Remember Trek Trek? Yeah, well, it’s been on hiatus, because I decided to take a break to roll through Farscape. My sister and her husband seem to dig it, so I thought it might be a nice change of scenery from Enterprise without being too different. Both hail from around the same time period (1999 for Farscape, 2001 for Enterprise) and both follow the same basic premise of people tooling around the galaxy in a space ship… and that’s about all I knew going in.
I was going to put an image here, but a quick Google image search sent me flying right into spoiler-ville. I’m at the end of season one, and I just saw some things I would have been happy to have waited to learn about in due course. D’oh.
Anyway, I like it. I wasn’t sure I would, because it started really, really badly. Super cheesy acting, double cheesy effects, corny scripts. The protagonist is still a little too Mary Sue for my liking (hey, nerds, here’s a dude who makes sci-fi references just like you! But he saves the day a bunch and all the space-ladies want him!), but the rest of cast has gelled nicely. What started out as unlikable sci-fi archetypes (hey, it’s a Klingon, except he looks like a squid-owl!) evolved over the course of the season into more nuanced characters who developed a convincing rapport with one another in a natural, convincing way. I think the turning point was the episode about mid-way through the season in which the protagonist, Crichton, was thrust into close quarters with the nemesis who seeks his death; not only did they come to an Enemy Mine kind of understanding, it actually deepened their hostility and reinforced the fact that the bad guy has a very different set of values and ambitions than the good guys. The show has a really good job with continuity so far, not getting bogged down in minutia but nevertheless reflecting long-term changes and evolving the overarching plot and relationships. Also, there was a pregnant space ship for a while, which is so weird it worked.
Surprisingly good stuff. But curious as I am to see the resolution of the first-season cliffhanger, I think maybe I should jump back over the Enterprise for a while. It’ll be tough. Much as I came to enjoy the first season of that show, Farscape has demonstrated how flat and predictable Enterprise was. Needs more Henson puppets, I think.