things i love: Farscape

For me Farscape is one of those shows I would elect to have with me if trapped on a deserted island. I can watch it over and over again and have several times. And like all good shows, it got canceled, though it made it a little further than Firefly, Freaks & Geeks, and Pushing Daisies.

But back to Farscape.

To give you a little background, Farscape is about an American astronaut named John Crichton whose space pod gets sucked down a wormhole while experimenting with a space travel theory. He encounters new species of aliens, including some who look human but aren’t.

Best of all the show is produced by the Jim Henson company, which means puppets and puppet prosthetics are involved. I love the capabilities CGI gives us, but for me alien creatures always look more real if they are actually real.

CG yoda vs puppet yoda

No, Yoda isn’t in Farscape. I’m just using this to point out how glad I am we got the puppets and not the CG monstrosity.


There are quite a few reasons I love Farscape, from puppetry to pop cultures references, space travel and science fiction, but I’ll level it down to three:

  1. The non-traditional yet traditional protagonist.
  2. The villain.
  3. Creativity in story-telling.


John CrichtonI watched Farscape on the recommendation of several friends and I have to admit, I didn’t connect with John Crichton right away.  To me even the actor seemed like a jock cast for a part not meant for him.  One of those leading men that says and does everything right, all the while performing impossible feats to save the day.  Not so with Ben Browder’s portrayal of Crichton.

Though he starts off as a strong and heroic astronaut he soon transforms to bumbling neanderthal in the company of advanced alien races.  Astronauts are among the smartest we’ve got in humanity, and he’s stuck barely comprehending the strange, super tech world around him.

But he doesn’t remain that way—not exactly.  It’s usually thanks to his optimism and refusal to accept there’s no way out of a sticky situation that he and the rest of his companions make it out of situations alive.

Something I’ve hated about a certain attitude in certain parts of sci-fi is that our human race is usually portrayed as being far less advanced than any other alien society in every way—as though ours would be the only race in the universe to make mistakes or get it wrong.

And though he’s among aliens with advanced technology, many of their ideals or thoughts about how life should be seem incredibly antiquated standing next to Crichton’s morality and integrity.  They learn as much from this human creature, if not more so than the human creature learns from them.

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