March of 1999. I had heard rumors about this show, a sci-fi show set in deep space starring actors and… muppets? Not The Muppets mind you but creations from Jim Henson Studios. Now I’m a bit of a sci-fi nut so it was a sure thing that I was going to at least watch the premiere.
That’s all it took. I was hooked.
We had seen great effects before way back in 1999, hell The Matrix opened the same month. What we weren’t prepared for was that a series would try to pull it off weekly. And pull it off they did, four full seasons, 88 episodes. And every one of them written, acted, and produced to the absolute limit of their ability. There were people (soon to be ex friends of mine) who didn’t love the series but I never heard anyone put down the production. The new collection has been re-mastered from the highest quality source material available and it shows. I expected to be disappointed in the fifteen year old effects but man this show aged well.
For those not familiar with Farscape let me set the scene, or rather let the main character, John Crichton, set the scene…
My name is John Crichton, an astronaut. A radiation wave hit and I got shot through a wormhole! Now I’m lost in some distant part of the universe on a ship, a LIVING ship, full of strange alien life forms! Help me, help me! Listen, please. Is there anybody out there who can hear me? I’m being hunted… by an insane military commander. I’m doing everything I can. I’m just looking for a way home.
An everyman (granted an astronaut everyman but still) flung who knows how far from home. He is literally the only one of his kind anywhere within his reach, this show took the “stranger in a strange land” idea to a whole new level. Ben Browder played that befuddle everyman well and with a modern twist, he often gets visibly frustrated with his situation. Very easy guy to relate to.
Claudia Black, Anthony Simcoe, and Virginia Hey play wonderful aliens. Each represent a different race and they all brought life and believability to roles that easily could’ve been played campy or just silly. And the puppets. Rigel and Pilot. I don’t like to refer to them as such because when you watch the series you truly forget that they’re not 100% as real as the rest of the cast.
I’d love to spend the next couple of hundred words telling you every cool aspect of this show but that’s not really what this is about. Besides there is page after page of fan sites, tributes, encyclopedias, and youtube playlists dedicated to the show and its stars. This article is about the box set….
Twenty-seven discs. 88 episodes. 15 hours of bonus features. If you remember this show you definitely remember Farscape: Undressed the special behind-the-scenes episode hosted by Ben and Claudia, it’s here. There are 3 documentaries, 3 featurettes, deleted scenes, Director’s cut scenes, an alternative version of the season two premier. There’s even a new documentary Memories of Moya featuring the cast and crew.
But for me? For my money? 35 audio commentaries. I know it sounds cheesy but I love to sit back, watch an episode I’ve already enjoyed and this time experience it through the eyes of the cast and crew. Browder, Black, Simcoe, Hey as well as Rockne S. O’Bannon and Brian Henson and so many more give us insights, anecdotes, and great personal interplay on so many episodes.
Physically this box set is a treat. Each season is in its own box with some beautiful cover art featuring a member of the crew with the fifth disc reserved for as they put it “the archives”, a disc of documentaries, behind the scenes specials, and featurettes with series composer Guy Gross.
I can’t say enough about this set. Fan of Farscape? Buy it. Fan of sci-fi? Buy it. Fan of great tv? Buy it. Here let me fill you in on the details, you know so you can buy it!
Farscape: 15th Anniversary Edition
Season 1 (Discs 1-6)
Season 2 (Discs 7-12)
Season 3 (Discs 13-18)
Season 4 (Discs 19-24)
BONUS (Discs 25-27)
DVD SRP: $129.95
DVD Configuration: DVD 27-pk SET
DVD Run Time: 68h 6m + extras
DVD Catalog #: 88129606000
DVD UPC: 025192210600
DVD Closed caption: Yes
Blu-ray SRP: $149.95
Blu-ray Configuration: Blu-ray 20-pk SET
Blu-ray Run Time: 68h 6m + extras
Blu-ray Catalog #: 88129605000
Blu-ray UPC: 025192210594
Blu-ray Frame rate: 24
Blu-ray Closed caption: No
Blu-ray Subtitles: English
Studio: The Jim Henson Company, Inc.
Licensor: The Jim Henson Company, Inc.
Line: FLATIRON FILMS
Series title: Farscape
Season No.: The Complete Series