“That Old Black Magic” (season 1, episode 8)
• Written by me, directed by Brandon Maher •
In which Crichton visits the House of Lego and must deal with two shouty men, Zhaan almost gets lucky, and Rygel suffers from a Hynerial disease.
My second Farscape script! With the marvelous Grant Bowler guesting as a Man in Magenta. He’d later go on to star in another little series of Rockne’s entitled Defiance.
The two-headed Trelkez! An amazing Creature Shop critter, made (like so many other terrific Creature Shop creations) just for one episode. At least I figured out a way to use the little bugger later on in the ep so we at least got our money’s worth from it.
John’s mom’s maiden name is McDougall. What an amazing coincidence, because current wife Cheryl’s maiden name is the same thing.
Karen Shaw! Whom Justin Monjo would so brilliantly retcon much, much later. No, that wasn’t planned. Just a name I came up with because I needed the bad guy to Prove His Powers to Crichton with the old “How Could Anybody Possibly Know This” trick.
And here’s Haloth, whose speeches are all in iambic pentameter… very Shakespearean. I seem to recall DK suggesting early on that all the bad guy’s speeches should be in iambic pentameter, which I thought was a swell idea. (In television, we don’t get a whole lot of opportunities to write iambic pentameter, more’s the pity.) In teleplay, though, given the amount of yakking the bad guy had to do, I felt iambic pentameter would get old fast, so I decided that only the Old Wizard Haloth identity of Maldis’s would speak thus.
A Command Carrier bridge! Our genius production designer Ricky Eyres sure built a lot of cool stuff for us.
Doubtless Crichton figures out Maldis is a life-force vampire because Crichton has seen Star Trek… y’know, that ep where the glowing whatsit makes Kirk & crew fight a buncha Klingons over and over…
Virginia does Particularly Excellent Work in this ep, as do Ben and Lani. But I don’t think I’m alone in finding Chris Haywood’s Maldis (and his costume) just a tad too broad…
Ah, Rygel’s Ceremony of Passage. (Hear it in this post about Jonathan Hardy.) That was fun to write, and even more fun to watch, given how the puppeteers and Jonathan Hardy utterly nailed it.
Oh, that frelling tape recorder tag. As originally conceived, a dictated “letter home” from Crichton was supposed to end every episode, but… it didn’t. Sounded good in theory, but it’s a device best used sparingly, lest it gets predictable. (And “predictable” was high on the list of things nobody wanted Farscape to be!)