For Farscape fans in Chicagoland and the Great Lakes area.

Archive for the 'scifi' Category

Shoot the Damn Gun, You Blue-Arsed Bitch!

January 12th, 2013 | 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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Cowboys and Aliens

September 09th, 2012 | Category: Farscape Alumni,scifi

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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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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The Doctors

November 24th, 2010 | Category: Great Lakes Area,scifi

This weekend is the annual Tardis convention, for Doctor Who fans all over the midwest. The ChicagoScapers have always had a soft spot in our hearts for Whovians, not just because they’re nice people, and not just because some of us are also fans of Doctor Who,  but also because we admire their patience: it took HOW many years before they got their show back???

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A Man, Lost In The Universe

August 09th, 2010 | Category: Farscape Alumni,scifi

Artist Martin Firrell (artist, cultural activist, benevolent provocateur) has a project which explores the deeper philosophical meaning behind characters in scifi in television shows.  As part of this piece of work, he has posted a series of short video interviews with Ben Browder about the two characters he portrayed, Commander John Crichton and Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell. 

Who the heck is this Martin Firrell? He’s a British artist who has done large, public projects, such as the Question Mark Inside at Saint Paul’s Cathedral (in London), and the Keep The Faith: All Men Are Dangerous digital projection at the Tate (art museum in London). 

“Yes he’s a provocateur if you like, but the underlying message is very rarely ‘’life’s rubbish and you’re all a bunch of sharks’’… He’s seeking to move beyond simple messages to something which provokes in the viewer a new sense of themselves and their place in the world”.

Deborah Bull, Royal Opera House Creative Director

You can see clips from his current project — interviews with those who have portrayed scifi characters on television — and a few selections of his past projects at martinfirrell.com

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March 24th, 2010 | Category: scifi

Now this would be an interesting concept for a Farscape story.  NO, not a Star Trek crossover, but a Farscape NOIR story.  Wouldn’t that be AWESOME!!  It would sure beat the usual crop of soft porn, or romance, or stupid domestic bliss stories about Aeryn and her children (awwwww ain’t she sweet). 

I think many fan fiction writers forget that every Farscape episode was about something important, and not just an excuse to watch John and Aeryn’s romance blossom, or Chiana writhe around sexily.  (Not that this stuff is bad, exactly, but there’s more to Farscape than just the eye candy to satisfy our baser instincts.)

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Farscape: More Fi than Sci

February 27th, 2010 | Category: dramatic criticism,Farscape,scifi,Technology

I occasionally run into people who complain about Farscape and how its science isn’t “real”. This always stumps me because I think that of all the scifi shows I’ve seen on television, Farscape seems to me to be the most realistic. When I ask people what they mean by that since nothing in a scifi show is “real”, they point to one of the Star Trek iterations, or the Stargate shows, as an example of shows that make the science more “real”. By that, what they really seem to mean is that because these shows have a lot of expository dialog (long-winded speeches) where people explain the science (or pseudo-science) behind all the scifi gizmos in the show, then to them it seems more real.

It is true that Farscape rarely explains the technology you see in the episodes. Most of the technical gizmos that the audience sees are merely used as part of the action in a scene. In an early first season episode, Throne For a Loss, there’s a scene down on a planet where Aeryn puts on a set of weird looking oculars. Afterwards Crichton also puts them on. We see his reaction to the sudden magnification. Then we see what he’s looking at through the oculars. Throughout this scene no one stood around explaining that this gizmo is an “ocular”, and then explained how it works. Aeryn does not say, “Here, Crichton, put these on and you’ll see everything more clearly.” and Crichton does not say “Wow, Aeryn, these are just like the binoculars we use where I come from, only more convenient.” We are left to infer that for ourselves. More importantly, these little interactions with the weird looking oculars are not central to the scene, which is about figuring out how to rescue Rygel from his kidnappers.

In the Farscape world technology and the way it makes life easier is taken for granted. This is exactly the way we handle technology in our world. When we plug our microwaves and hair dryers into a wall outlet, we expect them to turn on and operate. Even if we knew that electricity was generated with a steam turbine and then transmitted through copper and aluminum wires, and even if we knew how an airdryer or microwave harnessed that electricity to do our cooking or dry our hair, we wouldn’t really think about all those things as we were using those devices. Real life doesn’t work that way.

In our world we put itty-bitty lenses in our eyes to improve our vision, use devices as small as a candy-bar to talk across vast distances, and capture the sound of huge orchestras on shiny little disks. Most people have no idea how this stuff gets done, and yet it all just works.

In the Farscape world, little parasitic microbes can translate sounds into brain-waves so that everyone understand each other’s speech, chakan oil can be used for deadly fire power in hand guns without that irritating recoil, and DRDs zoom around cleaning things up and fixing them. Here, too, nobody spends any time explaining how these things work — not even to the “slow” human, John Crichton. Farscape expects the “slow” human (and us) to figure it out for ourselves, but even if we don’t, the action isn’t interrupted by taking time to explain things that really don’t matter to the story.

Of course, part of Farscape’s charm — for me, anyway — is that although not a single moment in any episode is wasted on useless technobabble, I can while away my idle time when I’m waiting in line, or trying to fall asleep, or sitting in a boring meeting at work, pondering how technology in the Uncharted Territories works. Gosh, if during starburst Leviathans disassemble in one place and reassemble in another place, isn’t that a lot like the transporter in Star Trek? And if that’s how starburst works, then that might explain why neither Moya nor Pilot ever seem to know exactly where they are after starburst. How do you suppose translater microbes translate songs? And man, wouldn’t it be NEAT to have my own DRD! It could do the dishes for me, make the bed, have dinner waiting when I got home maybe, and vacuum the carpet. Oh wait, they already have robots that can vacuum. Well, maybe I CAN make myself a DRD if I just put my mind to it.
To say that Farscape is more “fi” than “sci” is to say that in Farscape, the story is more important than the technology. And really, isn’t that also true about the story of our own lives?

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Can You Spot The DRD?

July 19th, 2009 | Category: Farscape,Geek Humor,scifi

Looks like there’s a secret life that some toys have.  I found the image on Flickr.

Bender’s weekly poker game at the Sunnydale High School library. The post-game eating has begun in earnest and Bender is all out of moonshine. The DRD ate all the crab rangoons and GIR is full of stuffing. Wall-E, drunk as a skunk, wants more pepperoni pizza and is about to be sorely disappointed. R5 is enjoying his seventh slurpee.

You can find other cool images of Daleks and Cybermen, too.

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Colbert on the SyFy Name Change

July 12th, 2009 | Category: scifi

There’s almost no words to adequately deride the stupidest name change ever in the history of television network re-branding, but Stephen Colbert comes pretty close.

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Hard Copy

July 12th, 2009 | Category: scifi,Technology

Remember in Star Trek how if anyone in the crew wanted something, they would speak to the computer, and then a cupboard door would open and the part would be magically there?  Usually this happened with food, but still, whatever they wanted the only had to say the word and it would appear.  There was even a term for it: replicator.

Well, from Switched.com comes a story about an article in Popular Mechanics where Jay Leno makes a replacement car part from a PRINTER.  Yes, a printer is used to MAKE SOMETHING in THREE DIMENSIONS.  This is just awesome!

And make sure you watch the cool video, too.

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