tek's rating: ½

Farscape, Sci-Fi Channel (reruns on Pivot)
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I didn't watch this when it first started, so I had to play catch-up a couple seasons later, and never did get to see everything. And it took me awhile to really get into it once I started watching, but once I did, it became absolutely one of my favorite shows. Ever. If I'm ever rich I'll buy all the DVDs. Anyway, the setup is this: an astronaut named John Crichton (btw, one of my favorite things about him is his propensity for spouting off pop-culture references almost nonstop, which the company in which he henceforth finds himself has no conceivable way of comprehending) was testing this theory about diving into a planet's atmosphere then veering off, or whatever, in his new module Farscape One, when he unexpectedly got sucked into a wormhole (oh, it's all about the wormholes, baby...) and ended up in a distant part of the universe, in the middle of a battle. Before he knew what was happening, a Peacekeeper fighter ship crashed into the Farscape module and the fighter pilot died. His brother was a captain named Bialar Crais, who then blamed Crichton for his brother's death.

The Peacekeepers, by the way, are one of the major forces in the galaxy in which Crichton now finds himself. A military group, mainly consisting of a race called Sebaceans, who look pretty human, but have a few differences, such as a real bad aversion to extreme heat. Anyway, Peacekeepers are mostly either conscripted at a very young age and raised to be nothing but soldiers, or they are the children of Peacekeepers, also raised to be nothing but soldiers. They are to have no emotional bonds or relationships, and children are never raised by their own parents. Anyway... they're supposed to be all about honor and protecting the weak and all sorts of high ideals, but really they seem to be mostly a bunch of jerks who are just after as much power as they can grab. Not all of them, of course. There are some decent folks among them.

...Also in the middle of this battle was a Leviathan, a living, sentient ship, named Moya, which the Peacekeepers used as a prison transport, on which were some prisoners who had just taken over the ship. They include a Luxan general named Ka D'Argo, who was framed by his brother-in-law for murdering his Sebacean wife, Lo'Laan; Rygel XVI, former dominar of the Hynerian Empire, whose throne was usurped by his cousin, Bishan; Zotoh Zhaan, a Delvian Pa'u (a priestess), who had killed her lover; and Pilot (not one of the prisoners, but sides with them), who pilots Moya, and is actually connected to her. Crichton's module was picked up by Moya, and despite some initial mistrust of him, he was forced to join the new crew of escaped prisoners on Moya. Also there was a Peacekeeper named Aeryn Sun, who was held captive by the prisoners for a while and later Crais deemed her tainted, so she was automatically thrown out of the Peacekeepers and I think she would've been killed, so she was forced to join Crichton and the others, as well. She didn't like it at first, but she grew to accept it, and befriend them. (It should come as no surprise to anyone with any experience at all with fiction of any kind, that eventually she and Crichton will fall in love.)

Anyway, Crais would spend a long time chasing Moya and her crew for quite awhile, wanting revenge against Crichton. But things keep changing on this show. Moya occasionally gets new crew members or loses old ones; enemies become allies, new enemies emerge. But the characters are all pretty interesting and their relationships with one another complex. Crais, for example, eventually became an ally. And a Nebari named Chiana joined the crew, on the run from her people, who brainwash any independent thinkers among them, and Chiana didn't want to be brainwashed. She eventually started a relationship with D'Argo. Later, D'Argo's long lost son Jothee joined the show, and had an affair with Chiana, which more or less ended D'Argo's relationships with both of them. For awhile.

Now, the most important plot point of the series occurred when some Ancient aliens implanted knowledge of wormhole technology in Crichton's head, buried so deep even he himself couldn't access it, at first. But there was this Peacekeeper named Scorpius who wanted that information. Scorpy is half Sebacean and half Scarran. Scarrans are the other major power in the galaxy, and they and the Peacekeepers hate each other. The Scarrans are even worse than the Peacekeepers. And they're very big and tough, practically invulnerable, and very strong, and mean, and stuff. And um, their one weakness really is extreme cold, which presents quite the problem for Scorpy, being half and half, you see. But anyway, he really hates the Scarrans and wants to get wormhole technology before them, because it would really tip the balance of power in favor of whichever side controlled it. So he implanted a neurochip in Crichton's brain, to track him. This would cause Crichton to have hallucinations of Scorpius. Even after the neurochip was removed, it left a "neural clone" of Scorpius in his head. Crichton came to call this neural clone "Harvey," with whom he continued to have occasional conversations.

At one point, Moya gave birth to a Peacekeeper-modified baby Leviathan, with built-in weapons, named Talyn, who chose Crais as his captain. Eventually, Zhaan would die. Later, so would Talyn and Crais. People always seem to be sacrificing themselves for others on this show. Another character, an Interion named Joolushko Tunai Fenta Hovalis (Jool, for short) reluctantly joined the crew. She eventually stayed behind on the planet Arnessk, after awakening aliens (Eidolons) there from a 12,000-cycle hibernation. (They have some link to Earth, but this is not adequately explored.)

Then at one point, Crichton was twinned, but I missed most of what happened from this point until the twin died. Another character to join the crew was a crazy old Traskan woman named Utu-Noranti Pralatong. Noranti is sort of a witch, evocative of those in Macbeth. And a Kalish woman named Sikozu Svala Shanti Sugaysi Shanu, though she is most interested in helping herself, and then allies herself with Scorpy. Sort of. And there's a Banik named Stark, who can help people's spirits pass to the other side when they die, but can also absorb their knowledge. He's kinda crazy, in a way. And he loved Zhaan.

Scorpius, while also chiefly out for himself and hoping to get wormhole technology, becomes a sort of ally of the crew, but not really. Meanwhile, the new major Peacekeeper enemy is Commandant Mele-On Grayza. She had a gland implanted in her to produce Heppel oil, which is an aphrodisiac that basically subjugates people to her will. She doesn't like Scorpius and is not interested in wormholes. There is a Peacekeeper captain named Braca, who ends up working for Grayza, but remains loyal to Scorpius. I think that's about all the characters you need to know, though I'm afraid I've introduced them somewhat out of order.

It's rather a wild ride, moving at breakneck pace, with little or no time to relax. It can be hard to keep up with what's going on. It's also a pretty wacky, bizarre show in some ways. Very funny much of the time. But the crew of Moya basically just want to get to their respective homes, and be left alone, and keep wormhole technology out of both Peacekeeper and Scarran hands. They have very little luck with any of these simple desires. I dunno what else to tell you, except that it ended far too early. And on rather a down note, as just when John finds out Aeryn is pregnant, and they get engaged, they suddenly get killed. Or so it seems... The story is laster picked up right where the series finale left off, in the miniseries The Peacekeeper Wars. And there are some comic books, which are considered canonical, which I've never read, but would probably like to.


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