Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

Calling All ‘Scapers! An Introduction to the Farscape Rewatch

Welcome to the Uncharted Territories, where nobody is exactly what they seem, everybody wants to get inside your head or your pants—that is when they’re not trying to kill you—and your best friend probably has tentacles.

It seems like good timing for a Farscape rewatch since the series has just come out on Blu-ray. And considering the enthusiastic response to Emily’s eloquent blog about the show late last year, Farscape fans are definitely out there in numbers!

This rewatch will build up into a complete episode guide to Farscape. Its original incarnation—as a book written for Virgin Publishing ten years ago—was “Unofficial and Unauthorised” which meant I didn’t have access to the cast or crew, or to privileged behind-the-scenes info or lots of colour glossy 8×10 photographs with arrows and labels. All I had access to were the episodes themselves and any interviews I stumbled across in my travels.

That book, Uncharted Territory, covered the first three seasons and was commissioned just as Sci-Fi announced they’d be making seasons 4 and 5, so I was confident of a second edition.

Unfortunately, it was published THE EXACT DAY SciFi announced the show was in fact being cancelled. The publisher responded by remaindering it pretty much instantly. Frell. (I shouldn’t complain—one friend of mine had his Smallville episode guide recalled and pulped after three days on the shelves!)

So this rewatch will be composed intially of revised entries from the book, published once a week on Wednesdays. I’ll be rewatching the show for the first time since I wrote the book so I can add or change bits, and possibly violently disagree with my younger self’s opinions.

Without further ado, here’s how each episode will be presented:

Synopsis: A quick summary of what happens in the episode.

Character Sections: Each of the central characters will get his, her (or its) own section, where I note how they develop over time, and draw attention to action or dialogue that really defines them.

The Ballad of ***** and ****: How the romantic relationships of the crew blossom and flower… and then inevitably go all horribly weird and screwy.

World’s Apart: The various planets and civilisations Moya’s crew visit.

Alien Encounters: The races that Crichton and co. meet along the way.

Disney On Acid: Crichton peppers his speeches with pop-culture references that nobody else could possibly understand. This category will list and explain them all.

Get Frelled: Sex is a major component of the Farscape world. Everyone’s doing it, wants to be doing it, or is regretting having done it.

What Does This Do? Bodily functions are never ignored on Moya, from Rygel’s helium farts, to the radiation shielding properties of Zhaan’s puke.

Seen It All Before: Farscape is very good at taking old storylines and twisting them in new and unexpected ways. This section points out where you may have encountered a particular idea before.

Stats: The hardware of the Farscape world, the measurements, rules, facts and figures.

Logic Leaps: Moments when the story asks you to suspend disbelief just that bit too much.

Bloopers: Screw-ups and continuity errors accounted for.

WHAT Did You Just Say?: Memorable quotes.

Guest Stars: Who are they and where you’ve seen them before.

Backstage: Crucial behind-the-scenes info which informs the episode.

The Verdict: A brief, subjective review of the episode.

A note on the viewing order

Hold tight, this gets confusing….

The first half of season one was shown in no less than FOUR different configurations. For the real obsessives amongst you (don’t feel ashamed, I know and share your pain!) here they are:

U.K. transmission order:

  1. Premiere
  2. Throne For A Loss
  3. Back and Back and Back to the Future
  4. I, E.T.
  5. Exodus From Genesis
  6. Thank God It’s Friday… Again
  7. PK Tech Girl
  8. That Old Black Magic
  9. DNA Mad Scientist
  10. They’ve Got a Secret
  11. Till The Blood Runs Clear
  12. The Flax
  13. Rhapsody In Blue

(The original Australian Transmission order was almost the same, except “That Old Black Magic” ran between “Thank God It’s Friday… Again” and “PK Tech Girl.”)

U.S. transmission order:

  1. Premiere
  2. Exodus From Genesis
  3. Back and Back and Back to the Future
  4. Throne For A Loss
  5. PK Tech Girl
  6. Thank God it’s Friday… Again
  7. I, E.T.

…thereafter it’s the same as the UK.

The production team’s preferred viewing order (used on the original U.S. DVD releases)

  1. Premiere
  2. I, E.T.
  3. Exodus From Genesis
  4. Throne For A loss
  5. Back and Back and Back to the Future
  6. Thank God It’s Friday… Again
  7. PK Tech Girl
  8. That Old Black Magic
  9. DNA Mad Scientist
  10. They’ve Got A Secret
  11. Till The Blood Runs Clear
  12. Rhapsody In Blue
  13. The Flax

It would now appear that a FIFTH configuration has been inaugurated with the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases, on which “Rhapsody in Blue” and “The Flax” are switched.

Does your head hurt as much as mine?

My original book followed the U.K. transmission order, but this time I’m following the latest listing as found on the most recent box set releases—it’s basically the same as the preferred viewing order of ten years ago.

In the U.S. the episodes ran at forty-four minutes, which meant that approximately three to four minutes of disposable character material was shot for each episode but was only broadcast in Europe. However, that material has been included on all VHS and DVD releases and will be included in this rewatch.

These blogs are designed as a lighthearted aide-mémoire to the series, designed to be read alongside the episodes. They’ll be informative (hopefully), amusing (with luck) and opinionated (definitely), the idea being that you’ll find out stuff you may have missed, connections you hadn’t made, and you’ll sometimes agree and sometimes disagree with what I have to say, which is the way it should be—I look forward to lots of impassioned comments!

Let’s get started with the premiere episode.

Scott K. Andrews has written episode guides, magazine articles, film and book reviews, comics, audio plays for Big Finish, far too many blogs, some poems you will never read, and three novels for Abaddon. He is, patently, absurd.


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