Series / Farscape

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 astronaut who winds up stranded in a distant galaxy aboard a ship — a LIVING ship! — named Moya. While en route 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 the Peacekeeper military complex and Scarran marauders. Meanwhile, John is looking less the plucky human these days and more like a shellshocked anti-hero 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 and subversive take on the genre (much like its Canadian and British counterparts, Lexx and Red Dwarf), Farscape became heavily serialized in Season Two, coinciding with the sharp turn into 'gritty war drama'. Even at its darkest, the show gleefully skewered the sci-fi tropes of its time, and has been referred to as the "anti-''Star Trek": Our heroes tended to have more sordid backgrounds and bad habits than usual, and the clean, well-dressed military served as the antagonist. Actions had consequences, poor judgments were always often made...and in a bad situation, the seediest option was often the correct one.

The series is also notorious for its mantra of Death Is Cheap, to the point where John Crichton expired 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!"