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Silence Exile and Crumpets
 
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Monday, March 3rd, 2003

Time Event
10:29p
Missing Farscape already and it is not even dead quite yet
I have so many reasons for missing Farscape now that it is almost gone. I cannot help but feel that part of the reason it got suddenly and arbitrarily cancelled was that the fact it is a show about 'good' terrorists - like Blake's Seven before them, the crew of Moya are rebels against evil empire (three or four of them at last count) who do what they feel they have to do. Which includes the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

And part of what I liked about the show was that it acknowledged that unconscionable acts, even when they are the least bad of a set of bad options, are still unconscionable and will have to be paid for in guilt and consequences. In the penultimate episode, John Crichton solves most of his immediate problems, and saves his own neck and that of the people he loves, by an act of destruction with almost unendurably brutal consequences for his enemies, short of genocide. The show raises the question - is this the act of a righteous man? - and shows him in moral agony about what he has done. And you know that this would have set the tone for much of what would have followed were it not for those nice people at SciFi channel.

Plus it was stylish - a space opera with good sets. At the end of Season Three, they blew up a huge battleship and it became a set piece, the Wreck of the DeathStar Titanic, with water from an indoor lake cascading down a staircase. And so Ok they copied that from some movie, but it was still very cool.

Plus it was slashy. John and his various nemeses had definite sexual vibes going and OK it was only the villainess he actually had sex with - but he and Scorpius had a whole finger-biting, exchange of bodily fluids moment and a whole Scorpy forcing John to change the coolant rods in his brain moment that had to be seen to be believed. There was also Chiana, the cute monochrome woman who sooner or later made a pass at any character regardless of gender.

It was funny, especially if you like Australian jokes about bodily functions and apposite pop culture references. Sometimes these depended on years of back story - you have to know who Braca is, and what he has been up to for four years, before it is funny that John refers to him as Smithers. The characterization of John as someone nearly mad from lonely homesickness who uses jokes to stay only mildly bonkers is quite neat too.

It had one of the great transformative television love stories - when John meets Aeryn Sun, she is a gung-ho stormtrooper committed to brutal militarism. Her attraction to him, and his to her, changes both of them, but mostly it redeems her. When she meets old PK friends, she has no explanation of why she has become, in their eyes, a traitor - she does not have the same emotional language as them anymore.

And they did what such shows never do - they brought the aliens to Earth and made that work as well as everything else. It turns out aliens do watch television programmes - specifically John's alien friends get to hear some weeks later what Earth thought of them...

You all need to have been watching this, you know, because it was special in the way Buffy and Angel are special. In spite of the laddishness and the muppet aliens...

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