Series / Farscape
Exploring the frelling Frontier.note 

"Boy, was Spielberg ever wrong. 'Close Encounters' my ass."

Farscape, co-created by Rockne O'Bannon (Seaquest DSV) and Brian Henson (son of Jim), is an Australian space opera. Originally airing on the Nine Network, it became the flagship show on Sci-Fi Channel from 2000-2003.

It follows John Crichton (Ben Browder), a space-happy astronaut who finds himself stranded aboard a ship ("a LIVING ship!") full of alien ex-cons. While en route to Earth, John and the crew find themselves targeted by both sides in an intergalactic war. At the end of the day, the half-mad and therefore half-sane Crichton is able to save everyone because he's the most deficient of all the species aboard.

It was compelling for viewers of that time because of the adult themes. Our "heroes" had more sordid backgrounds and bad habits than usual, and the clean, well-dressed military served as the antagonist. Crichton (a pacifist who would get his ass kicked constantly) would often quibble over the "right" way to do things, but he turned out to be wrong as often as not. To say nothing of the costumes: Whereas Star Trek at times looked like they robbed a fabric store, Farscape went looking in actual fetish shops. War Minister Ahkna's boots were bought from such a store.

The Jim Henson Company went all out in designing non-biped aliens, right down to the four-armed and appropriately named Pilot. While stupidly expensive, the puppeteering allowed them to do things that even modern sci-fi can't. There are plenty of scenes with the crew hugging Pilot, climbing on him or even slightly dismembering him that couldn't be done with CGI.

The premise of Farscape bears some resemblance to the '70s British series Blake's 7. B7 fans see the character of Grayza (Rebecca Riggs) as an acknowledgment of it, judging by her resemblance to the old show's Big Bad Servalan. The fact that Riggs is an avowed fan of B7 doesn't hurt. There is also some common ground with Guardians of the Galaxy, which is why Browder can be seen painted gold and doing his "Peacekeeper" voice in the sequel.

Tie-ins and Possible Reboot

Cancelled abruptly in 2002, Farscape was later resurrected for a two-part miniseries, The Peacekeeper Wars. It resolved the "Kill 'em All" cliffhanger from Season Four and gave fans a condensed version of the planned plot for Season Five. O'Bannon has also recently stated that he has had some discussions with the Henson company about a potential film revival, but nothing's come of it as of yet.

In 2008, BOOM! Studios started publishing ongoing — and canonical — Farscape comics, from stories written by Rockne O'Bannon and scripted by Keith R.A. DeCandido and David Allan Mack. There were two ongoing series set post-Peacekeeper Wars, one following Moya's crew (Farscape) and one following Scorpius (Farscape: Scorpius). The latter has since merged into the mainline comics as of the War for the Uncharted Territories storyline, soon to be followed by a pre-PKW series following D'Argo.

This series has its own recaps page.

"Frell me dead!"