For Farscape fans in Chicagoland and the Great Lakes area.

Jan 16

Plus Ça Change….

Category: Chicagoland

114 years ago someone made a short film called “How They Rob Men in Chicago”.

Love all, trust few…

Any comment would be both obvious and superfluous.

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Jan 11

A Merry Band of Puppeteers

The youngest is 21. The oldest is 41. Some are students. Some are industry professionals. They come from Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Arkansas, New York, California, Oklahoma, and England. They’re all passionate about creating creatures for storytelling.

Meet the contestants in Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge. Read their bio’s, and you’ll see that each of them loved puppets and creatures from an early age. Each of them are thrilled to be working with Creature Shop mentors. And each of them are hoping to win the grand prize – $100,000 and a chance to work for The Creature Shop™. 

Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge premieres March 25rd on SyFy.

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Nov 9

Gigi Edgley to Host Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge

Category: Farscape Alumni

Mike Ausiello, at TV/Line, breaks the news that the upcoming SyFy reality show, The Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge will be hosted by Farscape alumnus, Gigi Edgley. (That’s the same Creature Shop which created all the creatures for Farscape.) TVWorld.com has more details about how this competition show will work, and who will be the judges. (Clue: one of the judges will be Brian Henson.)

What an amazing gig for Gigi. We’ll be waiting for when we can begin to watch.

That’s Gigi Edgley, looking lovely and glamorous, next to Brian Henson

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Jul 20

Claudia Black Explains Everything

Category: Farscape Alumni

Claudia is interviewed in David Blue’s Out of the Blue podcast over at Den Of Geek. It’s an awesome interview, in which she:

  • Speaks in a sexy German accent
  • Confesses to being a sesquipedalian
  • Reveals she hasn’t had coffee since 1994 (WHAAAAA???)
  • Talks about women in show biz
  • Explains about men

Once again, it’s clear in the interview that she’s very smart, but we knew that already. But did you know that she’s part of the ensemble at an improv and sketch group call The Gym? Sadly, she’s on hiatus now.

The podcast is not yet available for download, so you’ll have to listen via your browser.

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Jun 6

The History Of Fan Fiction

Category: fan-fiction

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, our 32nd president, wrote fan fiction.

I’m not making this up. I read it on the internet. Well, okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. But he did belong to a Sherlock Holmes fan fiction club. You can read this zany fact, and other interesting ones as well, over at Publishing Perspectives, where they’ve posted an infographic from WattPad about the History of Fan Fiction.

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May 31

A Fabulous FedCon Report

Sounds like everyone had a great time at the recent FedCon (May 19 – 22) in Dusseldorf. Ordinarily this convention leans towards Trek and SG1, but this year Gigi, Claudia, and Ben made appearances. Here is a fantastic report, including pictures.

And for fans of the Doctor Who universe, John Barrowman and Eve Myles also appeared.  I found an english translation of german report about this. You can also see a nice slideshow: FedCon Slideshow

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Mar 16

Re-Watching Farscape

Category: Farscape

There are several public Farscape re-watch efforts underway at the moment. I haven’t been posting about them because I haven’t been posting much lately anyway, and frankly, with one exception, most of these experiments in re-watching don’t seem to be pushing any new ground. As long time Farscape fans and cognoscente, we have been there, done that, and in greater detail and with a greater sense of awe.

For example, the Nerdist YouTube channel has been presenting little 15 minute distillations of the Farscape eps. This YouTube channel is a part of the Chris Hardwick Nerdist empire (check out the podcast, the blog, and the TV show on BBC America), which is largely dedicated to "nerd" culture, and happily celebrates comic books, zombies, Star Trek, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. But these little Farscape episode video synopses are offered with no commentary, and the viewer comments are spiked with the usual YouTube trolls. While I am pleased that the Nerdist must think of Farscape as an unsung sci-fi show, and worth the expenditure of bandwidth, it’s hard to see these little video snippets as attractive. There is certainly nothing there to attract a longtime fan.

TOR is doing a re-watch as well. This site is a part of the TOR book publishers, who were also once publishers of the only three Farscape books that ever saw the light of day. In their re-watch, they’re about a quarter of the way into season three. So far, the blog has offered nothing more than re-caps, accompanied with many observations, but nothing very deep and no sense of what the reviewer thinks about what he’s been watching. I found these re-caps to be too simple to be worth my time, and I think longtime Scapers would agree. At least the TWoP recaps had clever snark, which was all the more richer for being based on deep insight, and genuine fondness for Farscape. (Sadly, TWoP has been sold to NBC Universal, and their archives no longer have the recaps, but you can still see some of the forum discussions HERE.)

There’s been a long-running argument at The Trek BBS about whether to watch Babylon 5 or Farscape next. While this isn’t a re-watch exactly, the discussion, which started last July and is still going strong, has been passionate. Unfortunately, once again, opinions are uninformed, including one misguided soul who found the entire four seasons of Farscape 4 to be so full of trite cliches that he skipped most of them, and only skimmed those that he could stand. This opinion is so contrary to most that it is hardly worth consideration at all. No doubt the person who holds this opinion would also write off The Canterbury Tales as nothing more than a string of shaggy dog stories with extremely bad spelling, and Hamlet is a spineless dweeb. Yes, it’s possible to reduce these masterpieces to these bare bones assessments, but by doing so you reveal only a fundamental imbecility. Everyone is certainly entitled to an opinion, but I see no reason to give such wrong-headedness  any attention.

But there is one re-watch effort I can wholeheartedly recommend. The AVClub has started reviewing these episodes, and have finished the first four. Each installment covers two episodes, with essays that are insightful, without being afraid to call out what they see as misses. More than 10 years has passed since we Farscape fans first fell in love with our show, so it is interesting to follow along on a re-watch that provides a fresh viewpoint and intelligent comments. It is a relief to hear that this show holds up well, and after the raspberries from random trolls at those other sites, it is a pleasure to see reader comments that are as smart as the essays. It nearly reminds me of many of the original Farscape boards when our show first aired. There are enough new viewers writing comments that you can re-live those first moments of delight and wonder as you gradually discovered this amazing show. New reviews are posted every Sunday, at 11:00 AM Eastern time.

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Jan 12

Shoot the Damn Gun, You Blue-Arsed Bitch!

Category: Farscape,scifi

Blip TV reviews Farscape episode from Season 2, Out Of Their Minds, and comes up with a “Highly Recommended” endorsement, and then qualifies it by reminding viewers that this episode works best if they’ve already become familiar with the characters. The review also points out that this is a perfect example of how Farscape will take a hoary old sci-fi cliché and turns it on its head.

“If Star Wars and Red Dwarf had a baby, it would be something like Farscape.”
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Sep 9

Cowboys and Aliens

Mercy! Ben Browder Appears in Doctor Who Episode

This coming Saturday (September 15th)  in a very special episode of Doctor Who, we’ll be able to see Ben Browder in a guest appearance. He’ll be playing Isaac the sheriff in a “A Town Called Mercy”, which is also the title of the episode. The episode was filmed on the same location as the famed Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns were filmed, in southern Spain. This episode, the third in the current 7th season, will also begin the process of the changing of companions.

Read an interview at SFX Magazine’s website.

See the preview at TV Guide’s website.

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Aug 1

Jonny, We Hardly Knew Ye!

Category: Farscape Alumni

Jonathan Hardy passed away a few days ago. Farscape fans knew him as the voice of Rygel, a character he made lasting and memorable.  Rygel, a creature driven by inestimable self-interest and greed, always giving in to his baser instincts, yet capable of surprising heroism. epitomized the vast depth of characters on Farscape. Although, strictly speaking, he was created by the Muppet Shop out of latex, and it took a small crowd of muppeteers to manipulate him, it was Jonathan Hardy who gave him his Falstaffian proportion. .

Farscape fans knew Mr. Hardy as a sweet, chubby cheeked, beetle-browed raconteur. He had a long career, which provided him with an endless trove of stories to regale audiences with, and was seemingly always happy to greet and interact with his fans, who only knew him as the voice of Rygel, and affectionately considered him a real life counterpart to the Dominar. Yet, as I scrubbed through his resume on IMDB, I was astonished to discover that he was the screenplay author of Breaker Morant (nominated for an Oscar for best writing), and had played a character in the first Mad Max movie. The Farscape production team was always quick to tell fans about how distinguished a talent Jonathon Hardy was, and I would say that having an Oscar nomination under his belt pretty well proves it.

He will be sorely missed, as an actor of many parts, as the soul of Rygel, and as a twinkling star in the Farscape firmanent.

Read more, including a fascinating account of how Jonathan came to be cast as Rygel, from Richard Manning, a co-producer and writer for Farscape.

You can hear an interview with Jonathan Hardy about characterizing Rygel from a 2009 scifi convention in New Zealand here, and you can hear his version of how he got the role.

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