There were high points in the story arc featuring Aeryn's mother, but her frequent
after-death returns blunted one too many stories, and the pair's final encounter
was weak. Nothing against either Linda Cropper or Claudia Black, though, who had
fantastic mother/daughter chemistry.
Possibly the beginning of the end, the Season Three arc was superb for those watching
the lot, but casual viewers must have been confused enough seeing occasional
episodes, let alone trying to determine which of two crews they were watching.
It was clear from the beginning that Farscape was something a little more 'out
there'. Season One had a lot of difficulties to overcome, particularly two major stumbling
blocks that would continue to be a burden on it as the years went by. The first of these was the
casting. Not the casting of the leads as such, but the plaster casting of two of the show's
stars, namely Pilot and Rygel. With the series made by the Jim Henson Company, what better way
of playing to its strengths than integrating puppets with the live-action stars?
It was quickly apparent
that this annoyed as many people as it pleased. Critics were swift to latch onto the 'muppet'
presence in order to run the series down, while those paying closer attention quickly realized
Rygel and other
rubber-based life forms added a certain je ne sais quoi
to the show that no other Sci-Fi production could match. It might have taken some getting used
to, but in the end it could pay handsome dividends, especially as puppet characters could get
away with so much that the living, breathing actors couldn't; after all, would it have been
reasonable to have Ben Browder or Claudia Black's character fart helium instead of Rygel?
Probably not, although quite possibly just as funny.
The second issue viewers had to deal
with was the show's Australian provenance. We all love the Aussies, but so far our main imports
from that country have been Neighbours, Home and Away and Prisoner: Cell Block H. All have their
fans, of course, but it's more than likely that images of these programmes crossed the minds of
many potential Farscape watchers, who decided it wasn't for them. Again, however, those who did
tune in were rewarded. Yes, it does take a while to get used to aliens speaking with an
Australian accent rather than the American one we're used to, but, like the puppets, it adds a
degree of otherworldliness to the show that makes it stand out from the crowd.
Despite these awkward
beginnings, Farscape bloomed. The first year itself was a pick and mix batch of good and bad
episodes as the show gradually found its feet. Some stories proved vital in the long run,
introducing plot strands that would be built on and revisited over the years, while others were
throwaway nonsense. Most notable, however, was the introduction of Scorpius in 19th episode
Nerve, which brought in a more threatening villain and laid the foundations for a journey that
would last until the show's end.