Series / Farscape

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Exploring the frelling Frontier.note 

"Iím Butch. (at Aeryn) This is Sundance. We're the Hole in the Sky gang."
John, "Till The Blood Runs Clear"

Farscape, co-created by Rockne O'Bannon and Brian Henson (son of Jim), was the flagship show of Sci-Fi Channel from 1999-2003. Production took place in Sydney to take advantage of lower costs. As a result, nearly the entire cast hails from Australia and New Zealand, with the exception of All-American Ben Browder. Several of the aliens went far beyond Rubber-Forehead Aliens into the realm of Starfish Aliens, thanks to puppets and animatronics created by the Jim Henson Creature Shop.

The story follows John Crichton, a hapless test pilot who winds up stranded in a distant galaxy aboard a ship ("a LIVING ship!") named Moya. While en route back to Earth, John and the crew — including disgraced stormtrooper Aeryn Sun, proud warrior D'argo, destitute king Rygel, space punk Chiana, vegetable-based mystic Zhaan, deranged soul-ferryman Stark, and the symbiotic, appropriately-named Pilot — find themselves the target of both sides in a war between Scarran pirates and the Peacekeeper military complex. Meanwhile, John is less a plucky astronaut these days and more like a shell-shocked marine on the edge of sanity.

At the end of the day, the half-mad (and so half-sane!) John is able to save everyone because he's the most deficient of all the species aboard.

Pitched as a madcap take on the genre (much like its Canadian and British counterparts, Lexx and Red Dwarf), Farscape became heavily serialized in Season Two, which coincided with the sharp turn into 'gritty war drama'. Even in the darkest moments, the show gleefully skewered the sci-fi tropes of its time, to the point that it was nick-named the "anti-Star Trek": Our heroes tend to have sordid backgrounds and more bad habits than usual, whereas the clean, well-dressed military is the antagonist. Actions have consequences, poor judgments are often made...and in a bad situation, the seedy option is often the correct one.

The series is notorious for its mantra of Death Is Cheap, to the extent where John Crichton expires no less than seven times (not counting numerous deaths in parallel worlds).

The premise of Farscape bears some resemblance to the '70s British series Blake's 7. B7 fans see the character of Grayza as an acknowledgment of this, judging by her strong resemblance to Servalan, B7's own Big Bad. The fact that actress Rebecca Riggs is an avowed fan of B7 doesn't hurt.

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!"
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