So I got up early this morning, and then spent the entire day lounging around watching FARSCAPE. I worked at 4PM, and at about 2:30, I remembered that I needed to post a blog. I checked the draft I started on Wednesday, and HALF OF IT WAS GONE (including a joke I’ve been saving for WEEKS), so here I am, writing a blog about, what else, FARSCAPE.
Some background: FARSCAPE started airing in 1999, and I didn’t watch it until 2006 (more on that later). I did watch a lot of shows on the Space Channel, though, so I saw a lot of ads for the re-airing of the show that led up to THE PEACEKEEPER WARS. Since they mostly involved a dude dressed as a monk singing the 1812 Overture, I filed it under “weirder than Dune”, and went back to watching BUFFY.
People on my livejournal f-list, though, started to watch. They spoke very highly of it, so I asked for it for Christmas of 2005. In the meantime, it was announced that Ben Browder would be joining the cast of STARGATE SG-1 on a permanent basis, so I decided to watch one random episode of FARSCAPE when it aired on TV, just so that I would meet him as JOHN before I met him as MITCHELL (I had already met Vala by that point, but had been assured she was nothing like Aeryn Sun).
The episode I ended up with is a mid-Season 3 episode called RELATIVITY. There are worse episodes, I’ll admit it, but damn if I didn’t manage to spoil myself for the entire arc! I was also TERRIFICALLY CONFUSED. But I was intrigued.
Christmas arrived and I got season one, just as I had hoped. I watched it all by New Year’s. I found FARSCAPE to be bizarre and beautiful. And funny. And while I’m not usually a fan of humour based on bodily functions, FARSCAPE managed to make it work, on multiple occasions (at one point, my now sister-in-law was all “Hey, you’ve been watching this a lot, would I like it?” just as one of the characters said the word “vomit” about 19 times in a sentence. I told her it probably wasn’t her thing). I was also very much in love with the characters, particularly John and Aeryn.
I got the other seasons, and started watched Season Two. “Vita Mortis” was so bad that I stopped completely for months (in my defense, I was busy: it was my final year of university, I was trying to move to England, and Stargate SG-1, Atlantis and BSG pretty much controlled the sci-fi parts of my brain). The first week I was in England, though, I didn’t have the internet. Faced with having to actually go outside and talk to people, I watched all of FARSCAPE instead.
FARSCAPE has never been one of those fandoms that lit me on fire. I haven’t written a WORD of fic. I don’t READ any fic. I watch the occasional fanvid. I have a bunch of lj posts about it, and a circle of friends to discuss it with, but for the most part, it’s the show I like to keep to myself.
A lot of this is because it’s very difficult to explain. I mean, there are PUPPETS for starters. And a lot of leather. And all the aliens seem to lead with tongue. Of any show I’ve ever watched that is set in space, FARSCAPE is EASILY the most alien*. They never dial down on the bizarre. I usually imagine that episodes come to be by a bunch of people sitting down at a table, and then someone losing a bet.
But for all it’s insanity (and I feel safe using that word: I believe John Crichton to be, at times, legitimately insane), FARSCAPE also manages to be one of the most touching, well written and best acted shows ever made**. Most of those moments are so beautiful that I can’t tell you about them, because it would ruin the fun. As much as FARSCAPE is alien, it’s also very, very human at times, and it’s those human moments that really get you where you live***.
I would be remiss if I left off without mentioning Aeryn Sun. Aeryn Sun is flipping amazing. She is the warrior in the show (John is the scientist), and the way she grows and changes is just fantastic. Claudia Black wins everything, FOREVER with this roll. Also, she has very pretty hair, and the green shirt she wears for most of season three is JUST TO DIE FOR.
So watch Farscape. Find a person who has already seen it****, and get them to support you through the weaker episodes. If you’re going it alone, there are places on the internet where we will cheer you on. Once you get to “Look at the Princess” in season two, it’s pretty much the greatest thing that has ever happened.
Look upwards, and share the wonders I see.
Just, um. don’t do what I did and finish watching “Bad Timing” without having THE PEACEKEEPER WARS on hand. That was a very, very bad plan.
*A meta part of this is that FARSCAPE is shot in Australia, which meant all new casts and set pieces. This is quite a novelty after Only Nine Actors in Canada, and the fact that everyone seems to shoot in the same six places in Vancouver. It’s a bit different now, thanks to LotR and Star Wars, but still.
**Even the puppets. OH, GOD, THE PUPPETS. Pilot makes me cry on a regular basis, and even though Rygel makes me crazy, every now and then he’s just SO AWESOME. Apparently even the DIRECTORS would forget the puppets were puppets, and TRY TO GIVE THEM ACTING NOTES.
****This is challenging. There’s a great bit in COMMUNITY where Abed lets a gay guy hit on him for a long time because he doesn’t get to talk about FARSCAPE with many people. There’s also a very funny bit in the 200th episode of SG-1. But if you just say “FRELL” enough times, you’ll find them. Trust me.