Farscape features a diverse ensemble of characters who are initially escaping from corrupt authorities called Peacekeepers. The protagonists live inside a giant space-dwelling creature named Moya, which serves as their ship. In the first episode, they are joined by the main character, John Crichton (Ben Browder), a modern-day American astronaut 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 (Claudia Black) who appears human. Despite his best intentions, John does make a few major enemies; the primary of these is known as Scorpius. There are a few stand-alone plots, but the show gradually unfolds progressive arcs beginning with their recapture by the Peacekeepers, followed by John's search to find another wormhole back to Earth, and an eventual arms race for wormhole technology.
For more about Farscape: The Complete Series and the Farscape: The Complete Series Blu-ray release, see Farscape: The Complete Series Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on November 12, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
It was only a couple of years ago that A&E released its gigantic Farscape set which included all four seasons of the
popular science fiction series along with a really impressive array of supplemental features. Now Cinedigm is releasing
pretty much exactly the same set, gussied up as a 15th Anniversary Edition with custom inserts for each of the multi-disc
cases and an exclusive "graphic novel" (which those of us of a certain age insist on calling comic books). Information
provided by Cinedigm indicates this new release is sourced from the same masters as the A&E set, so for content purposes
I refer you to my Farscape: The Complete Series Blu-ray review (of the A&E edition). Please see that review for
screenshots from all four seasons. This review includes photos of the packaging as well as a couple of glimpses at the
Farscape is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Cinedigm with AVC encoded 1080p transfers in 1.33:1 for the series'
first three seasons and
1.78:1 for the last season (I"ve included screencaps of both aspect ratios so that you can see the difference).
Farscape was filmed in
Australia and presented there in the PAL standard. The series' creators are insisting that the 35mm prints are nowhere
to be found, plus the
were created in SD (meaning they'd have to be recreated for a true HD master), so this is an
upconversion which unfortunately does not look great a lot of the time. I'd actually rank the 1.33:1 seasons at
somewhere between a 2.5 and
3.0 and the fourth season moderately higher at between a 3.0 and 3.5, for an average score of 3.0. The image is
frequently fuzzy, with less
than appealing color and some very spotty contrast. The series is often quite dark, regularly taking place within Moya's
and crush is rampant
throughout these sequences. Things have at least a moderate improvement in the final season of the series, though
even at a wider aspect
ratio, the image is still distressingly soft a lot of the time, with little of the pop that one would hope for with a series of
this relatively recent
vintage and one which boasts such an impressive production design and sometimes staggering visual effects. In fact it's
the visual effects that
probably come off best in the series, with the animated sequences of Moya or other interstellar sequences achieving a
modicum of clarity and
precision which the rest of this presentation lacks.
Much more impressive is Farscape's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, which crackles with intensity,
some fantastic LFE and
relatively consistent surround activity, at least within the confines of a weekly television series. Dialogue is pretty uniformly
anchored to the
front three channels, but in terms of sound effects, which are plentiful and sometimes quite fanciful, and the synth-heavy
score from composer
Guy Gross, surround channels are used with a fair degree of regularity. Effects populate discrete channels quite a bit of the
time and there are
some nice whooshing pans as spacecraft flit about outer space. The best moments are in the series' many action
sequences, when things get
quite lively and explosions, gunfire and other propulsive effects zing through the soundfield with excellent fidelity and some
great impact. The
overall feel of this series from a sound design perspective can be just a tad busy at times, though the DTS track
clarity and precision even in the noisiest moments.
This new 15th Anniversary edition has a couple of things setting it apart from the A&E release of a couple of years ago.
The individual season sets have slightly more luxe looking insert art (see the picture uploaded with this review). But the
"big" new extra is a 15 page booklet which contains a comic book "episode" by Ramon Perez, which is followed by an
interview with Brian Henson. Otherwise, the incredibly copious supplemental package that graced the first release is
ported over to this one, and is detailed below.
Farscape: The Complete Series boasts one of the most impressive and lengthy collections of supplements in
recent memory (just
detailing all of these took me the better part of two days). I frankly did not have time to listen to each and every
commentary, but I spot
checked several from each season, and they're fun and conversational as well as getting into some of the nuts and bolts
and more technical aspects like the visual effects. Special kudos need to be given to whoever greenlit the idea to let
composer Guy Gross
have so much time describing how a weekly series is scored, and his segments are among the most interesting, at least
to those musically
inclined like myself. Most of the Deleted Scenes come with textual prologues giving context. I have organized these
category, but recognize that they are actually split fairly willy-nilly over the discs of each season without any clear
Selecting individual episode titles lets you know whether there are commentary tracks.
Audio Commentaries: Premiere: Rockne S. O'Bannon, Brian Henson and Ben BrowderI, E.T.: Claudia Black and Anthony Simcoe Exodus from Genesis: Brian Henson and Virginia Hey Throne for a Loss: Ben Browder and Claudia Black Back and Back and Back to the Future: Ben Browder and Rowan Woods Thank God It's Friday. . .Again: Rockne S. O'Bannon and Anthony Simcoe DNA Mad Scientist: a) Ben Browder and Claudia Black; b) Rockne S. O'Bannon and David Kemper Jeremiah Crichton: Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Rockne S. O'Bannon and David Kemper (this commentary bears
the humorous subtitle "When Bad Things Happen to Good Shows") A Human Reaction: Ben Browder and Claudia Black Nerve: Ben Browder and Claudia Black Born to be Wild: Anthony Simcoe Family Ties: a) Ben Browder and Claudia Black; b) Rockne S. O'Bannon and David Kemper
Making of a Space Opera (SD; 22:26) is a good making of featurette providing a decent generalized
overview of what the creative team was aiming for with the series and how they went about achieving those aims.
In the Beginning: A Look Back with Brian Henson (SD; 38:10) is a 2004 interview with Henson where he
recounts what sparked the idea for Farscape and how Henson Studios really wanted to push the envelope with
the series. Henson talks about bringing O'Bannon into the project and how it finally (ahem) took off.
Farscape in the Raw: Director's Cut Scenes for "The Flax" and "Through the Looking Glass" (SD;
42:00). This is a really interesting comparison of broadcast version scenes from these two episodes with those from an
early director's cut of those same two episodes. The source element for the director's version is a VHS tape with a
timecode caption, so the video quality isn't great.
Audio Commentaries Crackers Don't Matter: Claudia Black and Ian Watson The Way We Weren't: Ben Browder and Claudia Black Won't Get Fooled Again: Rowan Woods and Richard Manning The Locket: Ben Browder and Claudia Black Die Me, Dichotomy: Ben Browder, Claudia Black and David Kemper
Deleted Scenes for Mind the Baby (SD; 3:19)
Deleted Scenes for Taking the Stone (SD; 00:37)
Deleted Scenes for Crackers Don't Matter (SD; 00:45)
Deleted Scenes for Dream a Little Dream (SD: 3:59)
Deleted Scenes for Look at the Princess Part I: A Kiss is But a Kiss (SD; 1:40)
Deleted Scenes for Look at the Princess Part III: The Maltese Crichton (SD; 1:30)
Deleted Scenes for The Locket (SD; 00:57)
Deleted Scenes for Liars, Guns and Money Part II: With Friends Like These (SD; 1:34)
Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: The Way We Weren't (SD; 9:20) is a neat little featurette
showing Gross writing and playing the score for the show. He also talks about composing for the series, with this
episode being his first foray into writing for the show.
Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: My Three Crichtons (SD; 11:28) is another interesting piece
with Gross ruminating on creating a score. He talkis about utilizing multi-keyboards for budgetary reasons and how
working within electronics is both a hindrance and a challenge.
Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: The Locket (SD; 9:50). In this outing Gross discusses
writing a very romantic score for this episode.
Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: Die Me, Dichotomy (SD; 10:49). Gross wrapped up his first
season on the show with this score.
Season 2 Bloopers (SD; 6:38)
Farscape In the Raw: Director's Cut Scenes offers additional and alternate moments for
Re:Union (SD; 9:02), Mind the Baby (SD; 7:42), Vitas Mortis (SD; 10:23) and Taking the
Stone (SD; 7:29). As with Season One, these are sourced from VHS and have a timecode caption.
Re:Union (SD; 44:13). This is a complete alternate Season Two premiere episode that was recut and aired
in a different version later in the season.
Farscape Undressed (SD; 44:02) was a special hosted by Ben Browder which sought to bring
audiences up to date between the second and third seasons.
Behind the Scenes Interview: Wayne Pygram (Scorpius) (SD; 22:07)
Behind the Scenes Interview: David Franklin (Braca) (SD; 16:56)
Self Inflicted Wounds Part II: Wait for the Wheel: Claudia Black Eat Me: Guy Gross Green Eyed Monster: Ben Browder and Tony Tilse Relativity: Lani Tupu and Peter Andrikidis The Choice: a) Claudia Black; b) Rowan Woods and Justin Monjo Into the Lion's Den Part II: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Rockne S. O'Bannon and David Kemper Dog With Two Bones: Ben Browder and Claudia Black
Deleted Scenes for Season of Death
Deleted Scenes for Thanks for Sharing (SD; 00:27)
Deleted Scenes for Losing Time (SD; 2:52)
Deleted Scenes for Incubator (SD; 1:20)
Deleted Scenes for Scratch 'n Sniff (SD; 1:50)
Deleted Scenes for Revenging Angel (SD; 00:35)
Deleted Scenes for The Choice (SD; 00:51)
Deleted Scenes for Fractures (SD; 4:17)
Deleted Scenes for Into the Lion's Den Part I: Lambs to the Slaughter (SD; 00:43)
Deleted Scenes for Into the Lion's Den Part II: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing (SD; 7:44) Note that this
seems to actually include scenes from Part I of this episode.
Deleted Scenes for Dog With Two Bones (SD; 7:10)
TV Promos for Season of Death (SD; 00:17)
TV Promos for Suns and Lovers (SD; 00:32)
TV Promos for Incubator (SD; 00:33)
TV Promos for Meltdown (SD; 00:13)
TV Promos for Scratch 'n Sniff (SD; 00:33)
TV Promos for Infinite Possibilities Part I: Daedalus Demands (SD; 00:33)
TV Promos for Infinite Possibilities Part II: Icarus Abides (SD; 00:18)
TV Promos for Revenging Angel (SD; 00:18)
TV Promos for The Choice (SD; 00:18)
TV Promos for Fractures (SD; 00:18)
TV Promos for Into the Lion's Den Part I: Lambs to the Slaughter (SD; 00:33)
TV Promos for Into the Lion's Den Part II: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing (SD; 00:33)
TV Promos for Dog With Two Bones (SD; 00:32)
Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: Eat Me (SD; 10:33). Since Gross also contributes a
commentary to this episode, this featurette seems like a bit of overkill.
Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: Revenging Angel (SD; 8:20). Gross talks about working in a
Looney Tunes Carl Stalling sort of way for this partially animated episode (one of the series' best). Gross is evidently the
child of animation professionals, which he claims didn't help him in the slightest.
Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: The Choice (SD; 11:14). Gross' approach here was more
languid and orchestral to evoke the emotions being felt by Black's character.
Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: Into the Lion's Den Part II: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing (SD;
9:00). Gross goes for a darker palette here, working with a 20 piece male choir.
From the Archives: Composer Guy Gross Discusses the Season 3 Theme (SD; 4:38). Remember when
every show had a theme, and they even changed them sometimes for subsequent seasons (compare John
Williams' two themes for Lost in Space for a great example).
Behind the Scenes Interview: Claudia Black (Aeryn) (SD; 35:28)
Behind the Scenes Interview: Anthony Simcoe (D'Argo) (SD; 27:12)
Behind the Scenes Interview: Ben Browder (Crichton) (SD; 5:24)
Behind the Scenes Interview: Wayne Pygram (Scorpius) (SD; 24:20)
Behind the Scenes Interview: Gigi Edgley (Chiana) (SD; 17:56)
Behind the Scenes Interview: Rebecca Riggs (Commandant Grayza) (SD; 29:15)
Behind the Scenes Interview: Paul Goddard (Stark) (SD; 4:22)
Season 3: A Look Back (SD; 44:37) is another retrospective letting viewers get up to speed for the series'
fourth and final(ish) season.
"Zhaan Forever" with Virginia Hey (SD; 30:16) is an overview of Hey's character hosted by Hey, who
contributes quite a bit of interview commentary. Hey is quite a sight to see outside of her Zhaan makeup.
Audio Commentaries John Quixote: Ben Browder and Claudia Black Kansas: Ben Browder, Claudia Black and David Kemper Bad Timing: Ben Browder, Claudia Black and David Kemper
Deleted Scenes for Crichton Kicks (SD; 3:11)
Deleted Scenes for What Was Lost Part I: Sacrifice (SD; 1:59)
Deleted Scenes for Promises (SD; 3:04)
Deleted Scenes for Natural Election (SD; 2:16)
Deleted Scenes for A Prefect Murder (SD; 2:19)
Deleted Scenes for Kansas (SD; 2:28)
Deleted Scenes for Terra Firma (SD; 4:28)
Deleted Scenes for Twice Shy (SD; 1:55)
Deleted Scenes for Mental as Anything (SD; 00:27)
Deleted Scenes for Bringing Home the Beacon (SD; 00:53)
Deleted Scenes for A Constellation of Doubt (SD; 16:49)
Deleted Scenes for We're So Screwed Part II: Hot to Katratizi (SD; 1:19)
Deleted Scenes for Bad Timing (SD; 2:48)
Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: Crichton Kicks (SD; 7:08). Gross uses a kind of retro Moog
sound throughout this episode.
Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: John Quixote (SD; 8:06). Gross found this episode
extremely difficult to score as it is a kind of Tron environment which takes place in a game.
Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: Terra Firma (SD; 9:23). Gross goes for a quieter, almost
chamber like ambience in this episode which takes the characters back to Earth.
Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: Bad Timing (SD; 9:12). Gross talks a lot about the
episode's complex opening sequence and how he had to write for such a glut of information being imparted.
Memories of Moya (1080i; 36:51) is a sort of series ending overview of the entire story arc and what the
series' creative team was attempting to create with the show.
Farscape: The Story So Far (SD; 26:32) is another retrospective of the story up through the end of
the fourth season.
From the Archives: On the Last Day - Farscape Wrap Speech from David Kemper (SD; 3:37)
Inside Farscape: Save Farscape (SD; 30:44) is a testament to the fans' attempts to save
Inside Farscape: Villains (SD; 15:09) takes a look back at some of the series' bad guys, some of
whom aren't completely bad.
Inside Farscape: Season 4 Visual Effects (SD; 9:36)
Video Profile: Creator/Executive Producer/Writer Rockne S. O'Bannon (SD; 19:37)
Video Profile: Executive Producer/Writer David Kemper (SD; 12:07)
This new edition of Farscape boasts slightly more attractive packaging and the bonus comic book (and interview),
but the major selling point will probably be its lower price, which should effectively make this the "go to" choice for
Farscape fans. The qualms I mentioned in my initial review of the A&E release still stand, but the series nonetheless