Wednesday, April 1, 1970


Farscape was a science fiction series that ran for four seasons from 1999 to 2003 detailing the adventures of astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) lost in a distant part of the galaxy with a crew of escaped prisoners as his companions on a living ship. It was filmed in Australia, using mostly Australian and Kiwi actors (save for Ben Browder), crew and special effects people, giving it a look and feel different from U.S. based productions. The show was marked by strong character development and relationships between the various inhabitants of the living ship Moya - D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe), Chiana (Gigi Edgely), Zhaan (Virginia Hey), and Aeryn Soon (Claudia Black), among others. The show was also fairly unique in that it included two sophisticated and convincingly realistic puppets as regular characters on the show - Rygel (voiced by Jonathan Hardy) and Pilot (voiced by Lani Tupu). The show also had some very good long-running story lines, most notably the pursuit of wormhole technology, and some very deliciously evil antagonists - the ruthless Peacekeeper Scorpius (Wayne Pygram), and the aggressive and brutal Scarrans. One further interesting element of the show is that for most of its run, the only human reference point in the series is Crichton, who is stranded amidst an entirely alien culture that knows nothing about Earth or its inhabitants.

The show aired in the United States on the SciFi network, which had a number of negative effects on the show. For some reason the SciFi network executives elected to show the first eight episodes of the show out of order, which resulted in a bunch of weird short-term continuity errors, although once the first season got on track this didn't cause any long-term issues. The SciFi network also aired the show quite erratically, with weeks or months of time between shows in the middle of seasons for no apparent reason.

In a final act of stupidity, after committing to air the show for a fourth and fifth season, the SciFi network made an abrupt about face at the end of the fourth season and decided to cancel the show at the last minute. The SciFi network blamed "falling ratings" to justify the cancellation. However, when one notes that they had abused the series for four seasons by letting it go dark for months at a time, and in the fourth season, had shifted it to a later time slot (switching it with Stargate: SG-1's time slot), and that it got about the same ratings in that time slot as Stargate: SG-1 had gotten in the previous season, the true reality becomes clear: The SciFi network is run by morons who can't understand the basics of cause and effect. It seems quite clear why they changed the network's name to resemble a venereal disease - the executives of the network are as dumb as a sexually transmitted virus. The final episode of the series was the first half of what was intended to be a two-part story that was to be continue in the never filmed fifth season, which meant the final shot of the entire series was a black screen with "to be continued" on it.

Henson Productions scraped up financing and managed to tie up most of the loose ends of the main plot with the Peacekeeper Wars miniseries which aired in 2004. As one might expect, cramming what was intended to be an entire season's worth of plot developments into four hours of television resulted in a fairly rushed and somewhat unsatisfying conclusion. While I am grateful that Henson Productions was able to wrap up the series at all, compressed and truncated resolution just reminds me exactly how asinine and idiotic the people who run the SciFi (excuse me SyFy) network truly are.

Season One
Season Two
Season Three
Season Four

The Peacekeeper Wars

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