Will Bueché

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Farscape

Posted in Personal by Will on Saturday, February 5th, 2005 ~ 1am

With the demise of Star Trek (the announcement of the cancellation of Enterprise, which was arguably the best Star Trek series since Next Generation in the 80s, came a couple of days ago), I’ve realized that there is currently nothing on television that I am watching. It is true I don’t have cable. And I’m waiting for the current season of Alias and 24 to come out on DVD so I don’t have to watch commercials. So what the demise of Star Trek means is that my former diversion of watching tv-on-dvd is now in fact the primary way I will be watching tv for this year. Odd, strange times, these so-called modern times. (I say so-called because despite all other modern advances, we’re still driving in horseless carriages that look suspiciously like what was around a hundred years ago or so).

Anyhow, so with the lack of Star Trek, I am trying to get into a new show on DVD called Farscape. It isn’t actually a new show, it is another science fiction series which lasted a few seasons and then was cancelled and was then released on DVD. So it is new to me. The DVDs had been out a few years but this year they’ve begun reissuing the DVDs at a lower price and with more bonus features (like more commentary tracks). Rather than releasing whole seasons at once they’re releasing a few episodes at a time — mainly because they’re having a difficult time finding all the bonus features they want. It seems that when Farscape was cancelled, everything was packed up in boxes and shipped from Australia (where the series was filmed) to the United States (where the parent company) is based. So they need time to go through all the boxes looking for interesting footage to add to the DVDs).

My housemates wonders how I come to know all this. Doesn’t everyone have DVD release information programmed into their heads? Actually I learn from Home Theater Forum. I know all the technical info while still having no info on how the series storyline actually goes, and I plan to avoid all story info as best I can, so as to enjoy the series as if it really were new.

Two volumes of Farscape have been released so far, so I’ve seen about half of the first season. It is growing on me. I plan to keep watching it. But I’d be rude to overlook that compared to Enterprise, Farscape is a really low budget show with storylines that could have been written on napkins in ketchup. We’re not talking Dune-level backstory here. This is simple stuff, so far.

However, it is also amazingly fun to watch some of these characters. John Chrighton is an American astronaut who winds up on the other side of the galaxy (or in another universe, we don’t know at this point) and falls in with a few escaped prisoners who’ve stolen an immense starship. And thus, adventure ensues. Aeryn Sun is a female peacekeeper, but in true Reagan/Bush doublespeak, peacekeepers are the bad guys of the universe. But Aeryn is a castout from her culture, her people, so she’s in with John Crighton and a few other odd aliens (including some puppets – a small toad like creaturenamed Rigel who flies around on a floating throne while being selfish, and the pilot of the ship, who is a lobster-like alien whose name is Pilot, who I think is gay).

They’re all good, but the reason why I keep watching is that I can’t turn away from Aeryn Sun’s eyebrows. They’re hypnotic. They’re like small animals that are squirming around on her forehead. They steal every scene she is in. Also, she and other actors are Australian so I enjoy hearing the different voices. The show doesn’t feel entirely American, which is most welcomed, and it doesn’t feel as cheap as British tv sometimes is either.

Speaking of low budgets, on one episode the ship visited a planet which seemed to be populated by Australians, in what was surely one of the best budget-minded ideas ever.

The show also has neat alternate swear words and expressions. I’ve been waiting for them to use one which apparently became the panultimate obscentity-made-clean: “Frell me dead.” Frell is still the F word, so I imagine “Frell me dead” must be said in moments when you’re amazed by an unfortunate turn of events, and are amused enough to note sardonically, “well frell me dead.”

I’ve checked out the action figure scene and there were a few of them made a few years ago, most of which are still easily available on ebay at low prices. But there’s none left in stores, it’s been too many years. I’ve picked up one so far.. and it’s moving in on where my Enterprise figures stand. Hopefully they’ll peacefully coexist with eachother – two cancelled shows, each of which entertained people in good faith and got canned for no good reason (unless you’re sick enough to think low ratings are a good reason — and they aren’t, because this is a BIG world).

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