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from Cult Times #65

The Premise: Astronaut John Crichton is shot through a wormhole in his module Farscape 1 and finds himself in some distant part of the universe on a living ship full of strange alien life forms. Forming bonds both strong and tentative with the escaped prisoners (some guilty, some not) on board, John attempts to find his way home.

Crichton is originally hunted by insane military commander Captain Crais, in vengeance for the accidental death of Crais’s brother. He’s now being chased by an actually rather cunning military commander, Scorpius, who seeks the wormhole-creating technology lodged in Crichton’s brain.

Background: Farscape comes from the creative pen of Rockne S O’Bannon, the man also responsible for seaQuest DSV, at least in part. It’s produced by the Jim Henson Company and filmed in Australia and, considering its low profile launch, it’s built an impressive fanbase who’ve realized it’s more than just muppets.

First Run: Farscape started in 1999 on The Sci-Fi Channel; its third season is currently being filmed.

Number of Episodes: Forty-four so far, in two seasons.

The Good Guys: John Crichton, just looking for a way home; Ka D’Argo, fierce warrior but really rather cuddly guy desperately searching for his lost son; Aeryn Sun, disgraced Peacekeeper (the local ‘cops’) trying to make a new life for herself; P’au Zoto Zhaan, blue priest guilty of the murder she was jailed for; Chiana, thieving wench with vibrant sexuality and a knack for finding trouble; Pilot, well-meaning and loveable pilot of living ship Moya; Rygel XVI, dominar of his planet, but usurped. Proud, stubborn and immensely annoying. And that’s on a good day.

The Bad Guys: Captain Bialar Crais, chasing John for no real reason but now on the Moya crew’s side. Or is he? Scorpius, a Skarran/Sebacean hybrid with a mission to map Crichton’s mind. And not in a good way.

And Isn’t That... The most recognizable things in the series are probably the muppets; several creatures looking suspiciously like those in The Dark Crystal or other Henson productions have so far been seen.

Overdone Clichés: Crichton pretends to be / actually goes loopy. The clue is the sudden Southern drawl.

Fashion Statements: Lots of leather, especially in Season Two when Crichton gets all Peacekeepery, with Chiana doctoring her wardrobe to match later on.

  Farscape's John Crichton (Ben Browder)

Family Ties
All manner of excitement with about 15 plots coming together and a huge cliffhanger ending.

Won’t Get Fooled Again
A warped trip into Crichton’s mind as he is experimented on without his knowledge. Continues the Scorpius arc, allows Rygel to be thrown from a tall tower and sees Crais in high heels. Oh, and the girls (and Rygel) in kinky bondage gear.

Die Me Dichotomy
Just as you think things can’t get any worse for the crew, Crichton experiences a nasty split personality. A devastating loss and an even larger cliffhanger than Season One’s.


A fair bit of early Season One, which didn’t have much going for it, especially the comedy beard antics of Jeremiah Crichton. Some funny moments can’t save Beware of Dog either.


is currently airing on
Sci-Fi (UK), Sundays 21.00 / Fridays 18.00

See listings section of this Cult Times for details

Paul Spragg

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Photo © The Henson Company

Feature © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction.