The Wonders of Farscape

Farscape was truly a journey into the fantastic. It was a science fiction epic that aired from 1999 to 2003 over the course of four seasons. During those four years, many people around the world came to love everything about the show. Some of the most appreciated aspects were the highly talented actors, the delightful use of puppets, and the completely unique universe that was created for the show.

It offered something for everyone: romantic relationships, hilarious comedy, amazing fantasy settings, new languages and words, and edge of your seat action, both on the ground and in space. All of these aspects combined into one amazing show which still captures people’s imaginations today.

One of the greatest things about Farscape which hugely factored into its popularity was the use of puppets provided by the Jim Henson Company. In addition to just looking great, they were able to do many things besides the standard talking and waving their arms around. The most enjoyable puppet on the show, the snarky and sarcastic Dominar Rygel XVI, ate almost nonstop and also often regurgitated that food in various forms. He also displayed a number of other bodily functions which made him a lovable little scamp that you hated as much as you appreciated.

Another aspect of Farscape that helped it last four years in an environment when most shows barely make it through a single season was the great acting. The main character of the show was the astronaut Jon Crichton, played by Ben Browder. He was a human in a world of aliens trying to find a way back to his family on Earth. Browder did an amazing job of realistically portraying every aspect and emotion that you could expect from a man in that situation. From the unrequited romance to fear of the unknown world he’d ended up in, he did it all.

While there were a number of main characters in this show, the other primary was Aeryn Sun, played by Claudia Black. In addition to being Crichton’s love interested, Aeryn Sun was an interesting and deep character torn between the world of authority that she knew and loved and the new world of freedom that she was thrown into when a misunderstanding landed her in the bad graces of her people. Claudia Black was able to portray those complex emotions without missing a beat, earning her many fans.

The realness of the characters was something else that really helped the show succeed. None of them were perfect or two dimensional. Every one of the characters had a back story and further character development which showed them to be generally fit for the role they were placed in, but also complex enough to ensure that they didn’t feel like the flat stereotypes that are found in other science fiction shows.

Overall, Farscape is one of the best science fiction shows of recent years. It combined every aspect of realism and fantasy that people love, and the fact that it was cancelled left many fans disappointed.

Farscape Characters and the Actors that Played Them

Farscape was an Australian-American science fiction television show made in 1999 and ending in 2003 that was centered off an American astronaut who finds himself among fugitives inside a creature named Moya, where he and other characters are escaping the authorities who have been corrupt called the Peacekeepers. It was produced first by Nine Network and then The Jim Henson Company, and created many memorable characters.

The main character, John Crichton, was played by Ben Browder. He was the American astronaut, who while testing his own Earth Space shuttle called Farscape, was sucked into a worm hole and ended up on a ship named Moya. After which he helps the crew fighting against the Peacekeepers.

Moya is a fifth generation of living ships called Leviathan, although she was born free she was caught and sold to the Peacekeepers and used to for prison transport. She has no weapons but is very powerful, and stays alive by being fused to a ginormous being called Pilot. She begins to trust the crew as time goes on, but will not protect them over herself usually.

Aeryn Sun played by Claudia Black is a rogue Peacekeeper, who was sentenced to death by them for staying around a contaminated being for too long. After protecting John Crichton she is accepted further by the crew. Being separated from the Peacekeeper does allow Aeryn to forget her lifelong military training and learn about empathy and emotion.

KaD’Argo portrayed by Anthony Simcoe, he always carries his Qualta Blade, which can be turned into a rifle, as a high ranked Luxan warrior with a bad temper. The Peacekeeper’s imprisoned him for a crime he did not commit, which was killing his wife.

Virginia Hey play a blue skinned female known as Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan, who is a member of a plant like species called the Delvians. She was a religious high priestess in the past and highly respected, until she was forced to kill her husband after he was discovered as a Peacekeeper spy. She was than regarded as an anarchist and thrown in prison with KaD’Argo. Pa’u has the special gift of being an empath, meaning she can share pain with creators, but also share thoughts, and feelings too.

Other characters that were often seen on the show were: Dominar Rygel, whose voice was done by Jonathan Hardy, once a ruler he was handed over to the Peacekeepers by a jealous cousin and thrown in prison with both D’Argo and Pa’u. When nervous he secretes a helium causing his crew mates voices to rise in pitch. Stark who only reveals the right side of his face when he comforts anybody before they are about to die.

Farscape was supposed to air for five seasons, however it was shut off abruptly after the fourth season, because the Sci-Fi channel believed it to be too expensive. They argued that the series didn’t really lag in the ratings as the fan base was growing contrary to what Syfy claimed. Fans were disappointed, but will never forget the great characters that were introduced to the world through Farscape.

The Untimely Demise of Farscape: Mystery Unraveled

The premiere episode of the Season 1 aired on March 1999 on Australia’s Nine Network and Canada’s YTV channels literally and aptly titled ‘Premiere’. Written by Rockne S. O’Bannon and directed by Andrew Prowse, the first episode was met by lukewarm reception by reviewers. Some reviewers couldn’t avoid from drawing comparisons to other previously aired Sci-fi TV series, especially the Star Trek.

Farscape is entirely filmed and produced in Australia with mostly Australian and New Zealand actors. The series was originally planned to run for five seasons starting with the premiere episode ‘Premiere’ in March 1999. Halfway through the fourth season, on September 20, 2000, the Sci-Fi Channel announced that it would withdraw funding of the fifth and final season. Thus, the remaining 11 episodes of the 4th season would be the last. The final episode ‘Bad Timing,’ was aired on March 10, 2003, officially wrapping up prematurely the series. The final episode of the 4th season seemed to give a hint to the fans that an ominous end is in the offing.

A lot of speculations abound as to the real reasons of the abrupt cancellation of the series. Although the Sci-Fi (now known as Syfy) officials claimed that the series was too costly to renew its contract with the producers. The sudden cancellation of Farscape’s 5th and final season came to the heels of sagging viewers rating in its third season, the network officials claimed. Many fans of the series criticized the decision and subsequently mounted a campaign in an effort to save the series, hoping the Syfy officials would reconsider its decision and air the final season as planned. The fans were even hopeful and implored that the show be transferred to another network if possible.

There had been a lot of axed series in the past before Farscape and the usual reasons given by TV networks for canceling such shows were mounting costs and declining ratings. The disappointing ratings of Farscape in the ratings board failed to convince the fans who were not appeased by the network’s decision to can the series.

The Scapers even made their own research trying to unravel the mystery of their favorite show’s untimely death. They were surprised to discover later that the network issued a conflicting report against the show’s ratings during its full four seasons. They posted their arguments on the show’s own webpage based on what they had learned from their own research. The network answered each of the questions and arguments put up by the fans on its FAQ section.

True enough, the network was not really telling the truth and admitted that there had been no rising costs between the two last seasons as they alleged earlier. The elaborate comparisons of ratings between seasons had been taken up and discussed online between fans and the network. They further found out that the network had been dishonest in their claim about the premature canning of the series as revealed by Juliet Blake, President of Jim Henson company, the producer of the show. The Syfy channel was asking for additional airing rights beyond what was agreed in the contract contrary to their previous claim, which of rising production costs.