March 19, 1999 – Farscape “Premiere”, Series Premiere Airs.
March 21, 2003 – Farscape "Bad Timing", Series Finale Airs.
November 19, 2003 – Farscape Mini-Series Officially Announced.
October 17 & 18, 2004 – Farscape "The Peacekeeper Wars" Airs.
Farscape began as the flagship show for the Sci Fi Channel’s then-fledgling original programming line-up. While never a huge ratings success, it became an instant cult hit with a following unlike that of any other show. When the series was unfairly cut down its prime, fans rallied relentlessly, and were ultimately instrumental in giving the series another chance.
Now that “The Peacekeeper Wars” have come and gone, what does it mean for Farscape?
It means, quite simply, a realized reality – one where a superb series got a chance to end as magnificently as everyone hoped, and knew it could. Fate has a funny way of intervening (as John Crichton would be very quick to tell you), and sometimes a disaster turns into opportunity. That is exactly what happened to Farscape. While fans obviously would have loved to have had a full season five, what we got instead was a gloriously ambitious, and resoundingly successful mini-series, which I personally could not have been more satisfied with.
The mini-series had everything we came to love about Farscape – in spades. Beautiful sets and CGI, fantastic action, gut-busting comedy, brilliant writing, acting and direction, and most importantly, more tear-jerking drama than you can handle. I don’t believe am I alone when I say I teared up at least three or four times during the course of the three hours. I say this – if the goodbye with D’Argo didn’t get you, you really missed out on something special.
Not to say that Farscape doesn’t do action well – because it does – but it’s true strength, and what has always set it apart from any other show in the genre, is it’s ability to create real human (and in-human) drama. Every once in a great while, there is a convergence of all the right variables – great actors, great writer/director/producers, great crew, etc. Farscape was the result of such a case.
Between the actors and the writers, the characters on Farscape are more alive, more vibrant, more relatable, and just more damn interesting, than those on any other sci-fi show. There is a reason fans of Farscape become obsessed, dedicated, and so… fanatical. Simply put, the show is that much better than the competition.
Having said that, many are hoping this mini-series will help propel the series into further adventures. Possibilities include more minis, a theatrical film, a spin-off series, maybe even another season or two. Who knows. There are certainly a few loose threads left dangling by the end of "The Peacekeeper Wars," but none so important that they necessarily warrant a continuation.
Maybe I’m just risk-averse, but I think Farscape has run its course. There is no need to continue a story past its natural conclusion, and there is where we are now. John Crichton has mastered wormhole navigation and manipulation (although Einstein removed the weaponry knowledge), he’s married to Aeryn with a child, he’s created a peace between the PK’s and Scarrans, and the crew of Moya is moving on.
D’Argo is dead. Rygel is going home and Chiana has promised to accompany him. Sikozu was left for dead once revealed to be a traitor. John and Aeryn will no doubt want to raise their child away from combat and alien craziness.
Like I said, I believe the story has reached its natural conclusion. It really cannot end any better than this. While reaching Earth was once John’s only goal, that is no longer the case. He’s gone back, realized his destiny was in the stars, and closed the door to Earth forever while defending it. While reaching Earth again someday is probably still on his ‘to do’ list, it’s not enough to carry the show forward.
For the show to continue, a new threat would need to be introduced, and that is a very tricky prospect. You wouldn’t want to do that in a mini-series, because after the five year story they’ve already told, it would seem too much like an afterthought.
A theatrical film would be the right place to introduce a new direction, but then of course you still run the risk of never being able to see that through if the movie isn’t a financial success. That would put us right back where we were 18 months ago – not a desirable place.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll be as happy as the next guy if they announce in two months that more Farscape is coming. I’ll even throw a Farscape party when it happens. After all, David Kemper has said that he had an outline all along for the show to end after five, six, and seven seasons. Apparently, we just saw what would have been the end of season five. So I trust the creative staff implicitly in regards to continuing the show if they do. All I’m saying is that if we’ve seen the last of it, we should feel no sadness about that. We have seen a wonderful, epic saga unfold before our eyes over the past five years - a beautiful journey than enriched the lives of anyone involved.
“The Peacekeeper Wars” had it all. It was Farscape at its finest. I could sit here and write down everything about it that I loved, but I’d run the risk of turning this into a 10 page essay. And I’d rather spend the time watching it again, as should you.
Farscape is the reason I started writing for this website four years ago, and now that it’s over, my tenure as an online journalist probably is as well. Once again who knows.
All I do know for sure is that another show like Farscape may never come along. It raised the bar not only for television science fiction, and not only science fiction at large, but also storytelling in general.
To everyone involved in any way with Farscape – thank you.
Random notes and thoughts:
- The recreation of the final scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey was a masterstroke.
- If you thought Jothee looked different, you’re right. It was a different actor.
- If you thought the high priestess looked familiar, you’re right again. The same actress portrayed the nurse aboard the Scarran dreadnought in late season four.
- Did you notice? The wormhole weapon apparatus built by the DRD’s was constructed (in part at least) from the harpoons in part 1.
- Sikozu is most definitely alive, otherwise her final scene served no purpose. Speaking of Sikozu, she definitely is the most mysterious character in the series. Is she a bioloid or not? Was she a Scarran spy, effectively a double agent, all along? Or only after the events of Bad Timing? And what is her “final mission”?
- Scorpius sure was happy with himself at the treaty signing. Did we ever really find out his true motivations?
- With the Scarrans and Peacekeepers forced into a peace by the threat of Crichton’s wormhole weapon knowledge, what would happen if they found out he doesn’t have it anymore?
- I think the writers got to have their cake and eat it, too. If the show is finished, D’Argo died a hero’s death. If the show continues, I guarantee you we’ll see him again. “I’ll find you” was the last thing he said to Chiana, and we never saw him actually die…
- What will happen with Moya/Pilot? If the show continues, are they even involved?
- There’s dead and there’s really dead. Jool is really dead, and that’s sad.
- Stark seems to have regained his sanity. As always, I’m interested in seeing where that character would go.
- What about the Nebari threat from season 2? I can only assume this would play a part in future Farscape adventures.
- I think they missed an opportunity in part 1 – why introduce a new race (the Tragans) when the Coreeshi could have launched the harpoon attack? Remember them, the very cool bounty hunter guys from “I Shrink…”?
- They totally ditched one of Moya’s shuttles on the planet, and this isn’t the first time that’s happened, either. How many does she have, anyway?
- Grayza is definitely pregnant from Crichton. Think about it – sure, the actress is pregnant in real life, but they didn’t need to have her. She was pretty much ruined by the end of season four. They had here there and pregnant for a reason.
- Will we ever find out why Scorpius asked that Noranti be brought on board in Bad Timing? This led me to think she was the traitor, but if she wasn’t, I’m confused.
- True moment of subtle hilarity – “Big bubba in 2B”. (Staleek riding in the back of Farscape 1.
- I’m pretty sure the water planet temple set was the just the Arnessk temple set redressed, but given that they’d be similar anyway, I guess that’s pretty forgivable.
- The final scene of the series is beautifully symmetric with the final shot of John and Aeryn in “Exodus from Genesis” (very early season one)
- John and Aeryn’s son is named D’Argo Sun Crichton, who will most assuredly have some pretty good adventures of his own one day.
- Do yourself a favor, and read creator Rockne S. O’Bannon’s “Horizons”, his epilogue of the Farscape story… set 200 years in the future. That’s right, 200 years. It’s a wonderful, bittersweet coda to the saga.