ADV Films // 2001 // 350 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Ryan (Retired) // April 26th, 2006
"Sensitive D'Argo, exuberant Chiana, wise Rygel, selfless Aeryn, innocent Crichton. My children, my teachers, my loves -- there is no guilt, there is no blame, only what is meant to be."
When last we left the crew of the Leviathan Moya, Aeryn (Claudia Black) was dead, Crichton (Ben Browder) had been rendered moderately brain-damaged by an incomplete operation to remove the Scorpius chip from his head, and Scorpius (Wayne Pygram) himself had gotten his hands on said chip, which contains (in theory) all the wormhole knowledge imparted to John by the Ancients.
Have no idea what I'm talking about? Then get yourself a copy of the first disc in these new and improved Farscape "Starburst Editions" -- or whichever disc is the first one you haven't seen -- lest you miss out on the best science fiction show ever.
Yeah, you heard me.
Anyhow, the third season of Farscape is an intense rollercoaster ride; a season that marked the point at which Farscape really made the jump from "great" to "legendary." In this first of three third season Starburst Editions from ADV, one of the main characters is lost, two new main characters are added, and one of the most ambitious plot twists in scifi history was thrown at us. Included are the first seven episodes of the season, as follows:
* "Season of Death"
Lots of stuff going on here -- Crichton gets his brains unscrambled, the crew tries to keep Scorpius from escaping, Chiana and Jothee have a li'l thang goin' on, and -- if that all weren't enough -- a Scarran shows up. Yikes.
* "Sons and Lovers"
D'Argo is, shall we say, a tad upset to find that his son has been shagging his girlfriend. A lot. Meanwhile, he and Crichton have to free Moya from a wrecked commerce station before a terrorist group unleashes a radiation storm.
* "Self-Inflicted Wounds, Part I: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda"
After discovering -- and falling into -- a wormhole, Moya becomes dimensionally entangled with an alien ship. Although the aliens seem friendly, they start to sabotage Moya in an attempt to get her crew to abandon ship.
* "Self-Inflicted Wounds, Part II: Wait for the Wheel"
The crew foils the alien sabotage plans, but Zhaan must make the ultimate sacrifice for her crewmates.
* "...Different Destinations"
Stark (Paul Goddard, The Matrix) accidentally sends Aeryn, D'Argo, and Crichton back in time, where they accidentally change the course of history. Oops.
* "Eat Me"
Crichton, D'Argo, and Chiana discover an abandoned Leviathan that's inhabited by flesh-eating zombies. That's right -- flesh-eating zombies. Meanwhile, Moya is reunited with Talyn, who's been battered to within an inch of his life. By the end of the episode, Crichton is "twinned."
* "Thanks For Sharing"
Crichtons #1 and #2 get involved in a nasty little royal family dispute in an attempt to get needed materials for Talyn's repair.
The remarkable thing about Farscape is how consistently good it is. There aren't really any bad episodes in this collection. Plus, the intricate long-term plot threads that run through all the episodes make you anxious to see what's going to happen next. You don't really watch this season of Farscape; you jump on board and hold on for dear life as the ride gets more and more exciting.
As mentioned, there were several significant changes to Farscape for its third season. First, Virginia Hey left the show, due to bad reactions to the Zhaan makeup that she no longer could endure. Ergo, Zhaan was written out in the "Self-Inflicted Wounds" story. Two new regulars joined the cast: Paul Goddard as Stark, who had first appeared in the "Liars, Guns & Money" trilogy in Season Two and just kinda stuck around (much like Chiana (Gigi Edgley) in Season One), and Tammy McIntosh as Jool, an attractive but somewhat high-maintenance alien girl with a scream that can melt metal (literally). Lani Tupu (Crais and the voice of Pilot) and Wayne Pygram (Scorpius) were also finally given full in-the-opening-credits status. Finally, there's the twin Crichton factor. In "Eat Me," Crichton is "twinned" -- cloned -- by a mentally unstable prisoner. The two copies of Crichton are completely identical. As will be seen in the next collection, the show wound up using both Crichtons, allowing two separate and distinct plot threads to develop in this third season. This could have been a spectacularly bad idea, but instead became one of the more unique story decisions in the show's history. But more on that in the review of Season 3, Collection 2...
None of these changes diminished the show in any way, though. It's still the same Farscape we know and love; there are just some new faces. Of the two newbies, the most interesting is Stark -- yet he's also the most frustrating character on the show. Stark is...well, he's kind of nuts. "Unpredictable" would be the polite way to put it. The character is well acted by Goddard, but he's just so all over the map that it's hard to get a real handle on who Stark is. At least so far. McIntosh's Jool is more comic relief than anything else, and does her job quite well.
This collection preserves all the extras, and all the good technical features, of the original Season Three releases. It adds a new in-depth interview with Virginia Hey, wherein she clears the air for fans about how and why she left the show. But other than that, there is nothing new on this Starburst Collection edition (except for the blessedly lower pricetag). Picture and sound quality are exemplary.
If you already shelled out the megabucks it took to buy the boxed Season Three collection, there's no need to buy these Starburst Editions. But if you held out for something cheaper, or if (gasp) you're a scifi fan who's never watched the show, these attractively priced collections are the way to go. Just don't start with this one. Go back and start at the beginning, so you can go along for the same ride that John Crichton does. You won't be sorry.
Review content copyright © 2006 David Ryan; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 350 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Commentary for "Self-Inflicted Wounds, Pt. II: Wait For the Wheel" with Actress Claudia Black
* Commentary for "Eat Me" with Composer Guy Gross
* Deleted Scenes
* Behind-the-scenes Interviews: Claudia Black and Anthony Simcoe
* "Zhaan Forever": Interview with Virginia Hey
* "Listening In" with Composer Guy Gross: "Eat Me"
* From the Archives: Composer Guy Gross Discusses the Season 3 Theme
* Cool Farscape Facts
* Alien Encounters
* TV Promos
* Television Critics Association Season 3 Preview Reel
* Updated Character Histories: John Crichton, Aeryn Sun, Ka D'Argo, Pau' Zotoh Zhaan
* Production Design Galleries
* ADV Previews