interview farscape Taken from TV Zone #141

TV Zone #141, Farscape coverBen Browder
Out of Time

As astronaut John Crichton, Ben Browder is still lost in Space in Season Three...

Ben Browder portrait as Crichton

See also: Claudia Black on Aeryn Sun


The actor, pondering the matter of whether or not Farscape executive producer David Kemper wings things or has an overall season-long arc in his head, wants to provide an answer. That answer, however, proves elusive, which represents a good chunk of what’s so appealing about Farscape: it’s unpredictable, thought-out but scattershot, entertaining but serious and quite often seriously entertaining.

“David has things that he works towards,” Browder begins. “He’ll come to me and say, ‘I’ve got his moment’ and he’s also told me that he has the final moment of Farscape in his head. That scares me because I see death and mayhem. David will talk to me before a season starts about where that season might end. So there are points that he and the writing staff are working towards. But scripts change as we go. Arcs change as we go... how we get there might change as we go along. He’ll let me in on certain things, but not everything.

“It’s almost as though we’re working it out together. He’ll tell me certain things and I’ll react to them in a certain way and then he’ll gauge if he’s going to get to certain points on how I react to them, or how the other actors or writers react to them... He doesn’t lay it all out and say, ‘This is what we’re doing and this is how we’re doing it’. He’ll say, ‘This is where I’m trying to go,’ and we’ll talk about it and how we’ll get to that point.”

Brain Drain

Whatever the methods, and whatever the madness behind the methods, it’s working. Now in its third season, Farscape remains Sci Fi Channel’s most popular original dramatic series. The show has won over Sci-Fi fans and even mainstream critics. For those not too familiar with the series, it follows the adventures of 20th Century astronaut John Crichton (Browder), a man who got stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up joining the crew of a sentient ship called Moya. Aboard the ship, he is joined by his would-be paramour Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black) and a number of other characters that are alternately allies or thorns in his side or both.

At the end of Season Two’s concluding three-part finale, Crichton lay in awful shape, leather-clad baddie Scorpius having tinkered with his brain, rendering him speechless. Oh, and Aeryn was dead. When we speak, Season Three’s events thus far have yet to entirely resolve the doings of the finale.

“OK, we got Aeryn back alive, but the cost for that was Zhaan (Virginia Hey),” Browder argues. “We got the chip out of Crichton’s head, but we don’t have Scorpy out of Crichton’s head. So you’ve got Scorpy running around with all of the advantages, and John hasn’t gotten much in the way of advantages. I think it was interesting... at first you might say, ‘OK, it’s all resolved,’ but it really wasn’t. And it still isn’t. The cliff-hanger happened when Aeryn and Crichton were at a very critical point in their relationship and it kicked that back a little bit. It killed Zhaan. John wasn’t completely put back together. So it could take this whole season to resolve the damned cliffhanger.

“This season, like Season Two, we’re trying to heavily hit on all of the characters, and we’ve got a couple of new ones. We’ll have a D’Argo [Anthony Simcoe] story, a Rygel story, a Chiana [Gigi Edgley], an Aeryn story, a Stark story [Paul Goddard]. It’s an ensemble show. In Season One, Crichton was scrambling to keep everyone together. For a good part of Season Two, Aeyrn and D’Argo kept them together and it was, at the end, ‘How do we tend to poor John?’

"Season Three has a different motif, in a way... There are more comings and goings than we’ve had before as far as the group is concerned. They’re in a completely different place now and it will be interesting to see where it all goes in Season Four. I don’t mean to get ahead of myself. What you’ll see this season is the resolve out into its major arc after a bunch of episodes in which you’ll almost be getting to know the characters again..."

Crichton and Aeryn: Far-Crossed Lovers?

The Far-Crossed Lovers

“I think the relationship has been beautifully handled. I always find myself going, ‘Where do we go from here?’ And that’s a good thing, I think. It means I’m still interested in what’s happening with these two people.

"At the same time, the relationship is frustrating. It’s a tease. It’s torturous to see these people who we all know should be together and would probably be great together still not together.”
Ben Browder on John Crichton and Aeryn Sun’s relationship

John Crichton and Aeryn Sun hate each other. Yeah, like we believe that. But at the start of Season One, there was more than a little sniping at each other for being, respectively, a testosterone-driven lunatic and a cold-hearted bitch who won’t let someone into her life. And, to an extent, it was true.

Aeryn was an insular person, driven to trust no one except her comrades (and sometimes not even them) by Peacekeeper Command, and John was a stranger in a strange world, poked, prodded and generally messed around with through no fault of his own. Surely with this much conflict on both sides, it was only a matter of time before they were drawn together. Anyway, for Aeryn it was either John or a flatulent muppet. Or Rygel.

The sexual tension grew slowly but gradually between them, encounters almost leading to a relationship but not quite making it. Then, just before the Scorpius clone took over Crichton’s mind, he admitted his love for Aeryn. Her death a couple of arns later was inevitable.

Thankfully, we discovered Aeryn wasn’t dead, only resting, but her declaration of love prior to her icy demise had to be addressed. Crichton rather foolishly refuses her first offer of a frell in the hay, but recent events have instead caused a decidedly bizarre love triangle...

Paul Spragg

Ian Spelling


More from Ben Browder on Season 3 in this feature in TV Zone #141


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