For Farscape fans in Chicagoland and the Great Lakes area.

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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