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...

16 Comments

  1. Marie says:

    I’m in a weekly rewatch chat and fittingly we just started a new go-round this past sunday. Premiere is a fantastic episode, i’ll give a shout out to one of my favorite line deliveries of any show ever – “WHAT is the MATTER with you… people”

  2. Dabee/Deb says:

    Hubby and I are still Scaping people and get so jazzed when someone new falls in love with “our” show…we are into the 4th generation of Farscape fans…before my Mom died, many years ago,she decided to watch the show and find out what all the hubub was about…she was pretty much bedridden with pulminary fibrosis by that time and it was so special to watch the DVDs with her…we introduced our kids to it and they, in turn, watched with their kids…a couple of years ago our daughter posted a photo of their little girl sitting in a highchair having a snack and watching TV…when you look at the screen, there is D’Argo in all his radiant glory!

    I am really excited for you to watch the series…it is amazing how much we forget about the show…and the memories it brings back about the Scaper community that we formed on the old SciFi chat room and bulletin board (and other sites) the friendships and relationships that formed and we still hold dear…I look forward to reading your comments as you go along!

    • Rita Lewis says:

      Dabee, I second your emotion. Scapers are the kindest, funniest, craziest and smartest fans around. Without Farscape I wouldn’t have made it sanely through chemotherapy for breast cancer. Our cancer support group on Kansas Board and later Terra Firma was a wonderful thing. Sadly, not everyone made it and particularly I miss Lucy Cannon. But between the show’s message of hope and the fact that everyone is their own kind of hero and Scapers who watched and talked, and argued and loved the show; it remains a special place in my heart.

      We’re on our third generation of Scapers here.

  3. Suzanne says:

    Wonderful reading your thoughts during your rewatch of Farscape! I look forward to reading more of your thoughts, looking back after all this time…..

  4. Patti Huber says:

    Crais’ mispronunciation of Aeryn’s name is totally understandable in episode 1. He barely knows her name, she’s barely a blip on his radar. Later on, when she matters to him, he gets it right and is consistent. 😉
    You’re right that the episode stands up over time. There’s so much going on in it! I remember when I first saw it, I thought it had to be a 2-hour pilot because there was so much and so many characters introduced. It was amazing.
    I will always love this show! <3 <3

    • As it happens, there was a bit of indecision from Sci Fi about whether ep 1 should indeed be 1 or 2 hours; I seem to remember Rock plotting out, if not actually writing, a 2-hour version.

    • Oh, and regarding Crais pronouncing Sun right/wrong… your theory makes sense, but later on (in “The Way We Weren’t), we discover that Crais and Aeryn actually knew each other Way Back When, and… hmmm. I don’t remember offhand how (or even if) Crais pronounces Sun in that ep. Guess I’ll find out when I get there…

      • Patti Huber says:

        Yeah, but “knew her” and cared about her are two different things. Oh and I’ve discovered over the past several years that there are many people who don’t actually CARE how names should be pronounced… or spelled. Makes me NUTS! LOL

  5. Rita Lewis says:

    Premiere was so chock full of action, character introduction and weird stuff that it was love at first sight. I was a Trekker and I waited far too long to embrace Farscape but when I did I did something I’ve never done before: hopped on the Internet and joined Kansas, Dom, and The Ultimate boards to talk about each episode, actor and character. The so was so much a group activity and every episode required such close attention and rewatching. To this day, it is well worth the time to see them again.

    Thank you for sharing your re-watch. Your notes are wonderful and fun to read. I agree with Patti that I’ll always love this show.

  6. Jaimee says:

    I’m so excited to read your thoughts during your rewatch. I just finished my own rewatch a few months ago. I do it every other year or so and always marvel at how well it holds up, and how much the story and characters still touch my heart and make me laugh. I will miss this show forever. Thank you for keeping the spirit alive!

  7. Larissa/farscapejunky says:

    I miss my Scaper Fam! I’ve never known any other fan based community like ours. Scaper are the best peeps in the verse!

    …..’it’s just the mist…bad mist…..NAUGHTY mist……

    farscapejunky

  8. Thanks to EVERYONE for reading and commenting!

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