Can we talk Farscape please? For just a quick little minute?

What. the. frell.

I routinely come across Farscape memes among the geek set, and the respectable proportion of these recently had me thinking I had missed something, one geek to another. I love crazy sci-fi! Why, I wondered to myself, did I ever give up on a show full of awesome aliens, nifty world-building, and adorable cursing that combines crazy sci-fi with the glorious genius of the Henson Studios?

So I pulled out my all-access Netflix pass and jumped down the rabbit hole. For most of the first two seasons, I thoroughly enjoyed the sets, the costumes, the plots…maybe not Ben Browder’s shouty over-acting, but most of the rest of the show. And then they killed off Virginia Hey and things got weird. For whatever reason–make-up toxicity, politics, legitimate career offers for the better actors–Farscape never seemed to have much commitment to the status quo. And at some point, I’m pretty sure the writers were either perpetually high or just irresponsibly stoked about ignoring internal consistency (where in the uncharted territories did Chiana’s sudden onset visions come from?), but once season three got fully under way, it was like they were thoroughly committed to driving the viewers crazy right along with Crichton.

Oh. Right. THAT’S why I stopped watching the show.

I mean, my word, people. Reality on the other side of the wormhole did an complete tailspin to the degree that even having just watched four seasons in the space of a few weeks, I don’t think I could separate out the plot points that actually happened from the ones that occurred in an alternate reality/timeline/simulation or were hallucinated due to drugs/torture/illness/mind control/more drugs/holy dren the main characters spent a lot of time drugged out of their minds on this show for a really impressive range of reasons.

Let me draw you a little comparison:

Farscape v TNG

This is what we call impressionist graphing. I could map it out for you more thoroughly, but I’ve already lost four seasons of my life plus the time it took for me to write this rant, so I won’t. The point should be clear, however: messing with the realness of reality is like lemon pepper seasoning. It is delightful in small amounts, but should on no account be used to thickly batter an entire pan of chicken breasts. Enough is as good as too much.

Because I have more faith than is clearly merited in the internet and the geeks who dwell therein, however, I persevered through to the bitter end, certain that I was missing something, that all would come clear. I wasn’t hoping for much more than a Dorothy Gale waking up in her own bed moment (and you were there, and you…), but it was SO MUCH WORSE.

(Spoiler alert.)

The will-they/won’t-they champions of the century get engaged, very romantically, in a boat (which they got where, exactly?) and are then frozen by an alien weapon and shattered into a bazillion pieces leaving D’Argo screaming in horror as he watches, helpless to intervene.

And then the show was cancelled. The wrap-up was schlepped off onto a mini-series that I would have to pay actual money to get my hands on, and you know what? I can’t do it. I just can’t bring myself to spend the eight bucks to add that particular DVD to my collection, but more importantly, I can’t resign myself to the fact that I’m not done. I know this may seem like quitting with the finish line in sight, but in my mind, John Crichton and Aeryn Sun will forever be a beautiful pile of commingled flesh crystals sparkling in the sun as Ka D’Argo rages on.

Just trying to find a way to embrace the absurdity.

6 thoughts on “Frelling Farscape

  1. HAHAHHhhahahahha! I dunno what to say! FarScape to me is like the dude I dated that I was so ecstatic about at the time then once the disillusionment set in I distanced myself from him and denied his existence to anyone that asked… (Although when no one was around I took cheeky glances only to be disappointed again.) Scorpio seemed to always be there. Pilot changed. Moya’s motherhood. That Total Recall scene. Characters left the show and I wasn’t sure I liked the new ones. The ending.

    But you know what? Convoluted storylines never seem to go away. I have yet to come across a series that gets better after the 3rd season without getting too complicated.

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    1. “When no one was around I took cheeky glances only to be disappointed again.” That is a GREAT description of my relationship with Farscape too. :D

      I bet the problem with convoluted storylines in a big production is that you have to have a really dedicated group that has the resources to scrutinize continuity to keep things from flying off the rails. I imagine between drafts and backstory planning and what gets cut either from a script or after production, people behind the scenes always have a more coherent sense of the world than fans, but they don’t always have a coherent sense of how fans are experiencing the world. I think this was definitely a big part of what made Lost/Battlestar Galactica/DS9 such a letdown, ultimately (and what Supernatural might be trending towards). If you have a convoluted story going, you better have a slam dunk resolution that ties up ALL the ends, because the fans notice. (Still waiting for them to bring Jenny back in to Doctor Who.)

      Speaking of which: have you watched Doctor Who (reboot and forward)? I think it fits the “better after the third season / not too complicated / keeping convoluted storylines going” criteria, although they get to cheat a bit by imploding things when they switch doctors. I think Buffy is also better after the third season without getting too complicated (well, until you get to season 8 in the comics–they lose it for a bit there, but hilariously so and then they reign it in, so it’s okay). And TNG and Charmed…maybe? Been awhile since I watched those, though.

      Now I’m going to be thinking about that set of criteria every time I rewatch a show…

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      1. I’ve never watched Dr.Who, could never get into it. I actually want to watch Supernatural but I’m scared. So many fans talk about how good it used to be and I’m thinking, what could they get so wrong…

        Heroes and Lost are others that just went off the scale. There was another one that only lasted one pilot called Flashforward, I think. (Or was it flash back?) I always wonder if it’s that they run out of ideas or just add a bunch of things to get conflict going then confuse everything in the process. i like your specualtion though, esp since it;s something that writers suffer from anyway – knowing their world too much!

        At the moment I find Vampire Diaries to be the worst offender!

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      2. It took me four seasons to get into Supernatural, and I don’t think they’ve blown it yet…just dubious that they won’t. They seem to be following the “ring this cash cow for all it’s worth” model, which can never end well.

        Heroes is one I keep meaning to watch. Sad to hear it’s one of the crazy ones! Flashforward I’ll have to look up, but your point about the backlash of running out of ideas also makes tons of sense.

        I rage-quite Vampire Diaries sometime after they turned Elena. My sister keeps trying to convince me that it had just started to get good, but I don’t know… I thought it was starting to run itself in circles, which is usually the signal for a downward spiral about to begin, right?

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      3. Your sister and my boyfriend (YES! my boyfriend) can buy buckets of popcorn and keep watching it and keep trying to convince us! It’s ran itself into the ground. Antagonists come in one episode and die the next. He watches the Originals now. He admits he cares little for the characters in Vamp. D but still watches it. Go figure, lol. Maybe it’s just a guilty pleasure like watching The Tribe was a guilty pleasure of mine!

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      4. Ha.There’s definitely something to be said for guilty pleasures, so I guess we can’t deny them that. :)

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