From Academic Kids

Missing image
The main cast of Farscape in its third season, from left to right: Chiana (Gigi Edgley), Ka D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe), Dominar Rygel XVI (voiced by Jonathan Hardy), Commander John Crichton (Ben Browder), and Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black).

Farscape (first broadcast 1999) is a science fiction television series produced in Australia by the Jim Henson Company with the backing of US cable broadcaster the Sci Fi Channel.


The show

Originally conceived in the early 1990s by Rockne S. O'Bannon, Brian Henson and writer/executive producer David Kemper under the title Space Chase, the show centers on present day American astronaut John Crichton (played by American actor Ben Browder), who has found himself flung through a wormhole to a distant part of the galaxy, where he is constantly caught in the middle of conflicts between planets, empires, and the incompatible personalities of the escaped prisoners with whom he has taken refuge.

Farscape is one of the new generation of popular science fiction TV shows in which the main concerns are surviving in a hostile, chaotic universe and dealing with interpersonal conflicts, instead of exploration, warfare or law enforcement. Its main influence was the 1970s cult BBC television series Blake's 7. See also Lexx and Firefly.

Henson has traditionally specialized in puppetry, and Farscape is no exception; two regular characters are animatronic puppets: the miniature deposed Dominar Rygel XVI of Hyneria (voiced by Jonathan Hardy) and the ship's Pilot (voiced by Lani Tupu), a multi-armed elephant-size creature physically and mentally bonded to the living Leviathan ship, Moya.

In 2000 and 2001, Farscape won two Saturn Awards for Best Syndicated/Cable TV Series and Best TV Actor (Browder). In 2002, Farscape won two Saturn Awards for Best Syndicated/Cable TV Series and Best TV Actor (Browder), as well as receiving nominations for Best TV Actress (Claudia Black as former-soldier Aeryn Sun) and Best Supporting TV Actress (Gigi Edgley as the pixieish rogue Chiana). Farscape completed production of its fourth season in September, with a fifth season contracted but suddenly cancelled.

Cancellation and rebirth

In September 2002, the Sci Fi Channel, which was then owned by ailing conglomerate Vivendi, unexpectedly opted to withdraw its funding of the fifth season, threatening cancellation of the popular, critically-acclaimed show. Fans mounted a massive letter, phone, e-mail, and advertisement campaign hoping to pressure Sci-Fi into restoring the show or another, more financially solvent, network to take over.

Although the network cancelled the series, early plans to have the sets scrapped when production of the fourth season wrapped were quickly reversed; the sets were instead put in storage pending future decisions. When it was certain the show would not be renewed, the sets were destroyed.

In May 2004, the Sci Fi Channel announced that it would air a two-episode miniseries that began on Sunday October 17th 2004 at 9pm. Called Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, the miniseries aimed to wrap up the season four cliffhanger and tie up some elements of the series in general. Early speculation saw this as a viability test to bring the series back, but due to the finality of the miniseries and the fact that actors Ben Browder and Claudia Black have both made commitments to work on Stargate SG-1 in Canada, that seems unlikely.

Lingering questions

In December 2003, the Jim Henson Company started production of the 4 hour miniseries to wrap up many of the threads dangling at the end of Season 4, episode 4.22 "Bad Timing". Creator Rockne S. O'Bannon and Executive Producer David Kemper wrote the miniseries and Brian Henson directed it.

Interestingly, Henson refers to the 4 hours as episodes 4.23-4.26, though the New South Wales Film Office refers to the production as a '2 x 2 h. Telemovie'. Production of the miniseries was expected to wrap in March 2004 and aside from the announced airing on the Sci Fi Channel in the U.S., it is to be broadcast in the UK on Sky One on January 16 and 23, 2005 and by a (currently unnamed) terrestrial broadcaster after that. The miniseries will not be shown on BBC Two as expected, as the BBC decided the acquisition cost would be too high.

Series plot summary

Plot summaries adapted from Sci-Fi.com's Farscape Primer (http://www.scifi.com/farscape/primer/)

Season 1

"My name is John Crichton, an astronaut. A radiation wave hit and I got shot through a wormhole. Lost in some distant part of the universe on a ship, a living ship, full of strange alien life forms. Help me. Listen, please. Is there anybody out there who can hear me? Being hunted... by an insane military commander. Doing everything I can. I'm just looking for a way home." -Opening Narration

John Crichton was an IASA astronaut working on the experimental Farscape project, testing his own theory of defying atmospheric friction for an extreme slingshot maneuver. During the Farscape-1 test flight, a wormhole opened up and he emerged on the other side of the galaxy (or possibly another galaxy entirely) in close proximity to the Leviathan Moya, one of a species of sentient spacecraft. Moya was currently a Peacekeeper slave serving as a prison ship. Onboard, as prisoners, were D'Argo, Rygel, and Zhaan. As John Crichton appeared out of nowhere and was taken aboard Moya, the three prisoners had taken control of Moya and were in the middle of an escape. Aeryn Sun was a Peacekeeper pilot serving on a Command Carrier that was attempting to stop the escape. The prisoners managed to remove Moya's Control collar and Starbursted away. Aeryn's Prowler was caught up in the Starburst and taken aboard. As a result of her contact with the prisoners, her superiors consider her "irreversibly contaminated". As a result, she became a fellow fugitive and gradually becomes an ally. (Premiere)

The brother of Captain Crais, Aeryn Sun's former commanding officer, was killed in a collision with Crichton's Farscape module during the first few seconds after he came out of the wormhole. Motivated by revenge, Crais pursued the crew of Moya through the Uncharted Territories. During their travels, they acquired a political fugitive, Chiana, who joined to escape persecution on her home world. Also, as a result of D'Argo breaking a shield set up by the Peace Keepers, Moya became pregnant.

At one point, Crichton saw what he believed to be Earth through a wormhole and followed it down only to find a race called the Ancients. They implanted the equations and "sixth-sense" for wormhole travel in Crichton's subconscious mind.

Not knowing of the existence of the knowledge in his mind, Crichton attempted to embrace his new life, but Crichton was captured by Scorpius during an attempt to rescue Aeryn. Scorpius managed to discover the wormhole knowledge, and implanted a neurochip to attempt to unlock the knowledge. The neurochip manifests itself as Scorpius in Crichton's subconcious, however Crichton refers to him as Harvey.

After escaping from Scorpius, Crichton returned to Moya, who gave birth, with the assistance of Chiana to Talyn. Crais returned to join the crew of Moya after Scorpius overthrew his command.


See List of Farscape episodes.


Crew of Moya

Ambiguous allies


Farscape terminology

See Farscape terminology


Scott Andrews' Uncharted Territory: An Unauthorised and Unofficial Guide To Farscape (Virgin Publishing 2002, ISBN 0753507048) covered Farscape's first three seasons exhaustively.

See also

External links


fr:Farscape zh-min-nan:Farscape


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