If there's ever another Farscape movie, Judge Jeff Andreasen volunteers to apply Virginia Hey's body paint.
Our reviews of Farscape Season 1, Collection 1 (Starburst Edition) (published January 12th, 2005), Farscape: Season 1, Collection 3 (Starburst Edition) (published June 22nd, 2005), Farscape: Season 2, Collection 1 (Starburst Edition) (published September 7th, 2005), Farscape: Season 3, Collection 1 (published May 16th, 2003), Farscape: Season 3, Collection 1 (Starburst Edition) (published April 26th, 2006), Farscape: Season 3, Collection 2 (Starburst Edition) (published June 7th, 2006), Farscape: Season 3, Collection 3 (published August 20th, 2003), Farscape: Season 4, Collection 1 (published January 12th, 2005), Farscape: Season 4, Collection 1 (Starburst Edition) (published September 4th, 2006), Farscape: Season 4, Collection 2 (published January 19th, 2005), Farscape: Season 4, Collection 4 (published January 26th, 2005), Farscape: Season 4, Collection 5 (published February 2nd, 2005), Farscape: The Complete Series (published December 7th, 2009), Farscape: The Complete Series (Blu-ray) (published December 15th, 2011), Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars (published March 23rd, 2005), Farscape: Volume 1 (published August 23rd, 2001), Farscape: Volume 2 (published August 23rd, 2001), Farscape: Volume 3 (published August 23rd, 2001), Farscape: Volume 4 (published August 23rd, 2001), and Farscape: Volume 5 (published August 23rd, 2001) are also available.
Making the old stuff new again.
The second season of Farscape continues as Crichton (Ben Browder) and the crew of Moya battle Scorpius (Wayne Pygram), thwart royal intrigue, and confront the most despicable villain in all of sci-fi: the hackneyed plot device.
It's a truism that there are no more original ideas, and it's just as sad a truth that there are often few fresh imaginations out there to twist unoriginal ideas into something new and interesting. Farscape has, fortunately, proven to be an oasis of wonder in an otherwise bleak sea of standard science fiction gloom. But even with some great acting, well-written and interesting characters, intriguing conflicts, and a fresh approach to the material, Farscape: Season 2, Collection 2 (Starburst Edition) is saddled with stale plots and unsurprising denouement. Still, the enthusiasm of the actors and the vigor of the production keep the hope alive that the series will soon hurtle headlong into its primary storyline and the conflict between space hero John Crichton and the sinister Scorpius will banish these filler episodes to the Uncharted Territories!
The episodes on this disc include:
• "Dream a Little Dream"
• "Out of Their Minds"
• "Look at the Princess Part 1: A Kiss is But a
There's a lot to love about this three-parter: the consistently good acting; the reappearance of Scorpius to stir the pot; the first appearance of the Scarrans, who will bedevil everyone in the seasons to come; some great character moments between the regular cast; and the hilarious third part, wherein Crichton, now a "living" statue, is decapitated, with his head the object of a three-way pursuit. But this could easily have been pulled off in two parts, and seems padded as it plods along in places, notably the Zhaan/Pilot/Moya subplot with Kahaynu, Moya's creator, testing not the Leviathan, as it turns out, but Zhaan herself. Another subplot, with Aeryn and a new character, Dregon, venturing into The Barren Lands, is extraneous. It's nice to give Aeryn something to do while she pines for Crichton, but the Dr. Phil lectures by Dregon just bring groans.
But it's an ambitious story with a lot of twists and turns and fun that should keep even jaded science fiction viewers happy throughout.
• "My Three Crichtons"
• "Beware of Dog"
We also have a plethora of extras on these two discs, including a 30-minute interview with actress Virginia Hey (Zhaan) that covers everything from being bald to the rigors of applying all that paint on her body. There are some insights into the character, but nothing that hasn't been gleaned from the various episodes featuring our favorite blue-skinned vegetable. Of more interest are her personal stories that give insight into her portrayal of Zhaan.
"Farscape in the Raw" is another fascinating look at the juxtaposition of director's cut footage, sans special effects and sound effects, and the broadcast version, complete with everything from effects to the puppet voices we're used to. These scenes are from the first season episodes "The Flax" and "Through the Looking Glass."
The DVD also offers another visit with composer Guy Gross, who here discusses his work for "My Three Crichtons." It's a 12-minute piece that's a nice look at the scoring of a television series, particularly from the guy (no pun intended) who does it all for the soundtrack.
Speaking of puns and tomfoolery, this DVD finally offers up a blooper reel, and it's hilarious and actually informative. There's a lot of shots with the puppets in their "working phase" stage and of the actors plagued by various problems with their uncooperative makeup. This is only six minutes long, but it's worth every second.
Finally, the usual suspects of conceptual galleries, character profiles, lingo games, and behind-the-scenes text documentation round out the extras offered here, and, as usual, they're all competently assembled and appreciated (especially the conceptual galleries of the Scarrans).
The technical aspects of this edition are on par with the other offerings in this series. The image is sharp, the colors don't bleed, there's little noise, and the Dolby 5.1 audio kicks butt, especially in high-intensity episodes like "The Maltese Crichton." However…
The Rebuttal Witnesses
ADV has once again used substandard materials. I experienced the same sort of playback freeze, skips, and outright shutdown with this collection as I did with the previous one. And I'm not the only one. Whether it's just a generic double-sided disc fault that isn't specific to ADV's efforts, or ADV is lazy and wants to pump out the discs and rake in the profits, or worse, if this is a ploy to grind out yet another collection of Farscape discs, this time technically perfect, there are still faults with the engineering here. Purchase at your own risk, and be sure to keep the receipt.
Aside from that, the overuse of tired plot devices continues to bedraggle this series in the short term. Most who look back on this series look back on a great and inspired group of characters brought to life by a great and inspired bunch of actors. The casting is perfect in this series, from the leads, to the puppets, right down to the most tertiary walk-on. It saves Farscape from being remembered alongside dreck like Star Trek: Voyager. All right, that was a pretty low blow, and, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, Farscape improves as the season continues, and as the series progresses to its later years. Sometimes we have to enjoy what we're given, and there's a lot, even in these episodes, to nod approvingly at.
ADV must find a way to improve its quality control. It simply cannot keep pumping out discs with such documented flaws, especially as the company already has a lot of their fans at the end of their ropes with this calculated triple-dip.
Farscape the series, on the other hand, long ago found the perfect combination of characters and character actors to carry this show. There are great good guys, perfect bad guys, and enough cool side stuff going on to intrigue even those who don't find science fiction to be their thing. Couple all those pluses with the great price on these DVDs and the outstanding extras that just keep getting better, and these Starburst Editions may just entice a few more fans into the Uncharted Territories.
ADV is found guilty of producing yet another quality entry in their Starburst series. Quality audio, video, and content goes a long way to securing amnesty though, but the studio had better iron out these technical problems with their double-sided discs, or they'll be off to the Aurora Chair for an extended session.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
• Building Zhaan (Interview with Virginia Hey)
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