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SFX Issue 127 review

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February 2005

TV review:

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars

The show comes to an end. Again. It’s for good this time. No really…

Starring: Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Anthony Simcoe, Gigi Edgley
Reviewer: Jayne Nelson

When Farscape breathed its last on 21 March 2003 after four years of quiet, unassuming television, nobody really noticed. It went quietly into that good night, mourned by few, forgotten by most… oh, wait, hang on, we’ve somehow slipped over into Bizarro-land! Did this show die peacefully? Not on your Nebari. It went kicking and screaming and howling into that good night, making such a bloody racket that we’re surprised the neighbours didn’t complain. And it’s a good job it did, too, because all that rumpus – from fans and from critics (hands up, SFX !) – kept the word “ Farscape ” ringing in the uneasy ears of TV executives. Which means that the fans won – and the show returned for a final, glorious swansong. Sometimes, life can be good.

So, here it is. Over four hours of top-class television, full of life, death, sex and violence; all the usual Farscape anarchy, but ramped up to galactic proportions. And the final 30 minutes must count as some of the finest science fiction television ever made. Daring and utterly bonkers ( Farscape should have those words inscribed on its tombstone), it’s so tense that you’ll feel the sweat running down your back whilst you watch… before you burst into floods of girlie tears at the climax.

From the outset, the mini-series does that quintessentially Farscape thing of providing great drama while simultaneously keeping its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. Aeryn and Crichton, reconstituted after being accidentally demolished into a billion little pieces, discovering that their child is incubating nicely inside Rygel? Okay, we’ll just about swallow that one (he did, anyway). D’Argo and Chiana rekindling their lusty love affair? Everybody deserves to go out happy. Sikozu turning traitor? Well, we pretty much knew that was going to happen one day. Stark redeeming himself and effectively saving the day? Good on him! And as for the Ancients and all that wormhole guff – let’s just say that Crichton and Scorpius have a falling out, even as that coveted technology restores peace to the universe after almost destroying it first. It’s a complicated life these guys have lead, to be sure.

Nothing has been sacrificed to make this the crash-bang-wallop send-off that Farscape needed; the FX are brilliant, the acting goes beyond the call of duty (especially Claudia Black’s nerve-shredding labour scene… ouch) and the script makes few concessions to anyone who hasn’t followed the show from the start. Which, obviously, is a problem for new viewers, and possibly the only downside to this piece of landmark television; although it would be nice to think that some people would get a taste of Farscape ’s frenzy and decide to buy a few DVDs to sample more…

There’s such a sense of care to this, as though everybody concerned wanted to make it as majestic as possible. And whaddya know? They did. Farscape lived. Now it’s gone. But heck, what a ride...

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