Appellate Judge Dave Ryan would totally go out with Chiana, even though she's a bit...loose.
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 2, Collection 2 (Starburst Edition) (published October 19th, 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 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.
Okay, kids—by now you should know the drill. ADV is re-releasing all their Farscape collections in new, cheaper "Starburst Editions." This is the second of three third season discs. The show still rules. Any questions?
(Fair warning—as usual, spoilers will abound in this review. Sorry, but it's unavoidable.)
The middle stanza of Season Three features two completely separate plot threads, following the two identical Crichtons that were "twinned" into existence back in the "Eat Me" episode. For the extremely attractive list price of $25, you get three discs (and a fourth with extras) containing eight quality episodes of the best thing to come out of Australia since Men at Work, as follows:
• "Green Eyed Monster"
• "Losing Time"
• "Scratch 'N' Sniff"
• "Infinite Possibilities Part 1: Daedalus Demands"
• "Infinite Possibilities Part 2: Icarus Abides"
Although I had heard of it before, the first time I really watched Farscape was, of all places, on a cross-country plane trip, as part of the in-flight entertainment. I think I got the headphones free, because I normally don't watch that stuff. But there I was, a captive audience; and there it was, the Farscape pilot on one of those tiny airplane LCD screens. Forty-odd minutes—and several internally-generated-but-unexecuted plans to cause the sudden and conclusive elimination of particularly noisy co-travelers—later, I was hooked. That, said I, was a fantastic pilot episode for any show, let alone a partially puppet-based scifi show out of Australia.
As I came to learn after chasing the show down, first on the Sci Fi Channel, then on DVD, Farscape's quality never let up after that first episode. This batch of episodes, from midway through the third season of the show, are as fresh, daring, and robustly entertaining as any from the show's too-brief run. Farscape is one of the most reliable pieces of entertainment in all of science fiction. It's witty, clever, thoughtful, and fun. The cast works together like a Swiss watch—it's impossible to see anyone else in any of these roles. (Including the puppets, who are better-realized people than many actual people on television.) It's impossible to overpraise this show. If you enjoy the genre at all, you should find something to like.
As always, my advice to a new Farscape viewer is to start from the very beginning—although not strictly linear, the show does have long-term plotlines that will make a lot more sense if watched in order. And as always, I'll note that these Starburst Editions are functionally identical to the original boxed Farscape releases from ADV. This set appears to be exactly identical; ADV does not list any of the extra features as being "new" or "extended," as they have done with the other Starburst releases. I don't have a copy of the original Season Three box for comparison, but given ADV's past practices, I think we can assume that all the extras here were contained on the original release. That's not a knock against this set, just a warning for those who already own the original release. For new fans, this is, like all the Starburst Editions, a great package at a very attractive price.
As mentioned, this cycle of episodes explores the "twinned" (cloned) Crichton extended plot that was introduced earlier in the season. Earlier in the season (on Collection 1, to be specific), the two Crichton clones split up. One—whom I've dubbed Crichton-A—stayed with Moya to work on wormhole tech. The other (Crichton-B) accompanied Crais and Aeryn on Talyn, who had to flee the Peacekeepers chasing him. If you watched these episodes without knowing this, you'd be very confused by Crichton's apparent ability to be in two places at once. But now you know, so all is well. This dual Crichton structure is actually handled very well by the show. Browder plays them ever-so-slightly differently—but not so different that we can tell which one is the "real" Crichton (i.e. the original). Could this plot have been a catastrophe? Absolutely. The Trek shows would dabble in it occasionally, but only for an episode. (Tuvix, anyone?) But here, it serves a practical purpose: it gives the show the flexibility to explore the Crichton/Aeryn/Crais dynamic in isolation without compromising the season's overall plotline (the battle to keep wormhole tech from Scorpy). Speaking of Scorpy, we also get a great Scorpy-focused episode thrown into the mix, and learn that Scorpy has his own version of Harvey inside his head. So much richness; so much plot. And this is only the middle stanza of Season Three!
Picture and sound quality continue to be outstanding on these sets. I noticed a tiny, tiny bit of edge enhancement on the picture, but nothing distracting. Sound is very solid; the surround mix is well done and adds quite a bit to the show's presentation. The extras are fun and informative. As with all of these Farscape extras, the one thing that comes through loud and clear is how much this cast really loved working with each other. A lot of casts say they're "like family"; this cast acts like it. That familial atmosphere really comes through in the show's acting as well, which is top notch. That extends to the guest cast as well. Apparently many of the show's guest stars are big names in Australian television. They aren't big names here, but a lot of them are really good.
I hate to repeat myself, but there's really only one thing I can say about this show: if you consider yourself a science fiction fan, you need to watch it at least once. It is, by far, the best show of the modern science fiction generation. Case closed.
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Studio: ADV Films
• Commentary for "Green Eyed Monster" by Ben Browder and Director Tony Tilse
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