Created by Rockne S. O’Bannon
Number of Episodes: 88 (4 Seasons), and a television mini-series
1999 – 2002
Nine Network (Australia); Sci-Fi Channel (US)
John Crichton… Ben Browder
Aeryn Sun… Claudia Black
Ka D’Argo… Anthony Simcoe
Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan… Virgina Hey
Bilar Crais… Lani Tupu
Dominar Rygel XVI… Jonathan Hardy (voice)
Chiana… Gigi Edgley
Scorpius… Wayne Pygram
Stark… Paul Goddard
Pilot… Lani Tupu (voice)
Genre: Science Fiction, Aliens
PILOT: How do humans make it through a cycle – even half a cycle – without killing each other?
CRICHTON: We find it difficult. Have you run the scan?
PILOT: You have no special abilities. You’re not particularly smart, can hardly smell, can barely see, and you’re not even vaguely physically or spiritually imposing. Is there anything you do well?
CRICHTON: Watch football.
— “Crackers Don’t Matter” (S02E04)
20th-century astronaut John Crichton finds himself shot through a wormhole during a test flight and is suddenly deposited in a distant part of the galaxy. His arrival causes the death of a well-connected fighter pilot, and he is summarily sentenced to a grisly fate by the deceased’s crazed brother. With luck, he ends up on the prison ship Moya, where he and the few other inmates stage a breakout, and thence roam around the galaxy, making friends and righting wrongs, all the while evading pursuit and trying to discover Crichton a way home. And being damn funny while doing it.
Why It’s Must-See: Farscape is one of the best sci-fi shows of all time, with a kick-ass ship and some of the genre’s most intriguing characters. (One of whom is the ship.)
UST Factor: Super mega crazy high. Crichton and Aeryn FOREVER.
Cancellation: This is still a sore point. As Farscape began to broadcast its fourth season, and despite having previously renewed the show through the end of Season 5, the Sci-Fi Channel declared a fifth impossible. But the show still ended on a major cliffhanger…
And Then What? Fans would not stand for that cliffhanger to go unresolved, and in 2004 the Sci-Fi Channel aired a 3-hour mini-series, The Peacekeeper Wars, to wrap things up. But even that wasn’t enough for rabid Farscape followers, and so BOOM! Studios began releasing a line of series-continuing comics in 2008, ending in 2011 with more than fifty issues.
Fandom Hall of Fame: The fan campaign to save Farscape was so vociferous and heartfelt – comprising letter writing campaigns, fan rallies, ads on television and the cover of Variety – that it persuaded some anonymous but moneyed investors to fund the mini-series. Oh, for Kickstarter in 2002…
Fan Collective Noun: Scapers. A “Fargater” is a fan who followed stars Ben Browder and Claudia Black when they joined the cast of Stargate SG-1.
Notable Merchandise: The show’s Jim Henson Company pedigree helped it out here, with the release of several plush toys being the most adorable, particularly the small robot DRD (think BB-8, but cuter). Or how about a patch declaring your affiliation to the International Aeronautics and Space Administration?
On the Page: In addition to the comics and an official magazine released bi-monthly from 2001 – 2001, there are three original novels based on the series, as well as assorted guides, both official and un-, and a scholarly tome entitled Farscape Forever!: Sex, Drugs and Killer Muppets.
Did You Know? Virginia Hey – and the alien she portrayed, the plant-based Zhaan – left the show at the end of Season 3 because the full-body makeup required for the role was causing her kidneys to fail. TO FAIL. Fair enough, then.