Monday, June 24, 2013

Musical Monday - Farscape Opening Credits

As should be clear from its placement as the number two show on my list of the top ten science fiction television shows, Farscape is one of my favorite shows of all time. After a somewhat fitful start in which the episodes were shown out of order (due to the all too common interference of idiotic television executives) and the cast didn't fully gel until midway through the season when Gigi Edgley joined the ensemble as Chiana, the show developed into one of the most brilliant pieces of televised science fiction ever put on the small screen. Following the life of John Crichton, a human thrown across space into an unknown part of the galaxy, the show had adventure, romance, and intrigue all wrapped up in a sweeping space opera container.

Because the show was produced in Australia with a little bit of American assistance, the space opera container was slightly different from the usual, giving the show a fresh feel that few other programs have achieved. And this freshness extends to the opening theme song, which is kind of like a tribal chant accompanied by a driving drum beat. The song remained mostly the same for the show's entire four year run, but the opening voice over, provided by Ben Browder as John Crichton, changed as the series evolved. In the first and second seasons, when Crichton was a fish-out-of-water merely attempting to survive, he says this to open each show:

My name is John Crichton, an astronaut.
A radiation wave hit and I got shot through a wormhole.
Now I'm lost in some distant part of the Universe, on a ship.
A living ship, full of strange alien life forms.
Help me. Listen, please. Is there anybody out there who can here me?
I'm being hunted by an insane military commander.
Doing everything I can. I'm just looking for a way home.

But as the show went on, Crichton found his feet and became more sure of himself as he adapted to the strange and hostile environment he found himself living in, and the opening monologue was changed to make reflect this. The new monologue was also more evocative, and, to a certain extent, more in keeping with the space opera nature of the show. The opening is also really two intertwined monologues rather than a single one, as Crichton debates with himself whether to continue trying to find his way home or abandon the search so that the many inimical forces that would prey upon a comparatively primitive and defenseless Earth won't find it.
My name is John Crichton
An astronaut
In some distant part of the Universe
Aboard this ship
Of escaped prisoners
If you can here me
If I make it back
If I open the door
Earth is unprepared
For the nightmares
Or should I stay
Not show them
But then you'll never know
I'm lost
Shot through a wormhole
I'm trying to stay alive
This living ship
My friends
Will they follow?
Are you ready?
I've seen
Protect my home
You exist
The wonders I've seen
This is the wonder and the tragedy of Farscape wrapped up into one brief internal struggle. If Crichton finds what he wants, he may doom everything he loves. But if he doesn't return home, then the people of Earth will never know the achingly beautiful things that the outside holds. Either way, Crichton gives up something. Either way, he suffers. Success is always marred by failure, and even when you win, you also lose.

Previous Musical Monday: Stargate SG-1 Opening Theme
Subsequent Musical Monday: Babylon 5 Opening Credits

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