For Farscape fans in Chicagoland and the Great Lakes area.

Archive for the 'Farscape' Category

Who’s In the New Who

March 08th, 2012 | Category: Farscape Alumni,scifi

Farscape’s Ben Browder will have a guest appearance in the third episode of the seventh series of Doctor Who, which is filming now in Spain. Read more here.

It’s supposed to be a sort of western flavored episode, which to me has just a whiff of spaghetti about it. Not sure yet when the series will begin airing either in the UK, or in the States, but we’ll be sure to keep the half dozen readers of this blog updated. (That’s not a complaint, by the way. What is lacking in numbers is more than made up in acumen, insight, and sagacity. And that’s a compliment.)

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Alumni Alerts

January 22nd, 2012 | Category: Farscape Alumni

How Meta Is This?

Farscape’s Rockne O’Bannon makes a TV show about a cult TV show. The CW has revived his 2005 pilot Cult, which was originally going to be a show on predecessor network The WB before it was killed six years ago in the WB/UPN merger. Read all about it at io9. This is still in the pilot stage, so it is a ways away from something we can expect to see on our TV screen.

Just Missed It

Ben Browder just had a guest spot on this past week’s episode of Chuck – titled Chuck vs. the Bullet Train.  (Where was I? Oh, yeah, sleeping.)  You can probably catch this appearance on a re-run, or if your cable service offers it, it still might be available for viewing.

Still Game

Claudia Black voiced Chloe Frazer in a video game that was released for PlayStation 3 in early November. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, is deemed an “adventures worthy of a big screen” by the New York Times, who describe it as “it is a captivating, engaging, grin-inducing adventure”.   Users at IMDB give it a 9.6 rating. What’re you waiting for? Go get it!

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Rygel’s Bio-functions Not So Weird After All

January 22nd, 2012 | Category: Farscape,Farscape Characters,Science

Genetially Engineered Stomach Microbe Converts Seaweed to Ethanol

Traditional sushi eaters have a specialized gut bacteria that helps them digest sushi wrappers, which isn’t present in North Americans.  This discovery helped lead synthetic biologist Yasuo Yoshikuni and his colleagues to figure out how to modify a sPortrait of Dominar Rygel XVItrain of E. coli so that it turns the sugars in an edible kelp called kombu into ethanol. More importantly, this transformation takes place with the temperature between 77 and 86 degrees Farenheit, which means it doesn’t take extra energy to make ethanol this way. This strain of E. coli likes it warm, too, so it’s not likely to escape into the wild and start consuming seaweed on its own. Read more about this at Scientific American.

So….Rygel’s ability to turn tannot root into a fuel for Peacekeeper weapons isn’t so farfetched. However, the Helium farts, or somehow providing nourishment for a growing human/sebacean embryo? That’s another matter entirely. Still, nothing is stranger than real life, and you just cannot predict which places new discoveries will take us to. This is why I never worried too much about the “science” of Farscape. Just because something seems impossible to us now, doesn’t mean it is.

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The Slap, Seen Around The World

October 22nd, 2011 | Category: Farscape Alumni

British Farscape afficianados get a chance to see the Alex Dimitriades, the actor who played Lt. Velorek (in the season two episode “The Way We Weren’t), when he appears in an Australian drama being broadcast on BBC Four on Thursday 27 October 2011. The series, called The Slap, is an 8-part drama, based on a novel by Christos Tsiolkas. The series is also currently airing on Australia’s ABC1 network. You can read more details about it at Suite101.com. Australia’s ABC1 also has a handsome website for the series.

In the opinion of this ChicagoScaper, all of the actors who appeared on Farscape were topnotch, and their other efforts are always worth a look, even if only to see them elevate their material. From a review in the Sydney Herald, this series looks like it’s well made, and is based on a popular Australian novel, making it likely to be an interesting story to watch. Sadly, this doesn’t seem like something that will ever air on American TV, and it might be a wee bit too obscure to get a torrent feed.

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Human-Animal Clone Again

October 01st, 2011 | Category: Farscape Alumni

Claudia Black, (Our Beloved Raven Haired Goddess) finds another voiceover gig. This time she’ll be playing the role of Cheetah, one of the baddies out to get The Justice League, in a new, animated, direct-to-video movie project.  The movie, titled Justice League: Doom, will also feature Nathan Fillion as The Green Lantern, and Tim Daly as Superman. The story is expected to be loosely based on the Tower of Babel arc which ran in issues #43-46. In it, the files Batman keeps on his fellow teammates that lists each member’s powers, strengths and weaknesses are stolen and used against the team members one at a time, creating a major threat to the Justice League.

In the animated version of The Justice League world, Cheetah is what resulted when biologist Barbara Minerva spliced cheetah genes with her own. (Sound familiar??) In an effort to find funding to continue her experiment, she turned to crime, eventually joining Lex Luthor’s Injustice Gang.

According to IGN, Warner Brothers Home Video will premiere the movie at the New York City Comic Con festival, on October 14th, 3 – 4 PM at the IGN Theater.

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Russian Constructivists and Farscape

August 24th, 2011 | Category: Farscape

From Farscape Canada, we learn that the PK Symbol is derived from a Russian artist’s work, titled "Beat The Whites With The Red Wedge". It was created by artist Lazar Markovich Lissitzky in 1919 during the middle of the Russian communist revolution, and belongs to the Russian Constructivist movement. You can see other examples below right, by Russian artists such as Aleksandor Mikhailovich Rodchenko and Lyubov Popova, and Hungarian artist LászlĂł Moholy-Nagy.

Familiar Look

It is perhaps no accident that Farscape’s Production Designer, Ricky Eyres, used an image from the Russian Constructivist art movement. The movement was born out of the Suprematism movement (1915 – 1916), lasted from about 1920 to 1930, and was a major influence on the Bauhaus School and its disciples (also from about 1919 to 1933.)

Suprematism focused on the fundamental geometric forms such as circles and squares. Constructivism wanted to use art as an means of social change which naturally dovetailed with the revolutionary change that was sweeping the old order out of Russia. The Bauhaus movement, which influenced architecture, graphic arts, typography, interior decoration, and consumer product design, created the practical result of these ideas, which, in the end, affected the way people lived in the western industrialized parts of the world. (Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology houses the Institute of Design, formerly the New Bauhaus School, a direct offshoot of the original Bauhaus school.)

Russian Constructivism

Disciples of Constructivism sought to use art and design as a means of social change. Constructivist artists put their art at the direct disposal of the revolutionary forces, creating agit-prop (short for "agitating propaganda") posters and illustrations. They sought to create art that would create active involvement with their viewers, which is perhaps why the images contain strong colors and massive shapes. Other proponents of Constructivism began to demand that objects be" useful" rather than "artistic", and thus achieve a sort of noble integrity.

Eventually the idealistic collective fervor of these early artists of the Russian Revolution fell out of favor with a government that had become equally as totalitarian — if not more so — than the Czarist regime it had annihilated. Observers in the west watched in dismay as the revolutionary leaders turned on each other, leaving only the most ruthless in power at the end. In the subsequent decades, stories of persecution for nameless and arbitrary "crimes" began to leak out to the west. People routinely disappeared into gulags and work camps, after having been sentenced for "political retraining". To Western eyes, the strong, bold images of the early revolutionary Russian art became associated with the heavy-handed centralized government of the Soviet Socialist Republic.

The PeaceKeeper Regime

In the Farscape story, we don’t learn a lot of detail about the Peacekeeper culture, but we can observe the behaviors of such prominent PK characters as Captain Crais, Lieutenant Braca, and Commandant Grayza, and their interactions with their subordinates and other secondary characters. Those that have risen to the top ranks all seem to exhibit common traits, such as ruthlessness, self-serving and autocratic behavior, and cruelty. Although these are not singular characteristics to PKs, it does seem to be endemic among them.

We also see that Moya’s crew have suffered from the unjust and arbitrary treatment at the hands of the PKs, whether by lies, fabrications, treachery, or in the case of Zhaan, when they came in to provide "peace" to her world.

The makers of Farscape unequivocally intended for us to see the PK Regime as brutish, totalitarian, and oppressive. The red and black colors of the PK uniform, and the PK symbol showing a big wedge with a penetrating influence are images that look rather menacing to us today. Yet, by the end of the story, we also learn that they hadn’t started out that way, and were once, long ago, the forces who kept order while another race provided justice to the citizens of the galaxy. The makers of Farscape could have designed any kind of logo for the Peacekeeper forces, and used other, more familiarly militaristic colors for their uniforms. Instead they chose black, white, and red, and the piercing big wedge.

For a better illustration of the menace inherent in these Constructivist images, check out this short video created by Theodor Ushev in 2006 called "Tower Bawher".

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Farscape Still Captivates Viewers

August 20th, 2011 | Category: Farscape

It’s been over 10 years since Farscape made its debut on SyFy (or, as it was known then, SciFi), and nearly 7 years since we saw its final chapter. The Farscape comic books carry on the story, but only to a limited number of Farscape afficianados. The appearance of the long-promised web series seems increasingly unlikely, while the emergence of any Farscape novels seems to be strangely inconceivable to any publisher. Even diehard fans are slowly moving on, it seems, as year by year there’s smaller numbers participating at Terra Firma (almost the last standing Farscape forum), or coming to the occasional Convention where Farscape alumni make appearances. (Did you realize that Ben Browder was coming to Chicago this weekend for a Stargate appearance? Me neither.)

Yet, the DVDs still sell, and a new Blu-ray version of the complete series is coming out this fall. Somewhere, there are people still discovering Farscape, and becoming avid fans.

Some Introductory Videos

I am in pleased to discover that a popular scifi show review site, SF Debris, has undertaken to begin a series of Farscape episode reviews. Only two have been completed so far –- Premiere (ep 1.01) and A Bug’s Life (1.18). Although these reviews aren’t as thorough and instructive as the Star Wars and Star Trek reviews at Red Letter Media, which are virtual master classes in film and story-telling, they’re generally intelligent and well-informed, and more than adequately showcase the episode. For someone who may be wondering if they’d like to try Farscape, but without investing in a set of DVDs, they serve as a better review than many that have been written by fans at IMDB or Amazon.

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Never Actually Thought this Would Happen

July 18th, 2011 | Category: Farscape



Farscape must still be selling well.

From TVShowsOnDVD comes news of “High-Def Blu-ray Disc Plans for 2011 of ‘The Complete Series‘”  


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Hell. Yeah.

June 14th, 2011 | Category: Farscape Alumni

What if the bad kids had a breakfast club?

Filming has begun on the movie version of the graphic novel, Bad Kids Go To Hell, and according to CinemaBlend.com, Ben Browder has joined the cast. (You can also read it here, on the Facebook page for Bad Kids Go To Hell.) The movie also will star one of the original Breakfast Club cast members, Judd Nelson.

So, what’s this story about?

From the Amazon.com blurb:

A construction crew unearths a primal, supernatural force when they break ground for a new, commemorative library for Crestview Academy, a prestigious Midwestern prep-school and home to the spoiled offspring of the city’s social elite. Three years later, six of Crestview’s richest (and hottest) students are brought together early one Saturday for detention inside the newly completed library. Bored, the kids talk about their school’s infamous “dark presence,” and goad one another into a half-hearted seance. However, the joke turns deadly when they rouse an angry spirit, and start to die, one-by-one, in horrible accidents! Yet, as the kids drop like flies, are the murders really the work of an evil phantom, or has one of these six spoiled brats secretly conspired to bring them all together for detention in order to “level” the social playing field and do away with the competition? The Breakfast Club meets The Grudge in this sexy, dark, comedy-thriller mini-series from scribe Matt Spradlin, co-creator of True Believer for the Sci-Fi Channel and visual effects coordinator for X-Men 2 and Beowulf, and hot new comic artist Anthony Vargas!

It looks like if you want the book, you’re SOL, as it has long since sold out — unless you have deep pockets and can afford the high price that any available remaining edition commands.

Let’s hope this movie not only will be well-made, and blessed by the casting gods (for the other non-Browder-acted characters, that is), and based on a sharp script, but that it will be more than just another cult film.

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Life On Mars

June 08th, 2011 | Category: Farscape Ha Ha,slightly Farscape,Technology

Imaginative Farscape fans live in a nexus of the real, the surreal, and the hyper-real. Just about anything becomes grist for the concatenation mill. For example, the news that NASA’s Mars rover, Opportunity, which has roamed the surface of Mars since 2004, has reached the 30 Kilometer mark (18.5 miles, or about 3 metras), made this earthbound human ponder life on Mars.

Imagine spending the last 7 years roaming the surface of Mars.

“Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids

In fact it’s cold as hell

And there’s no one there to raise them if you did…

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