Archive for the ‘Farscape’ Category.

Another chance to get a piece of Moya!

[caption id="attachment_8903" align="alignleft" width="300"]Farscape script + piece of Moya (Not the actual Moya piece you'll get, but yours will be similar in size & paint.)[/caption] And it's not just an actual piece of Moya, but also a signed (and personalized, if you like) Farscape shooting script! Once again, those wonderful folks at Con or Bust, which helps people of color/non-white people attend SFF conventions, are holding their annual fundraising auction of all kinds of amazing stuff! And once again, I've descended into the Froonium catacombs to grab a couple of Farscape scripts and clip a couple more pieces off the chunk of Moya that I smuggled home from Australia! (Specifically, two pieces of hand-painted foam from a much larger piece that formed one of the 'scales' covering one of Moya's interior 'ribs.') And you get to choose which script you want, from any one of these episodes that I penned:
  • "Throne for a Loss" (Ep. 104)
  • "Nerve" (Ep. 119)
  • "Mind the Baby" (Ep. 201)
  • "Won't Get Fooled Again" (Ep. 214)
  • "Season of Death" (Ep. 301)
  • "Incubator" (Ep. 311)
  • "Terra Firma" (Ep. 413)
Once again this year, the top two bidders will each get a script & Moya piece, so we'll have Double Winners! Bid on the Farscape script & Moya piece via this link! Bidding is now open, but hurry — the auction ends Sunda, May 7, 2017 at 1pm Pacific Time. (Oh, and if absolutely nothing in the entire auction strikes your fancy, or the bidding's too rich for your blood, you can simply make a donation via PayPal to help this most excellent cause.)

Froon’s Farscape Watch, s1e03

[caption id="attachment_9238" align="alignright" width="300"]Kabuki Peacekeepers Farscape s1e03: On weekends, we're a KISS cover band[/caption]

"Exodus from Genesis" (season 1, episode 3)

Written by Ro Hume, directed by Brian Henson This'll be a truly fresh rewatch, because literally the only thing I remember offhand about this ep is "Kabuki Peacekeepers." Roll it... Dentics! Ah, I do remember Dentics. And here we begin the Farscape tradition of Putting Yucky Things in your Mouth. Crichton calls Aeryn "Miss Sun" here! And pronounces it "Soon!" Is this the one and only time in the series he calls her that? Zhaan touches Rygel! Is this the first time one of our actors touches one of our animatronics? We quickly discovered that "manhandling the puppets" really helped bring the latter to life as Actual Beings, so watch to see how much more often everybody "gets physical" with Rygel and Pilot as the series goes on... Zhaan as Flash Van Gogh. A cool notion that we never played again, as I recall. Not much plot use for superspeed painting, although maybe we could've used it in "I, E.T." ("Quick, Zhaan, as soon as Moya touches down, hop out and paint her in camouflage colors!") Critter! Love the Draks. Love Crichton jumping up on the table just as any sensible person would do. Crichton gets beat up by Aeryn*. Take a drink. Crichton gets beat up by Zhaan*. Take another drink. *Okay, it's not the real Aeryn and Zhaan, but still. Poor guy... Jonathan Hardy truly gets to shine with his Rygel voice work in the ep. Wonderful stuff. Rygel has a great Face of Shock and Disgust when he sees Mama Drak churning out eggs. Kudos to our outstanding puppeteers John Eccleston, Sean Masterson, Dave Collins, Graeme Haddon, Tim Mievelle, Mario Halovvas, and Damian Bradford for all their outstanding work. And here come the Kabuki Peacekeepers! I kept expecting them to break into a Gilbert & Sullivan tune. And D'Argo actually wins a fight! Go, Anth! Took out the slowest PK commando. Virginia does a nice job playing Drak Queen Possessed. Add this to the Drinking Game list: take a sip whenever any of our people plays someone other than their character; that's gonna happen a fair bit throughout the series. (But let's not take a drink for all the silent Drak clones in this ep, lest we die of alcohol poisoning.) While we're adding to the Drinking Game list, let's add "take a sip whenever Aeryn... ...wants to die, tries to die, asks someone else to kill her, or variant thereof, and... ...forces Crichton to promise her something outrageous." Ah, the Terrace! Great idea: a transparent 'bubble' outside Moya where we can stand and get amazing views of space. Except, natch, it's ridiculously expensive to shoot there because every shot is a visual effects shot... so don't expect to see a lot more of the Terrace. Aeryn smiles! Good heavens, the Crichton/Aeryn relationship is working so well already. Ben & Claude's chemistry is pure gold. Love Crichton's last line (on the Terrace, eyeing the view) that "there are worse ways to end a day." Cheryl & I quoted that line quite a bit while sipping excellent Australian wine and watching gorgeous sunsets from the balcony of our Sydney apartment. (Thank you, Farscape.)

Froon’s Farscape Watch, s1e02

[caption id="attachment_9221" align="alignleft" width="300"]Moya lifting off Farscape s1e02: At least Moya looks pretty[/caption]

"I, E.T." (season 1, episode 2)

Written by Sally Lapiduss, directed by Pino Amenta And to forestall a bunch of "what is the 'correct' episode order?" questions: I'm calling this ep 2 because it was production number 10102, so I always thought of it as ep 2. Yes, it actually was filmed "third" (well, in a block with "Throne for a Loss," ep 4), and it originally aired seventh on the Sci-Fi Channel and fourth on BBC2, but still. The fact that neither Sci-FI nor BBC2 actually aired it second might be taken as a hint that it wasn't one of our stronger episodes, so let's see how it holds up in the rewatch... We begin with Crichton doing an eye twitch that's as annoying to us as it is to him, in response to an even more annoying alarm sound that takes waaaaay too long to get shut off. Not the most inviting way to start an ep. Last ep, we had D'Argo saying "damn," and in this ep, we've got Crichton saying "What the hezmana is it?" Feels a bit early for Crichton to be echoing the local profanity... I don't know why D'Argo has to look in the Niche Where the Beacon Lives, and then Aeryn has to take a look, and then Crichton has to take a look. And now Aeryn says "I'm new to all this escaped prisoner crap." Everybody, get your swear words sorted out! Moya lands in a bog. Good golly, our CGI was fantastic. Still looks amazing. Props to the terrific artists of Garner MacLennan Design for their superlative work. If there's a drinking game for season one, we should down a shot any time somebody asks "How's Moya?" Aaaaand now we're on the planet surface looking at -- guys apparently wearing baseball caps and holding rifles. Cheryl enquires if Moya has accidentally travelled to Earth and landed in Louisiana. This is a charming little scene between Zhaan and Pilot, but it has zilch to do with the story. Must be one of our infamous season one "Euro scenes." Sci Fi wanted 43-minute episodes, but BBC2, having no commercial breaks, wanted 50-minute episodes. Those aren't the exact numbers -- networks specify delivery lengths to the second -- but close enough. So we needed to add about seven minutes to each ep for the BBC2 version... and yet our budget was already strained to the limit producing 43-minute episodes. What to do? Solution: write two or three rather lengthy talk scenes between two characters that could be easily shot and dropped into the BBC2 version to get it up to 50 minutes. We dubbed those extra yakfests "Euro scenes" in-house. (Thankfully, from season 2 on, BBC2 relented and allowed us to give them the same length eps as we gave Sci Fi, so the Euro scenes were solely a season 1 phenomenon.) For me, the Euro scenes in this ep stand out even more than usual because the rest of the ep is, let's face it, kinda talky already. Sometimes a Euro scene could be a nice breather from the mad action and weird goings-on of an ep, but... this time, not so much. Don't Get Me Started on the logic of how Translator Microbes work... yet in this ep, I was bugged then and am bugged now by the fact that the inhabitants of this planet, who've never left their planet, can nevertheless understand Crichton as if they all had Translator Microbes installed regardless. (Or that Lyneea, a scientist who's looking for extraterrestrial life, doesn't even seem to wonder why it is that she can talk to this 'alien' being...) It's not that this is a bad episode; it just doesn't much feel like Farscape to me. Though it's a cool idea to turn the tables on Crichton and make him the 'alien' outsider, this ep feels like it could very easily be rewritten to be a Star Trek ep or a Stargate ep or a you-name-it ep. And ep 2 feels way too soon to go to an Earthlike (much too Earthlike, if you ask me) planet. We saw the Premiere; we're on board for ALIENS! CREATURES! LIVING SHIPS! WEIRD CULTURES! SPACE BATTLES! And in our very next ep, we get guys in hats, driving cars and toting rifles. Not surprising that Sci Fi and BBC2 shuffled the airing order a bit... Ah, and now Rygel takes a big bite out of Aeryn's arm and then swallows the chunk of flesh he bit off. Now that, for better or worse, is Farscape! But then we're back on Planet Bog and D'Argo, our fierce Luxan warrior, has somehow let himself get captured by a bunch of Guys With Rifles, despite his superior weaponry, soldier's training, and his Stun Tongue. Yeesh. Poor D'Argo's 0 for 2 on fights in just two eps. Crichton suggests that (alien kid) Fostro shake hands with (alien) D'Argo. Cheryl, watching, suggests the kid probably wouldn't know what "shaking hands" was even all about, and points out that shaking hands isn't even a universal custom among humans on Earth. And off Moya goes, looking gorgeous. As Bogart once said to Bergman, "We'll always have CGI."  

Froon’s Farscape Watch, s1e01

[caption id="attachment_9208" align="alignright" width="300"]Ben Browder in Mambo shirt Farscape s1e01: Florida Man in Australian Shirt[/caption] It's 19 March, aka “Farscape Day”, and that strikes me as the perfect time to (finally) crack open the Blu-Rays and rewatch the series from the start... something I haven't done in, well, ever. I probably haven't watched most of these eps since they first aired, so this should be... interesting. (Well, interesting to me, anyway.) Gonna post some random reactions and thoughts for each. Nothing thorough, nothing of Deep Import, just some musings upon re-viewing something I worked on a Long Time Ago. My current wife Cheryl will be at my side for extra added snark, at least for ep 1. Off we go!

Premiere” (season 1, episode 1)

Written by Rockne S. O'Bannon, directed by Andrew Prowse And in our Very First Shot of the series, here's Ben wearing a Mambo Loud Shirt, an Australian brand that became the unofficial Official Shirt of the series. Most of us Yanks who had the privilege of working in Sydney got hooked on these shirts, but I think I claimed the record by buying somewhere around forty. (And I'm still wearing them, much to the puzzlement of my UCLA Extension students.) IASA, the International version of NASA. If I correctly recall, the show was trying to get permission from NASA to use the name/logo, but time ran out before it did (or didn't) happen, so IASA it was. (Which kinda bumps with a much later episode “Terra Firma” where the “IASA” folks are trying to keep all the alien tech that Crichton brings back to Earth for the U.S.A. only...) Oh, Lord, that darned “space” helmet. Made me wince then, makes me wince now. “Uh... Canaveral?” I'm going to be praising Ben's brilliant work A LOT, but never quite enough. I just love the way he throws that line away... Wow, I forgot that the first ep doesn't have Crichton's voiceover on the main title. Makes sense that it's not there, but it's weird not hearing it. (The first ep of the original Star Trek series didn't have Kirk's “boldly go” voiceover either.) No episode title either. We didn't start putting the episode title onscreen until season 2, if I recall right. Props to Rockne for titling ep 1 “Premiere” instead of the usual “Pilot.” Maybe it's because we had a character named Pilot? Folks might've thought it was all about him. Nice that Rockne's writing credit falls on a shot of Crichton saying “Oh my God.” One-Eyed DRD! First little yellow Roomba to make an appearance. Typical Rockne to give even a little skittering robot a distinguishing feature and a personality. Good heavens, Moya looks gorgeous, as does the Peacekeeper Command Carrier. Kudos to Ricky Eyres and his amazing designs. Seeing it after all this time, I marvel anew at just how astounding and alien both D'Argo and Zhaan look... and how wonderfully Anth and Virg brought the characters to life. And Farscape's fondness for bodily fluids manifests itself right from ep 1 as Rygel spits on Crichton. D'Argo says “This damned Leviathan has no idea where we are.” Whoops. One of the few instances of alien swearing that the Translator Microbes actually translated into English. (Hey. There's at least one time that Data used contractions in Star Trek: The Next Generation. These things happen.) Andrew does a lovely job of teasing each alien's first appearance; we and Crichton at first see Zhaan and D'Argo from the back, so we save the Full Alien Reveal for when they turn around. And here's Aeryn! Another nice reveal. Andrew loves to dolly the camera while shooting through foreground stuff. It's only Act Two and we're into helium farts. Yup, the series took a little while to settle down and find its best groove, but SO MUCH was right there in the first ep. Aeryn Has Attitude. I'm going to be praising Claudia's brilliant work A LOT . . . Ah, Rygel and the Proprietor. Every time I watch this scene, I give extra thanks to the late Jonathan Hardy, the amazing Voice of Rygel, because... well, I already told that story here. And D'Argo loses his first fight. That's gonna become a recurring theme, alas. Erp! Here's D'Argo's first vow. Sure had a lot of those. “Little yellow bolts of light” still gets a laugh out of me and Cheryl. Hmm, Crais is pronouncing Aeryn's surname as “son” rather than “soon” in this ep. Crichton fixing the DRD... ah, That's So Rockne. Lovely little character moment that quietly says a lot about our hero and his situation. The end! Wow. Gotta say, that's a pretty amazing pilot, and I think it holds up remarkably well after almost two frelling DECADES... One down, 87 to go...

Ricky Talks About… Fountain Pens!

Write Gear logo"Speculative fiction author and bad influence" (her self-description) K. Tempest Bradford hosts a podcast entitled The Write Gear in which she examines and chats about "all the gear, gadgets, writing implements, paper, and other tools writers use to get the job done." Everything from laptops to backup systems to distraction-blockers and more. Tempest's latest installment is something called "Episode 9: From Farscape to Fountain Pens – A Conversation with Richard Manning" in which she and I yak about "which TV star inspired him to buy his first fancy fountain pen, which pens are his current favorites, and where you can find all the info you need to get started with fountain pen nerditry." Have a listen!

Reflections on the 19th of March

(And yes, I know my tenses are inconsistent.)

“Liz Tells Frank” Gets a Foreword by Me

[caption id="attachment_1424" align="alignleft" width="187"]"Liz Tells Frank . . ." cover Click to embiggen.[/caption] For eight years on her blog, Liz Shannon Miller has been telling her friend Frank about TV series, movies, and books that he's missed, helping him catch up on the good stuff and avoid the less-good stuff. Two ebook collections of this noble work have already amused and thrilled countless readers around the globe. I was amused and thrilled myself when Liz approached me to write a foreword to her third "Liz Tells Frank" compilation, though I couldn't fathom why she chose me. (Perhaps because the book includes Andreanna Ditton's "Skip It/Watch It Guide" to Farscape, and writing a foreword would give me an opportunity for pre-rebuttal?) In any case, I leapt at the opportunity, and the result follows. Enjoy the foreword, and then go buy the ebook of Liz Tells Frank: The Skip It/Watch It Guides on Amazon! FOREWORD, by Richard Manning ((I write for television. I never get to use footnotes in scripts. I like footnotes. You've been warned.)) Tens of years ago, when typewriters ((Devices comprising a keyboard and printer but lacking CPU or storage; pressing a key imprinted a character directly onto a sheet of paper.)) still walked the earth and “personal computers” were clunky, cantankerous contraptions that could only beep annoyingly and display glowing pus-green text, when television was still in its infancy—well, okay, out of its infancy but still wetting the bed and refusing to eat its vegetables, when there were no InterNets and people had to walk miles in the snow ((Uphill both ways, naturally.)) to newsstands ((Retail outlets where one could purchase printed “newspapers” (daily or weekly compilations of advertising, comic strips, classified advertising, editorials, horoscopes, advertising supplements, and occasionally news) or “magazines” (weekly or monthly volumes of glossy advertising, fashion photos, gossip, or porn).)) to acquire their porn, the concept of “fandom” was all but unknown to We Who Work in Television. In those innocent yet rococo times, when “cutting a film” meant exactly that—chopping up and pasting together long strips of perforated celluloid, when broadcasters still respected their programming enough not to deface it ((The truly important portions of their programming, of course, remain pristine and untouched to this day; it's only the trivia in between the commercials that gets defaced.)) with logos and animated promos, and when the Great Viewing Public was only dimly aware that creatures such as “television writers” actually existed, WWWiT labored in a vacuum. ((Not literally, of course, because we'd've died, but there's a decent analogy rattling around in there somewhere about the lack of sound in a vacuum.)) Back then, the Creators and the Consumers ((Or, as I like to describe them, the “pushers” and the “junkies.”)) were twains that never met. ((Probably because they were on non-intersecting twacks. I agree that's awful, but the only other metaphor I could come up with was something like “shippers that pass in the night,” which seemed both too esoteric and not apt enough.)) WWWiT would conceive our ideas, birth our teleplays, nurture our episodes, and set them free ((Were this an audiobook, I would likely be singing “Born Free” at this point. Count your blessings.)) into the ether, to be met with a resounding silence. ((“Resounding silence” is a goofy phrase when you think about it, kinda like “a blinding darkness,” but folks keep using it, so who am I to defy the zeitgeist?)) No applause. No boos. No thoughtful exegeses. ((Nor even thoughtless exegeses.)) No floral bouquets nor shrieking groupies. In short, no feedback whatever. Sure, critics would review the pilot and perhaps a subsequent season opener or two, but beyond that? The audience may have been listening, ((As proclaimed by THX™.)) but its speech, if any, rarely reached the ears of WWWiT. However, when the mighty transcontinental series of tubes was completed ((The final connection, of course, took place at Promontory Summit, Utah and was commemorated with a Golden Power Spike. (This joke isn't quite as labored as it might seem; go look up “Golden Spike” and read about the U.S.'s first nationwide media event.)) and the World's Widest Web lurched to life, feedback sprouted everywhere. ((Like mushrooms... some edible, some poisonous. Now there's a nice metaphor. I could do something with that.)) We could now peruse countless discussion boards and discover that viewers had caught the obscure Monty Python reference we'd slipped into an episode... or that they'd mercilessly nailed us on some dubious plot logic we'd thought would pass unnoticed. We could lurk in chatrooms as our episodes aired and revel in real-time gasps and screams when characters kissed and/or killed each other. Some of us rebelled, not wanting feedback that was anything less than absolute worship. Some of us didn't react well, scolding our newly-voiced critics with accusations of “[writing] crap from behind the safety of anonymity” ((JMS v. Cronan, 1998. When they build the Fandom Hall of Fame, my first nomination will be Cronan Maliki Jamel Thompson... and my second will be Emily Salzfass who, like Cronan, left us far too soon.)) or “interrogating this text from the wrong perspective.” ((Rice v. Negative Voices on Amazon, 2004. Yes, it's from the world of literature, not television, but it's too delicious to leave out.)) However, most ((Well, many. Quite a few. Lots. Several. A not insignificant number. Well, me, anyway.)) of WWWiT ((Yes, I know, in this context it should be UWWiT.)) were (and still are) utterly delighted to sample the sprawling internet buffet of reaction and criticism. Some of it's tasty; some of it may be hard to swallow; ((But good for us anyway, like broccoli.)) all of it (yes, even the short and pointed reactions such as “YOU'RE SHOW SUCKZ”) is appreciated. We made something; you took the time to watch; you liked it or you didn't, and you made the effort to say why. Which, at long last, brings me to the motley and prolific Liz Shannon Miller, who's been serving up her own breezy brand of commentary since 2005. ((Good lord, that's a long time. As the Bible sort of says, “Greater love hath no fan than this, than a fan lay down and scan endless sludge so her readers don't have to.”)) Liz's critiques are packed with humor, taste, intelligence, plus a genuine love for the media she surveys—and the results are not only glorious to behold but also a hell of a lot of fun to read. So sit back, relax, ((Or stand up and be tense, if that's how you prefer to read.)) and enjoy Liz's third compilation of The Best of “Liz Tells Frank,” ((Okay, honestly, I don't know if it's really “The Best Of.” It might just be “Whatever Stuff She's Churned Out Since Volume 2.” You be the judge. (And then blog about it! “[Your Name Here] Tells [Some Other Name Here] About 'Liz Tells Frank!'”) )) as she and her outstanding sisters-in-snark Whitney Bishop and Andreanna Ditton ((Apparently they get to cover the stuff even Liz won't touch, like that weird frelling Fire Escape show.)) interrogate the text from the right perspective and separate the soaring eagles from the plummeting turkeys. ((Yes, this is a reference to “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly”—one of the finest punch lines in the history of television.)) If this book saves you from wasting that hour on that “Very Special Episode” that isn't so special after all, ((Or prompts you at long last to go try out that book/series/movie/videogame you've never seen—and fall madly in love with it.)) the tireless labors of its valiant authors will have borne fruit, ((Were this an audiobook, I would definitely be singing “Borne Fruit” at this point, to the tune of “Born Free.” You are SO lucky.)) and I hope you'll join me in rewarding them with a hearty chorus of “YOU'RE BOOK ROCKZ!!!!1!”

Top Ten Other Ways Farscape’s Last Episode Could’ve Ended

[caption id="attachment_1194" align="alignright" width="626"]Farscape Episode 88's Last Shot Last shot of Farscape's "Bad Timing" Episode 88[/caption] A little over ten (!) years ago, Farscape aired its last* episode, "Bad Timing." SPOILERS TO FOLLOW: The episode, written by the sadistic genius David Kemper,  concluded, shall we say, not very well for our heroes, with yet another OH MY GOD season-ending cliffhanger, and yet another "To Be Continued" card at the fadeout. And then... we found out that the season-ending cliffhanger was going to be the series-ending cliffhanger, because Farscape had been canceled. Which posed a question: should we change the ending of "Bad Timing"? Should we leave the "To Be Continued" on there or not? The overwhelming sentiment among the Farscape crew was to leave it just as it was, and so the ending of the episode aired without changes, "To Be Continued" and all. However! We did discuss a drenload of other ideas for the last shot other than "To Be Continued"... and here are the top ten!

10.) HA HA THEY'RE TOAST

9.) We Tried to Talk DK Out of This... Okay, Actually, No, We Didn't

8.) Th- th- th- th- th- that's all, Folks!

7.) That's How the Nookie Cookie Crumbles

6.) The Fans Said They Wanted Crichton and Aeryn Together, Forever and Inseparably. DONE!

5.) To Be Rebooted

4.) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

3.) Had We More Budget, Moya Would've Gotten Zapped Too, so Count Your Blessings

2.) Go Thou and Do Likewise (and Thanks for Watching)

1.) And the number-one alternate Farscape last shot (CLICK TO ENLARGE):Farscape Episode 88's Alternative Last Shot

*P.S.: "To Be Continued" did, indeed, turn out to be prophetic; "Bad Timing" was Farscape's "last" episode only until the astonishing "Save Farscape" fan campaign helped make possible a four-hour Farscape miniseries which concluded the story...

...temporarily.

RIP Emily Salzfass

"I'm learning to love myself despite my kitten problem." – Emily Salzfass
[caption id="attachment_1150" align="alignleft" width="300"]Em and me at the 2002 Farscape convention Em and me at the 2002 Farscape convention[/caption] A lot of people in a lot of places and a lot of fandoms are grieving today at the loss of Makiko aka Sab aka Makikosab aka, simply, Em. She was many things, but primarily she was an Illuminator of Rooms, the sort of human dynamo universally described with phrases like "contagious energy" and "delightfully skewed" and "fearless enthusiasm" and "one of a kind." Go to Em's Facebook page to read or contribute remembrances, photos, or kittens.    

RIP Jonathan Hardy

[caption id="attachment_894" align="alignleft" width="300"]Jonathan Hardy Jonathan Hardy at "Best of Both Worlds 16" convention, Sydney, July 27, 2002.
Photo by Peter Fallon.[/caption] Jonathan Hardy has passed away at the age of 71. His acting career spanned 37 years and included Moulin Rouge!, Mad Max, and a shirtload of Australian television including Farscape, where he not only performed the voice of Dominar Rygel XVI but also donned a toga to play Kahaynu, one of Moya's builders. Jonathan was also a screenwriter who shared an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1981 for Breaker Morant, one of Australia's all-time best films. He was a skilled raconteur who delighted in sharing anecdotes, meeting with fans, and lighting up every room he entered. Born in New Zealand (on September 20, 1940), he particularly enjoyed telling ribald jokes concerning Kiwis and their sheep. Because of his slight facial resemblance to Rygel (judge for yourself), there are some who claim that he served as the model for the puppet. However... [caption id="attachment_915" align="alignright" width="150"]Jonathan Hardy and Farscape's Rygel What resemblance?[/caption] ...if that's true, the Creature Shop must've been psychic, because Jonathan wasn't cast as the voice of Rygel until we were well into the shooting of Season One. In fact, Jonathan wasn't even in the first group of voice actors who auditioned. A scene from the first episode where Rygel bargains/argues with an alien Proprietor (it's the scene where Rygel says, "There was a time when you would have been disembowelled with a dull Lashlan spade for half such an insult to me!") was shown to half a dozen Australian voice actors, and each took a crack at it. [caption id="attachment_897" align="alignleft" width="300"] Froony and Hardy.
Photo by Cheryl Manning.[/caption] David Kemper sent a copy of that tape—the same Rygel scene voiced six different ways by six different people—up to Los Angeles, where Rockne O'Bannon and I were writing scripts and breaking stories. Watching it, we couldn't decide whether to die laughing or die by hurling ourselves out a window. Every one of the voice actors—talented gentlemen to be sure—had played Rygel as a comic character... and tried to make him funny by using some weird comedic accent. So we had Chico Marx Faux-Italian Rygel, we had Snidely Whiplash Rygel... and the most hilarious of all, Truly Outrageous Monty-Python-Holy-Grail-esque French Rygel. (What I don't remember is whether DK had warned us in advance what we were about to behold... or whether he'd just sent the tape up without comment to give Rock and me the same coronary surprise that he must've gotten upon first watching.) [caption id="attachment_895" align="alignright" width="300"] Jonathon and friends, BOBW16, Sydney, July 27, 2002.
Photo by Peter Fallon.[/caption] Anyway. Rock and DK were in complete agreement that the search had to continue, and that it must be made clear to the voice actors that Rygel was a serious character...  clever, devious, prideful, conniving, conceited, vengeful, etc. etc. etc., but serious. And then somebody found Jonathan Hardy, and that was that. Jonathan not only had the commanding yet versatile voice and the dramatic chops needed, but he also understood Rygel from word one... and he always played him as a real character, not a buffoon or a cartoon. Jonathan gave him dignity, without which a Dominar is nothing. Which was a tad ironic, because in person, Jonathan was a big, lovable goofball, a total party animal who never lost the twinkle in his eye. It seems appropriate to end with the (premature) eulogy Rygel gave Crichton in "That Old Black Magic"... [wpaudio url="http://froonium.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/FS108_HynerianCeremonyOfPassage.mp3" text="LISTEN TO: Rygel's Hynerian Ceremony of Passage" dl="0"]. Farewell, Jonathan. May you have safe passage to the hallowed realm of your choice.