So, over the weekend I finished watching the entire series of Farscape. I had the last episode sitting, just waiting to be watched for a couple of weeks, and I sorta’ dreaded watching it because it would mean that it was over and that’s pretty much the last spaceship show that I’m really interested in at the moment–having watched most of the other major ones that I wanted to see. However, now that Stranger Things, Season 3 has come out, I decided I should finish it up and move on.
Two “Different” Shows
Much like Star Trek Voyager, the show is essentially two different main storylines in the show’s history. (Minor spoilers ahead): You can break the show in many different ways, but the way that I look at it is the Pa’u Zatoh Zaahn (“Zaahn”) era and the “Post Zaahn” era. Now this could definitely be broken up with different characters, but, like the character of “Zaahn,” this character was the “soul” of the show–for me, at least early in the show. Zahn, while weird in concept and backstory, was probably the character I most related to, esp. in the early years of the show. Now remember, I’ve seen all of the first 2 seasons before it disappeared from streaming 2-3 years ago. Now that its was back, I was made sure to see all of the episodes this time around. Early in the show, it was still finding its footing. The thing to know is that this show has multiple antagonists–4 major ones that I could count, but there are probably more. However, in the beginning of the show, the episodes are far more episodic in nature and they do a fairly good job of establishing establishing the characters, the setting, the conflict, and the interdynmics of the character drama on the ship.
After Zahn’s character’s resolution, the show goes into more of a “series”-based show in which the focuses more on characters in a fairly long-running recurring storyline that loosely focuses around “Wormholes.” While this is a theme through the whole show (Crichton, the main character gets pulled through a wormhole the very first episode), the “post Zahn” era really does run with this theme and this idea. Also, the dynamics of the ship’s crew are explored in more detail as the characters form bonds later in the show (to say more would be risking major spoilers). What I like about the show is that even though it is often much more farcical than typical “spaceship” shows (it has an episode the is heavily inspired by the classic Roadrunner cartoons, for example), it still knows when to take itself serious for true “space opera” situations (the series finale is epic AND actually gives true closer to the show). A quick digression: all networks should do things the Farscape way–allow the show to either continue with new storylines or allow it to end via a series finale–this idea of waiting to cancel a show depending on how it does in its “previous” season really shows a lack of understanding of the narrative that they themselves created to sell advertising time on–you have to provide closure for a series if you want long term fan investment–no closure = no future possibility of resurrecting the show at a different time).
Overall Score: B (82-85)
The show wasn’t perfect–it definitely displayed its foreign (Australian) sensibilities. There were more than a few times when it seemed like Mad Max meets Star Wars, but for the most part, I think it carried itself well. Both Ben Browder and Claudia Black were standouts, but I enjoyed most of the characters (and the cast as well). I really liked Chiana and Jool, but they found themselves not as developed (esp. in the later seasons) as I would have liked. While I can only guess at the reason for its ultimate cancellation (well, I can also look on Wikipedia as well), for me, I could never find it during its 1st run. It was one of the first shows to hit streaming when streaming was just starting to get popular, but I didn’t really give it a try–still in “disc” mode and then it disappeared again. When it became available again, about a year ago, I was determined to see it all the way through. Now that I have, I still like other “spaceship shows” better (Dark Matter, Babylon 5, the Star Trek shows), but I still feel like this is a strong contender (and I like it quite a bit better than shows like Killjoys and The Expanse) and really am glad that I (finally) was able to get to see it on streaming (as I write this, it is on Amazon Prime Video.)
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