Fartscape

Evil Monkey:
Are you okay, Jeff. You look kind of dazed.

Jeff:
I just watched the pilot and first episode of Farscape. My eyes were trying to leave my body by the 45-minute mark.

Evil Monkey:
Posh-nosh-bigosh, laddie. It can’t be that bad. People are All Hailing the appearance of webisodes!

Jeff:
Oh, it was pretty bad, all right.

Evil Monkey:
Folly-bolly, whippersnipper. Couldn’t be! Tell me about it!

Jeff:
Um, you okay, Evil?

Evil Monkey:
Just mixed some opium with some speed. No worries. Pray continue. What’s the show about?

Jeff:
Well, near as I can tell, the show is about a farting Henson hand puppet with some plasticene poured over it and eyebrows that serve no evolutionary purpose and about a Chewbacca rip-off and about an Earthman fallen through a black hole who has to learn to make facial expressions through a nervous tic that occurs when a sentry beacon can’t be turned off. A mushroom dweller apparently runs the engine room of the Leviathan prison ship now run by the prisoners, the ship is alive, and the editors can’t block a scene to save their lives.

Evil Monkey:
You don’t say, old bean. Fascinating! Get to the good stuff!

Jeff:
There’s a Peacekeeper following them because his brother was killed when he accidentally flew into Earthman’s ship just after Earthman’s ship came out of the wormhole and despite all the video evidence, he wants vengeance for the murder of his brother. I don’t get it.

Evil Monkey:
I love the way the room undulates like a purring panther.

Jeff:
In the pilot, there’s a 10-minute sequence where the Earthman and a captured Peacekeeper named Erin escape the ship to go down to an inhabited planet that is among the worst-edited, worst-blocked sequences I’ve seen lately. The cause-and-effect is simply garbled beyond belief.

Evil Monkey:
Sounds trippy!

Jeff:
But the next episode is ten times worse than the first! Much worse! They land on a swampy planet to get this substance to numb the ship while they remove the beacon (remember, the ship is alive) and oh my god. It’s like they’re being pursued by swamp rednecks, and the only difference between them and humans is they have stretchy skin on the side of their faces that makes their ears look like starfruit.

Evil Monkey:
Awesome, man! I can see Provost from here.

Jeff:
Some of the scenes…like one by one the crewmembers look in the hole at where the beacon is attached to the ship. Why? Why all of them? And then the walking piece of toe jam takes a piece out of Erin’s arm, and not only is it a gobbet all out of proportion to her wound, but he eats it and she just stands there holding her arm like it’s a mosquito bite.

Evil Monkey:
Them fish got wings! And arms!

Jeff:
So on the planet, Earthman is looking for this numbing substance while Erin and Chewbacca-be are in a tree having idiot conversations. And he finds it in an old redneck farm left over from Little House on the Prairie. It just happens to be the farm of this woman in pioneer garb who has been trying to track ETs for years, and works for the military of this planet. By the way, this planet has about five people on it, period.

Evil Monkey:
Don’t kill that badger, sir, that badger is mine!

Jeff:
So she stuns the Earthman with what looks like a giant vibrator, but out of sympathy hides him when the military comes. The military consists of one guy in a cap, a couple of faceless stormtroopers, and a few dozen vibrators. And you know why it’s just one guy? Because it takes a lot of effort to put that side-face starfruit-ear makeup on so as to differentiate the aliens from the Earthman. Cause, ya know, that thar is an evolutionary deviation.

Evil Monkey:
I could crawl to China on the back of that lobster.

Jeff:
Long, boring conversations ensue with pioneer woman alientracker’s befreckled, bewildered looking son looking on slack-jawed. In poorly blocked and framed scenes, people escape from things they shouldn’t escape from. The slug thing on the ship detaches the beacon. The blue woman absorbs the ship’s pain–why the hell she couldn’t so it sitting in a chair but instead had to stand up clinging desperately to the side of the ship, I don’t know. And then they all get away. While pioneer woman looks up at the night sky, teary-eyed. Awwww. Nice aliens. So sad they’s gone while I’m a gonna rot on this alien planet that looks like earth with my the sides of my face pulled tight, with these here four stormtroopers and one guy in a gap and my idiot son. But, that’s life for ya.

Evil Monkey:
Has anyone ever told you you look exactly like me?

Comments

  1. says

    To be fair, the first two episodes of Farscape are also the two very worst episodes ever. The rest of the first season achieved mediocrity. Starting with the second season it actually got good.

    Personally, I’m fond of the series just for the episode where the hero gets hit on the head and hallucinates a series of Roadrunner-style cartoons with the big warrior alien in the role of Wile E. Coyote.

  2. says

    I loved Farscape. I can’t remember what the early episodes were like – I seem to recall them being a bit rough – but I caught the whole series on Netflix and was sad when they ended it. I think the key to the show is that at its heart it’s a love story and it’s also the story of a dysfunctional family. It takes a while to establish that, though.

    Some of the episodes run like Star Trek but thankfully I think those are in the minority. I think the Second Season is probably better, but there are some decent first season episodes, particularly when Scorpius comes into it.

    Of course to make things easier, you might just want to give the first disc of Season 2 a shot and see if you like it.

  3. says

    I’ve had my disappointing run-ins with cult television series…most of them, actually, so maybe it’s just me. I tried very hard to embrace “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” but couldn’t get into the swing of it. An exception, however, must be made for Whedon’s other cult hit, “Firefly.” I was immediately sucked in.

  4. says

    I’d recommend starting with “Nerve” and “The Hidden Memory” from the end of the first season (a two parter that sets up the series’ biggest ongoing storylines) and then skipping forward as far as “Crackers Don’t Matter” (which is the point where the hero starts going gradually insane). The show is still sometimes ropey at this point but it seems that over the course of the season everyone involved had learned a few things.

    Be warned, though, that the series maintains a (deliberately) goofy side all the way through. Battlestar Galactica this ain’t. I like a bit of goofy in my space opera, but your mileage may vary.

  5. says

    Jeff, I have to tell ya it is worth sticking with – this was one of my favourite series, but it took a while to get there and I suspect some of the later stuff will appeal to your sense of humour (although a couple of seasons in much of the humour also comes from the character development, so unless you stick with it you might not get all of it). And I reckon you’d appreciate they take a lot of standards SF cliches then mess with them – nice example the old body swap brought on by technological failure, except instead of splitting into evil twins or whatever as they swap bodies they play with the idea. For instance John, the human, ends up in Aeryn’s body; left on his own he can’t help but have a peek down her top then jump up and down. You don’t get that in Star Trek… Seriously, I recall drifting in and out of the first couple of seasons, but it is worth sticking with for the later developments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *