i initially read this message as ‘what is a farscape’ and was all INDEED MY FRIEND. WHAT IS A FARSCAPE IT IS INDESCRIBABLE.
okay i’m gonna do the thing because tumblr needs to know about the thing:
largely taken from wiki with some added points by yours truly:
Farscape features a diverse ensemble of characters who are initially escaping from corrupt authorities in the form of a militaristic puritanical/secretly-hedonistic organisation called the Peacekeepers.
everyone on this show is amazingly talented, so much physicality, so much everything, jfc
The protagonists live inside (the most beautiful, awe-inspiring) giant space-dwelling creature - a leviathan named Moya, which serves as their ship. think everything you feel when you think about whales singing through the depths and then put that in space. screw u doctor who, you could never moya.
In the first episode, they are joined by the main character, John Crichton, a slightly bonkers modern-day American astronaut with daddy issues who accidentally flew into the entrance of a wormhole near Earth during an experimental test flight.
On the same day, another stranger is picked up by Moya: a stranded Peacekeeper named Aeryn Sun, who slowly unwinds the threads of peacekeeperdom from her mind and body but never stops being precisely who she is - which is fire and ice.
other characters include: a megalomaniacal but adorable ex-king of kings, a disgraced beserker warrior, a peaceful goddess-priestess with innate and terrifying capacity for violence, a pansexual revolutionary girl alien (actually she is my favourite just look at her goddamn)
John makes lots of enemies, basically for a) being an idiot, b) being a genius, c) being in angry love with everything
the show gradually unfolds progressive arcs beginning with their fugitive status from the peacekeepers to vendetta hunts to an overarching desire of them all to find home - which is one of the coolest parts of the story - that they are lost in the uncharted wild space. This arc includes John’s increasingly dark and obsessive search to find another wormhole back to Earth, which eventually leads into an arms race for weaponized wormhole technology.
so leads into lots and lots of inter-species politics and warfare and espionage and double/triple crossing in which our core crew of characters are the incendiary wild cards.
this sounds super dark but the show actually has an incredibly self-aware, genre savvy sense of humour, which includes body horror parody and body swaps and the grotesquery of alien bodies type stuff as well as genre parodies (supernatural i love u but u could never). the dark gets incredibly dark but the show never ever gets lost in its wallowing - it is crazy smart about it.
lots and lots of culture and day-to-day domestic weirdness of living on a spaceship with other species and every single relationship + character has development and arcs that are followed through and followed through hard
basically no other show will ever get near it in my heart of hearts.
tl;dr take the fifth element, throw it in a blender with darkest timeline star trek, a touch of doctor who and a whole lot of shakespeare, let sit, add an acid trip and place on high a top the thing.
a+++ would let rip out my heart and rearrange the insides of my head into a kaleidoscopic fever dream again
Talking about Farscape’s John Crichton and Aeryn Sun on Valentine’s Day.
“Science fiction as a genre has plenty of gorgeous love stories to go around, ones that leave you in tears or fill your insides with fluffy candy heart goulash (just pretend that sounds appetizing…). But for years now, when I think of the words “true love” there is only one pair that continues to impress me with how well they embody the phrase. Farscape’s John Crichton and Aeryn Sun should be on the cover of a book called “How to Do Romance Right in Storytelling For All the Times Ever.”
Which is not to say that there aren’t other couples in the SF pantheon that make me all wibbly. I’ll cop to being a sap; I love a good romance as much as I love good villains and snarky dialogue. But Farscape was a show that continually broke ground (even when next to no one noticed), and continued to do so by way of the show’s central couple. It’s not that John and Aeryn are simply destined or lovely together or worth rooting for—it’s that they broke rules for couples on screen. They broke a lot of them. And they did it with such style… and by style I mean that they wore leather pants. Style.
It is essential to realize and remember that most of what this pair had going for them came down to ineffable, stupid luck. Chemistry between actors Ben Browder and Claudia Black was off the charts throughout the show’s entire run, and easily could have ended up as something far less memorable. The casting call for Officer Aeryn Sun demanded a blond-haired blue-eyed woman who would have been ten to fifteen years John Crichton’s junior. Black happened to be reading the part opposite the men trying out for Crichton, and when Ben Browder came in, everybody sat up and took notice… of the two of them. They just worked. Black wanted to be part of the show in any way she could, but would have never been considered for Aeryn initially—she had no idea that by reading opposite Browder, Farscape’s direction would alter entirely.
For those who know next to nothing about the show, the crux of John and Aeryn’s tale is not too complex; he’s an astronaut from Earth who’s flung across the universe, where he meets a flight jockey named Aeryn Sun, member of an elite, galaxy-dominating military force known as the Peacekeepers. The brief time she spends with him in the first episode has her dubbed “irreversibly contaminated” by her commanding officer, and she is forced to flee with the very escaped criminals who have cost her the only life she has ever known and everything she previously held dear. Problem is, this odd “human” as he calls himself has really blue eyes, and he’s all full of emotions and caring and terrible advice… So, this is a love story in which the woman is the colder, more logical, less emotional participant to start. Rare, yet not unheard of. But it’s more clever than that; Aeryn isn’t dropped into a “frigid harpy” stereotype and left there to flounder. Her difficulties come from what boil down to cultural misunderstandings. To set up an example, the reason why the Moya’s crew can understand each other despite all speaking different languages is an injection of translator microbes that colonize the base of their brains. But the microbes can only translate for what words each character knows in their native tongue. John is shocked early on to find that Aeryn does not get a translation for “compassion”—there is no equivalent word for it among her species
Because the Peacekeepers breed and train their own soldiers to follow orders and fall in line, Aeryn doesn’t have an emotional base. She believes that her feelings are a defect that can only get in her way. Claudia Black extended this even so far as John and Aeryn’s initial meeting—the meet cute that John lovingly refers to as “boy meets girl, girl kicks boy’s ass”—saying that the reason Aeryn reacts so violently to him is because it was actually love at first sight. The problem is, for Aeryn Sun, it could only be identified as a foreign emotion that resulted in confusion, so she believed her best course of action was to eliminate it… by eliminating the target responsible for eliciting the emotion. If you don’t think that’s just the cutest thing ever, I honestly don’t know what to do. So this show, with its galactic machinations and colorful characters and exotic, dangerous technology became a backdrop to the Saga of John and Aeryn. He learned about the universe and she learned about herself. Sometimes these journeys aligned well. Sometimes they did not. Sometimes they left both participants in pieces. And that was one of many reasons why few tales taking up science fiction’s hallowed halls have ever surpassed Farscape. Even today.”
Whenever a friend of mine whom I’ve told to watch Farscape comes back to me and says, “I’m sorry, I really tried…but I couldn’t get past the first couple of episodes,” I want to show them this image and this shot and read them this analysis of it:
This next bit is both good and bad, because it provides a major plot point for the episode, gives you some serious visual symbolism about the Peacekeepers and Aeryn herself, and is wonderfully done….The squared circle in which their “physical conditioning” is [done is] a mat, maybe six yards on a side, emblazoned with the Peacekeeper emblem. Which we’ve seen before, but it’s never taken up the whole screen, so let’s get that out of the way. The PK symbol is taken from a Third Revolution Russian agitprop poster from 1919, and people get really excited about it because it’s one of maybe five things that even if you’re completely disinterested in this stuff, you have to pay attention to it, because the way it’s used is always choreographed to an almost balletic extreme. It’s a red Communist wedge breaking through a white area, into black. The black space into which it’s intruding is soft and curved, the red wedge is pointed and hard. Okay?
Back to an overhead shot: Aeryn unconscious, almost completely contained within the red PK wedge, one hand thrown over the line and into the white. It’s the percentage of her that’s–so far–out of her black radius: the hand [John is] holding. And as though that wasn’t enough of a slap to the head that you should pay attention (no camera angle is by accident; it’s weird how you eventually have to realize that nobody ever just dropped the camera and let it roll, except student filmmakers), one leg is cocked up (there’s a discontinuity here as well, slightly, that tells you she was positioned this way for the shot and I’m not always making this shit up): Trump XII, the Hanged Man. (Originally “the Traitor,” okay.) The Hanged Man’s about going through turmoil and storm in order to change: not because you’re strong enough to ask for it, but because the universe demands it of you. The saint who looks demonic, unrecognizable, anathema to the people she leaves behind, heading out of the red and into the white, dragged by that one tiny hand. The woman becoming something different, something better; the woman dying in her change. The woman just beginning her tutorial. The woman who could be more.
–from …And Wash Away the Rain, Jacob Clifton’s recap of Back and Back and Back to the Future, Farscape 1.05, on Television Without Pity