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Saturday, September 28, 2002

Thanks to Rbob for passing this along to Newscape.

And what kind of Saturday would it be without an update on axed sci-fi show Farscape?

The well-organized army of 'Scapers continue to jam websites around the world to save their show, cancelled three weeks ago by the US Network's Sci-Fi Channel.They're even forking out wads of cash, recently taking out a huge ad in US showbiz bible The Hollywood Reporter, aimed at "the savvy television programming executive."

It reads: 'Farscape, a slightly used science fiction drama with lots of life in it. Unceremoniously dumped by its previous home, the Sci-Fi Channel, despite four years of brand building success and Nielsen conquest.

'Comes with its own built-in Emmy nomination, showers of critical acclaim and an expansive fan base.' 

Quite a savvy mob themselves, don't you think?


Wednesday, September 11, 2002

‘Farscape’ axing leaves production hole
by Nick Murphie

The fourth series of Sydney-based science fiction series Farscape will be the its last, creating an employment vacuum of between 400-500 jobs.

Though the financers of the series, The Sci-Fi Network, Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment gave the green light to series five, The Sci-Fi Network in the US exercised a last minute "out" clause and cancelled the series, according to producer Sue Milliken of Farscape Productions.

"As for reasons, you never get a straight answer," Milliken said. "The ratings were not increasing in the US, there was a change of direction at the Network…

"Things have a life, and Farscape went for four years and that is amazing," she said.

As Farscape was scheduled to run for a fifth season, its sudden departure from its Homebush base has left hundreds of people either out of work or with a large gap in their schedules.

Aside from the core production crew and cast, other companies will feel the loss, such as Animal Logic, which handled the Farscape's visual effects for the past three years, and AtLab, which processed the rushes.

Managing director of Animal Logic, Zareh Nalbandian, said "Of course we're disappointed that Farscape won't continue past series four. We can only look back on what has been a very successful and rewarding partnership with production.

was successful on many fronts: the international recognition it gained for its high standard of visual effects; the sheer volume of sustained output in the number of visual effects shots per episode (a total of over 1,100 in series three); and the development of a visual effects capability previously not demonstrated in Australian television production," Nalbandian said.

The fourth series finished filming this week and the sets will be struck within weeks and the cast will scatter to find other projects. Series star Ben Browder is likely to return home to America with his family.

Milliken said once the sets are gone and the cast has dispersed, it would be very hard to "get it all back together", were another network to come onboard.

She said producing a high technical show such as Farscape has boosted the skill level of the local production industry. "It has been such a high class show and the benefits from it will ripple through the industry for a long time."

"Everyone is sad, everyone worked so hard together," she said.

The series also starred Australians Claudia Black (Pitch Black, Queen of the Damned), Raelee Hill (Water Rats), Anthony Simcoe and Gigi Edgley.

Series three is about to screen on the Nine Network and the entire series is currently airing on Fox 8.

The Sci-Fi Network was unavailable for comment.

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