Bad, vile and meaningless: Wrong with Farscape from Alan's clob

So, what's wrong with Farscape

I've enjoyed this questionable sci-fi show's first season over the computer screen this week, mostly catching up with stuff that I missed when the real thing was on TV a while back.

I quit watching somewhere half-way the first season the first time, because of all the generic shoddiness that is immediately apparent. I mean, a typical Farscape script is composed of elements like "D'argo is short-tempered and hits something which then blows up and gets everyone massively into trouble through sequences of unlikely coincidences" or "Crichton is out trying to learn to drive a spacecraft and gets tangled into some invisible but provably utterly lethal cosmic web".

The first few episodes are propelled by this odd peacekeeper boss guy getting it into his head that Crichton maliculously caused his brother's death. It'd be clear to even a translator microbe that the death was a complete accident; however this guy goes on and risks his life as a Peacekeeper (and even kills some of his crew) in order to pursue this Crichton. This weakest McGuffin in the history of cinema then does its worst to propel the first few episodes onwards using subplots of the variety mentioned earlier to fill in the gaps.

Not only are the scripts bad, but everything else is out of place; this whole series is looking for a way home from very troubled waters. Character development is also very unusual. In a typical film it happens something like this: there's a war going on, bullets are flying all around you, your best friend is out there dying on the battlefield from a (probably fatal) bullet wound, and generally you have less than 2 minutes left to save the Earth. Just then, as the action would ask you to press further the most, you sit down and have the Real Good Talk with some fellow soldier about issues like how your father's early death led you into resentment against family values and as a consequence you felt you didn't belong and signed up to army and made perhaps a big mistake of your life. In other words, complete bullshit from beginning to end that merely whets the audience's appetite for the action that shall follow. (If you can actually reveal interesting background of characters during such a time then all the better.) Now, the Farscape version of that goes something like this: D'argo's been out there in the space for half an hour and is revived inside the spacecraft. He then promptly starts to wander about the spacecraft blathering to various people about his past in a curious form of dementia, revealing the existence of his wife and son and all the other stuff he did to protect them in the process. However, he's merely a part-time lunatic, as for a few seconds here and there he is fully aware of who he really is, only to relapse back a twin heartbeat later.

Or picture this: you have just been revived from near-certain death through some emergency CPR administrated by your potential lover. You feel most likely terribly ill and weak, and are shivering from cold in a space-craft whose air reserves are just about to run out. At that spot, reeling and suffocating, it is suddenly perfectly logical to start having mad, lusty sex with your fellow space castaway. The worst part of this was that it were perfectly predictable from how it were setup to that point: all signs were pointing at a love scene in a dying space-craft. Farscape really is so far out sometimes.

I mean, is this stuff trying to be self-ironic? Funny? Did I miss the joke? What humour it has about itself doesn't seem to extend to the point that the catastrophic plot decisions at this level were part of the "joke". This thing definitely needs more sick humour to brighten up its stillborn storylines. Or something. I mean, let's take "A Human Reaction". Assume that when Crichton figures out the Earth is not real, he'd then go into the bar and run into that Zulu guy from a few episodes back in his half-naked costume and the woman which fancied Crichton (god only knows why) by the pool table. You'd have a totally hoot scene with Crichton going like "oh no, you definitely aren't from Earth and I know it". I'd make the guy run into the women's bathroom next and completely drop out of reality into some kind of plasma background. Then, the reality might be restored some way to sufficient degree for the finish of the episode. And maybe we'd also understand why Crichton didn't ask the aliens with the wormhole technology to tell him where his Earth is (since they apparently knew it).

So if it's all bad... why do you watch it?

Firstly, it's perfect waste of time.

Secondly, I think I saw a few good episodes as well. I mean, late in the TV production. I have no idea which season or what, but it seemed like the acting and many other immaterial things (like having a good plot for once) had at least temporarily come together and delivered a smashing episode that fascinated me. Something about the guys visiting Earth and Aeryn being merely a copy and stuff like that. Perhaps it will seem less good by the time I get to that point, but it was light years better and hotter than whatever the rubbish its origins were. So, in short: I hope it gets a lot better.