In 1999, one of the best space operas ever written was produced by Nine Network. A SciFi Fantasy labor of love.
A genuine SciFi Fantasy series, Australian and American, conceived by Rockne S. O’Bannon and produced by the Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment. The show was the flagship of the then titled The Sci FI Channel now known only as SYFY.
The Jim Henson Company was responsible for the various alien make-up and prosthetics, and two regular characters(the animatronic puppets Rygel and Pilot) are entirely Creature Shop creations.
The Jim Henson Company, which had been known up to that point for the making of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, as well as the iconic Muppets and Sesame Street, crossed over brilliantly with this foray into a very adult themed series.
Farscape centers it’s story around John Crichton, an IASA astronaut on a test flight in the Farscape module ship, who is suddenly sucked into a wormhole and flung to the farthest ends of the universe. He finds himself taken aboard the leviathan Moya, a race of bio-mechanoid creatures that function as living ships. He’s joins a very unusual group of aliens who, along with the ship itself, is on the run from the Peacekeepers, a race of Nazi-like beings called Sebacceans, who are startlingly human in appearance. Moya was being used by the Peasekeepers as a prison ship before the escape of both ship and prisoners.
The Peacekeepers have an ongoing war with the Scarrans and soon John finds himself the focus of a battle to get the information in his head. Information that resides in his subconscious and was a result of his travel through the wormhole phenomenon. This wormhole technology would allow either faction to control the egress to our galaxy. John Crichton’s wry humor as the only human in this part of the universe, and his constant use of pop culture quips added a punch to the storyline as he desperately tries to return to earth. Saying as he contemplates his predicament, “Boy was Speilberg ever wrong…close encounters my ass.”
The show was an international co-production between the United States and Australia. The flagship series of SyFy, then known as The SciFi Channel, the show ran four seasons, then was abrubtly cancelled in September 2002 after ending with its standard MO, a cliffhanger. Fans of the show went on mass to voice their disappointment. At great expense to himself, Co-producer Brian Henson later secured the rights to Farscape, paving the way to produce a three-hour miniseries to wrap up the cliffhanger, titled Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, which was aired on two consecutive nights on SyFy in March of 2004.