SAVE FARSCAPE NOW! The end of Farscape may be close - but the fans aren’t going down without a fight! Hell no. The ‘Save Farscape’ campaign has been the most extravagant campaign of its kind, including coverage on CNN and even a TV commercial! Find out what’s been happening down at ‘Save Farscape’ HQ and discover what you can do to help - inside this month’s Farscape Magazine.
FINAL COUNTDOWN... “There are a lot of storms
on the horizon, a lot of plotlines set in motion, a lot of timebombs planted.”
ASK AERYN! We recently asked fans to submit the question they would most like to ask Farscape’s leading lady if, by some miracle, they were given the chance. Amazingly, we took your questions and got answers back from the lady herself - Claudia Black!
VIRGINIA ON THE RIDICULOUS! Ask any fan how long they could keep their mouth shut if they were told Zhaan was making a comeback - and they’d probably say ‘about as long as it takes to logon to the Farscape website!’ Well then, imagine what it’s been like for Virginia Hey (Zhaan herself), having to keep it a secret that she’d be returning to the show… Get Zhaan’s full story in the new Farscape mag!
SEBACEAN SPECIAL! They’re ruthless, insensitive and always spoiling for a fight… No, not Farscape fans - we’re talking about the Sebaceans! We analyse Aeryn’s race in a special in-depth feature.
RYGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Did you know, Rygel is actually the most intelligent character on the show? Well, that’s what Jonathan Hardy, the voice of Rygel, says about His Royal Flatulence - but we think he may be slightly biased… We find out what the esteemed actor thinks of Farscape’s cancellation and his stint on the show.
FUNNIEST MOMENTS! With a helium-farting alien, a mad Old Woman, and the zaniest team
ever to work on a sci-fi show, Farscape has certainly had its share of laughs. We
take you on a merry stroll down memory lane and prove that even though the show’s
ending, there’s still a reason to rub your belly and make that strange chuckling
SCIFI MAGAZINE ARTICLE
CINESCAPE SPECIAL EDITION
Season three is gone through, episode by episode with a brief summary followed by an analysis, with a grade given to each episode.
Here's what they have to say about the season as a whole (Some of the statements are a little "off" but their heart's in the right place):
"Three years ago, Earth astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder)
flew an experimental shuttle into a wormhole. Spit out in a place called
the "Forbidden Territories," he banded together with a desperate crew of escaped prisoners
on a living starship named Moya.
the beginning, Farscape's visionary
storytelling took viewers' breath away, and today Crichton's adventures still stand among the most imaginative
and original spectacles on television.
year's Saturn Awards (where Farscape won
both Best Cable Series and Best TV Actor for Browder), executive producer David Kemper told Cinescape that
cast was always intended to rotate as time passed.
the beginning we knew we wanted the crew to be perpetually changing," said Kemper. "We knew
we'd have a core of central players, but we wanted to keep things fresh by having most characters on
3 of Farscape
definitely kept its characters "on the move" - you almost needed a scorecard to keep
up! Early in the season, Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black) reappeared after a brief flirt with death, Zhaan
(Virginia Hey) sacrificed her life to save the others and Jothee (Matt Newton) departed to escape the
disappointment of his father, D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe).
(Tammy MacIntosh) came into her own as a character around the middle of the season, yet by the end of
that same season, audiences bade farewell to Stark (Paul Goddard), Harvey (Wayne Pygram) and Crais.
addition, just as Scorpius (also Pygram) once replaced Crais as the series' central villain, season 3
ushered in Commandant Grayza (Rebecca Riggs) to take up the gauntlet as the new main bad guy.
Unfortunately, the over-sexed, under-interesting Grayza was no replacement for Scorpius, though she
might have been more intimidating if she weren't a virtual carbon copy of Servalan from Blake's 7.
course, the heart of Farscape "
remained in the endlessly frustrated love between Aeryn Sun and Crichton. Season 3 took the boldly
original move of splitting Crichton into two different bodies, with Aeryn developing a relationship
with one of the Crichtons only to have him die from radiation poisoning.
season also delved deeper and deeper into the central concept of Crichton's hidden wormhole
technology. Scorpius, who faked his own death early on, used the time to build a wormhole research
facility in the hopes of developing a star-smashing weapon that would end the military stalemate
between the Sebaceans and the Scarrans.
became committed to denying the evil Scorpius the knowledge he needed for fear that the power-hungry
madman would enslave the galaxy. It's a cause in which even the selfish Rygel (Jonathan Hardy) was
able to believe.
season 3 of Farscape did
just what it should: It developed the mythology of the series, expanded the central characters, and
built bridges to future story arcs. Above all else, it entertained."
Until last month, things
seemed to be going well for Farscape fans. Their
favorite show had been picked up for two full seasons, there was a brand-new
regular character named Sikozu (Raelee Hill) that people liked, and the quality of
the writing was excellent and still improving.
Then, abruptly, the bottom fell out.
On Sept. 9, the Sci-Fi Channel officially announced its decision to not make a fifth season of the series. The decision was made even though, after season 3, the channel signed a much-touted option agreement for both seasons 4 and 5.
our best efforts to reach a broader audience, Farscape
has been unable to grow beyond its core fan base," Sci-Fi remarked in an official
statement on the matter. "That, coupled with the extreme and growing cost of production, has led to
the difficult decision to end the series at the conclusion of season four."
action is something of an about-face considering that only a year ago the channel regarded Farscape as its flagship property.
just assumed we'd be doing the next season," says series creator and executive producer Rockne S.
O'Bannon. "We'd planned for it. This was a blow to everyone."
Farscape production office didn't
get word from the network about the cancellation until work had already been completed on the finale of
season 4 -meaning that the cast and crew wrapped filming without knowing they would never make another
episode of the series.
had already shot episode 22 of season 4 and we were just doing pickups for previous episodes when we
heard," Farscape lead Ben
Browder confirms. "We just never expected it. There was a lot of crying on set that day."
Blake, president of Jim Henson Television, the production entity behind Farscape, says when she heard the news she
"was extremely upset. Farscape is
very close to all of our hearts. The amazing thing about Farscape is that it was one big family. The
actors, the crew and even the network representatives worked very closely together. We didn't want to
see it end."
a sentiment echoed by fans. The first time Farscape
followers at large heard about the cancellation was not from the network, but from an
Internet chat held by Browder, showrunner David Kemper and co-executive producer Richard Manning on
Sept. 6. Fans were floored, even enraged at the news, but they didn't remain in a state of shock for
long. Almost immediately following the chat, online petitions started sprouting up, and before the end
of the weekend an unexpectedly swift, strong and well-organized "Save Farscape" campaign had been born.
is impressed and grateful to all the fans who've given the show so much support.
"How can we
possibly show our appreciation for all that they're doing!" he says. “It’s particularly
important to the cast and crew. The show is shot in Australia where it doesn't air, so the only feedback
they get is through the Internet. They feel flattered and thankful. It's always amazing to learn that
there are people out there who feel passionately about the work you're doing. That's the best thing in
been impressed with the fans of Farscape from
the very beginning," adds Blake. "They've always had a strong intelligent voice. Their
feedback has been valuable to the development of the series from season 1. But the ['Save Farscape'] campaign has been particularly
impressive. The reaction was so
held pickets, sent untold numbers of letters, phone calls, faxes and e-mails, and even took out ads in
entertainment industry trade magazines like The Hollywood Reporter.
started I alone have gotten over 5,000 e-mails," says Blake.
absolutely staggering when you think about it. Really staggering. It's a wonderful thing. The campaign
shows that Farscape fans are the
kind of audience that advertisers seek out. They're younger, they're educated, they're hip they can
afford to take out expensive ads in the trades. They have consumer buying power.”
The fan campaign
initially concentrated on getting the Sci-Fi Channel to change its mind about the cancellation, an effort that seemingly
bore fruit when Sci-Fi reportedly reopened negotiations with Henson.
was never a straight cancellation, the way that a lot of people think," explains Blake. "It
was much more complex than that. The ratings were slipping and Sci-Fi came back wanting to order only 13
episodes [instead of the standard 22]. Then, if those proved successful, we would pick up the back nine
episodes. But we had to turn them down. We attribute the rating decline to the fact that they moved us
from our usual time slot back an hour. We were in talks with them to move the show back to its previous
time slot, but I think they felt that Stargate
was a big success for them in that position, and they wanted to keep it there. We tried to
meet them in the middle, but for a show like Farscape,
with such massive overhead costs, it had to be 22 episodes or nothing. If we only got a 13
order, we wouldn't be able to amortize our costs, spreading them out over the whole season. It's just
impossible to make an expensive show like Farscape unless you can do it in volume.”
it became increasingly evident that Sci-Fi wasn't going to make enough of a commitment to the show to
make production financially viable, fans turned their hopes to Sci-Fi's competitors. They began writing
networks like UPN and Showtime, encouraging the companies to pick up the show and make the final season.
But this effort also doesn't seem to hold much promise.
slim chance that [UPN or Showtime] will pick up the series, but it is by no means a slam dunk;' says
Blake. "It's not something that we're actively pursuing. If the UPN came to us and wanted to do it,
we would work with them, but I don't see that really happening. My feeling is that UPN would rather
develop their own series than pull in an existing one.”
a lack of clear-cut results, O'Bannon doesn't want fans to think their efforts have been wasted.
[the campaign] cause an immediate reversal? No, it didn't,” he says. "But did it helpl Yes! It
proved that there's a loud passionate following for Farscape. Ratings are numbers -they're impersonal
-but these cards, these e-mails, they're from human beings. I saw one that said something like, 'I'm
55-year-old surgeon from Tennessee and I love Farscape.' That's a real person who wrote that. They don't
see it now, but when Sci-Fi puts new shows on the air, and they don't do well, they might look around
and say, “How can we get an audience that's educated, loyal and passionate. Oh, wait, we had that, it
predicts that the network hasn't seen an end to the fan effort. Even though Farscape will not go on to
season 5, the last II episodes of season 4 are still waiting to be aired. The show is currently in the
middle of its regularly scheduled mid-season break.
all of this there have been some tough moments, but the moment I most dread is in January when those
final 11 episodes air and they end with a 'to be continued' -but there won't be a continuation,' says
O'Bannon. "If the fans are upset now, when they've only heard that the series is ending, imagine how
they'll feel when that happens."
explains why the final episode of the season will finish with a traditional gut-wrenching
TV cliffhanger: "We had no opportunity
to change it;' explains O'Bannon.
"We wish it had a resolution, but we found out too late that we weren't doing
more. This episode is something that could act as the last episode of the series, in the same way that
any of the other season finales could have been the last episode of the series. But it isn't the kind of
thing you want to go off on. It's certainly not the way I ever envisioned ending the whole show. But I
hope that we'll find a way to tell the real end of the series, a way to give it a proper finale.”
"proper finale" could take one of many different shapes. Currently show's producers are
considering the possibility of pursuing a television movie, a television miniseries or even a theatrical
feature film that would pick up from season 4 and resolve the show.
was asked recently if we could do a novel to resolve the series O'Bannon says. "I said 'no: I'm not
giving up on the idea that we can film a resolution and that we can show it in the format we originally
addition to the series' resolution, whatever form it may take, other but the Farscape-based properties
are in the works.
I don't think that the Farscape series as we think of it will continue to exist;' says Blake. "But
I do believe that Farscape as a franchise will move forward. We have an anime series in the works. We
have the possibility of a movie version. And we still have a huge convention planned for New York in
November. The trick is to not see this so much as a
death for Farscape as it is the chance for a rebirth.”
series that Blake describes is something that O’Bannon and others have been mulling over for some
time. The project was always on the back burner, but with the live-action series going off the air,
production plans have been stepped up.
when Henson executives say "anime;' they don't mean a watered- down American cartoon half-heartedly
rendered in anime style. They mean a full-on japanese-produced traditional anime.
executive in charge of direct-to-video development just got back the from Tokyo, where he was in talks
with an animation studio,” explains Blake. "The anime version will go forward. It'll start as a
series on DVD, but, in success, it could become a television property:'
top of that, O'Bannon is considering personally writing the Farscape anime.
anime isn't going to be a continuation of the series;' explains O'Bannon. "Instead it's about the
joy of experiencing these characters in a different medium. It's definitely about john Crichton; he's
the center of the show. And we're going to see a lot of familiar faces. We're going to be able to do a
lot of things that would normally be prohibited by makeup turn- around times and special effects
limitations. It's going to be a joy:'
addition to new productions, Henson is still courting more exposure for the original series. The company
is in talks to bring the existing 88 episodes of the live-action series into syndication, and of course
the show's DVD releases will continue. So while fans may not have been able to bring the series back to
the air in its old form, it looks like they're still going to be able to enjoy the Farscape universe in
the years to come.
one should think these characters are just going to die off;' assures O'Bannon. "They're not. We're
not going to let them.”
FARSCAPE PLACES 2 IN TOP 100
January 6, 2003: The February issue of Dreamwatch Magazine lists their all time "100 Greatest Moments in Science Fiction and Fantasy". They include movies (Star Wars, 2001, The Day the Earth Stood Still, etc.) and TV. Farscape makes the rankings twice -- at number 61 (for Die Me Dichotomy -- Crichton becoming Scorpy), and number 98 (Into the Lion's Den II: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing -- destruction of the command carrier)! A good showing in, for the most part, excellent company.
Thanks to Idiclady for passing this along!
ARTICLE ON FARSCAPE IN SCIFI MAGAZINE
January 5, 2003: The new February issue of SciFi Magazine has an inside-scoop article on Farscape, according to the SciFi website. I haven't seen the magazine on the stands yet, but it should be there soon. For more information Click Here.
A quote from an interview with David Kemper:
When we broke the scripts for 422," he says,
referring to the season finale, "we thought we were going for a fifth year. And when we started
shooting it, we thought we were going for a fifth year. We were three days from the end of shooting
when we found out we weren't being picked up. Actually, we were supposed to be done last Friday; I
pushed production two more days to accommodate some extra scenes. We originally would have found out
on the morning of our last day."
Farscape # 10
From Farscape E-Zine:
Hot on the heels
of last year’s spectacular Ladies Issue, the new issue of Farscape Magazine is an All-Blokes Issue!
Yes, you heard right, an issue crammed full of Moya’s men - including Crichton, D’Argo, Pilot and
Rygel, plus loads more!
We’ve got a double Ben whammy this issue! First up, in our news section, we’ve got an exclusive interview with the series’ star as we get his reaction to the show’s cancellation. Then we’ve got Ben as the star of our third very special reader Q & A. Just one day before the news of Farscape’s cancellation leaked, we posed your questions to Ben, including such important topics as Jesus, nudity and Tweety Pie!
AND OUR NEXT ‘ASK THE STARS’ STAR IS…
… Gigi Edgley! Yep, the little grey one will be facing your probing questions in our final reader Q & A, so send those lovely questions in so that we can go out with a bang! Make your questions as funny, weird, silly, interesting or fanboy-ish as you like. Deadline is end of December. Send all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org (or post them to Farscape Magazine, 144 Southwark Street, London SE1 OUP, UK)
IT’S VOTING TIME!
Is Scorpius the sexiest Farscape character? Is the nik-nik your favourite Farscape alien? Well, now’s the time to let your opinion be counted - in our special readers’ poll! We’ve got nine tricky categories for you to vote in, so all we need you to do is sit yourself down with a pen and a thinking cap, and then send your nominations off to email@example.com or to Farscape Magazine Poll, 144 Southwark Street, London SE1 OUP. Here are the categories:
Favourite male character