Short review: Short through a wormhole, John Crichton falls in with escaped convicts and flees to avoid prosecution.
Farscape One gets lost
Moya's prisoners escape
Crais becomes insane
Full review: It surprises no one who knows me that I love Farscape. In fact, I consider it and Babylon 5 to be the two best television science fiction shows ever made. (Here is where I will make my apologies to Firefly, which was brilliant, but was abused so badly by foolish FOX executives and ended up with a distressingly short run and thus falls short of joining those two shows at the top of the heap). The first episode, fittingly titled Premiere starts the show off by force-feeding the viewer background information at a breakneck pace with just enough actual story to keep things from dragging. This episode is the only one in the series in which the title sequence does not have a voice over by John Crichton (Ben Browder), and this seems to be because the first season voice over essentially describes the events that take place in this episode. And despite the fact that the basics of the background can be summed up in about twenty seconds of dialogue, the episode has to do a lot of heavy lifting to bring the viewer up to speed.
|John Crichton, astronaut and fish out of water|
|Dominar Rygel VXI|
|Fear my dopey hat|
But where the shows brilliance shines through is in the choice of John Crichton, astronaut from near future Earth, to serve as a focal character. This set up allows the writers to dump exposition upon the viewer by having other characters dump it on Crichton. And rather than the exposition being a continuous litany of boring background, the delivery is laden with humor as Crichton, used to being an astronaut and thus one of the smartest guys in any room he is in, has to deal with being so out of his element that he doesn't even know what the gun he is holding shoots. And the writers take full advantage of this, throwing in minor details as background that make the Farscape world alien and believable - Rygel farts helium when he's nervous, D'Argo has an extensible tongue he can use as a weapon, Zhaan can accelerate her movements to incredible speeds, and so on. But the story does give Crichton an opportunity to shine as well, despite his constant confusion and bumbling attempts to act as a human ambassador to the myriad of aliens he meets.
This is, without a doubt, a very exposition heavy episode. But as the initial episode for a science fiction series with a setting that is almost wholly alien, this is almost certainly a necessary evil. Despite the heaping dollops of back story that the episode piles on, the story flows by fairly quickly for the most part, although the plot is fairly basic (so basic that it can be recounted in a twenty to thirty second voice over every week starting with the next episode). Despite having to convey a huge pile of background information and an as yet fairly uninspired choice of a central antagonist, Premiere does a fine job of kicking off one of the best television shows ever made.
Subsequent episode reviewed: I, E.T.
Subsequent episode reviewed (airdate order): Exodus from Genesis
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