Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.


Photo
Blu-ray Reviews

Farscape: The Complete Series Blu-ray Review

TV Reviews

  • You cannot start a new topic
  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Todd Erwin

Todd Erwin

    Screenwriter



  • 2,508 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 16 2008
  • Real Name:Todd Erwin
  • LocationOrange County, CA

Posted December 06 2011 - 04:46 PM

Farscape debuted in 1999 on the SciFi Channel and would achieve cult status worldwide during its four-season run, spawning a climactic mini-series, Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars as a result from fans’ outrage at the series’ premature cancellation. A&E brings the four seasons to Blu-ray, available either as individual season sets or as a complete series set.
 
 

Farscape: The Complete Series


Studio: A&E Home Entertainment

US BD Release Date: November 15, 2011
Original Release Year: 1999-2003
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 4086 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 pillar-boxed (seasons 1 thru 3), 1.78:1 (season 4)
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English

Movie: 4 out of 5
My name is John Crichton, an astronaut. I got shot through a wormhole in some distant part of the universe. I’m trying to stay alive aboard this ship. This living ship of escaped prisoners, my friends. If you can hear me, beware. If I make it back, will they follow? If I open the door, are you ready? Earth is unprepared, helpless, for the nightmares I’ve seen. Or should I stay, protect my home, not show them you exist? But then you will never know the wonders I’ve seen.

It is this voice-over from the title sequences for season three that best sum up the main storyline for Farscape, a serialized science fiction drama that ran for four seasons on the SciFi Channel from 1999 through 2003. Ben Browder plays John Crichton, a test pilot who is launched into orbit around Earth and encounters a wormhole, catapulting his module into another galaxy, right smack in the middle of a space fight, and collides with a fighter, killing the pilot. He is picked up by Moya, a Leviathan, a living prisoner transport ship that has been hijacked by its inhabitants. Moya’s crew consists of Ka D’Argo (Anthony Simcoe), a Luxan warrior wrongly accused of killing his mate; Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan (Virgina Hey), a blue-skinned Delvian Priestess who murdered her mate for collaborating with the Peacekeepers; Dominar Rygel XVI (voiced by Jonathan Hardy), a deposed Hynerian ruler; and Pilot (voiced by Lani Tupu), a crustacean-like creature physically and psychically-linked to Moya. Also picked up is a Peacekeeper, Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black), who is eventually exiled to Moya when she is deemed contaminated by her interactions with the other species on Moya.

Most of season one concerns Captain Crais (Lani Tupu), the older brother of the pilot accidentally killed in the collision with Crichton, and his vengeful quest to find and kill Crichton. The first season plods along, and it does not help much that these episodes run 50 minutes each. Near the end of the season, though, is when the series begins to get really interesting, with the introduction of Scorpius (Wayne Pygram), a Sebacean/Scarren hybrid obsessed with extracting the secrets of wormhole technology that an alien race implanted inside Crichton’s brain. It is this plot that propels much of the remaining three seasons as well as the mini-series, The Peacekeeper Wars. (Due to rights issues, the miniseries was not included, but rumor has it that Linosgate may be preparing that for an eventual release). Pygram really chews the scenery as Scorpius, and you can sense that he is really enjoying playing this character. Also introduced late in season one is Chiana (Gigi Edgley), a “monochrome” con artist and thief who escaped from her planet to avoid reprogramming.

What set Farscape apart from other series on the SciFi Channel at that time was that it was one of the first truly original series on that network. Most of the first-run series on the network were shows that had previously aired on other channels (Sliders came from FOX, Mystery Science Theater 3000 from Comedy Central, and Stargate: SG-1 from Showtime). The series was developed as a showcase for what the Jim Henson Creature Shop was creating for movies and what they could potentially bring to television on a weekly basis. Eventually created by Rockne S. O’Bannon, no stranger to science fiction having written Alien Nation (both the theatrical film and television series) as well as creator of SeaQuest and a contributing writer to CBS’ 1985-1986 revival of The Twilight Zone, Farscape had more drama and depth than most of the other series on the network at the time, as well as an eventual epic story arc (including the love story between Crichton and Aeryn) that stranded the series in a cliffhanger when SciFi pulled the plug shortly after production on season four ended. It was mostly due to fans’ reaction to the cancellation that allowed Executive Producer Brian Henson to raise the funds to bring closure the the series with the miniseries, The Peacekeeper Wars.

Video: 3 out of 5
Unfortunately, as Executive Producer Brian Henson has stated publicly, the original source materials for the series have gone missing, with only the original broadcast masters surviving. Since the series was never intended to be broadcast in high definition, the producers have decided to take the PAL 576i masters, clean them up and upconvert to 1080p and compress them with the AVC codec, maintaining the original broadcast aspect ratio. The result is an acceptable image with slightly improved color and detail over the prior DVD releases, but also introduces an overall softness and some occasional black crush, plus some interlacing issues. In addition, along the very far left and right edges of the frame during seasons one through three, there is some occasional artifacting that could have been masked by ever-so-slightly cropping the sides of the image. It is only mildly distracting if you are looking for it.

Audio: 4 out of 5
While the set lacks a true high definition image, it makes up for it with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. This is a very aggressive mix for a television series, and never sounds like a simple upmix from 2.0 surround to 5.1. Dialogue is clear and centered. Discrete effects and LFE are used where appropriate, and Subvision and Guy Gross’s scores envelope the soundstage.

Special Features: 4.5 out of 5
Nearly all of the special features from the previous ADV and A&E DVD releases have been included here (in standard definition).

Season One, Disc One:
Audio Commentary with Rockne S. O’Bannon, Brian Henson, and Ben Browder on Premiere

Audio Commentary with Claudia Black and Anthony Simcoe on I, E.T.

Audio Commentary with Brian Henson and Virginia Hey on Exodus From Genesis

Audio Commentary with Ben Browder and Claudia Black on Throne For A Loss

Audio Commentary with Ben Browder and Rowan Woods on Back And Back And Back To The Future

Season One, Disc Two:
Audio Commentary with Rockne S. O’Bannon and Anthony Simcoe on Thank God It’s Friday... Again

Audio Commentary with Ben Browder and Claudia Black on DNA Mad Scientist

Audio Commentary with Rockne S. O’Bannon and David Kemper on DNA Mad Scientist

Season One, Disc Three:
Audio Commentary with Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Rockne S. O’Bannon, and David Kemper on Jeremiah Crichton

Season One, Disc Four:
Audio Commentary with Ben Browder and Claudia Black on A Human Reaction

Audio Commentary with Ben Browder and Claudia Black on Nerve

Season One, Disc Five:
Audio Commentary with Anthony Simcoe on Borne To Be Wild

Audio Commentary with Ben Browder and Claudia Black on Family Ties

Audio Commentary with Rockne S. O’Bannon and David Kemper on Family Ties

Making Of A Space Opera (22:26): Brian Henson, Rockne S. O’Bannon, and the cast discuss the series from this archival featurette created during the first season’s production.

In The Beginning: A Look Back With Brian Henson (38:10): Executive Producer Brian Henson reflects quite candidly on the series, including the several years of development, working with the SciFi Channel, the casting process, and fans reaction to the cancellation just prior to the airing of the fourth season.

Farscape In The Raw: Director’s Cut Scenes For The Flax and Through The Looking Glass (42:00): This featurette is a fascinating look at selected scenes from two episodes before and after post production (such as effects and final mixing).

Behind The Scenes Interview: Anthony Simcoe (D’Argo) (29:18): It’s a bit of a shock to see the actor who portrayed D’Argo sans makeup and costume, but Simcoe reflects on his experience playing this character.

Behind The Scenes Interview: Jonathan Hardy (Voice of Rygel) (20:45): Even more shocking is getting to see what the voice of Rygel looks like (they apparently share the same eyebrows). Hardy is a very proper Australian actor, and discusses his take on the character.

Behind The Scenes Interview: Lani John Topu (Crais and Voice of Pilot) (23:35): Topu discusses how he had originally read for the part of D’Argo, but eventually was cast not only as Crais, but as the voice of Pilot as well.

Season Two, Disc One:
Audio Commentary with Claudia Black and Ian Watson on Crackers Don’t Matter

Audio Commentary with Ben Browder and Claudia Black on The Way We Weren’t

Deleted Scenes for Mind The Baby (3:19)

Deleted Scene for Taking The Stone (0:37)

Deleted Scene for Crackers Don’t Matter (0:45)

Listening In With Guy Gross: The Way We Weren’t (9:20): Composer Guy Gross discusses scoring his first episode of the series.

Season Two, Disc Two:
Deleted Scenes for Dream A Little Dream (3:59)

Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: My Three Crichtons (11:28): Gross discusses the challenge of creating a human-sounding score electronically.

Season Two, Disc Three:
Audio Commentary with Rowan Woods and Richard Manning on Won’t Get Fooled Again

Deleted Scene From Look At The Princess Part I: A Kiss Is But A Kiss (1:40)

Deleted Scenes From Look At The Princess Part III: The Maltese Crichton (1:30)

Season Two, Disc Four:
Audio Commentary with Ben Browder and Claudia Black on The Locket

Deleted Scene From The Locket (0:57)

Deleted Scenes From Liars, Guns, And Money Part II: With Friends Like These... (1:34)

Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: The Locket (9:50): Composer Gross discusses the romantic, syrupy score he wrote for this episode.

Season Two, Disc Five:
Audio Commentary with Ben Browder, Claudia Black and David Kemper on Die Me, Dichotomy

Listening In With Composer Guy Gross: Die Me, Dichotomy (10:49): Composer Gross discusses the score for the season two finale.

Season 2 Blooper Reel (6:38)

Farscape In The Raw: Director’s Cut Scenes
  • Re: Union (9:02)
  • Mind The Baby (7:42)
  • Vitas Mortis (10:23)
  • Taking The Stone (7:29)
  • Crackers Don’t Matter (7:00)
  • Picture If You Will (16:57)
  • The Way We Weren’t (28:37)
  • Home On The Remains (13:16)

Re: Union (44:13): An alternate cut of the season two premiere episode, Mind The Baby.

Farscape Undressed (44:02): Ben Browder and Claudia Black host this special designed as a primer for viewers prior to the beginning of the third season, summarizing the major plot points from the first two seasons.

Behind The Scenes Interview: Wayne Pygram (Scorpius) (22:07): The actor discusses the complexities of the series main villain.

Behind The Scenes Interview: David Franklin (Braca) (16:56): The actor discusses his career prior to Farscape and playing Scorpius’ second in command.

Season Three, Disc One:
Audio Commentary with Claudia Black on Self Inflicted Wounds Part II: Wait For The Wheel

Deleted Scenes from Season Of Death (2:25)

TV Promos: SciFi Channel Promos
  • Season of Death (0:17)
  • Suns And Lovers (0:32)
  • Self Inflicted Wounds Part I: Could’a, Would’a, Should’a (0:32)
  • Self Inflicted Wounds Part II: Wait For The Wheel (0:32)
  • ...Different Destinations (0:17)

Season Three, Disc Two:
Audio Commentary with Guy Gross on Eat Me

Audio Commentary with Ben Browder and Tony Tilse on Green Eyed Monster

Audio Commentary with Lani Tupu and Peter Andrikidis on Relativity

Deleted Scene from Thanks For Sharing (0:27)

Deleted Scenes from Losing Time (2:52)

Listening In With Guy Gross: Eat Me (10:33): Gross discusses many of the odd instruments he used in the score for this episode to increase the creepiness factor.

TV Promos: SciFi Channel Promos
  • Eat Me (0:32)
  • Thanks For Sharing (0:32)
  • Green Eyed Monster (0:33)
  • Losing Time (0:33)
  • Relativity (0:33)

Season Three, Disc Three:
Deleted Scene from Incubator (1:20)

Deleted Scene from Scratch ‘N Sniff (1:50)

TV Promos: SciFi Channel Promos
  • Incubator (0:33)
  • Meltdown (0:13)
  • Scratch ‘N Sniff (0:33)
  • Infinite Possibilites Part I: Daedalus Demands (0:33)
  • Infinite Possibilities Part II: Icarus Abides (0:18)

Season Three, Disc Four:
Audio Commentary with Claudia Black on The Choice

Audio Commentary with Rowan Woods and Justin Monjo on The Choice

Deleted Scene from Revenging Angel (0:35)

Deleted Scene from The Choice (0:52)

Deleted Scenes from Fractures (4:17)

Deleted Scene from Into The Lion’s Den Part I: Lambs To The Slaughter (0:43)

Listening In With Guy Gross: Revenging Angel (8:20): Gross discusses how Carl Stalling and Chuck Jones were inspirations for the score for the animated sequences for this episode.

Listening In With Guy Gross: The Choice (11:14): Gross discusses the haunting score he composed for this episode.

TV Promos: SciFi Channel Promos
  • Revenging Angel (0:18)
  • The Choice (0:18)
  • Fractures (0:18)
  • Into The Lion’s Den Part I: Lambs To The Slaughter (0:33)

Season Three, Disc Five:

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Radioman970

Radioman970

    Lead Actor



  • 6,539 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 22 2006
  • Real Name:James Perry
  • LocationCould be anywhere

Posted December 07 2011 - 03:51 AM

I never bought the DVDs so...my decision is easy. But that is a shame about the original masters. I would love to see those show, basically for the first time, in real HD. Maybe they'll turn up. How do they just disappear?
Silly Party Candidate: Tarquin Fin- tim- lim- bim- whin- bim- lim- bus- stop- F'tang- F'tang- Olè- Biscuitbarrel

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

Joseph Bolus

    Screenwriter



  • 2,221 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 04 1999

Posted December 07 2011 - 07:13 AM

I haven't purchased any "Farscape" since The Starburst Editions -- and the first two seasons of that were issued on DVD-18 discs which occasionally provokes "spaz mode" on my Panny Blu-ray player. Based on this Review I'm going to "Make the Leap". If nothing else I'll save gobs of shelf space *and* won't have to agonize about playback issues while viewing the first two seasons. As far as the reported "noise" around the edges of the frame, since I'll be viewing on a projector I can just set my "overscan" setting to 4. I tend to do this anyway when viewing 4:3 aspect ratio TV shows on this setup. It makes the transfer seem "wider" (closer to 1.66:1); *and* masks all frame noise. (For some reason, all of my Star Trek: DS9 discs have the same issue with noise around the frame.) One additional item I would be interested in knowing about is how the 16:9 aspect ratio Fourth Season looks on this set. The "Starburst Editions" provided very mediocre video transfers of this season with lots of evident edge enhancement. Hopefully these new Blu-rays will at least provide an improvement in that area.
Joseph
---------------

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Lou Sytsma

Lou Sytsma

    Producer



  • 5,673 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 01 1998

Posted September 12 2012 - 01:18 PM

Such a great series. This is a great set especially on the audio front. Sure hope that Hallmark sees fit to release The PeaceKeeper Wars on Blu-ray some day.
Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   Radioman970

Radioman970

    Lead Actor



  • 6,539 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 22 2006
  • Real Name:James Perry
  • LocationCould be anywhere

Posted February 12 2013 - 11:21 PM

bumping this since it's on sale.
Silly Party Candidate: Tarquin Fin- tim- lim- bim- whin- bim- lim- bus- stop- F'tang- F'tang- Olè- Biscuitbarrel

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   mpompey

mpompey

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 70 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 17 2009

Posted February 15 2013 - 02:30 AM

I will gladly double dip on this series. Not only do I have all of the DVD releases and the horrible series finale. (Thanks scifi channel), But I also have ripped them all to my media server to stream to my phone. But I always wanted to have these in better sound than the DVD originally offered. Looks like this is gonna be a great weekend.

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Lou Sytsma

Lou Sytsma

    Producer



  • 5,673 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 01 1998

Posted February 15 2013 - 04:47 AM

Not only do I have all of the DVD releases and the horrible series finale. (Thanks scifi channel), Looks like this is gonna be a great weekend.
Thank goodness for The PeaceKeepers War which resolves the series finale! Really want that on BluRay too! BTW for those that are interested a group of friends and I are working our way through the series in podcast reviews. We are about to finish Season 3. It's been a fantastic experience with some great insight from veterans and newbies alike. You can find them all - here.
Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.

#8 of 14 OFFLINE   DaveF

DaveF

    Moderator



  • 15,825 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 04 2001
  • Real Name:David Fischer
  • LocationOne Loudoun, Ashburn, VA

Posted February 16 2013 - 01:09 PM

Does this blu ray set have that finale in it? It's unclear to me from the review. I'm going to add this to my amazon wishlist, and that finale if necessary. Is there any benefit to the blu-ray over DVD? DVD is $40, buying individual seasons, a $60 savings.

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Craig S

Craig S

    Producer



  • 5,668 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 04 2000
  • Real Name:Craig Seanor
  • LocationLeague City, Texas

Posted February 16 2013 - 01:14 PM

The complete series Blu-ray set does NOT contain the "Peacekeeper Wars" finale. Don't blame A&E - they don't have the rights to the finale, which is distributed by Lionsgate. To date the finale is only available on DVD.
Three truths about movies, as noted by Roger Ebert:

* It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it.
* No good movie is too long, and no bad movie is short enough.
* No good movie is depressing, all bad movies are depressing.

#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

Joseph Bolus

    Screenwriter



  • 2,221 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 04 1999

Posted February 17 2013 - 08:46 AM

Is there any benefit to the blu-ray over DVD? DVD is $40, buying individual seasons, a $60 savings.
The short answer is "Yes!" the Blu-ray set provides: * Better video than the season sets which are currently on sale -- mostly due to compression issues with those sets. When comparing the Blu-ray video with the upscaled DVD "Starburst Editions", the video difference only slightly favors the Blu-ray set. But the "Starburst Editions" typically only placed two-three eps per disc and were sourced from 480p production masters and so were much less prone to compression issues. The DVD season sets currently on sale were sourced from 480i broadcast masters and are packed with 4-5 eps per disc-- and it shows. * Much better audio. (As mentioned in the review above.) * You save *gobs* of shelf space! * Blu-ray is inherently more durable than DVD.
Joseph
---------------

#11 of 14 OFFLINE   Todd Erwin

Todd Erwin

    Screenwriter



  • 2,508 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 16 2008
  • Real Name:Todd Erwin
  • LocationOrange County, CA

Posted February 17 2013 - 09:14 AM

As I stated in my review, the blu-ray sets are upconverted from the 576i PAL broadcast masters.

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   DaveF

DaveF

    Moderator



  • 15,825 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 04 2001
  • Real Name:David Fischer
  • LocationOne Loudoun, Ashburn, VA

Posted February 17 2013 - 09:36 AM

Thanks. What I took from the review is the blu-ray is a wash in quality; a little improvement but new artifacts that aren't in the DVD. (This isn't a criticism of the review; just how i understood it.). My takeaway was, at the double the price, the blu-ray is a bad value compared to the current DVD pricing. For a show that aired in SD, I'd be content paying half price if the DVDs are good quality. But it sounds like the $10 DVD sets are noticeably inferior to the new blu-ray set.

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

Joseph Bolus

    Screenwriter



  • 2,221 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 04 1999

Posted February 17 2013 - 09:36 PM

Dave, You could probably "make do" with those $10 per season sets. But I just wanted to make sure that you knew that as problematic as the video is on the Blu-ray "complete season" set it's still better than the video on the A&E DVD sets. The same cannot be said of the long out-of-print ADV "Starburst Editions" -- except for the 16:9 fourth season -- but that set had its own problems due to the first two seasons being issued on dual-sided DVD-18 discs. Just as an example, "Family Ties" -- the first season finale -- is no longer playable at all on my Season 1, Volume 3 "Starburst Edition" set. So this Blu-ray package is probably the best we 'Scapers are ever going to get on optical disc. Even if "somebody" were to suddenly find the production masters, all the CGI SFX would still have to be redone -- just like Star Trek: The Next Generation -- in order to provide a true HD release, and there's no way that's happening anytime soon!
Joseph
---------------

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   DaveF

DaveF

    Moderator



  • 15,825 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 04 2001
  • Real Name:David Fischer
  • LocationOne Loudoun, Ashburn, VA

Posted February 17 2013 - 11:42 PM

Thanks for the elaboration!





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users