THE ILLUSTRATED SEASON FOUR COMPANION

May 8, 2003: Below is an excerpt from the latest volume in this fantastic series. It's from the chapter Into Season Four.

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"What's interesting about Season 4 is the episodes that came closest to the series' original sense of awe and wonder of a human lost in space were the stories where John Crichton returned to Earth." - Rockne S. O'Bannon

EXT. SPACE

The WORMHOLE CLOSES AGAIN, SWALLOWING MOYA COMPLETELY inan instant. Gone. No trace of wormhole or Moya! 

CRICHTON

You have got to be kidding me.

And as CRICHTON REACTS to the unthinkable, we FREEZE FRAME, SUPERING "TO BE CONTINUED"...

END THIRD SEASON

After production finished on the third season, Farscape’s executive producer David Kemper began working with the Sci-Fi Channel, outlining the ideas that he had for the fourth, and possible later, seasons of the show. His efforts were rewarded when the channel ordered two further seasons on 1 October 2001. Although they expressed great confidence in the series’ future, they also put a “kill option” into the agreement, just in case.

Kemper became involved in protracted discussions with Sci-Fi about exactly what it was that they had ordered. “Their new promotional people didn’t seem to understand the show,” Kemper notes. “They were worried that new people couldn’t get into the show because it was semi-serialised. They wanted us to make it more like Stargate.”

The Sci-Fi Channel had recently taken on production of Stargate SG-1, and it was their intention to pair the fourth season of Farscape with their new series. Kemper was aware that the two shows were very different, although the promotional people had a problem understanding this. “‘He’s a man who has to save the universe!’ was the tagline they suggested,” Kemper recalls. “We pointed out that it was nothing to do with the universe: John Crichton just wants to find his girl. Then we got promos that said he slept with any alien babe that came his way. We couldn’t understand how they could get that from what we were doing.”

Kemper also had to deal with a request that Claudia Black had made during the filming of ‘Dog with Two Bones’. She needed to take some time away from filming, and asked if it was possible for Aeryn to come back later in the season. Ever willing to help the show’s stars, Kemper looked for a way to make this work.

“I decided that I would use this opportunity,” he says. “We were going to bring in a new person anyway, just because we like to keep the show fresh. New people keep the show from stagnating. I told the network that I would start the first episode with Crichton with a beard meeting Raelee Hill's character. Anyone new who tuned in would essentially be seeing what could be the pilot for a brand new series. Crichton would not be encumbered with the Aeryn relationship. It would be boy meets girl for the first time, there are some sparks, and we watch them go!”

Kemper was in America dealing with this, and bringing together a new core team of writers for the year. However, in Season 4, series creator Rockne S. O'Bannon took a significant step back, working on other projects and letting others run with the ball on Farscape. "It's always the case with something that's 'your baby'; once you've handed it over to someone else, there are bound to be things done that you don't completely agree with. But Season 4 certainly maintained Farscape's reputation for never being conventional, and I appreciated that," O'Bannon comments.

Pre-production was proceeding at Homebush Bay ready for filming to begin early in 2002. Season 3’s producer Tony Winley had left the show to work on feature films, so Sue Milliken, who had been in charge of the second year, returned to produce the show alongside Andrew Prowse. Most of the other key personnel returned, with Dave Elsey and the Creature Shop team working on aliens and props for the first three episodes, and Tim Ferrier busily designing sets for the Art Department to construct. Ben Browder stopped shaving, so that Crichton’s hirsute look could be genuine.

The show’s directors and post production crew were delighted by the switch from full frame filming to widescreen, which would give the whole show a more cinematic quality. The titles for the season were recut, and a new voiceover subtly changed the emphasis of John Crichton’s worries. There was an air of rejuvenation about the series, that boded well for the coming year…

TABLE OF CONTENTS

February 18, 2003: Just to let you know that Book 4 was delivered to Titan this week, on course for its May 30th publication date.

Here's what the newest volume will cover:

Foreword by Ben Browder

Into Season 4: David Kemper talks about what the requirements were for the year

Episode Guide: all 22 eps with comments from all the lead cast, plus guest stars Barry Otto, [Dr Tumai in Coup by Clam] Tammy MacIntosh, Kent McCord and Francesca Buller, producers David Kemper, Ricky Manning and Andrew Prowse, creature shop supervisor Dave Elsey, production designer Tim Ferrier, composer Guy Gross and post production supervisor Deb Peart.

Script to Screen: John Quixote fully analysed, including the plotlines we didn't see, how to run over Rygel and eating baked beans

The Characters: Each of the main cast discuss their characters in S4, with contributions from puppeteers Fiona Gentile and Mat McCoy as well as Lani Tupu and Jon Hardy on Pilot and Rygel; recurring characters: Braca, Grayza, Jool and Stark from their actors.

Creature Shop - Dave Elsey dives behind the scenes of S4; combined with the piece in Farscape Mag #12, this will give a pretty complete view of the year.

Production Designer Tim Ferrier discusses his work

Into The Future - what happened, including an exclusive interview with Brian Henson

Afterword by David Kemper AND

The Last Word by Rockne S. O'Bannon

The book is available for preorder from Amazon's UK store. Publication date is May 30th

UPDATE February 18, 2003: Thanks to Sue for passing this along. Sue wrote to Titan, the publisher of the Illustrated Companion, and suggested a special John and Aeryn cover. The following is the response she received:

I take your point about the cover, and I'm pleased to tell you that we are already planning to do a variant cover for this volume, which features John and Aeryn (and no one else!). This cover will not be available from Amazon, or in normal bookshops: it will only be available through Diamond Distributors, who are a specialist company who distribute to comics/sci-fi collectors shops like Forbidden Planet... The ISBN for the Diamond Exclusive cover edition is: 1 84023 698 1.

 

Farscape is owned by The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Entertainment, Nine Network (Australia) and the Sci-Fi Channel. No copyright infringement is intended and no financial gain has been made by any of the staff of this web site.