Farscape: Soap in space
Farscape was why my spouse and I bought a TiVo. It was a show we discovered not long after we got married and that we were soon watching faithfully. But we discovered after our babe was born in 2001 that live television watching wasn’t compatible with baby minding, and we rediscovered the unreliabilty of taping shows on a VCR. We couldn’t do without Moya and her crew, and so we bought a first-generation TiVo, along with a lifetime subscription to its services. We’ve been proselytizing the joys of TiVo ever since (we’ve upgraded to a recent model and have hacked that to increase its memory). But Farscape had disappeared from our lives for a while. It went off the air, and although I’m pretty sure we own it on DVD, I don’t tend to remember to watch my DVDs. But with its appearance on Netflix Instant, nothing can come between me and Ka D’Argo again.
What blew me away when we first started watching the series was how far removed it was from the imaginative and visual universe of Star Trek. There’s no crew of brethren searching for scientific knowledge, no utterly foreign aliens, no discrete episodes with uplifting morals. It’s a sprawling soap opera in which the crew of the living spaceship constantly argue and jostle for dominance and reveal secrets and longings and shifting alliances. The villains — and, oh the evil chasing Creighton and Aeryn and the others is evil indeed — are also complex and sometimes allies in the moment, even while never to be trusted.
The best way in, if you haven’t seen the show before, is to start at the beginning. But be forewarned: the series was cancelled abruptly, so what should have been a cliffhanger was, for many years, the ending. You’ll be able to watch beyond the fourth series to the 2004 The Peacekeeper Wars mini-series that tried to wrap things up more equitably. But that sudden ending was the biggest betrayal I’ve come across in television. I’m still bitter about it. I’m actually a bit reluctant to return to the show with the full force of love I felt for it before. I’ll dip my toes in once and a while, but I can’t immerse myself anymore. You should, though. Your heart won’t get broken, I promise.
Sarah Werner has two sons, at least one job, and too many books to read. As a result, Netflix Instant is her constant companion. She blogs about books and reading and is known to a corner of the twitterverse as @wynkenhimself.