REVIEW – Farscape: The Complete Series Blu-Ray Edition
Definitive version of hit sci-fi series now available for immediate starburst...
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Debuting in 1999, Farscape was a breath of fresh air for science-fiction on television. A joint partnership between Brian Henson and the Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Entertainment, and Rockne S. O’Bannon, the show began production in Australia and promised to tell a new kind of story utilizing actors, puppets and animatronics, and state of the art CG effects. Farscape managed to do just that, revitalizing the sci-fi community in a way no one expected and creating characters and stories that have resonated with fans around the world. And now, A+E Networks Home Entertainment has released the definitive version of the series in Farscape: The Complete Series Blu-Ray Edition!
Set in the present day, Farscape tells the story of astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) and his adventures through space (and sometimes time). Testing a prototype vessel in Earth’s orbit, John is accidentally blasted into a distant galaxy and finds himself in the middle of a crazy space battle! Mistaken for an unknown enemy agent, he’s brought aboard the sentient prison ship Moya and ends up joining forces with the escaped prisoners Ka D’Argo (Anthony Simcoe), Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan (Virginia Hey), Dominar Rygel XVI (voiced by Jonathan Hardy), Chiana (Gigi Edgley), and the ship’s integrated Pilot (voiced by Lani Tupu). In the process John accidentally causes destruction among the fleet of Peacekeepers pursuing Moya, resulting in the longstanding enmity of Captain Bialar Crais (Lani Tupu) and the eventual conversion of Officer Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black). Meanwhile, John’s esoteric knowledge of wormholes attracts the interest of the villainous Scorpius (Wayne Pygram) who will stop at nothing to learn his secrets.
Throughout the four seasons of Farscape the crew of Moya faces constant trials and tribulations from space exploration to starvation, fighting oppressive aliens, understanding new cultures, and so much more. Unlike any sci-fi series before it Farscape focused intently on the characters and their daily lives, relationships, conflicts, idiosyncrasies, triumphs, and defeats. Stories ranged from the mundane (like trying to scavenge food and cooking alien creatures used to promote dental health) to the epic (overthrowing governments and reclaiming thrones). All the while the dangerous Uncharted Territories throws every sort of danger at the heroes, and just as in any emotionally invested story not all of the characters will survive or make it through unscathed.
Farscape: The Complete Series comes to you in a collector-friendly box that holds its four component Blu-ray cases. The front cover of the box is decorated with the series logo below a photo of Aeryn and John along with a starbursting Moya. A shiny metallic background, border, and font really stand out from the dark background and come together for a distinguished look. The back of the box repeats the logo and is packed with information including a substantial description of the show and a breakdown of the set’s bonus features. Within the box you’ll find a Blu-ray case for each of the four seasons, each with its own unique artwork and corresponding information. Season One features John on a purple background, Two is Zhaan on orange, Three D’Argo on green, and Four Aeryn on yellow. Each of the 20 discs has its contents printed on it.
Once you’ve re-watched the entire series, get ready for a ton of extras! 15 hours of bonus content collects all of the material from the DVD sets: 29 episode commentaries including an in-depth discussion of the final episode, featurettes and documentaries, the famous “Undressed” series, over 90 minutes of deleted scenes, interviews, character examinations, trailers, promos, and more. In addition, this set features the debut of the documentary Memories of Moya: An Epic Journey Explored with interviews with creators Brian Henson and Rockne S. O’Bannon, writer Richard Manning, and stars Ben Browder and Claudia Black, something every Farscape fan needs to see.
To sum up, with Farscape: The Complete Series you’re getting all 88 episodes and 15 hours of bonus material optimized for HD from the European PAL masters (the highest quality source elements). The show holds up really well visually despite its slight but growing age and the technology changes since it aired, and the stories and characters are just as nuanced and engaging as you remember if you were watching it on air. If you’ve never seen Farscape (and if you’re also a sci-fi fan then shame on you), the Complete Series is the best way to catch up on what we in the know have known and enjoyed for years. The only slight issue with this release is because of different distributors it does not include the final miniseries “Peacekeeper Wars,” but that’s easily picked up on its own. The Complete Series on Blu-ray has an SRP of about $200 (though many stores sell it for less), which gets you 20 discs full of great content.
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Sample Courtesy of A+E Networks Home Entertainment