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Author of queer, wry sci fi/fantasy books. On Amazon.
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Thursday, 8 May 2014

Missed It: The Farscape Review

Hello hello!

I've been meaning to do this for a while, especially since I mentioned Farscape a while back. I've since then been rewatching it from Season 1, and it's reminded me why I love the show so very much.

Normally, I would analyse this sort of thing to death, but I've noticed that Farscape--in spite of a decently-sized fanbase back in the day--is surprisingly unknown. So, I'll save some of the analysis I'd like to do in favour of just telling you why you need to watch it.


An astronaut, John Chriton, gets shot through a wormhole and across space (possibly into an alternate dimension. It's never quite clear). He falls in with a bunch of criminals and renegades, and ends up falling in love, going insane, running away from a black leather BDSM-suited alien, and trying to get back home. His rag-tag, dysfunctional little crew is made up of Muppets, truly amazing actors, and about as many personal secrets as you can store. Oh, and it's a living ship. And people get cloned. And transhuman questions. And actual diversity. And some of the funniest lines and scenes ever written for science fiction.


Absolutely phenomenal writing and acting. Excellent characters. Jim Henson. One of the best villains of all time.

The chemistry between Ben Browder (Chriton) and Claudia Black (my hero, Aeryn Sun) is sizzling but compellingly rich. Chriton is a 'real man' who actually has lots of romantic daydreams and squishy feels, and it's Aeryn he has to warm up and break down communication barriers with, rather than the stereotypically reversed roles. Aeryn likes guns and taking the piss out of Chriton, and her role is played with subtlety and wit by the gorgeous and clever Black. And that's just the two leads. I haven't mentioned D'Argo, Zhaan, Rygel, or the others. I'm not even going to tell you about two of the villains and their transformations or excellent writing. I won't allude to the other wonderful characters, either, and the layers they quickly build up. The series does a great job of showing rather than telling, and I'm going to be faithful to that.

I will mention that the show passes the hell out of the Beschdel, that the female characters avoid being wank-bait but aren't too desexualized, that the humour in the show is wonderful, that the designs/aesthetics are every bit as wonderful as you'd hope Jim Henson's studio could devise, and that both the emotional and the military plots generally make excellent sense. Plus, every single fail or stumble gets improved on--this is a show that learns from itself, and the seasons that start off on a back foot eventually become the best ones of all.

Moya. She is not only the setting, she's given personhood and an awesome art. Yes, I'm talking about the ship.


Really? Well, I guess the first season does get a bit random. I'd suggest watching around ep. 18 if you just can't get through it. Once in a while a couple of characters go backwards in their arc, and there were a few bits here and there that almost lost me because I had no idea where they were going. There were a couple death fake-outs that were annoying too. However, 95% of the show pays off, and every hard moment becomes worth it with some fantastic developments later. I will admit that there's some serious back-and-forth in the main love plot that kinda drove me crazy, but everything else, especially their chemistry, is solid gold. It's a great space opera that made me cry and made me laugh, and it really pushed the boundaries of my understanding of what a plot and characters can do. 

Final Verdict 

This is completely biased to heck, but whatever--it's a rare 10 out of 10, and I highly recommend it. There are basically only a handful of things that I will defend with ardent love and devotion, and Farscape is one of them. It's on Netflix, but not enough people know about it, so give it a shot next time you need a new series for sure.

Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

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