Wednesday, April 1, 1970

Farscape, Season One

Farscape is one of my favorite television shows of all time. Note that I did not qualify that as "one of my favorite science fiction television shows". No, it was one of my favorite shows ever, only a hair's breadth behind Babylon 5 (which, in my estimation is the best television show ever produced). Farscape was a science fiction series that originally ran from 1999 to 2003. The show was produced in Australia, and most of the cast and crew were Australians, and as a result mostly unfamiliar to the American audience during the show's initial run. The special effects were produced by The Jim Henson Company, leading some people to call it "that show with the Muppets", which is a little like saying that because Disney was involved in the production of the movie Dogma, that should be called "that movie with the animated characters".

The first season establishes the primary characters, focusing pretty heavily on the fish-out-of-water aspect of John Crichton's (Ben Browder) human astronaut stranded in a distant part of the galaxy having to deal with a collection of alien cultures. The season also introduces all of the primary alien characters - primarily Kha D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe), Aeryn Soon (Claudia Black), Zhaan (Virginia Hey), Rygel (voiced by Jonathan Hardy), and Pilot (voiced by Lani Tupu). The one real weakness of the season is that Chiana (Gigi Edgely) does not appear until episode 15 of the season (after which she becomes a series regular). Once Chiana shows up, the crew of Moya seems to jell and become much more interesting, in large part because it shifts the "character who must be protected" focus away from Crichton at least some of the time.

The other weakness of the season is that the primary long-term antagonist for the season is Bialar Crais (Lani Tupu), who, despite Lani's best efforts, is just not a very scary villain, partially because the motivation for his vendetta against Crichton seems insufficient to persuade a fleet commander to throw away his position and engage in the insane pursuit he undertakes. Scorpius (Wayne Pygram), who is a much more convincing (and much more convincingly motivated) villain doesn't show up until very late in the season. Once both Chiana and Scorpius are in place, the series goes from being merely pretty good to being fantastic. However, even episodes that are mediocre for Farscape are better than most episodes of most other shows.

Episode 1: Premiere
Episode 2: I, E.T.
Episode 3: Exodus from Genesis
Episode 4: Throne for a Loss
Episode 5: Back and Back and Back to the Future
Episode 6: Thank God It's Friday, Again
Episode 7: PK Tech Girl
Episode 8: That Old Black Magic
Episode 9: DNA Mad Scientist
Episode 10: They've Got a Secret
Episode 11: Till the Blood Runs Clear
Episode 12: Rhapsody in Blue
Episode 13: The Flax
Episode 14: Jeremiah Crichton
Episode 15: Durka Returns
Episode 16: A Human Reaction
Episode 17: Through the Looking Glass
Episode 18: A Bug's Life
Episode 19: Nerve (Part 1 of 2)
Episode 20: The Hidden Memory (Part 2 of 2)
Episode 21: Bone to Be Wild
Episode 22: Family Ties (Part 1 of 2)

In the first season, several episodes were originally shown out of their intended order. The reasons for doing this are a mystery to me, as they make much of the character interaction through the first several episodes seem schizophrenic at best. In any event, this random reordering ended once That Old Black Magic aired as the eighth episode in the series, and all of the subsequent episodes were aired in the correct order. However, the first seven episodes of the show originally aired in the following order:

Episode 1: Premiere
Episode 2: Exodus from Genesis
Episode 3: Back and Back and Back to the Future
Episode 4: Throne for a Loss
Episode 5: PK Tech Girl
Episode 6: Thank God It's Friday, Again
Episode 7: I, E.T.

Go to: Season Two

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