fiction, albiet in their development infancy.
The series has all the usual problems of a first season; the characters are less refined, the effects are occasionally patchy blah, blah, blah. It still contains some of the best writing in the genre for a long time, rivaled only by Firefly. The characters quickly become very ambiguous, with none of our 'heroes' fitting the squeaky-clean standard of most American sci-fi recently. Even Crichton, the central and most easily sympathetic character starts showing the beginnings of dangerous insanity towards the end of the series and a blinding determination to get home.
The aliens in this series stand out on two main fronts, one is the grey-area characterization I previously mentioned and the other is the way they look. The make-up and effects teams on this series really did some incredible work, using masks that mold to follow the actors faces, incredibly intricate body-paints and some very high-tech puppets which almost have you believing they're real by the end of the series.
So, for 18 episodes with one exception we are treated to an excellent series of little space adventures with interesting characters and a dark edge, then we get our first taste of what Farscape was to become, with a two-part story 'Nerve'/'The Hidden Memory' the series suddenly seems to rocket in quality as plot strands running from episodes as far back as the opening are all resurrected and piled into one pulse-pounding story. Sadly Farscape's greatest strength - this sense of each episode being only part of one complicated and long plot - is also it's greatest weakness as unless you've seen all the previous episodes you'll probably have no idea what's happening.
Farscape's favorite trick is to take an established sci-fi plot line and twist it into something new, and this is done most often in this first season. For example: a distress signal from an apparently helpless girl who is being pursued by a monster which is answered by the crew, now any one whose seen any of Star Trek will know that it'll probably turn out that she is the real monster and the supposed villain is merely misunderstood, but when Farscape takes this one on the relationship of victim and villain is switched back and forward again and again until you have trouble keeping track and then hits you with a final twist in which the role of the piece's true villain is revealed to be... well I won't say more than that.
This is a very re-watchable series and remains extremely enjoyable, but be warned it contains one of the best cliffhanger endings of all time and you'll probably end up buying all four other series. If you're a fan of science-fiction this is one you definitely won't want to miss, without a doubt one of the best sci-fi shows of all time.
on 26 September 2002
Farscape, it has to be said, is the best science fiction action adventure series ever made, the overall story arc being one of the most compelling in any TV series. The story arc doesn't begin until episode 19, however, with the first Farscape two-parter, introducing the character of Scorpius (who's changed a lot now) and making an ally of Crais. But the episodes before it are classic Scape, with the passable Premiere, the insane Throne For A Loss (the template for many a comedic Farscape episode), and the wonderful, wonderful Through the Looking Glass. A Human Reaction is the best episode, though, it has you on the edge of your seat throughout. Not to mention A Bug's Life, a gripping but violent John Carpenter's The Thing homage that surpasses the X-File's Ice episode.
PLUS ALL THAT you get the commentaries that were thus far denied us, featuring the cast and crew, and a splendid, funny, intelligent bunch of people they are too. If Farscape's going to go out, it's going to go out with a bang. Thank you, Lee Binding. He loves us, he really does. :-)
on 9 April 2005
I missed Farscape when it came out on TV. When I finally got round to watching an episode my first thought was "muppets in space". I didn't persevere and that was that.
More recently I had the opportunity to watch the first few episodes and I became totally and utterly hooked. This show is relentless in moving the story forward and makes absolutely no concessions for a viewer who missed earlier episodes. Thus one needs to be view this show from the start to fully appreciate the backstory and characters.
I've watched and to a varying degree enjoyed pretty much every sci fi show that comes around. This show has quickly become my personal favorite. It combines the interpersonal character development of B5, the epic sci-fi time-twisting stories of ST, acting far beyond what you would normally expect in a sci-fi and wonderous special effects.
I strongly recommend that any sci fi fan buy this first series and see what they have been missing - you won't regret it.